~Art Appreciation~ 

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)
Impressionist known for her paintings of mother and child.

Ideas submitted by Shannon Rollman-Reilly

Suggested Activities:

~When introducing Mary Cassatt, stress that she was a woman doing something that was considered a "man's job". 

~Read the nice biography found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

~Get out your state map...Cassatt grew up in Pennsylvania.  Find Pennsylvania.

~She studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts...Does your child know anyone else who spent time in Philly...Ben Franklin, George Washington, etc.  Lots of possible answers here.

~She spent most of her time in Paris, France.  Find it on the globe.

~Explain the Salon...it will come up time and time again in art.

  • "The Salon: France's official art showcase, which was established in 1667. The Salon encouraged, exhibited, and rewarded immaculately finished, conventional paintings, often on historical, religious, and mythological subjects. The Impressionists, with their sketchy technique and their concentration on modern life and landscapes, were repeatedly rejected by the Salon juries from the 1860s into the 1880s."  Cassatt was the only woman ever invited to the Salon to show her work.
~Take a virtual tour through Cassatt's work at the National Gallery of Art
     --hit "start tour"...its nice...the smaller pictures enlarge beautifully. 

~A larger collection (but the pics don't enlarge) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

~Ask your art questions to discuss:

  • Does it use light colors or dark colors?
  • Is it finely detailed or fuzzy?
  • What are the people, animals, things doing?
  • Do you like it?
  • How does it make you feel?
~Print out a picture of Cassatt's to add to your ongoing collage.

~Mary Cassatt liked to do printmaking.  Purchase or make a stamping stencil and make a picture or card for someone.  (Apply the paint to the stamp by rolling or painting the paint in a shallow dish and then dipping the stamp.) 

~Cassatt used pastels for her work often.  Purchase a small set of oil pastels. (I've seen a set of approx. 10 in the stationary dept. of Walmart).  Make a picture using this very vibrant medium. 

~Purchase the Color Your Own Mary Cassatt Masterpieces.

~Try to get from HBO, HBO Family Channel, the library possibly, a copy of the video or the time of appearance for The Artists' Specials..."Mary Cassatt:American Impressionist".  I love these 
specials.  We watch them whenever they are on.  They are awesome! 

  • "In each special, the featured artist-at a major turning point in his or her life-crosses paths with a young person. From their encounters comes stories that inform, entertain children and adults alike. Viewers are exposed to the most famous paintings by these creative geniuses and learn about their lives through the interactions with the children they befriend."
~Don't forget to follow up at the library or book store...and the mall!  Take advantage of all of those large touchable prints! 


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