Egon Schiele is an incredible artist, and as much as I love the pieces he creates, I realize that many of them are not appropriate or of interest to the young artists I am teaching. As I wanted to use his art to lead a specific discussion, I decided to focus on two types of his images, those of faces and those of hands, and see how the children responded.
The main response from the group was that the art was not nice, and the images were strange. The people were not beautiful and some of the hands reminded them of monsters. This conversation allowed me to organically introduce the questions I wanted them to consider,
What is beauty? Does art need to be beautiful? Do people all look beautiful in the same way? Does each person see beauty in a different way? When making art, why do our images need to be realistic? Why can’t we distort body parts and objects from reality?
At this age, the children are powered by imagination, but are also taking in the world around them at incredible speed. They are creative and dreamy, but I am beginning to see them changing, a growing desire to use art to mimic the world they see. I wanted to show them an artist who used all colors, realistic and not, when painting human skin. An artist who worked in shapes and sizes that are unnatural to our body poportions. I wanted to highlight the fact that in art, whatever you want to create you can, and that creation in itself and the unique finished piece that belongs to you, is what is most beautiful.