WHEN ANALYZING A PIECE OF ART WORK
For written and oral presentation
There are particular points to include when you are writing or talking about artwork.
Everyone is drawn to certain pieces of art work because they may like the content, the style or the mood of the piece. Whether or not you like a particular piece is not relevant to your analysis: you should be able to look at it and analyze it based on the following criteria.
Start with a DESCRIPTION of what you see. A description has facts, not opinions.
LABEL information should include the title of the work and the artist's name, when and where the work was created, the medium used (oil, tempera, graphic, ink, acrylic,etc), and where the work may be seen (museum or private collection).
SUBJECT MATTER - Make a list of the people, objects and images in the picture.
Describe what the living forms are doing.
Describe how they are placed - near/far, in front/behind, large/small
Use the Elements of Art as an art vocabulary (suggested textbook, The Visual Experience by Jack Hobbs and Richard Salome)
1. Line - straight, curved, thick, thin, vertical, horizontal, long, short, contour, hatched, irregular
2. Shape - geometric, organic, regular, and irregular
3. Color - hue, value intensity, warm, cold, complementary, analogous, monochromatic, saturation
4. Form - 3-dimensional and shows volume
5. Value - tints, neutral, monochromatic, gray scale, bright, dull, complementary
HINTS.While looking at a piece of art work, try to understand what the artist is communicating.
What influences in his/her life support the viewpoint of the work and why?
How did the artist use color, line, etc. to create the art work?
Is there a social message in the piece of art? If so, what is it and why?
Is there a political message? Think about the context of the political, social and economic factors of the artist's world at that time.
When Picasso painted Guernica, it was considered radical, now it is an icon of abstract art. We can not view it the same way someone would have viewed it in 1930. Their frame of reference and exposure to that type of art would be different.
What were the Expressionist, Dada, Surrealist and Modern artists in Nazi Germany and the USA during the 1900's-40's trying to express?
Find examples of the war paintings and drawings of Ernst Kirchner, Kathe Kollwitz, George Grosz and Otto Dix on the web or in the library. Search the web for images from recent war films like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN for images of soldiers. Find similarities and differences in the way that artists handled the images and emotions of war.
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