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Friday, June 3, 2011

Learning About Edgar Degas

It's Health & Nutrition week, which means we'll be talking about exercise and fitness in addition to talking about the importance of a balanced diet. My girls take a fun dance class together, so I thought they'd be intrigued by the art of Edgar Degas.

*Warning - Degas is well known for his nudes, I would carefully select his art pieces to share with your children. I wouldn't just hand them a library book with with famous works, or google search his name in images. Just a heads up!

My favorite aspect of Degas, is his focus on the ballet. He loved the muscular tone of these young dancers, and was intrigued by the difference between the shapes in a young man and a young woman's body. His most famous sculpture is "Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer"

I find it interesting that he mixed mediums with his statues sometimes. This statue has real fabric in the skirt, and even some real hair pieces.

So I read to my kids a few interesting things about him from and a few other internet sources, while the kids tried their hand at a sculpture themselves.

I wish I had planned better and used clay. I used home-made playdough instead. Not easy to work with. Very crumbly and, impossible to make a standing figure with. We tried wrapping straws and wooden skewers with playdough to make the limbs more sturdy, but it didn't work very well. In the end, my children had a lot of fun, and they really didn't care how professional their sculptures were. Here's what they created:

Even I tried to make one! She's got a little Wicked-Witch-of-the-West thing going on here, but HEY nobody else wanted the green play dough, okay?

So it was a fun activity. But I do wish I had let the kids try something new by working with real clay.

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