Analyzing a painting essay

You may not be able to see any details of the brushwork or mark making if it's a small painting. Remember that in some styles of painting, all brush marks are carefully eliminated by the artist. In others, the marks are clearly visible. Think about the overall shapes in the artwork and the way forms things are depicted.

What sense of depth and volume is there? Look at the lighting in the painting, not only in terms of the direction it is coming from and how it creates shadows but also its color, its intensity, the mood it creates, whether it is natural from the sun or artificial from a light, fire, or candle. Make sure to describe the shadows and the highlights as well. Consider the angle or position from which we're seeing the subject of the artwork.

How has the artist decided to present it?

Writing Essays in Art History

What is the perspective? This aspect of a painting is one where it can really seem like you're stating the obvious. But if you think of how you'd describe an artwork to someone who has not seen it or who isn't looking at a photo of it, you'd probably tell them the subject of the painting quite early on.

Before you begin describing the individual objects in a still life painting , whether they're themed, related, or dissimilar, look at them overall and describe this aspect. Does the painting seem to fit a particular style or be reminiscent of a particular artist's work?

Words to Describe and Critique Art

There are many terms for different styles in the history of art, and these descriptors can create instant impressions. If you know the medium in which a work was created or on what it was painted, that information can be useful to include in your description. Size may be relevant to your description if a work is particularly large or small. You can use exact dimensions, of course, as well as descriptive words.

She has written for art magazines blogs, edited how-to art titles, and co-authored travel books. Natural, clear, compatible, distinctive, lively, stimulating, subtle, sympathetic Artificial, clashing, depressing, discordant, garish, gaudy, jarring, unfriendly, violent Bright, brilliant, deep, earthy, harmonious, intense, rich, saturated, strong, vibrant, vivid Dull, flat, insipid, pale, mellow, muted, subdued, quiet, weak Cool, cold, warm , hot, light, dark Blended , broken , mixed, muddled, muddied, pure Complementary , contrasting, harmonious.

Dark, light, mid middle Flat, uniform, unvarying, smooth, plain Varied, broken Constant, changing Graduated, contrasting Monochromatic. Arrangement, layout, structure, position Landscape format , portrait format, square format, circular, triangular Horizontal, vertical, diagonal, angled Foreground, background, middle ground Centered, asymmetrical, symmetrical, balanced, unbalanced, lopsided, off-center Overlapping, cluttered, chaotic Separate, spacious, empty Free, flowing, fragmented Formal, rigid, upright, confined Negative space , positive space.

Flat, polished, smooth Raised, rough, coarse Cut, incised, pitted, scratched, uneven Hairy, sticky Soft, hard Shiny, glossy, reflective Semigloss, satin, silk, frosted, matte.

Analyzing the Elements of Art | Five Ways to Think About Line

Information about the work 1. Title 2. Author 3.

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Publication information 4. Statement of topic and purpose B.

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Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work II. Summary or description of the work III.

How to do visual (formal) analysis in art history

Discussion of the work's organization B. Discussion of the work's style C.

How to analyze an artwork: a step-by-step guide

Effectiveness D. Discussion of the topic's treatment E. Discussion of appeal to a particular audience Remember: Avoid introducing your ideas by stating "I think" or "in my opinion. Identifying your opinions weakens them. Always introduce the work.

What this handout is about

Do not assume that because your reader knows what you are writing about, you do not need to mention the work's title. Other questions to consider: Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns? What about the subject matter is of current interest?

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  • What is the overall value of the passage? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Support your thesis with detailed evidence from the text examined.

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