Author: Erin Aldana

This lesson will explore the idea of iconography and how it is used as a tool in art historical analysis and interpretation.

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Michelangelo, Pieta, Creaative Commons Wikimedia, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo_Pieta_ret_w.jpg, Buddha and Bodhisattvas, Creative Commons Wikimedia, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddha_and_Bodhisattvas_Dunhuang_Mogao_Caves.png, Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Time, and Folly, Creative Commons Wikimedia, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Angelo_Bronzino_001.jpg

Terms to Know
  • Allegorical figure

    A form of visual symbolism in which a human figure represents an abstract concept, like justice.

  • Iconography

    A type of visual symbolism. Christian iconography for instance, might make references to the biblical story of the nativity.

  • Metaphor

    A figure of speech in which a word or concept stands for or represents another concept.

  • Symbolism

    When an object in a painting represents something else. In Baroque paintings, a woman holding a mirror often symbolizes vanity.