Forty Years of Teaching Christian Iconography at the Uffizi – abstract

Forty Years of Teaching Christian Iconography at the Uffizi

Promoting, Embracing, and Sharing Universal Values

Silvia Mascalchi, Education Department, Scuola e Giovani, Gallerie degli Uffizi

From the very beginning of its existence, the Uffizi Education Department has adopted its own method of reading works of art in which recognizing the narrative elements is most essential. Children and teenagers become aware of the different objective and symbolic meanings of what they see and increase their analytical proficiency of figurative art by combining these meanings with their understanding of the narrative.

The narrations depicted in the paintings of sacred art are treated in the same way as the narrations depicted in the paintings of mythological subjects. Yet, we must admit that over the years even though our methodological approach has remained broadly unchanged, the knowledge of our young and very young visitors has deeply changed. Nevertheless, our historical and iconographic approach to the subject allows us to easily adapt the tone of our lessons. We have not had problems due to the increasingly limited religious knowledge of our students, and in fact we take advantage of this new situation by focusing on those universal values that combine with the human feelings that all religions have in common.