Life Style

Art history for children



Barbapapa at the Louvre, The history of art in comics, The Great Book of Art Records, The Art Seekers… The children’s sections of bookstores are full of titles opening the doors to the artistic world. This enthusiasm follows the dynamism of cultural institutions, which have multiplied actions for young audiences over the past ten years (workshops, family visits, etc.). Each major exhibition is now accompanied by one or more books for children, the result of close collaboration between publishers and museum teams.

“Children are especially sensitive to playful publications”

For “Paris-Athens”, scheduled at the Louvre this winter, Ludovic Laugier, heritage curator in charge of Greek sculpture, wrote What’s wrong with this Venus de Milo? (Ed. Actes Sud junior, 55 p., €12.90). Beyond the few cuts and simplifications suggested by the publisher in order to make the text accessible from the age of 10, Ludovic Laugier has bet on the intelligence of young readers, addressing the same questions as in adult publications: production techniques, dating , reception of the work… Rigorous information, then, punctuated by humorous drawings sketching a Venus half-amused half-annoyed by the endless remarks on her arms.

→ ANALYSIS. The beautiful vitality of baby books

“If, for many parents, art is part of a general culture essential to acquire, children are especially sensitive to playful publications”, notes Julie Codis, assistant editor at Palette, whose best seller of the moment is a book-games entitled Art surveys (96 p., €20.90, from 9 years old). She even notes a growing interest from nursery staff, who use some of their titles to awaken the senses of toddlers and encourage them to express their first aesthetic opinions!

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In our opinion

We are delighted to see the supply of children’s art books improving in quality and diversifying. Alongside the classic “monographs” around an artist, such as the superb collection On the way with launched by Hazan jeunesse in 2020 (1), books dare to use original approaches: art and ecology, the great rivalries between artists… Another new collection, arts and sciences, co-published by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais and the Palais de la Découverte, even draws on paintings by Turner or Bonnard to explain scientific notions to 8-12 year olds (first two titles released: Night’s Odyssey and Color Invasion, 48 pages, €15.90). A disturbing and stimulating read.

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