Paintings, Jigsaw Puzzles and Other Art History Ideas

Looking around the blogosphere, I can see most homeschooling
mothers are busy making plans for this year’s school work. Everyone looks so busy
and efficient, I’m starting to feel a little lazy. Now I know it is useless for
me to make the same kind of plans. It would be a waste of time. We’d never use
them. That’s not how we work. But I suppose I could be doing something… Maybe I could look for a few interesting
resources to strew, something that might capture my children’s interest…


Today I decided to browse the Internet. I wondered what to look for. Then this afternoon, while my husband Andy was banging a few picture
hooks into the walls so I could display a few new pictures, I had an idea. Pictures… art…
resources? My thoughts went something like that, and I decided to hunt for some
free art images online.
My girls love looking at famous paintings. I do too. We like
looking at all the details and finding out the stories behind the pictures. So perhaps…
I could download a high resolution image and print it on A4 photographic
paper, before framing it. Andy has put a picture hook in a high traffic area of
our home. If I hang the print at eye level, my children can hardly fail to look
at it as they walk by.

Years ago, when we were in our Charlotte Mason phase, I used
to ask the kids to look at a painting carefully, and then narrate back the
details. They also were asked to copy the artwork by painting or drawing it.
They didn’t much enjoy this way of doing things, so we won’t do that again. But
maybe just by observing a painting in their own time, without any pressure,
they might start to talk about it. Anyway, I can try and see what happens! I
could replace the painting with a new image every so often to keep the
conversation going.
So this afternoon I searched for free high resolution art
images to download and print. One site I found is Free 1000s Art

Gallerix also has a wonderful collection of different size
resolution images that can be downloaded. I haven’t yet tried printing from these files, but if they are not large enough for
printing A4 copies, they could be used on blogs or in jigsaw puzzle makers. 
Did
you see my post Turning Famous Paintings into Jigsaw Puzzles? If you don’t
want to create your own puzzle maker, Gallerix has its own puzzle option: Just
click the ‘puzzle’ icon under each image and a painting will turn into a jigsaw that can be put together
online. 

This is a Russian language site, but I used Google Translate and found
my way around it quite easily. (Though I did click on a pharmacy ad by
mistake!) Anyway, art is a universal language and needs no words.

Another interesting art resource I discovered, in my travels around the Internet, is Google Art Project. This is an interactive site where the artworks of many museums and
galleries can be explored. You can view a painting as a regular online image (high
resolution) or see it in a virtual gallery. There are details of each painting,
videos to watch, maps to explore. You can save paintings to your own gallery if
you have a Google account. You can even share the paintings online with Facebook,
email, Twitter… The only thing you can’t do is download the images and print
them out.

Well, I haven’t exactly written a plan for this term’s school
work, but I have found a few interesting art history resources that I can
strew. I am sure my girls will enjoy the art more than a plan, so that’s okay. 

Now what can I find next? What else might interest my girls? I’ll think about that and report back!

PS I had trouble downloading the images from the Gallerix site but my son Callum came to the rescue. He told me to right-click on the image, and before saving, I had to add the extension .jpg to the file name. This worked perfectly. I just love having older kids who can sort out my problems!

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