Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Can you identify the people in the painting? What are they are doing together? Explain with visual clues from the painting.

  • Paintings were used as teaching tools as well as for religious inspiration. In order to help people identify particular religious figures within a painting, artists provided visual clues called attributes. What attributes or clues can you find to help identify the figures represented here?

  • Describe the view outside the windows.

  • What best describes the room where the figures have met?

  • What might these figures say to one another?

  • If you could paint yourself into the scene, where would you be and how would you look?

  • In this small painting, the three figures are painted so that they appear to be solid and real. How has the artist made us believe in their reality?

  • The artist has also used perspective, or the painting of objects so that they appear naturally close to us or far away, to make the space seem real. How does the artist make us believe that the mountains are far away or that Mary is near to us?

  • During the Renaissance, there was a renewed interest in Greek ideas concerning order and logic, as well as geometry. How does this painting reflect an interest in order?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Geometry deals primarily with shapes. What basic shapes are formed by the figures or objects in this work? Using geometrical shapes, make a diagram of the composition or overall design of the painting.