Looking For a Secular Florida Umbrella School?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Playmobil and Art Appreciation

Last year for Christmas, Santa brought G the completely furnished, six-room Victorian Playmobil dollhouse. She was not as excited initially as I'd expected, and concerned because her dollhouse, unlike her sister's, was plastic. Once they discovered how versatile the thousands of little pieces were, their imaginations took off and it has been played with nearly everyday since.

As a child, I loved my Fisher Price little people, and with my friend Bonnie, whose family owned two of every single building ever made, one for her and one for her brother, would set up elaborate towns and play for days. But they always did regular everyday things.

Not so these Playmobil people...

These dollhouse people all have names and very distinct personalities. Their adventures have included being child slaves sold in a market, racing in the Paris to Dakkar Rally, visiting other planets and being contestants on "Survivor." They have pretended to be Lyra and Will (from Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy), and Harry, Ron and Hermione, all while keeping in their own character. Not exactly your regular, everyday type stuff.

Yesterday their little people were artists. The artists were set up in front of their 'live' models, who were posed, draped across various pieces of furniture. My daughters spent quite a bit of time with colored pencils, creating tiny little works of art to place on the improvised easels, drawn so that the subjects exactly resembled their Playmobil models: unblinking dot eyes, eternal smiles, stiff limbs and all. But the subject matter, that's what surprised me... Think Manet's "Olympia", and Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam", from the Sistine Chapel. And yes, these were rendered (gasp) anatomically correct.

You know how it feels when you're screaming laughing on the inside, but trying to maintain a calm facade? That was me.

These are definitely going in the portfolio.