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QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN WRITING OR TALKING ABOUT ART

Art Tool Box » Questions to Ask When Writing or Talking about Art

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE WRITING / TALKING ABOUT WORKS OF ART


What is the subject matter of the work?

  • What is its title?

  • What is the Subject Matter?

  • What do you think the artist was trying to understand / explain when they created this work?

  • Doe the title help you interpret what you see?

  • Can you imagine different treatments of the same subject matter that would change the way you read the work?


Consider the formal elements of the work and how they relate to its subject matter:

  • How is (are) element(s) of art employed in the work?

  • Do(es) the element(s) seem to regulate or order the composition – give it balance and unity?

  • Does your chosen element seem to fragment the work?

  • Is your image consistent with traditional laws of nature or does it violate them?

  • What is the relation of shape to space (this is the figure ground relationship) in the work?

  • How do light and dark function in the work? Is there a great deal of tonal contrast, or is it held to a minimum?

  • What is the predominant color scheme of the work? Are complementary or analogous colors employed?

  • What other element(s) seem important? Is your attention drawn to the work’s texture? Does time seem an important factor in your experience of the work?


How are these elements organized (how did you use the principles to organize the elements)?

  • Is there significant use of visual rhythm and repetition of elements?

  • Is the composition balanced? Symmetrically? Asymmetrically? Do various elements seem proportional, and how doe the question of scale affect your perception?

  • Does the composition seem unified or not?


How has the artist’s choice of medium played a role in the presentation of the various elements and their organization or design?

  • Are effects achieved that are realizable only in this particular medium?

  • If more than one medium is involved, what is their relation?


What does all of this mean?

  • What is the artist trying to say about the subject matter of the work? What feelings or attitudes does the composition seem to evoke, and what specific elements or design choice in the composition account for these feelings?

  • What do you take away from this work? What is your aesthetic /artistic response to the work?

  • Is the final work successful or not? Why?







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