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Lesson ideas

Art and design

KS 2: Make a relief sculpture by cutting shapes out of card and paper, building layers on a background and sticking them to the surface.

Explore relief sculpture as a way of telling stories. Images of sculptures can be found on the Victoria and Albert Museum's images database.

KS 3: Carve a layer of Plasticine or clay, then make a box frame and take a plaster cast. The box sides need to be greased to stop the plaster sticking to them. Explore the use of perspective in the object (perhaps as part of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority scheme "Objects and Viewpoints").

History of art

KS 5+: What makes the Ascension relief a Renaissance work of art? Does it have any continuities with the medieval Gothic tradition? What classical elements are reflected in the sculpture? How successfully does Donatello create a realistic space and composition?

Religious education

KS 3-4: How have people in the past expressed their faith through art? Conversely, how has art been used as an aid for devotion and worship? Where were works of art situated? Where do we put them today?


* The Renaissance at the VA: A Handbook for Teachers

* Sculpture at the VA: A Handbook for Teachers By Morna Hinton VA pound;5.95 each

The Ascension relief is part of the VA's permanent collection. Until March 27, it can be seen at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds as part of the exhibition Depth of Field: The Place of Relief in the Time of Donatello.

For details visit

For information about the VA and to explore its collections online, via Access to Images, visit

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