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Telling Stories

Artists often tell stories through pictures. The artists in this chapter selected stories from religious, mythological, and historical sources, as well as tales from their imaginations.

Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi envisioned an important event from the Bible. Rogier van der Weyden and Raphael painted their interpretations of the story of Saint George. Peter Paul Rubens chose to show climactic moments from biblical and mythological stories. John Singleton Copley depicted a real-life event with great suspense, while Claude-Joseph Vernet painted imaginary adventures. Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Jacob Lawrence honored heroes of the Civil War era.

As you compare the artists in this chapter, think about what choices artists make when depicting a story and what elements of art contribute to telling it.

card-adoration-magi

Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi
c. 1395–1455 (Fra Angelico) and c. 1406–1469 (Fra Filippo Lippi)
Italian
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card-saint-george-dragon

Rogier van der Weyden and Raphael
c. 1399/1400–1464 (van der Weyden); 1483–1520 (Raphael)
British (van der Weyden); Italian (Raphael)
Download PDF (13MB)

card-daniel-lions-den

Peter Paul Rubens
1557–1640
Flemish
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card-watson-shark

John Singleton Copley and Claude-Joseph Vernet
1738–1815 (Copley); 1714–1789 (Vernet)
American (Copley); French (Vernet)
Download PDF (8MB)

card-shaw-memorial

Augustus Saint-Gaudens
1848–1907
American
Download PDF (9MB)

card-daybreak-time-to-rest

Jacob Lawrence
1917–2000
American
Download PDF (8MB)

Paperback editions of An Eye for Art are available for purchase.

Overview

Download PDFs:

Edgar Degas (8MB)

Alexander Calder (6MB)

Dan Flavin (3MB)

Martin Puryear (6MB)