AP Art History : Analyzing fourteenth- through sixteenth-century 2D art

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

File:Fra Angelico 069.jpg  File:CaravaggioEmmaus.jpg

 

                                          Figure 3                                                                                           Figure 4

 

Each of these paintings portray a story from __________.

Possible Answers:

the Old Testament of the Bible

Greek mythology

Roman history

the New Testament of the Bible

Correct answer:

the New Testament of the Bible

Explanation:

These two images each portray an important story from the Gospels in the New Testament, the four books that tell the life of Jesus Christ. The image on the left is of the Annunciation, the announcement an angel made to the Virgin Mary telling her that she was pregnant with the Christ child. It was painted in 1433 by Fra Angelico. The image on the right is of the risen Jesus encountering his disciples in Emmaus, painted by Caravaggio in 1606.

Figure 3: The Annunciation (Cortona) by Fra Angelico (1433)

Figure 4: Supper at Emmaus (Milan) by Caravaggio (1606)

Example Question #2 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

File:Fra Angelico 069.jpg  File:CaravaggioEmmaus.jpg

                                           Figure 3                                                                                           Figure 4

Images like the painting shown in Figure 3 were particularly important for Christians who were __________.

Possible Answers:

heretics

clergy

educated

illiterate

Correct answer:

illiterate

Explanation:

Most people in Medieval Europe could not read or write, but the Catholic church had a vested interest in helping all of its members to become familiar with and understand the stories of the Bible. A painting like the one presented here by Fra Angelico not only shows the Angel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary of her status as the mother of the Christ child, but gives a larger symbolic structure to the event.

Figure 3: The Annunciation (Cortona) by Fra Angelico (1433)

Figure 4: Supper at Emmaus (Milan) by Caravaggio (1606)

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

Van_eyck_-_arnolfini_portrait     

Figure 1

 481px-weyden_madonna_1440

Figure 2

The man in red in the lower image is most likely __________.

Possible Answers:

Saint Mark

Saint John

Saint Luke

Saint Matthew

Correct answer:

Saint Luke

Explanation:

In the Christian tradition, particularly in Medieval Christianity, the inventor of Christian icons and the first person to paint any images of Christ was the Evangelist Saint Luke. In his 1440 painting, "Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin, the early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden includes someone painting the Madonna and Child with a book open at his feet. Both of these clues indicate that the figure is Saint Luke.

Example Question #4 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

Van_eyck_-_arnolfini_portrait       

Figure 1

 481px-weyden_madonna_1440

Figure 2

Figure 1 is remarkable for its inclusion of __________.

Possible Answers:

an animal

a convex mirror

a woman as well as a man

the artist's patron

Correct answer:

a convex mirror

Explanation:

In the very back of the painting, the "Arnolfini Portrait" by Jan van Eyck, is a convex mirror that is positioned directly between the two main figures. This mirror reflects the back of the couple, and the entire room. The use of such a device was peculiar for medieval art, but presaged some of the new approaches that would be taken during the Italian Renaissance.

Example Question #5 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

Van_eyck_-_arnolfini_portrait     

Figure 1

 481px-weyden_madonna_1440

Figure 2

The garden in the background of Figure 2 represents __________.

Possible Answers:

the natural world

temptation

earthly pleasures

innocence

Correct answer:

innocence

Explanation:

As an image of Christian devotion, Rogier van der Weyden's "Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin" is laced with important symbolism, including the small garden seen through the window in the painting's background. For Christians, any garden is a reference to the Garden of Eden, the earthly paradise where Adam and Eve were innocent before disobeying God. This notion of innocence is also reflected in the fact that this is a portrait of the Virgin Mary, who was believed to have never sinned.

Example Question #6 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

Van_eyck_-_arnolfini_portrait 

Figure 1

 481px-weyden_madonna_1440

 Figure 2

Figure 1 features the dog as a possible symbol of __________.

Possible Answers:

the failure of the marriage

the beastly nature of marriage

the domestic life ahead of the couple

humanity's animal nature

Correct answer:

the domestic life ahead of the couple

Explanation:

Many wealthy women in the middle ages and early modern era kept lap dogs as pets, which were seen as symbols of their motherly caring before they were married. Jan van Eyck places the dog in the middle of his Arnolfini Portrait, making it already a member of this new family.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

300px-dama_z_gronostajem          558px-sandro_botticelli_-_la_nascita_di_venere_-_google_art_project_-_edited

                

Both of these images were painted in _________.

Possible Answers:

Italy

France

Holland

Spain

Correct answer:

Italy

Explanation:

Each of these images, Leonardo da Vinci's 1489 "Lady with an Ermine" and Sandro Botticelli's 1486 "The Birth of Venus", are classic examples of Italian Renaissance paintings. Da Vinci painted in Milan, under the patronage of the Sforza family, the longtime Dukes of Milan. Botticelli had the Medici family as patrons in the city-state of Florence.

Example Question #8 : Analyzing Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

    558px-sandro_botticelli_-_la_nascita_di_venere_-_google_art_project_-_edited

 

The painting depicts a scene from ___________.

Possible Answers:

the Old Testament

Greek mythology

Roman history

the New Testament

Correct answer:

Greek mythology

Explanation:

Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" portrays a story from Greek mythology. This is common in Italian Renaissance art.

Example Question #8 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

300px-dama_z_gronostajem          

In the painting, the animal represents _____________.

Possible Answers:

intellectualism

purity

sensuality

disgrace

Correct answer:

purity

Explanation:

The animal is an ermine (which is a type of weasel). In Leonardo da Vinci's time, the ermine was commonly used throughout Europe as a symbol for purity.

If you don't remember something like this on test day, you can still make an educated guess. For example, you might not remember anything about ermines, but perhaps you remember that white doves are often used in art to symbolize purity. That would lead you to the correct answer.

At the very least, you can probably eliminate the answers "disgrace" and "sensuality" just from looking at the painting. Eliminating two of the four answer choices doubles your chances of guessing correctly.

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century 2 D Art

 

300px-dama_z_gronostajem          

 

The painting demonstrates _____________, which was introduced during the Renaissance.

Possible Answers:

the use of jewelry

the inclusion of animals

the capturing of movement

the creation of female portraits

Correct answer:

the capturing of movement

Explanation:

While da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine" is an excellent portrait in its own right, the truly revolutionary aspect of the work is the small sense of motion in the painting. Da Vinci's subject is turning ever so slightly and is captured in a small amount of tension. The ability to capture movement was something introduced during the Renaissance.

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