Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Describe what is happening in this painting. Can you see the imaginary triangle formed by the ribbon-like object and shadows? It starts at the roll, goes to their hands, moves diagonally to the left edge, and then along the shadows on the floor back to the roll. Painters often use imaginary geometric shapes to compose their paintings.

  • Do you see other triangles in this painting? Many people believe that regular triangles look strong and stable. As you continue your investigation, see if these qualities of strength and stability apply to more than just the shapes in this painting.

  • By looking closely at this painting, can you describe the brushstroke?

  • Can you tell where these people might live? What clues give you this idea?

  • How do these people feel about each other? What makes you think that?

  • These two people are reading from a scroll. What kind of time are these two spending together?

  • Read the title of this painting aloud. Does this look like a religious painting to you? Explain why or why not.

  • The woman and child in this painting are actually the artist's wife and son. Why do you suppose he used them as the models for Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures?