If the thought of writing an art critique gets you down, this advanced formula is exactly what you need to protect your nervous system. Although artwork critique may sound intimidating, it is much simpler than it sounds. Let’s look at how to critique artworks using this simple formula:
Perfect art critique = description + analysis + interpretation + judgment
Art Critique: Description (what do you see?)
This stage is the easiest one. Just introduce the author, his/her work and describe your first impression. If you see sunflowers and a vase in the painting by Vincent van Gogh “Sunflowers”, state it in your artwork critique. Do not attempt to interpret something, just mention every detail. Don’t be afraid of stating something obvious. At this stage it is really necessary, and your teacher will never exclaim: “Thank you, Captain Obvious”.
These are the questions to guide your description:
- Who is the author? What is the title of the artwork? When was it created? Where is it exhibited?
- Does the artwork depict something? If yes, what is it? (In fact, in contemporary art the answer is frequently not that obvious.)
- What is the main thing you notice when you see the artwork for the first time?
- What are the rest of details which seem important as you keep looking at it?
Art Critique: Analysis (what has the artist done?)
At the stage of analysis you need to disclose the artist’s secrets. What has he/she done to impress the audience? These questions will help you:
- What materials did the artist use?
- How did the artist use the elements of art?
- colors (complementary, analogous, warm or cool, light or dark, bright or dull);
- lines (thick or thin, mostly vertical or horizontal, straight or curved, deep or shallow);
- shape (two-dimensional or three-dimensional, natural or abstract);
- texture (hard, soft, rough, abstract).
- How did the artist use the principles of design?