Analytic Techniques II: Symbols and Meaning

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25 lire St. Clare of Assisi single
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1.03 euro "Stoning of St. Stephen" single

Symbols are used to help viewers identify a saint and to give viewers a better understanding of a saint's actions and traits. Symbols are full of meaning and can be conveyed through artistic techniques.

  • Show the stamps and search for symbols. Look at St. Clare of Assisi and St. Stephen. What prominent icons stand out?
  • Once students have identified symbols in the stamps, challenge them to explain their meaning. Ask students how they understand those symbols and what messages they convey.
  • Compare the method of representing iconography. St. Clare of Assisi is represented by a habit, and a lily, and a halo. The image of St. Stephen does not use symbolic objects as a representation, but rather the setting of when and where he was stoned to death.
  • Notice the use of color. Colors serve as an important symbolic tool. What colors represent religious piety?