For Immediate Release
September 21, 2017
[Digital image available upon request]
Williamstown, Massachusetts—Join author Maria-Christina Sayn-Wittgenstein Nottebohm (also known as “Puppa”) at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday, October 7 at 11 am as she explores ways to engage children with art. Nottebohm talks about the fun, magical world of exploring Old Master pictures and the methods she discovered in researching her book Old Masters Rock: How to Look at Art with Children. The free talk, held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion, includes a question-and-answer session followed by a book signing.
Empowering children with the skills to look at art enables them to stimulate their imagination and interpret the pictures in their own ways, often seeing things adults don’t notice. According to Nottebohm, enjoying art is all about responding to what the viewer is seeing. Old Masters Rock stimulates children in a playful way so that, together with an adult, they can decode fifty masterpieces of Western art from the last 700 years. The book demonstrates that art is accessible to all—adults and children alike.
Old Masters Rock groups fifty paintings from the fourteenth century through the early twentieth century into thirteen themes, including animals, the natural world, action heroes, myth and magic, and fabulous faces. Many different styles and artistic eras are explored, including Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerist, Realist, and Impressionist. Well-known artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velázquez, John Constable, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh, and Edvard Munch are featured, as well as less familiar artists who will quickly become favorites.
Old Masters Rock is a book for parents and children to look at together. Using curiosity as a starting point, the book introduces questions that help make discoveries about works of art and help identify feelings about it. Old Masters Rock contains features such as “art detectives” to encourage children to solve clues and “fun facts” to help them remember the pictures. Throughout, the emphasis is on looking at the paintings and drawing one’s own conclusions about what one is seeing. Adults will be surprised and delighted by their children’s observations.
Maria-Christina Sayn-Wittgenstein Nottebohm is an expert in European pictures and advises private collectors and museums. She was brought up in Europe and now divides her time among Mexico City, Telluride, New York, and Europe.
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.
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