Arago: Exhibits


Analytic Techniques II: Symbols and Meaning

25 lira St. Clare of Assisi single

St. Clare of Assisi, 1953

1.03 euro 'Stoning of St. Stephen' single

Stoning of St. Stephen, 2003

Analytic Techniques: Symbols and Meaning

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?