Art Criticisis


The Wrath of the Gods: Masterpieces by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Titian

Describe: Tell what you see (the visual facts).

Questions to consider:

1. Where did you see the art? (Name gallery/museum/etc., geographical location, etc.)

2. What is the name of the artist who created the artwork?

3. What kind of an artwork is it?

4. What is the name of the artwork?

5. When was the artwork created?

6. Name some other major events in history that occurred at the same time this artwork was


7. List the literal objects in the painting (trees, people, animals, mountains, rivers, etc.).

8. What do you notice first when you look at the work(s)? Why?

9. What kinds of colors do you see? How would you describe them?

10. What shapes can we see? What kind of edges do the shapes have?

11. Are there lines in the work(s)? If so, what kinds of lines are they?

12. What sort of textures do you see? How would you describe them?

13. What time of day/night is it? How can we tell?

13. What is the overall visual effect or mood of the work(s)?

Analyze: Mentally separate the parts or elements, thinking in terms of textures, shapes/forms,

light/dark or bright/dull colors, types of lines, and sensory qualities. In this step consider the

most significant art principles that were used in the artwork. Describe how the artist used them

to organize the elements. Suggested questions to help with analysis:

Questions to consider:

1. How has the artist used colors in the work(s)?

2. What sort of effect do the colors have on the artwork?

3. How as the artist used shapes within the work of art?

4. How have lines been used in the work(s)? Has the artist used them as an important or

dominant part of the work, or do they play a different roll?

5. What role does texture play in the work(s)? Has the artist used the illusion of texture or has

the artist used actual texture? How has texture been used within the work(s).

6. How has the artist used light in the work(s)? Is there the illusion of a scene with lights and

shadows, or does the artist use light and dark values in a more abstracted way?

7. How has the overall visual effect or mood of the work(s)? been achieved by the use of

elements of art and principles of design.

8. How were the artists design tools used to achieve a particular look or focus?

Interpret: An interpretation seeks to explain the meaning of the work based on what you have

learned so far about the artwork, what do you think the artist was trying to say?

Questions to consider:

1. What was the artist’s statement in this work?

2. What do you think it means?

3. What does it mean to you?

4. How does this relate to you and your life?

5. What feelings do you have when looking at this artwork?

6. Do you think there are things in the artwork that represent other things-symbols?

7. Why do you think that the artist chose to work in this manner and made these kinds of

artistic decisions?

8. Why did the artist create this artwork?

Evaluate: After careful observation, analysis, and interpretation of an artwork, you are ready to

make your own judgment. This is your personal evaluation based on the understandings of the


Questions to consider:

1. Why do you think that this work has intrinsic value or worth? What is the value that you find

in the work(s)? (For example, it is a beautiful work of art, conveys an important social

message, affects the way that I see the world, makes insightful connections, reaffirms a

religious belief, etc.)

2. Do you think that the work(s) has a benefit for others? Do you find that the work

communicates an idea, feeling or principle that would have value for others?

3. What kind of an effect do you think the work could have for others?

4. Does the work lack value or worth? Why do you think this is so? Could the reason you find

the work lacking come from a poor use of the elements of art? Could the subject matter by

unappealing, unimaginative, or repulsive?

5. Rather than seeing the work as being very effective or without total value, does the work fall

somewhere in-between? Do you think that the work is just OK? What do you base this

opinion on? The use of elements of art? Lack of personal expression? The work lacks a major

focus? Explore your criticism of the work (s) as much as you would any positive perceptions.

Realize that your own tastes and prejudices may enter into your criticism. Give your positive

and negative perceptions.