First, select a major Museum in your area. If you live in a more rural area, discuss this with me and perhaps we can arrange an on-line museum visit. However, I prefer you visit a museum in person.
Then — Select a work of art and get started
Note the title of the work, the date, the artist (if known), medium, and size.
B. Description: What do you see? As fully as possible, describe what you see.
– What medium is used? What is it made of?
– How big is it?
– Go into detail about what you see. Describe it as if you were helping a blind person “see” it.
How would you describe it to someone who had never seen it?
– What subjects are represented.
– It can be helpful to begin looking at a work of art from the middle and work your way out.
C. Analysis: Describe the form of the work
Explain how visual elements and principles of design are used in the work. The terms in chapters 2, 3 & 4 will be very helpful. Go back and look at the chapter outlines or Short Paper assignment. Use them to:
– Describe the use of visual elements such as line, shape, color & space used in the pieces.
For example: In what way is it balanced? Is it asymmetrical or symmetrical. What is
emphasized? What seems to be the dominating visual element? Is it realistic or abstract?
D. Interpretation: What is the content of the work? What does it mean?
What do you think the artist was trying to communicate? How does the artist accomplish this through the use of form? This is an important part of analyzing a work of art, how form and content work together.
E. Research: Include historical information about the artist. Knowing about the artist’s history can provide interesting insights into his/her work and how the work reflects the time and culture.
F. Value Judgment: Does the piece have any value or worth?
What did you like about the work? Was it the form, content, or subject matter? Did it remind you of something that you have seen or experienced?
– How does it make you feel?
– How or why does it evoke these feelings?
– Rethink first description and go beyond “I like it” or “I don’t like it”
– What did the artist have in mind? Can you tell?
– Does the piece seem to have a certain level of insight into a subject matter?
– Does it seem inexhaustible? Is there enough interest to hold your attention? When something is inexhaustible it calls us back again and again. Can you tell? Did the artist succeed?
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