How to 'read' a painting
How to ignite discussion
There are a range of prompts you can use to ignite discussion. Here are some examples:
- Which person or people do you think are the most important?
- Where do you think the artist wants us to look?
- Tell me about the people in the painting?
- What are the relationship(s) between the people in the painting?
- What is similar or different about certain people?
- What might each character in the painting be saying/thinking?
- What would you do if…?
- Tell me about the place in the painting?
- What else in the picture might be important?
- What might be happening in the picture?
- What if…?
- What words could we use to describe the mood/atmosphere?
- If I tell you… what further connections can you make/how does it change your thinking?
- What do you think might be the message or theme?
- What do you think is viewpoint of the artist?
- What title would you give the painting?
To move from the traditional teacher-pupil-teacher interaction model into a dynamic dialogue, where ideas build upon each other and understanding deepens with each subsequent contribution, each key question is followed by some or all of the following prompts:
- Say a bit more about that
- How do you know?
- Where is the evidence?
- How has the artist created this effect?
- Can someone else add to that?
- What else?
- Who disagrees? What might someone say who disagrees?
- Why else?