Picture Study – Magritte’s Son of Man

The Abundant Garden: Growing Quality Kids Through Gardening by Kinderfarmhomeschool.com

Image courtesy of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library

Picture Study – Apple: an activity for children of all ages. The study of great works of art is an integral component in a Charlotte Mason education. She has said,

“We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of
beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sight of life; he is enriched
more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture” (Original Homeschooling Series, Volume 1, Home Education).

Magritte loves to force one to look twice at his paintings. In this picture study activity, children will learn about Surrealism; a type of art that helps to teach one how to look at ordinary objects in unusual ways.

  • Supplies:
    • gardening notebook/journal OR a separate art appreciation notebook/journal
    • paper (if using a binder) – copy paper, cardstock and/or 140 lb weight paper if using watercolors
    • pencil and eraser
    • art medium of choice (colored pencils, watercolors, crayons, or markers)
    • page protectors
    • laminater and laminating sheets (optional)
    • light blue construction paper
    • cotton ball
    • white paint
    • an additional colored piece of construction paper
    • scissors
  • For a young child (ages 2-5): Read one or more of the following books:
    • Magritte’s Imagination by Susan Goldman Rubin – recommended for children ages 2-5.
    • I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – recommended for ages 4-8. (R) **Please note: the Letter F has a Pablo Picasso picture which shows a women’s breasts in abstract art.
    • Print a coloring page of the “Son of Man” at supercoloring.com.
    • Allow your child time to color the picture.
  • For an older child (ages 6 and up): Read one or more of the following books:
  • Have your child narrate the story back to you in their own words. (You may decide to read a short passage and then have them narrate rather than retelling the entire story.)
  • If desired, have your child write a short paragraph, including details of the story important to them (recommended for children developmentally ready, 8 to 10 and up).
  • Print the picture, “Son of Man”, from the following site, the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Place the picture in a sheet protector or laminate as desired.
  • Allow the child time to study the picture, taking in every detail, until they are able to picture it with their eye’s closed.
  • After the picture has been studied, remove it from sight.
  • Have your child, from memory, draw and/or describe as many of the details of the picture as they can remember.
  • Discuss the picture. Ask the child some of the following questions, making sure not to impose your own feelings/interpretations:
    • What did you see in the picture?
    • Did you like it?
    • If you could name this picture, what title would you choose?
    • What colors did you like in the painting?
    • Why do you think he painted the apple in front of his face?
    • For more questions, visit artjunction.org and/or artcuratorforkids.com.
  • Document these thoughts to include with the picture as desired.
  • Additional learning for children of all ages: Take a piece of light blue construction paper and use a cotton ball to “paint” clouds.
  • Take another piece of construction paper (color of your choice) and carefully cut out two items that don’t seem to go together; such as a tree and bird, or an apple and a moon. (Cut carefully as you will be using the entire piece of paper).
  • Lay one item down on one side of the cloud paper, and the piece of cut paper on the other side. And now you have a piece of surrealistic art.
  • Place the page(s) in a protector when finished and include them in the garden or art appreciation notebook/journal.
  • Take pictures and tag #theabundantgarden on Instagram to share your fun and for an opportunity to be featured @theabundantgarden.