art masterpiece: bonnard

Art Masterpiece is an art appreciation program offered to elementary children by parent volunteer guides. The goal is to help students look, think and talk about great masterpieces of art. I'm a volunteer guide and I am sharing my art discussions with you in this weekly post. Hope you enjoy it! 

Signac and Friends by Pierre Bonnard

About the Artist: Today we are going to look at a painting by Pierre Bonnard. Pierre was a French painter and graphic artist. He was born in France in 1867 and lived to be 80 years old. He studied law to become a lawyer but, decided he liked art better.  

Does anyone know how pictures were made before the camera was invented? Pierre became a painter around the time that the camera was invented so; artists didn't have to paint realistically.

This painting is called Signac and Friends. Pierre painted this from 1913-1914.

Pierre Bonnard loved boats, beaches and seaports and loved to pass the time sailing with friends. In this painting friends are enjoying a day of sailing. Paul Signac was a good friend of Bonnard's. Signac was also a famous painter.

Signac is sitting on the back of the boat. Where are we sitting in this picture? We are in the front with the artist. He liked to paint his subjects close to the viewer. It feels like we are in the picture.

Do you think he painted this softly? How can you tell? Short, choppy brushstrokes.

His brushstrokes are a feature of impressionist era, but instead of soft colors, the colors in this painting are bold. He was a master of light and color. He liked combinations of orange and yellow, pinks, purples and blues.

What colors do you see? A deep purple sea under a sky changing from rose to blue green to with tones of rust and bright orange.

What do the colors tell us about the weather?

Do you know remember what colors are warm colors and what colors are cool colors?

Warm = Red, Orange, Yellow Brown
Cool = Blue, Green, Purple, Black

Are the colors warm or cool? He uses both.

What sounds do you think you might hear in this scene? The kids always enjoy this question! They made sounds for me of waves crashing, wind blowing and sea creatures that may be nearby.

Where is your eye drawn? The composition is unusual, the boats thrust upward and the large sail is a sharp triangular shape. You are drawn to the 3 men on the right because of the big white sail.

What are the people feeling?

How does this painting make you feel?

Would you like to be in this picture?

Pierre liked to paint people, everyday things, seascapes and interior spaces like your living room. I finished the discussion by showing some interior pictures he created as well as a self portrait.

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