For this painting, we chose to just look at it and do oral narrations about what we saw in the painting. We do this some weeks. I ask for spontaneous narrations, but if they are hard in coming, as they sometimes are, I will prompt with some questions. Why do you think he painted this painting? What can you tell from the painting such as what setting or season does it depict? Who is in the painting? I do tell some background information about the painting at this point, but not too much. I want them to thirst a little for more information. I want to excite their curiosity, not inundate them with "the answers." How is it like the other paintings of his we have looked at? How is it different? Have you noticed whether he favors certain colors or techniques? Is there anything we would like to know more about? Do you like it and why or why not?
Although we did not follow the lesson plans this week, I cannot say enough good things about Harmony Fine Art's Medieval and Renaissance Art lesson plans. They have wonderful suggestions for painting choices, suggestions for how to approach the study of them and links to everything you need. Barbara has some wonderful suggestions to go with this painting including "visiting" the chapel online to view the paintings from the entrance and get a better idea of how they are arranges in the chapel. She also suggest that students pay particular attention to the different surfaces in the painting, recreating the building in student notebooks, showing what they learned about surface.