Why is it important to learn to analyze art?
Simply put, analyzing the artwork of others will improve your skills as an artist. Breaking down the work of others (especially the masters and/or contemporary professional artists, but also the artwork of your peers) will allow you to understand how they were successful, and, in turn, how you can be successful in your approach to planning and creating your own artwork. But how do you analyze artwork?
The Feldman Method of Critique
Describe: This stage is like taking inventory. You want to come up with a list of everything you see in the work. Stick to the facts. Imagine that you are describing the artwork to someone over the telephone. Express what you see in detail.
Analyze: Try to figure out what the artist has done to achieve certain effects. Consider different elements of art and principles of design used by the artist and why the artist might have chosen to focus on these elements.
Interpret: Try to figure out what the artwork is about. Your own perspectives, associations, and experiences meet with "the evidence" found in the work of art. All artworks are about something. Some artworks are about color, their subject matter, or social and cultural issues. Some artworks are very accessible- that is, relatively easy for the viewer to figure out what the artwork is about. Other works are more intellectual or context-based- and their meaning may not be as easily understood.
Evaluate: This is a culminating or reflective activity. You need to come to some decision about the artwork based on all the information you have gathered from your description, analysis, and interpretation. This is the part where you can include your opinions on the quality of the artwork- but you need to support your statements with evidence from the previous steps.
See these links below for more information on analyzing artwork:
Student Art Guide- How to analyze an artwork: a step-by-step guide
Analyzing Artwork with written example - via Adrian Lopez, IB Art Instructor at Ocean View High School
The Feldman Critique Method- via Meredith Steele
Analyzing Artwork in Class
We've made it to the aspect of art class that some students dread... THE CRITIQUE! Art critique with your peers can be intimidating....However, it is a very important part of being an artist, and crucial to your development within your art class. Critique of some form will be included as a closure activity for most major projects. Some of the types of critique we will do written critiques, self-critiques, gallery walk critiques, partner critiques, and full class critiques. The goal of these critiques is not to shower your classmates with compliments, nor to tell them that their artwork is awful. Instead, the goal is to provide both GLOWs, or comments that explain what the artist did successfully (and how) as well as GROWs, or comments that give constructive, polite criticism to provide an opportunity for improvement, because no artwork is perfect.
Before we critique, I will explain the rules and guidelines for the activity in detail. Critiques are almost always major grades- these are worth 60% of your overall grade. Positive and thoughtful participation is KEY - often, you will be graded upon how many times you comment, and how thorough your analysis is. See below for some of the various critique materials we will use in class.