Discussion 6 Formal Critique
This discussion assignment is a formal critique of one artwork of your choosing. You are to write a formal critique (300 word minimum) of one artwork. Pick either your favorite piece or one that interests you because of the image, subject matter or content. You don’t have to “like” the artwork you choose to critique. You can choose an artwork you don’t understand or one you may question why it is considered art.
Remember this is a visual arts course primarily dealing with fine art.
Choose an artwork that fits within those guidelines.
In addition to the formal critique, you are required to read other student’s critiques and post questions, comments and replies (4 student critiques minimum) throughout the week the discussion is available.
Read the art critique guide before you begin writing your artwork critique:
A Guide to Writing an Art Critique
(Click on the Art Critique link in the menu on the left side of your screen.)
Formal Art Critique Directions
Include the following 5 items in your Formal Art Critique submission:
1. Introduction (The Introduction is NOT included in the 300 word minimum.)
Artist Name, Artwork Title (in italic font), Year the Artwork was created,
Artwork Medium, Scale of the Artwork.
Example: Georgia O’Keeffe, Purple Hills Near Abiquiu, 1935, Oil on canvas,
Include an image of the artwork in your post. Use the Picture icon not the Paper
Clip. Remember to click on the image and drag inward diagonally from the corner
to resize the image if it appears too large when inserted into the text page.
2. Description (Subject Matter)
What Do You See? Make a list of the things you see in the artwork.
Describe the Subject Matter; objects, shapes, colors. Be specific.
3. Formal Analysis
Formally Analyze the composition using art terms, paying attention to the
Elements (line, shape, form, space, color, value and texture) and Principles
Make statements about the relations among the things you named in the
description (number 2). You should note similarities and dissimilarities
(compare and contrast) in formal elements–such things as color, shape, or
direction. Take note of continuities (such as the color red repeated throughout
the artwork) and of connections (for example, the shape of a window repeated in
the shape of a table) between these formal elements and the subject matter.
What kind of spatial devices are used to create dimensionality? Overlapping?
Aerial perspective? Do you see examples of repetition or rhythm? Finally,
note the overall qualities of the work.
Here are a few vocabulary words to help:
Balance Symmetry vs. Asymmetry
Use of negative space Dominance
Variety Complementary Colors
Analogous Colors Primary Colors
Warm Colors Cool Colors
4. Interpretation (Content)
What was the intent of the artist? Make statements about the meaning(s) of the
artwork. (the content) This is the most creative part of your critique. Using a
hypothesis, support it with arguments, based on evidence given in the description
and formal analysis. (numbers 2 and 3)
Make a decision about the artwork. Did it accomplish what was intended? Why
or why not? This is the place for personal opinion. What you actually think about
the artwork. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Be honest and be specific. If you
think the artwork is a piece of crap, you must explain why you think it is a piece of
crap. Statements without facts to back them up are like profanity insults; shallow
and meaningless. Fact less statements reveal more about the person making
them than the person the statements were intended to insult.
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