Friday, May 10, 2013

Art...and just a little more

Molly watches one documentary at bedtime every night. (Devyn would, too, but she tires earlier and wouldn't be able to stay awake long enough.)

Last night, Molly chose art as the subject, so I searched YouTube and proudly announced that we could watch one about Bernini. I wanted to learn, too.

But some documentaries just aren't appropriate for six-year-old art enthusiasts

The period -- 17th century -- would be problematic for her, since time is a difficult thing for children, but I figured that she could well take something good from the experience.

As she lay down and settled in, I finished up some activities. The narrator waxed rhapsodic about the exquisite details of some sculptures, and the end of the evening seemed to be going smoothly. I was wrapping things up while listening along and answering questions.

-- Did they have cameras back then...Then, how do they know what Bernini looked like?

-- What if I lived in that time and didn't believe what everyone believed?

-- How did people get to faraway places?

Then, the subject of Bernini's marriage, which at first seemed benign, quickly moved the documentary in a new, darker direction. The music changed and so did Molly's questions.

-- Mum...Mummy? Why does he have a sword?

Before I knew what was happening, swords and stalking, adultery and betrayal unfolded in reenactment as the story of Bernini, his wife, and his brother culminated in violence and more tragedy. Yikes.

I couldn't move quickly enough to the TV mouse to click the pause button.

Well, in the end, she hadn't witnessed any violence, and she wasn't terribly frightened.

-- Which one got hurt: Bernini or his brother?

Her questions were a relief to me.

-- Mum? Were there cars way back then?

-- No

-- Then...Why were there roads in the documentary?

(The reenactment -- the settings, the dialogue, the acting -- probably hurt the production more than it helped the viewer.)

So, lesson learned. I will want to watch the documentaries beforehand from now on.

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