Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Masterpieces Up Close: Western Painting from the 14th to 20th Centuries

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Aly at Kid Lit Frenzy. 
Every Wednesday, bloggers link up their non-fiction picture book reviews. Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what great non-fiction books are shared this week!

Title: Masterpieces Up Close: Western Painting from the 14th to 20th Centuries 
Author: Claire d'Harcourt  
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press 
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Oversized Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Masterpieces Up Close is back in print! Once again readers can explore great works of art from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century in exquisite large-format detail. Captioned, full-color reproductions of more than twenty paintings provide informative and challenging treasure hunts involving more than one-hundred close-up details. Don't worry, if you can't find one of them, lift-the-flap copies of each painting can be found in the back of the book highlighting each detail. Brief biographical sketches offer information about the artists. 
What I Think: We're so lucky to have the Art Institute in Chicago with some amazing artwork. The last two times we have visited, we love making our way back to the suits of armor but along the way, I point out the super famous pieces we have on display and I love the familiarity of them. I went to the Art Institute as a kid on field trips and even in high school we visited. I love being able to take my kids now. I know not everyone is as fortunate to have access to an amazing art museum but the cool thing is that this book is one way to bring the art to life. Each piece highlighted in this book is presented as the centerpiece of the two page layout and then around the edges, little parts of the piece are explained. It's a really neat way to interact with the artwork without being right in front of it and having an expert available to point out some of the unique elements of the work. I love it!
     I can totally see an art teacher using this in class and having discussions around the different techniques the artists used in each of the pieces. In a way, the art acts as a mentor text when used this way. How cool is that?
     As a mentor text for writing, this can definitely be used to look at expository writing and specifically how descriptive writing still has a place in non-fiction. Many of the short facts that help break down the art have descriptive writing that helps the reader understand the meaning behind the art or the artist's work. A wonderful writing activity would be for students to come up with their own captions for artwork - maybe a new piece that isn't included in the book or even their own artwork. This could be incorporated into their reflection after created artwork or even after working through the writing process on a piece.
     As an opportunity to integrate technology, look at using ThingLink so students can embed videos or photos to explain each element of their work!
Read Together: Grades 4 - 8 
Read Alone: Grades 6 - 8 
Read With: Any biographies based on the artists in the book
Snatch of Text: 
"The grass, dotted with foget-me-nots, cornflowers, irises, carnations, and periwinkles, resembles a multicolored carpet. This painting was created to cover a large section of wall where it could replace a much more expensive tapestry." (p. 8)
Writing Prompts: Think about your own creation - whether it's a painting, a poem, a story or something else - and find a 5-7 places where you can explain the choices you made as an artist and reflect on the impact of those choices.
Topics Covered: Integration - Art 
I *heart* It:

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