When looking up Belarus for our geography lessons I did my usual search for interesting things to study, and came up with very few things of note. So, I turned to my friend Natalie and said, “What should I study?” She immediately said, “you should check out Chagall”, and I thought, “I’ve heard of him, why didn’t he come up in my search?” Then I set out to create a Chagall lesson to add to our Austria study, and I’m putting this under history lessons, because reasons I will elaborate on further*.
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Who is Marc Chagall
I’ll be honest, I knew his name before teaching this lesson, but I didn’t know much about him. So, this was a great chance for me to learn more.
I found one book “about” him at our library, In the Picture: Get Looking!, but it really wasn’t about him. It was more of an I spy using classic paintings.
Not quite what I’m looking for.
While Marc Chagall never became a cubist, when I was looking at some of his work I could see some influences there, instead I’d say his paintings remind me of the early work of Picasso. It’s clearly not similar to his later works, but it reminds me of some of Picasso’s work.
He was born with a very Jewish name, Moïche Zakharovitch Chagalov (I literally copied that from Wikipedia because I was sure I would mistype something), but later changed his name to Marc Chagall to sound more French. You know, because French artists are more well-known. He lived all over Europe, and during the rise of Nazism was barely able to stay ahead of the Germans as they took over Europe, finally emigrating to the United States. I highly recommend watching the video if you can as they show so many examples of his artwork, and you’ll see why it reminds me of Picasso’s work.
His works recreated his childhood in Belarus, and were inspired by the town he was from. He also was inspired by his Jewish heritage and created a series of paintings, etchings, and mosaics depicting events from the Old Testament.
The coolest part I learned from this lesson was the sheer variety of projects he created. He made stained glass windows for several cathedrals in France, as well as a couple of synagogues, then made a mosaic for Israel. You can clearly see his style in the stained glass windows. It fascinates me.
Supplies for our Marc Chagall lesson
Our Marc Chagall lesson
I kinda wish I’d shown the kids the video up above, because it did a much better job teaching all about Marc Chagall, but when I was searching, I was looking for something with a “how to draw in his style.”
Total honesty, my kids make fun of these lessons. They enjoy them, but they really laugh when we start work on art lessons.
Even if they make fun of them, I enjoy them. We watched the video I shared and they laughed at the idea of drawing houses like that with random things floating in the sky.
But, they did it.
The funny part of teens, sometimes they are very proud of their project, and sometimes they say, “You can’t take a picture of this.”
Superman doesn’t really care one way or another if I share his projects, so I give you Superman’s Chagall project. He also is only creating an art project because it’s an assignment.
If you’re curious, this is how my project turned out:
Now, I can publish our Belarus unit, I think I might even have all of the Italian artists published, so I can finally get that unit written too!
*Okay, here’s the thing. I have a complicated categorization system in my head, as I try to figure out how I’ll search for something later on, and most things that happened in the past I tend to default them to history. So rather than calling them artist studies, I tend to think of them as art history lessons. Then I divide it into time periods, and Chagall lived mostly in the 20th century, much of his artwork is still under copyright. Which gets complicated when attempting to share that with people.