Name: _____________________________________________________ Block: ______________
Art Criticism – Review Guide
Describe the details in the artwork.
• Describe the artwork as if you were telling someone about it over the phone.
• Talk about subject matter, visual qualities, materials used, classification/style, things you
notice about the piece.
• Use neutral words; don’t discuss meaning and judgment.
• “In this work of art there are 3 people, a tree and a dog. You can see they are near water
and the sky looks like sunset. The colors blue, green and orange are evident. It is a
painting and the brush strokes are thick and visible…”
What relationships exist between what can be seen?
• Think about how the artist made or arranged things. Focus on the composition,
techniques, and how things relate and work together.
• Discuss: Elements of Art, Principles of Design, and other aspects like exaggeration,
composition, arrangement, etc.
• Explain how the artist creates interest and how the E&P’s impact the painting
• Be sure to reference the items you described previously while you are doing the analysis
• “The artist uses color to create emphasis and draw the viewers eye toward the man and 2
women sitting under the tree. He also uses space and proportion to then lead the viewer
to the dog running in the distance. The orange sky is in contrast with the blue water and
the green on the trees…”
What do you think is the meaning or purpose?
• Consider ideas for possible meaning based on what you have previously discussed.
• Include your emotions/feelings/intentions onto the work. What do you think it means?
• What was the artist trying to communicate?
• Support these ideas and thoughts – what clues do you see that led you to these opinions?
• “I believe the artist wanted to convey a feeling of calm, relaxation and freedom in this
painting. The 3 people appear to be enjoying a rest in the evening setting sun and the
artist’s use of blue water and green trees create a cool and comfortable feeling. The orange
sky reminds me of evening and a time of relaxation and reflection. The people are
watching the dog running in the grass which further promotes a feeling of freedom….”
What is your evaluation of the work based on the steps previous?
• Discuss the overall strengths & success of the work, as well as possible improvements.
• What did you like or dislike?
• Are the Elements & Principles used well?
• Did the artist succeed in what he was trying to say/do?
• “I believe this artist was successful in creating a sense of relaxation and freedom in this
painting because the colors and subject matter easily lead my mind to those concepts. In
addition, the realism and detail in the painting…”