Saturday, February 2, 2008

Quiz Results

When I was pairing up these paintings, I had a definite idea of what I thought my little ones would like. I expected they would prefer light over dark, soothing over intense, real over abstract, familiar over unfamiliar. And, for the most part this did prove true. Their answers were pretty much a split between A's and B's, but the choices did not fall as I expected them to.

God gives each of us such a unique perspective. Even the youngest child! This quiz proved to me more than anything else that taste is a purely personal thing.

Nevertheless, even with "unsophisticated" critics there are a couple of lines in the sand. None of my children wanted a thing to do with the abstract art, and, even when choosing between the Cassatt and the Picasso pictures of "Mother and Child" in the last group, every one of them chose the more realistic of the two (Even though Picasso was behaving himself in this painting, shown above). Every one of them considered Jackson Pollock's work laughable at best.

They seem to need their art to represent the real world in a realistic way, but it didn't have to be perfect. Every one of the children, for instance, liked Grandma Moses' snow picture and had a hard time choosing between it and the more realistic snowscape painted by Monet. Perspective and lighting were not as important to them as the feeling they got by looking at the painting. Subject matter appears to be most important to them, followed by color.

One of my theories was that the little ones would always pick pretty over plain and soft over harsh. This did not always prove to be true, though. My five year old consistently picked the brighter colors, whether the picture was prettier by conventional standards or not. She picked the Monet bridge (3A) over the Kinkade bridge (3B), for instance, and she picked Van Gogh's The Scream (7A) just because she liked the color of the sky behind the screamer. Go figure!

My nine year old picked whichever picture she thought was funnier. She was sure The Scream was a joke, and picked it for that reason. She also liked the Norman Rockwell self portrait because it was funnier, while my 12 year old chose Vermeer's self portrait because of its sumptuous colors and feeling of richness. Michelle (12) also liked Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holovernes (9A), because she thought it looked more realistic than a photograph. But she wouldn't want it hanging in her house! The rest of the children, however, thought that Caravaggio was awful and much preferred the harvest picture. Not too surprising.

After we finished the quiz, we scrolled around the internet looking at various artists, and all the children (ages 3-12) LOVED the the marjority of the works of Monet, Cassatt, and Adolphe Bougureau (not pictured in the quiz, but pictured above), but they also LOVED everything by Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kinkade ~ both artists who have generally been considered hacks in the elite art world. But do the children care? Heck no! Their qualifications and expectations are simple. Is this a bad thing?

What is a child's opinion worth?

Tomorrow: Why I like Thomas Kinkade, even though anyone who really knows art thinks he's over commercialized and trite.

Here is the list of the paintings and artists from Friday's quiz:

1 A . The Absinthe Drinker, Pierre Auguste Renoir
B. St. Philomena, (Couldn't find who painted this! Does anyone know?)

2 A. Photograph from free images
B. She Wolf, Jackson Pollock

3 A. Japanese Bridge at Giverny, Claude Monet
B. Bridge of Hope, Thomas Kinkade

4 A. Cafe Paix Opera, Antoine Blanchard
B. San Francisco Lombard, Thomas Kinkade

5 A. Self Portrait, Norman Rockwell
B. Self Portrait, Jan Vermeer

6 A. The Fortune Teller, Norman Rockwell
B. The Arnolfini Marriage by Jan Van Eyck

7 A. The Scream, Picasso
B. Laughter by Mary Louise Scappaticci

8 A. The Cart at Snow Covered Road at Hoifieur, Monet
B. Frosty Morning, Grandma Moses

9 A. Judith Beheading Halofernes, Michelangelo Caravaggio
B. * The Gleaners, Jean Francois Millet (Thank-you, Bia!)

10 A. The Delphic Sibyl, Michaelangelo
B. Marie Therese Walter, Picasso

11 A. Autumn, Norman Rockwell
B. *See below.

12 A. The Bath, Mary Cassatt
B. Mother and Child, Picasso

* I'm missing these titles and artists, unfortunately... Once again, I had to travel this past weekend to finish up work on our house on the Western Slope. I brought a slip of paper with the titles and artists of all the paintings that I posted on Friday's quiz with the intention of typing them from our digs in Montrose and posting them Saturday. Alas, I never had the chance to sit down at the computer, and then, of course, I left the slip of paper at my in-laws' house. (They're snowbirds of a sort and are in California now, so I can't call them and ask them to read the list off to me, either.) I reconstructed all of it the best I could, but had trouble finding a couple of the artists. If anyone is familiar with either of these paintings, please let me know! It about drove me nuts this afternoon trying to find them again!


Bia said...

The artist to 11 b is Jean-Francois Millet (his painting "the angelus" is one of my favorites).

My middle son picked Van Gogh's "The Scream" because he liked how the colors swirled together and went on and on like the echo of a scream. I really enjoyed hearing why he picked what he did.

Thanks for an intersting and fun project. God bless.

Bia said...

p.s. in my excitement i'm not sure if i typed in the correct question... 9 b. is millet (i'm searching for 11 b., but no luck yet!)

SuzyQ said...

My daughter is a sentimental little soul so the Carravagio and the Scream weren't for her however my 4 year old tomboy really liked the scream because she thought it looked like a person squashing their cheeks together to make a funny face lol!
I love children's perspectives on things like art.
Sometimes they see things in the purest ways.
BTW) I like Thomas Kincade too!