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Friday, September 10, 2010

Monet and Manet

Several years ago, before I retired, I taught art to virtually all ages in grades one through twelve.  Naturally, this entailed a good deal of curriculum development and planning.  Actually, the content of my lessons  didn't vary as much as might be expected, only the manner it which it was taught.  That, of course, varied a great deal according to the age of the students involved.

One day I was exposing my third grade art class to the exquisite, impressionist waterlilies of Claude Monet's late work. They were enthralled. I even wore my Monet necktie with water lilies on it (which impressed them somewhat less than the slides). Afterwards, I mentioned that another artist from approximately the same era, who sometimes worked in an impressionistic style, was Eduoard Manet and that some people confused Monet's work with Manet's.

Nympheas, 1915, Claude Monet
I was somewhat startled when a little girl in the back of the room commented that she didn't think Monet's work looked anything like Manet's. She was quite right, of course, they are very different.  But I was curious about her seemingly astute observation, especially inasmuch as I'd not even shown them any paintings by Manet. I questioned her further, asking her where she'd ever seen any Manets. She replied, "In our refrigerator."

For those wondering, I did NOT make that up.

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