Boxwood prayer beads, rosaries and miniature altarpieces made in Northern Europe during the early 1500s demonstrate the limitless potential of human artistic practice. These tiny masterpieces, small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, depict complex scenes with elegance and precision. Without fail, they inspire students to ask how a person could have possibly made them, a question that can only be answered today.
We invite you to engage students in conversation, exploration and discovery of the gothic boxwood miniatures using the following lesson plans that provide learning strategies for your classroom. With cross-curricular connections to the grades 4–6 curricula, including math, and grades 11 and 12 Visual Arts curriculum, these lessons explore ways to immerse students in objects from the Thomson Collection at the AGO. Through these surprising objects, students will be encouraged to think critically about this collection, to reflect on issues of the past and present, and make connections to our world today.