Maybe it’s because the only work by Marc Chagall that I’ve ever seen in person are the America Windows at the Art Institute of Chicago, but when I decided to do a mini lesson about Chagall, I knew we were going to do a stained glass window project.
Chagall was born in 1887 in the small village of Vitebsk, close to the Polish border. (Vitebsk is in Belarus, which at the time of Chagall’s birth was part of the Russian empire. Belarus is now an independent country.)
Chagall wasn’t even exposed to art until he was a teenager, yet he found a passion. He had to leave his home and his family and eventually even Russia to learn all he could and pursue his passion.
Because he was Jewish, he faced persecution every step of the way. His story is fascinating and his artwork exquisite.
After looking at several examples of Chagall’s paintings (we had checked this book out from the library, we talked about his stained glass projects.
Chagall was in his 70’s when he started working with stained glass and in his 90’s when he created America Windows at The Art Institute of Chicago. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? We then set out to make our own stained glass inspired project.
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Blue watercolors (we used liquid watercolors)
We began by dividing our paper into four sections. We used the ruler to divide our paper evenly, then went over the lines with our black oil pastel several time to make them thick and dark. (You can do this project with crayon if you don’t have any oil pastels, just make sure you make dark, heavy lines.)
Next, we drew our pictures. I encouraged the girls to overlap their panes, to create pictures that were big. We also added some additional lines to mimic the look of stained glass.
After we had our drawings completed, we used our oil pastels to add a bit of color.
Both girls had a big yellow sun in their picture. They also added red, pink, and white.
We didn’t color in everything and left some spots as black outlines.
Once our pictures were complete, we painted over the entire thing with blue watercolor to look like our inspiration piece, America Windows.
I love how the finished product came out. The blue water color combined with the black oil pastel really gave our pictures the look of stained glass and you can definitely see the influence of Marc Chagall.
Have you ever done a project based off of a famous piece of art?
For More Information:
View this video about the history, creation, conservation, and installation of America Windows produced by the Art Institute of Chicago.
View some of Chagall’s painting at the Marc Chagall gallery at Guggenheim.org
Your elementary-aged kids may enjoy doing this Marc Chagall inspired watercolor project from Art Projects for Kids