WRITING ABOUT ART

design-drawing-painting

Formal Analysis or Critique of Artwork

Your critique considers the formal parts of a piece of art


  • framing
  • symmetry
  • perspective
  • elements & principles of design




AND COMBINES

  1. their relationship to create new and interesting ways of seeing
  2. understanding the work in question as a whole

Sentence 1 - IDENTIFICATION & SUBJECT MATTER

  1. Who is the artist
  2. What is the subject or title
  3. Where and when was the work painted
  4. What type of artwork is it?
  • religious
  • historical
  • allegorical
  • genre (scene of everyday life)
  • still life
  • portrait
  • landscape
  • architectural view --If the artwork seems to belong to two categories, does one dominate?

SENTENCE 2 through 5 - TECHNIQUE & COMPOSITION

TECHNIQUE
  1. What materials are used for support: wood, canvas, cardboard, paper?
  2. What kinds of colors are used: oil, tempura, watercolor, pastel?
  3. How is the paint applied: thickly or thinly, with a fine or coarse brush, or by other means?
  4. Are colors transparent or opaque?
  5. Have other materials been used, as in a collage?


COMPOSITION

  1. Is it simple or complex?
  2. Geometrically ordered or free and seemingly accidental?
  3. Do some forms dominate others?
  4. Is there symmetry?
  5. Is the painting crowded or spacious?
  6. Do the shapes vary or do they repeat?


INDIVIDUAL UNITS


  1. Are there many or few?
  2. Are they large or small (in relation to both the outside world and to the picture area)?
  3. What kinds of patterns do they form?
  4. What are the proportions of solid and broken areas?
  5. Is the emphasis on central or marginal areas?
  6. Are forms multi-dimensional or flat?


LINES


  1. Are lines clear or obscure?
  2. Angular or curved?


COLORS


  1. Are they bright or subdued (‘saturated’ or ‘low-key’)?
  2. Are there many colors or few (is the palette ‘wide’ or ‘limited’)?
  3. Are the dominant colors warm (reds, oranges, yellows) or cool (blues, grays, greens)?
  4. Are there moderate or extreme contrasts?
  5. Large areas or small patches?
  6. Repetitions or echoes?


LIGHT


  1. Is there a consistent source?
  2. Is the source inside or outside the picture?
  3. 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,

sentiments?

SENTENCE 8 THROUGH ??? CONCLUSION

  1. 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.
  2. Look at what each paragraph was about.
  3. Leave your readers with something to think about.
  4. Suggest that they learn more.
  5. The conclusion begins specific and moves to the general.