|The Education of the Virgin|
painting by Georges de la Tour (1500-1560) is a particularly appropriate
image with which to introduce the HUM210 course. The title of the painting
is The Education of the Virgin and shows Mary as a child reading
to her mother. That is, she is learning to read by reading a book which
most people from de la Tour's time would clearly recognize as the Bible.
While we could spend much time and many words commenting on the intense
colors, the incredible use of lighting and de la Tour's mastery of the
single source of light technique, and the intense sense of quietude and
peace evoked by the painting, we must also deal with this question--
If Mary is reading a bound, printed Bible, that is, one from de la Tour's era (the Renaissance), then wouldn't she be reading about herself?
The Arts always function on many levels. But most importantly, when we study the Arts, we are also studying ourselves. And just as Mary will read about herself, we too will "read' about ourselves as we explore the various forms of the Arts.