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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Weaving Poetry & Art: Connections Between Verse & Image

This gallery is based on the connection between objects from the MFA’s collection and selected poems. Both the art objects and the poems come from a variety of time periods and geographic locations, ranging from the Tang Dynasty in China to Renaissance Italy to contemporary poetry and art. In juxtaposing images with specific poems, this lesson frames each work so as to encourage new modes of looking, reading, analyzing, and responding.


Learning Goals

Exploring this gallery, you will discover:

• The art of ekphrastic poetry

• Various media and genres associated with art and poetry

• The relationship between the visual arts and poetic traditions


This discovery will require students to:

• Look closely at objects and observe details

• Use prior knowledge in conjunction with observation

• Generate hypotheses based on observation and prior knowledge


Using this Resource

• Language Arts teachers and students will be interested in the connection between image and text. They will explore literary sources for the subjects of the prints and compare the two methods of communication and narration.

• Social Studies teachers and students will be interested in what this gallery reveals about the history and culture of the societies that produced these objects and poems.

• Art teachers and students will be interested in the techniques and imagery of a variety of media and genres including: landscapes, still-lifes, religious painting, portraiture, oil painting, lithography, and sculpture.

• World Language teachers and students will be interested in connecting select images from this online gallery with the languages of the cultures that produced them (i.e. Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese).


For sample classroom activities, download the PDFs available under Related Resources. Links to other related websites are also found there.


The objects in this tour are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web resource—or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries—to look for other objects that will provide further insights into the relationship between words and images.

Related Resources