Once we got settled, I asked Zoë what she wanted to see. Let's back up a second. So earlier this week, I had already decided on this fieldtrip and was preparing for our visit. I figured even if we got in an hour of random cultural immersion, it would be better than not. But I did research the best way to introduce art to a toddler. There are sites upon sites of activities to do in museums with 5+ but very little suggested for 3 year olds. At that age, art is what they do themselves. But we wanted to go to the museum. So frustrated, I forged on ahead on my own path. We will call it the Basu-Zych technique. I threw whatever art I had on hand at home over the course of the day, tried not to push... but we leafed through some art books that I had on Van Gogh, da Vinci, Frida Kahlo and other women painters, some other special stuff from the internet. A few seemed to make an impression on her:
- Vermeer's Girl Writing a Letter (shown on left)-- I have a print in my bedroom and she remembered that. So when we saw this one in a book, she ran over to the room to point it out.
- Van Gogh's room -- she has this in a children's book that Ninamashi gave her and when she saw in another book, it was a fun matching game.
- Mary Cassatt's Children Playing at the Beach (shown at right with Zoë) -- another one in the children's book and also in a book I had of women painters.
- Frida Kahlo's self portrait (shown on right) with the thorn necklace -- this one fascinated Zoë : "Why does she have a necklace that is cutting her? Who gave it to her? I like the necklace but why is it hurting her? Why did she draw this if it hurts her? "... so we made up some stories and I tried to impress on her that that's the power of art... nobody knows the answers and the viewer can make up her own story!
We also saw the Vermeer Girl's series: Girl Writing a Letter, Girl with Red Hat, Girl with Flute. We also had a lot of fun making faces at Honore Daumier's caricature sculptures (one shown on left)-- "What an ugly nose! Can you look like that guy?" (As a bonus, we got some passersby to laugh... or look at us horrified. I forget. Probably both...), and tried to guess what made Rodin's Age of Bronze sculpture (at right) look so forlorn -- our best guess is that he missed the bus.
Eventually, we headed upstairs for Impressionism (my favorite! It isn't a successful trip to the art museum unless you see Impressionists :) ) I am sad we missed the Van Gogh room. Zoë enjoyed posing with her favorites. We saw Renoir, Monet, Pisarro, Seurat, Cassatt, Childe Hassam, ... and then hit Zoë's limit at ~45 minutes. Perfect timing for lunch!
Daddy met us at the cafeteria. Food. Home. Sleep. That's what I call a success!