Europe: After the Reformation: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Europe: After the Reformation: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Use these prompts after your Evans Distance Learning session or museum visit to activate creative, critical, and reflective thinking.

Grade Level:
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
European Art
Subject Area:
History and Social Science
Activity Type:
Distance Learning

Europe: After the Reformation: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Creative Thinking

Using our imaginations when looking at art can activate prior knowledge and spark curiosity. Ask students to recall their Evans DLP visit and try this activity.

One of the easiest ways to begin interpreting a work of art is to imagine you are the artist.

Revisit this painting.  Put yourself in the shoes of Mattia Preti. Consider how this artwork was created and what it took to make it.

Imagine, as this artist, you have been commissioned to make a reproduction of this piece. Consider:

  • Where would you start?
  • What would be your process?
  • What materials might you need to have on hand?
  • What kind of decisions would you need to make, and in what order would you make them?
  • What prior knowledge would you need before you even began?
  • To whom might you wish to talk about your ideas? Whose opinion might you need or value?

Share your ideas with a partner and the class.

Now imagine you could actually visit with Preti for an interview and the chance to share with him your ideas about the work.  What questions would you ask?  What insights would you share?

Critical Thinking

Looking closely at art helps us explore viewpoints from the past. During your Evans DLP visit, students practiced looking carefully to interpret art made after the Reformation and explore ideas about society and morality it reveals. Ask students to try this with other works of art from the time period. Use the Looking to Learn: I See / I Think / I Wonder strategy to examine some of the works below.

Ask students to compare their thoughts with the information on the object page.   What surprised them?  Were some of their ideas right on target?  Have some of their “I wonder” statements been addressed?

Reflective Thinking

Thinking about our experience with art helps us connect to people and ideas across time and place. Use these prompts to help students reflect on their engagement with art made after the Reformation in Europe.

  • Having spent time with art at VMFA, what more do you know about how Europeans thought about religion and morality after the Reformation?
  • What did the art NOT answer for you? What are you curious about now that you have seen some examples of art made after the Reformation in Europe? Name three things that you wish you knew more about and why. Visit your school library and databases to find answers to your questions.
  • Compare the art in your life (home, school, place of worship) to that of Northern or Southern Europe in the 17th Century. Consider materials used, presentation, audience, intended use, value, etc.  What about YOUR art might surprise someone from 17th Century Europe?