To decide whether a painter is visual narrative, you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. Does the artwork suggest the passage of time (as opposed to being static, like a still life)?
  2. Does it seem to have a beginning and an end?
  3. Does it hint at something that happened outside of the picture frame?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then the artist is probably telling a story.

How do you read these stories? To read a narrative painting, you don't necessarily start to the left and move toward the right the way you read a book. Instead you begin at the focal point {the place where the artist leads your eye). The focal point may be the beginning of the story - but it can also be The climax.