Follow Directions: How to Critique an Artwork
Description Describe the work without using value words such as “beautiful” or “ugly”:
● What is the written description on the label or in the program about the work?
● What is the title and who is (are) the artist(s)?
● When and where was the work created?
● Describe the elements of the work (i.e., line movement, light, space).
● Describe the technical qualities of the work (i.e., tools, materials, instruments).
● Describe the subject matter. What is it all about? Are there recognizable images?
Analysis Describe how the work is organized as a complete composition:
● How is the work constructed or planned (i.e., acts, movements, lines)?
● Identify some of the similarities throughout the work (i.e., repetition of lines, two songs in each act).
● Identify some of the points of emphasis in the work (i.e., specific scene, figure, movement).
● If the work has subjects or characters, what are the relationships between or among them?
Interpretation Describe how the work makes you think or feel:
● Describe the expressive qualities you find in the work. What expressive language would you use to describe the qualities (i.e., tragic, ugly, funny)?
● Does the work remind you of other things you have experienced (i.e., analogy or metaphor)?
● How does the work relate to other ideas or events in the world and/or in your other studies?
Judgment or Evaluation Present your opinion of the work’s success or failure:
● What qualities of the work make you feel it is a success or failure?
● Compare it with similar works that you think are good or bad.
● What criteria can you list to help others judge this work?
● How original is the work? Why do you feel this work is original or not original?
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