WRITING ABOUT ART
Formal Analysis or Critique of Artwork
Your critique considers the formal parts of a piece of art
- elements & principles of design
- their relationship to create new and interesting ways of seeing
- understanding the work in question as a whole
Sentence 1 - IDENTIFICATION & SUBJECT MATTER
- Who is the artist
- What is the subject or title
- Where and when was the work painted
- What type of artwork is it?
- genre (scene of everyday life)
- still life
- architectural view --If the artwork seems to belong to two categories, does one dominate?
SENTENCE 2 through 5 - TECHNIQUE & COMPOSITION
- What materials are used for support: wood, canvas, cardboard, paper?
- What kinds of colors are used: oil, tempura, watercolor, pastel?
- How is the paint applied: thickly or thinly, with a fine or coarse brush, or by other means?
- Are colors transparent or opaque?
- Have other materials been used, as in a collage?
- Is it simple or complex?
- Geometrically ordered or free and seemingly accidental?
- Do some forms dominate others?
- Is there symmetry?
- Is the painting crowded or spacious?
- Do the shapes vary or do they repeat?
- Are there many or few?
- Are they large or small (in relation to both the outside world and to the picture area)?
- What kinds of patterns do they form?
- What are the proportions of solid and broken areas?
- Is the emphasis on central or marginal areas?
- Are forms multi-dimensional or flat?
- Are lines clear or obscure?
- Angular or curved?
- Are they bright or subdued (‘saturated’ or ‘low-key’)?
- Are there many colors or few (is the palette ‘wide’ or ‘limited’)?
- Are the dominant colors warm (reds, oranges, yellows) or cool (blues, grays, greens)?
- Are there moderate or extreme contrasts?
- Large areas or small patches?
- Repetitions or echoes?
- Is there a consistent source?
- Is the source inside or outside the picture?
- Is light used to emphasize parts of the picture, to create mood?
SENTENCE 5 through 8 Meaning
What statement does the artwork make about human values, ideas, beliefs,
SENTENCE 8 THROUGH ??? CONCLUSION
- Think about the main point that you want to get across and be sure it’s included. If you’ve already written a fabulous introductory paragraph, you can write something similar with different wording.
- Look at what each paragraph was about.
- Leave your readers with something to think about.
- Suggest that they learn more.
- The conclusion begins specific and moves to the general.