Art Mashup for Kids: A Marc Chagall-Inspired Radial Design Project

What happens when you mix modernist artist Marc Chagall with radial design? You get a fun and colorful Chagall-inspired radial design project to enjoy with your kids.

The best part about this mashup project is that it’s a great way to focus on Marc Chagall’s art and the concepts of radial design, balance, and symmetry.

Art Mashup Project: Radial Design with Marc Chagall

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Perhaps you associate Chagall with modernist art, cubism, color, surrealism, fauvism, or imagination. On the other hand, it’s highly unlikely that any kind of radial design comes to mind when you think of Chagall. After all, there’s not much symmetry or radial balance present in most of his compositions.

But maybe we’re wrong about Marc Chagall and radial design:

“Take a hint from math class, and you’ll remember that a radius is the distance between the center of a circle and its edge.

This concept helps explain what radial design is: visual material arranged around a central point, taking a roughly circular form.”


So there’s the difference. Radial design involves circular form and composition around a central point, which can easily happen in abstract art.

Also worth noting, you can have radial design without radial symmetry (radial symmetry shows up in a clock face or mandala) or the kind of radial balance seen in a daisy or wheel. But that’s why a Chagall-inspired radial design project works in this case.

Marc Chagall and Radial Design

While you don’t see prominent examples of radial design in most of Chagall’s artwork, you can find it sprinkled in here and there throughout his pieces.

Art Mashup for Kids: A Marc Chagall-Inspired Radial Design Project
 The ceiling of the Opéra Garnier in Paris is a stunning example of radial design in Marc Chagall’s work.

The one part of Marc Chagall’s artistic legacy that does feature radial design is the ceiling in Paris’ Opéra Garnier. As you can see from the photo above, the colors and shapes come alive through circular form and are perfectly arranged around a central point.

Radial design may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Marc Chagall, but he certainly provided a swoonworthy example through the ceiling of the opera house. That opera house ceiling provides the inspiration for this flowy and colorful radial design art project.

Art Mashup: A Marc Chagall-Inspired Radial Design Project

Ready to get started on your Chagall-inspired radial design project? Here’s what you need:

Before starting project, be sure to introduce your kiddos to Marc Chagall and his work. In fact, you’ll want to have photos of Chagall’s art on hand throughout the project.

Through the Window by Barb Rosenstock is a great children’s book that showcases Chagall’s work, but you can more great options in my list of Marc Chagall books for kids.

Step 1 – Sketch it out.

The first step for this radial design project is to choose elements from Chagall’s work to include in your composition. You can use the opera house ceiling as an example or draw inspiration from any of Chagall’s art.

Next, lightly trace a large circle onto your sheet of mixed media paper and divide it into even sections of 4 or 8. You can use a ruler or flat surface to keep the sections straight and even, but specifics don’t matter too much in this project.

Note: if we were working on radial symmetry or balance, precision would matter; radial design is more forgiving.

Marc Chagall Radial Design Project Mashup - Step 1

Once the circles are sketched, lightly sketch your chosen Chagall-inspired elements inside the circle.

My kids included fish in the sky, some of Chagall’s creatures, the Eiffel Tower, oranges, and a menorah, but this part will vary according to preference.

Step 2 – Outline with oil pastels.

Next, carefully outline your outer circle and inside drawings with oil pastels. You can do this with one single black oil pastel or use different colors with each drawing inside the circle.

Marc Chagall Radial Design Project Mashup - Step 2

Step 3 – Add color.

After outlining with oil pastels, carefully paint the individual drawings with watercolors. When each of the smaller drawings are dry, fill in the remaining white space with Chagall-like colors.

Marc Chagall Radial Design Project Mashup - Step 3

Step 4 – Cut it out.

When all the paint is dry, go over any oil pastel lines that need a bit more definition. Then cut out the design and place it somewhere to enjoy.

Marc Chagall Radial Design Project Mashup - Step 4

I hope you enjoy making this radial design project with your kiddos. I also hope it serves as a reminder that math concepts are often present in art, but they take on different forms and show up in different places.

Sometimes you even find those math concepts in rather unexpected places like the dreamlike world of Marc Chagall. 🙂

Marc Chagall Radial Design Project Mashup

Looking for more math art fun? Visit Amazing Math Art Projects for Kids for all kinds of incredible math art inspiration.

More fun with math art? Yes, please!

Don’t miss Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids by Teach Beside Me‘s Karyn Tripp.

More fun with math art? Yes, please!

It’s your turn now. Have you tried a radial design project with your kids? Leave a comment and tell us about it. We would love to hear about your experience.

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