This is a story of 92 goats. And floating heads. And dreamy/nightmarish costumes. And awe and inspiration.
Today was the day we went downtown to dot the i on our project that has been the study of Marc Chagall. I threw some snacks and water in my bag, along with a little pad of paper, and off we were at 9:00, pulling into the perfect parking spot on the street, just across from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts at 9:45. That alone made up for the insane trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and I was feeling pretty lucky as we bought our tickets and checked our coats.
This exhibition, the largest one ever in Canada devoted to Chagall, did not disappoint. On the way downtown, I had asked the kids to think about the Chagall works they had seen and to pick out one element in particular that we would be on the lookout for today. They chose goats—and so, as we made our way through the exhibition, Zahra was tallying up the goats we saw. By the end, we had counted 92 goats in this Chagall exhibition alone.
Of course, there were so many other things to oooh and aaah over. I was proud of Zahra and Noah as they recognized the most iconic works and as they noted elements characteristic of Chagall: animals, floating heads, violins and more. I couldn’t help but smile as they animatedly chattered about La Naissance, one visitor raising her eyebrows and giving them a nod of approval. They knew these works and, more importantly perhaps, they knew this artist—and thus were able to draw conclusions about Chagall works they had not yet seen.
Such as the opera and ballet costumes. Wow! The documentary film we had watched a few weeks ago had noted that Chagall’s costume and set designs had quite literally stolen the show, and now we could really see why. Then there was the room where you could sit in bean bag chairs and see, projected on an oval screen, scenes from Chagall’s famous painting on the ceiling of the Paris Opera. The stained glass was also breathtaking.
Finally, we checked out the children’s exhibit dedicated to Chagall. Here, Zahra and Noah played around with light and shadow and various characters from Chagall’s works.
All that and we made it home in time for lunch!
I said this was a story of 92 goats, but this is also the story of a chicken because…well, because no truly great story is complete without at least one chicken. Marc Chagall would surely agree: we saw nearly as many chickens in his works as goats. After lunch, the kids and I decided to paint ourselves. Noah painted white over a canvas he had started and didn’t like before turning it into a birthday present for a friend. Zahra used a technique for drawing flowers that she had learned from Aita at the Nook to paint on her canvas. And I was inspired by a couple of Chagall’s works where he had painted the elements separately from the background, cut them out and then layered them on top of the canvas. I didn’t have a canvas, but that wasn’t important. As the kids and I had seen at the museum, and as we remembered Cat telling us, Chagall had painted many of his works on cardboard! I took a file folder and made my own Chagall-inspired painting, complete with a duo of blue chickens, a goat, an oud, and a woman with a floating, upside-down head.
Come 2:00, we harnessed Padmé and took her to school to pick up Leila and her friend Zoë who was coming over for a play date. Filing out to the busses, the kindergarteners squealed in delight when they saw her, and Leila’s teacher wanted a picture with her. Padmé Amidala, the celebrity chicken who walks on a leash and loves to be petted. She brings lots of love, giggles and fun into our lives!