Jan 7, 2013

Paint Like a Master : GIOTTO

I borrowed heavily from Discovering Great Artists to introduce Giotto (di Bondone c.1266-1337) to the kids in my Classical Conversations class today. I was nervous about eight 5 year olds and raw egg all over the place!

{Raw eggs? Oh. Yes. And the salmonella was just LOOKING for someone to infect. Let me tell you.}

Anyway, Giotto was a shepherd kid who liked to draw...
And then he got discovered and became a painter...
And then he became the chief master of public art in Florence, Italy!

It's like a So You Think You Can Paint, circa the Late Middle Ages!

Which all just goes to show, again, that Someone likes shepherds.

And since you can't just go to Hobby Lobby with your 40% off coupon during the Late Middle Ages (or Early Renaissance for that matter), he had to make his own paints. Ground up minerals. Rocks. Berries. Even insects! Mix with a little egg yolk and water and viola, Egg Tempera!

A., Age 5, Egg Tempera
For our version, we ground up chalk and mixed it with the egg yolk/water mixture. (1 egg yolk plus 2 tsp of water is the ratio.) It ended up like a thickish watercolor. The kids thought it was pretty cool to make our own paint and they did a great job painting St. Paul, Giotto style. (I had pre-drawn St. Paul to save time - but he wasn't supposed to turn out looking like Santa Claus with a turban on.)

Egg tempera is long-lasting, makes colors really bright, and dries with a nice sheen. Not something I would've chosen to do without prompting, but I'm definitely glad we tried this.

Next time, I will let the kids draw their template first, and make sure to crush the chalk more thoroughly. And bring more disinfectant wipes.

You should try this project with your kids. It really was fun.

Just please remember the mantra for doing art with your kids:
I can clean up when they're done.
I can clean up when they're done.
I can clean up when they're done.

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