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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Picturing Family and Friends

Discussion Questions

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

1) In what ways are the types of relationships explored in this unit different from or the same as those you encounter today?

2) Five hundred years from now, what twenty-first-century material goods would help an art historian illuminate today’s relationships among families and friends?

3) What role do images play in establishing contemporary conceptions of childhood and family? How are modern images the same or different from the ones examined in this unit?

4) Who is the audience for your images of family and friends? Who was the audience for images of family and friends in the Renaissance? How did the audience affect the way those images were constructed?

5) What is your definition of friendship? How does it compare to idealized concepts of friendship in the Renaissance? How do you think ideals compare to reality, then and now?

6) Is there a modern equivalent to platonic love?

7) A well-known study asked, “Did women have a Renaissance?” The evidence in this unit is limited, but what information can you marshal to address this question, pro or con? What other types of data might you consult? [See Joan Kelly, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” in Women, History, and Theory (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1984), 19–50.]