Plato dismissed art as a mere imitation of nature. In their time, the avant-garde works of the Impressionists were often dismissed by contemporary critics because of their unfinished sketchy appearance. Abstract art was viewed as an affront to traditional expectations. And yet, art has always addressed its public on many levels of various complexities. In this presentation, we will examine paintings from different historical periods, interpret their message (hidden or overt; allegorical or symbolic), and compare the rules of visual language with those of the spoken and written language. We will even learn how to “read” a painting!