Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Art Treasure Hunt

Another beautiful art book today but of a completely different variety. 'The Art Treasure Hunt' compiled by Doris Kutschbach offers a kind of superior 'Where's Wally' approach to encourage deeper looking at a variety of classic pictures.

There are a few 'I Spy' type books around which use paintings I think but this is the trickiest and the most detailed I've seen; pitched at a slightly older audience than most. The art encompassed includes what you might term the usual suspects; Bruegel, Renoir and Rousseau but also a fair few less usual ones; representing a wide range of styles from Keith Haring to Indian miniatures and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

 In each painting we are given a range of objects or details to find and sometimes posed open ended questions to chat about too. I've had nice sessions with both of my fellow reviewers this week huddling on the sofa together scanning for tiny peacocks or women strumming lutes, or speculating on the likely advantages of keeping a pet monkey. A double spread of abstracts by Malevich and Delaunay which required apparently simple shape and colour spotting also stretched vocabulary understanding through using terms such as 'angular' which neither boy had come across before. Definitely a great addition to a school library: I took it in to use with the children I do reading practice with yesterday and found it a good mix of decipherable text and spotting 'reward'.

This is also a generously sized and lovely book to just hold and enjoy; the reproductions are of beautiful quality. I have to say I particularly enjoyed  examining the newly topical woodcut by Hokusai of crowds of people on a bridge under umbrellas watching a flotilla of boats pass by in the rain.There's a trio of properly coiffeured Japanese ladies at the front looking pretty peeved at the whole day out.
Everyone still gathering in armfuls of damp bunting knows exactly how they feel.

'The Art Treasure Hunt' by Doris Kutschbach pub. Prestel isbn 978-3-7913-7097-2

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