The National Gallery Family Programs are really amazing.
This is a great opportunity to families to spend time together, learning through art amazing stories and sharing handmade experiences in the workshops.
Three women receive us in the lobby of The National Gallery Educational Center. They are kind and introduce the activity for 5 minutes while parents and children are seated on the floor.
There are foreing families. Paul, Jammie, Tess and David came from Spain. They are in a summer camp and it is their first time at a family programme in a Museum. Their uncle Tony join them in the cultural activity.
There are more families. From Asia, and India too. So diversity is something to take note for a first sight.
We all move to gallery 52 where the fisrt activity was taking place. We cross some big Galleries to reach it. Finally we get it. We cross the family secure line that marks the specific programme activity area and we take seat on the floor again.
The fisrt educator stars to talk about the painting we have in front of us. Fantastic medieval masterpiece full of light and GOLD.
The Coronation of the Virgin: Central Main Tier Panel
1370-1, Jacopo di Cione and workshop
Three wood triptic ensambled to be majestic. She talked with her mouth and with her hands. Children and adults are introduced little by little in the misterious iconography of the selected Painting.
It was probably painted by Jacopo di Cione and assistants. It was completed in 1371. In the centre of the composition are Christ and the Virgin, dressed in white and gold, and seated upon a canopied throne surrounded by angels. The panels to each side are densely crowded with saints; to the left a prominent Saint Peter carries a model of San Pier Maggiore.
After observing it and get used to it, she started asking questions about the Colours, the figures, and the role of people who are there represented.
Who are they?
What are they doing?
The clildren raised hands to answer by turns.
- Angels playing music and singing in the central wood!? said Tess
- Saints and Evangelists in the lateral woods?! Said Paul
- Jesus and the Virgin Mary in the the central one! Said Jammie
- "Very good." Answered the Eduacator. Now let's talk about why they have an halo and the meaning of it in cristianity tradition.
She explained that the halo, that kind of big circle of light around their heads mean sainthood. Saints live in Heaven and they were supposed to be very good persons who helped others and made lots of good things. They are represented with that halo of bright light bacause now they are with the Angels in the Heaven, looking how Jesus is Crowning his Mom, the Virgin, as the Universe Emperatrix.
- Woouu! That is the reason that there is an amazing Light in the painting. A light made with real Gold, with blue color, with a majestic
White in the two main represented figures dresses: The Virgin and Jesus.
White represents purity. Gold represents the misterious atmosphere in Heaven. There are no clouds. Just plain colors and a lot of saints.
What are they carrying? Each of them carrying something special. Something that talks about themselves.
Now the children pay attention to the objects they can find in the painting: many books, a big building, an arrow, a wheel...
Why do each Saint show a special object? Because the object defines their personality, the object of its martyrium.
Relic means 'something left behind'.
Now it is time to draw! We should create our own memento inspired by our talents. We can find football themes, golf clubs, nikon cameras, skates, bridges and many other things in the drawings.
For the next hour the families build together intheir own
"Relic" box in the workshop rooms.
It is fantastic to see how families engage with Art, with their own.
Good times at the National gallery together.