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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Virgin and Child

Discussion Questions

Review these questions as you start this unit, and then reconsider them after the unit has been completed.

1) What constitutes authority in a religious image?

2) What is the source of that authority?

3) What is an icon? Is an icon art?

4) What influence did the importation of icons from the Byzantine East have on the practice of Western artists?

5) How were images of the Virgin and Child used in private devotion?

6) What public role did devotional images play?

7) What was the response of devotees to devotional images? What were their expectations?

8) How do stylistic changes in paintings of the Virgin and Child subject over time relate to new types of devotional practice?

9) How do you compare the prestige of the religious image itself against that of the artist in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance? In the sixteenth century? Today?