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Question’s to ask yourself when looking at a work of art

1.Description: What do I see, feel, hear, smell?

Ex: If you stop and focus your attention on an interesting work of art, listen to the thoughts rolling around your mind and you may find that some colors stimulate sensory memories.

Subject: Does the artwork depict anything? If so, what is it?
Medium: What tools, materials, or processes did the artist use?

Form: What elements did the artist choose and how did the artistorganize the elements?

2.Interpretation: What is the artwork about?

Interpretive Statement: Can I express what I think the artwork is about in one sentence? Most often it is difficult to put into words what is there. Try it, pick a piece and describe it to yourself out loud.

Evidence: What evidence inside or outside the artwork supports my interpretation?

3.Judgment: Is it a good piece of artwork?

Criteria: What criteria do I think are most appropriate for judging the artwork?

Ex: Color, content, and composition to name a few.

Evidence: What evidence relates to each criterion?

Ex: Do the colors flow? Does the content feel good with the colors depicted? Are the colors within the piece warm or cold and how does that affect the subject matter? Does the composition have an entry point into the painting and is there a flow that forces your eye to travel around it?Were is the exit point?

Judgment should be based on the criteria and evidence of  the quality of the artwork as a whole.

Interpretation is  an important activity of criticism, and probably the most difficult to put into words because feelings are often guides to interpretation. Some  are based on a world views and other on personal views and experiences.
It is important to remember that interpretations are not so much absolutely right, but should be more or less reasonable, convincing, enlightening, and informative.

There can be different, competing, and contradictory interpretations of the same artwork especially since each person, including the artist have their own views.

An artwork is not necessarily about what the artist wanted it to be about, art has a way of evolving on the canvas.

All art is in part about the world in which it emerged and part about the creator. The meanings of an artwork may be different from its significance to the viewer. Good interpretations invite us to see for ourselves and to continue on our own.

Art criticism is interpreting meaning, responding and making educated critical judgments about specific works of art. All in all that doesn’t mean you have to like the color or the content to appreciate  the work that was put into it.

Thank you for your attention.