Quiz time, art lovers:
1. Why do you see a hint of columns on the far right and left in the Mona Lisa?
2. Where in The Last Supper do you find Judas knocking over the salt?
3. Why does the man stand next to the window and the woman away from it in Giovanni Arnofini and His Wife (sometimes called The Marriage of the Arnolfini)?
Patrick De Rynck deals with these and other questions in his How to Read a Painting: Lessons From the Old Masters (Abrams, 2004), an excellent collection of analyses of more than 100 great paintings, each shown on a two-page spread with callouts that highlight some of its interesting aspects. Many good books for children or adults take a similar approach to art, but this is the best I’ve found in more than a decade of keeping an eye on the category. I’ll have answers to the art quiz later this week and more on How to Read a Painting soon.
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.