Family Time at the National Gallery of Art

Jean-Baptiste Camille-Corot, Le Rigeur, Forest of Fontainebleau (detail), c .1830 Private collection

The National Gallery of Art’s Family Weekends offer a variety of activities-films, music, hands-on art projects-for children and adults to enjoy together. All activities are free. There is no advance registration for this drop-in program; participation in each activity is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call (202) 789-3030.

This weekend, activities center on the theme, Weekend in the Forest of Fontainebleau. The current exhibit, In the Forest of Fontainebleau, features more than 100 works by artists who explored the French phenomenon of plein-air (open-air) painting and photography in the region of Fontainebleau, a pilgrimage site for aspiring landscape artists.


Saturday and Sunday, all day
East Building, Mezzanine (ages 4 and up)
Explore the exhibition In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet using family activity booklets. Examine the unique landscape of the forest, with its ancient trees and extraordinary rock formations, and see how different artists depicted nature. Investigate works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Eugène Cuvelier, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet, Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña, Gustave Courbet, Gustave Le Gray, Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet.


Saturday and Sunday, all day
East Building, Ground Level
Nature Box (ages 4 and up)
Experiment with collage techniques while decorating a small wooden box with paper leaves. Take this souvenir home and use it to store memories of your travels-postcards, photographs, or leaves and rocks. One box per person.

Hand-drawn Postcard (ages 7 and up)
Artists visiting the forest of Fontainebleau took their inspiration directly from nature. Stop by the sketching table to pick up colored pencils and postcard paper. Then join a drawing instructor and study a variety of forest plants to create your own postcard.


Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
East Building, Mezzanine (ages 4 and up)
Listen to 19th-century French music. Musicians Marcio Botelho, Kate Hearden, and Patricia Parker will perform music by César Franck, Jules Massenet, Ernest Chausson, and Claude Debussy for piano, cello and voice. Each performance lasts approximately thirty mins.


Saturday and Sunday   Noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
East Building Small Auditorium (ages 7 and up)
Discover more about open-air painting in the film Claude Monet: Shadow and Light (Devine Entertainment, Canada, 2000, 55 mins.). In this live-action drama, set in the summer of 1869, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir experiment with landscape painting and befriend a young boy with budding talent.


Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
East Building Auditorium (ages 4 and up)
Enjoy the film adaptation of the French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Pictures, United States, 1991, 91 mins.). Set in a village and a castle nestled in a wild forest, this musical tells the romantic, humorous, and suspenseful story of the lovely Belle, her father Maurice, the conceited Gaston, some enchanted household items, and a cursed prince.


Saturday and Sunday, 11a.m.-4 p.m.
East Building Upper Level  (all ages)
Remember your visit to the forest of Fontainebleau with a family portrait taken by a professional photographer. Photographs will be printed in sepia tone and mailed to families after the weekend. Please be prepared to wait in line for this activity; the line will close at 4 p.m. each day. Join the line before 4 p.m. in order to have your photo taken. One photo per family.


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