And together we learn

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The children meet Vermeer

I've been reading a fascinating book called The Forger's Spell. There are so many things in this world to know, and most of them you don't even know they exist. I had no idea about forgeries of Vermeer paintings during WWII that fooled the world. The book is a little rambling, but it's goes deep into the reasons that people could have actually believed these horrible paintings were genuine Vermeers. Basically, people wanted them to be real, so they believed. The Nazi's were 'buying' everything they could get their hands on, and the Vermeers were the jewels. Paintings were surfacing right and left, and a man named Van Meegeren capitalized on it all. Once he had one painting established as a masterpiece, it became the new standard that all future forgeries were based on.

Anyway, interesting stuff. I checked out a big coffee table size book of Vermeers, because after reading about them I wanted to know more and more. I always knew his stuff was beautiful, but wow, it's pretty amazing.

So this book was lying around, and the kids wanted me to read it to them. I pulled them all on my lap and we went through every page of this book of paintings. My kids can all (even Calvin) identify about 5 qualities of Vermeer paintings--light from the left-hand corner, blue and yellow colors, meditative women, serene settings, and pearls. We examined the different textures he shows, marveled at how fur can look like fur and satin like satin, and talked about what the women might be thinking as they read their letters or dreamed at their instruments.

Calvin asked to read it again today. How cool is that??

2 comment(s):

That is very, very cool. I love when moments like that happen and the kids are genuinely interested, since often my attempts to introduce them to things I think are interesting or important can fall flat!
Just for fun, you might enjoy Blue Balliett's book Chasing Vermeer (and its sequels). It's intended for smart preteens, I would say, but I totally enjoyed it as an adult. If you liked The Westing Game as a child, or any book that's also a puzzle and involves some figuring out, I highly recommend it!

By Blogger Hannah, at 6:14 AM  

P.S. Welcome back to blogging! I never took you off my Google Reader, so here I am, commenting (although I feel sort of funny since we've never met!). By the way, I've been running a blog giveaway for a handmade (from an Etsy shop) American Girl doll dress; I'm doing the drawing this afternoon. Just in case your girls are into dolls. :-)

By Blogger Hannah, at 6:16 AM  

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