Part 2: Symbolism in Illustration and Painting

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Activity 2B: Looking at Art

Symbolism in Art

Vanitas Still Life, 1603 (analyzed in the unit)

Jacques de Gheyn the Elder (Dutch, 1565–1629)


100 Cans, 1962 Andy Warhol (analyzed in the unit)


Dragon Pine, Wu Boli, ca. 1400 (Ming Dynasty) (analyzed in the unit)

Interactive Media that Describe Symbolism in Art

 Adinkra Symbols of West Africa

 This site contains an index of adinkra symbols. African symbols known as adinkra are ubiquitous in Ghana. These symbols are used frequently and can be found on cloth and walls, and in pottery and logos.


Carpet Hunt, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Look and Learn

Game about Carpet with pictorial design, Northern India, Lahore, late 16th or early 17th century.


Look for the Symbolism in the Sculpture, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Look and Learn

Analysis of Fudô Myô-ô, 12th century Japanese; late Heian period


Further Examples of Symbolism in Art

Allegory of Fortitude, Luca Giordano, early 1680s


The Annunciation Triptych, Robert Campin and Assistant, 1425


Portrait of a Lady, 1533, Agnolo Bronzino


Shazia Sikander: “Gods, Griffins, and Cowboy Boots”

The Red Studio at the MoMA offers an interview with the artist by teens at the Red Studio, as well as samples of Shazia Sikander’s work.


Kehinde Wiley

An introduction to his work


Activity 2C.1: Placement and Framing

Making a Viewfinder Instructions on how to make a viewfinder