Artwork by Elvetham Heath Primary School, Hampshire (detail) © The National Gallery, London
Artwork by Elvetham Heath Primary School, Hampshire (detail) © The National Gallery, London
Artwork by Grafton Primary School, London © The National Gallery, London
Artwork by Grafton Primary School, London © The National Gallery, London

Take One Picture – Imagine, Create, Explore at The National Gallery

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Mathilde Brault, a volunteer for Kids in Museums, went to see an exhibition of artworks created by children at the National Gallery.

“Welcome to the National Gallery, my name is Lucy and I’m here to help you” says a little yet confident voice at the door. You just stepped into one of the world’s biggest museums, but today the doors to its treasures and to your heritage are opened by a child.

It has been a few years since the National Gallery decided to trust children’s ability to discover, imagine and explore. This summer, the focus is on French painter Georges Seurat’s Bathers at Asnieres and offers an impressive variety of ways to explore this 1884 painting. “It was extraordinary!” proudly cries out one of the pupils from Netley school who took over the exhibition room, becoming visitor hosts, tour guides, curators and artists.

Treat the child in you. Give yourself the opportunity to discover a masterpiece through children’s eyes and imagination. Thanks to their spontaneity and naivety, you will be surprised to see details and connections you hadn’t suspected before.

They say there is no better way to learn than a creative one. From Cornwall to the Teesside, the children from the 23 schools involved in the project would definitely agree. Will your children be inspired to make their own art after they’ve seen other children’s artwork on display in the National Gallery?

This exhibition is proof that an imaginative approach can foster a real love of learning. On an empty canvas, you can explore and re-create a setting, a time, a story. As Grace, 10 years old, puts it, “as though it was meant to be”.

See http://www.takeonepicture.org.uk for more details. The exhibition is open until 21 September 2014. Entry is free.

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