ART APPRECIATION & ART CRITICISM
• Art critics usually criticize art in the context
of aesthetics or the theory of beauty.
• Art criticism is responding to, interpreting
meaning, and making critical judgments about
specific works of art.
• One of criticism's goals is the pursuit of a
rational basis for art appreciation.
Description Analysis Interpretation Judgement
According to Edmund Burke Feldman (1980), there are four
steps of art criticism.
subject in the
artworks. Size &
There are two types of
subject, which is non-
objective subject matter
and objective subject
What do I see?
What do you see?
Describe the artwork in terms of what can be seen. Include sensory elements
of color, line, texture, shape and space. Take into account the title, artist, date
created, size, subject matter, materials used and presentation.
• What is the name of the artist who created the artwork?
• What kind of an artwork is it?
• What is the name of the artwork?
• When was the artwork created?
• List the literal objects in the painting (trees, people, animals, mountains,
• What do you notice first when you look at the artwork?
• Are people shown to you? What are they doing?
• Is a time, place or event shown? What time of day/night is it?
• What kind of colors, shapes, lines and textures has the artist used?
Describe them. Where do you see them?
To relate the sign with
the element and
principle of art and
To discover the whole
ideas that being
The elements of art and
design include lines, shape,
form, texture, space, tone,
The principle of art and
design, which is balance,
harmony, unity, contrast,
How is the work
How is the work organized?
Analyze how the parts you see and have described are arranged and work together, 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:
• How has the artist used colors in the artwork?
• What sort of effect do the colors have on the artwork?
• How the artist used shapes within the work of art?
• How have lines been used in the artwork? Has the artist used them as an important or dominant
part of the work, or do they play a different roll?
• What role does texture play in the artwork? Has the artist used the illusion of texture or has the
artist used actual texture? How has texture been used within the artwork?
• How has the artist used light in the artwork? 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?
• Is there distance created in this picture? Is there a foreground, a middle ground and a background?
What visual tricks has the artist used to create the feeling of distance?
• How has the overall visual effect or mood of the artwork been achieved by the use of elements of
art and principles of design?
To described and find
the meaning or
mood of the
artworks. Assumption must be
tested and judge by
the evidence of
We used our experience
to find, explore, the
meaning of mood or
ambience of the artists.
To combine the imagination,
expertise and creative value
to search the sign of visual
arts and relate the meaning
with the artworks.
What is the artist
What does it mean?
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?
• What was the artist’s statement in this work?
• What do you think it means?
• Does it seem quiet? Happy? Powerful? Dreamy?
• What does it mean to you?
• How does this relate to you and your life?
• What feelings do you have when looking at this artwork?
• What are the main ideas, meanings and concepts? How are they presented?
• Are any of the following devices used?
• Allegory: a representation that illustrates a deeper meaning
• Symbol: a representation of something else
• Sign: a thing that stands for something else
• Iconography: an identifying subject matter
• Why do you think that the artist chose to work in this manner and made these kinds of artistic
• Why did the artist create this artwork?
Did the artist use the
formalistic elements to
convey his message well?
Do you think this is
a successful work
The study of the
Is it significant for
Is it significant?
What do you think of the artwork?
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 artwork. Here are
questions you might consider:
• Why do you think that this work has intrinsic value or worth? What is the value that you find in the
artwork? (For example, it is a beautiful work of art, conveys an important social message, affects
the way that you see the world, makes insightful connections, reaffirms a religious belief, etc.)
• Do you think that the artwork has a benefit for others? Do you find that the work communicates an
idea, feeling or principle that would have value for others?
• How well does the art meet the interpretation?
• What kind of an effect do you think the work could have for others?
• 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?
• 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 o.k.?
• 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 artwork 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.
• Art criticism can make the study art less mysterious and more
• It is a sequential approach for looking at and talking about art.
• It will helped you to interpret works of art.
• It will give you confidence to discuss works of art without worrying
about what other people might think.
• It will help you to organized your thoughts.
• Develop the courage to speak your mind and make sound aesthetic
• Ahmad Fuad Osman
• Recollections of Long Lost Memories #1
• Oil on canvas, 2007
• 244 x 366 cm
The Recollections of Long Lost Memories #1 is the latest art work from Ahmad Fuad Osman
Recollections of Long Lost Memories series exhibition in Rimbun Dahan. The art work is a landscape
format painting using oil medium on canvas. The painting was done in 2007. The images are uses in
the painting are the image of Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman and a teenager. The color that
been use are monochromatic and bright colours. The late Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman is
wearing Baju Melayu with Sampin holding an umbrella where else the teenager is wearing the
sunglasses on his head, a blue tee, jeans, sport shoes and dyed hair. The landscape of the painting
pictures the river, mountains and trees.
The artist uses the glazing technique in his painting. His style is pop art but using the realistic
approach. The composition of the images is approximate balance. The color of the old picture of
Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman is the black and white monochromatic color. Where else, the
teenager is in brighter colours. The colour of the late Tunku presents the past time but the
unknown teenager shows the present. The landscape is portrays such in the kampong with a long
wooden bridge. The teenager is from present standing in front the Tunku. The value or tone of
colours can be seen in this painting where the light and shadow plays the roles to form the images.
There are perceptible contrast between the two images in aspects of colours and characteristic. The
late Tunku is a symbol of Malaysian heroes but the other image is unknown teenager with western
appearances. The artist use deep space in this painting where we can see the mountain far from
the human figures. There are many kind of line that been use in this artwork such as horizontal,
vertical, diagonal and organic. The image of a teenager is dominance compare to the other images
because of the colours. The positions of the two images create the movement like both walking
crossing the river.
Recollection of long lost Memories #1 is in commemoration of the occasion of our nation’s 50th
Merdeka last two years. The idea of reference the historic occasion and photos from the past came
to Ahmad Fuad. He sees another person standing in front the late Tunku crossing the river. The
person from the present is composing on the blank spaces in the old picture. He said that “history is
false memory”. “We don’t get to influence history thus we don’t care about it that much.” The
young Malaysians do not really understand the meaning of ‘Merdeka.’ They only study the history
in classroom and feel the Merdeka’s anniversary in full of joy and happiness. Therefore they don’t
really care because they do not experience the hard time to gain the independence.
This painting has achieves the issues of the young people that don’t really care and understand the
meaning to be independent. The youth in the painting wears modern dresses do not portrays the
identity of Malaysia-ness compare to Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman. It shows that the youth
mind is still being colonized by the western culture. The painting translated the meaning of the
independence not only in the historical perception but also the modernity of the present. By the
idea of Fuad in this painting, he uses the images that integrated to each other which bring the
meaningful expression and make the audience to think further.
“Image can serve as pictures, are as symbols; they can also be used as more signs”