How to answer a question about a art photo

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These response papers are a critical analysis paper written on an original work of art on exhibit at the Wright Art Center Gallery. The chosen piece must be an original artwork viewed firsthand by the student.

The paper must be typed.

The paper must have a title page that includes all the following information:

Title of original artwork Course/Section Number

Name of artist Your Name

Date of work Paper Due Date

Medium (materials and techniques) Number of words in paper

Name of art museum or gallery visited where original artwork is on display

You may also choose to write about more than one original work of art on display. Don’t be afraid to compare and contrast different pieces.

Check the course Schedule for the critical analysis paper due dates.

Present your ideas with clarity, correct spelling and grammatical coherency. The papers will be assessed on spelling, grammatical, and organizational skills.

The following guideline is only a sample. It does not have to be followed when writing your paper. I challenge you to take a more creative approach to your paper, referring to the guideline for inspiration only.

Suggested Outline

  1. Title Page with required information.
  2. What attracted you to the artwork? Relate it to something in your background of experience (either conscious or subconscious). What visual elements do you respond to in the piece?
  3. What materials and techniques did the artist use? Look up the medium in your textbook and discuss the characteristics of the specific medium used. If the work is a painting be sure to include a description of the binder, solvent and ground. If the work is a print or a sculpture describe the techniques used.
  4. Subject: Describe the work of art in terms of its imagery. What are the recognizable or namable images represented? Has the artist included any personal iconography in the subjects? Describe the setting. Is the style representational, abstract, or non-representational?
  5. Form: How does each of the following visual elements affect the expressive content? Is the work balanced? Does the artist achieve balance through repetition, placement, and rhythm? Does the work imply motion? Is the work kinetic?

Line: how do the lines function in the work? What kind of lines seem to dominate? Describe their direction and character. How do they affect the expressive content?

Shape: Are the shapes predominantly organic or geometric? How do they affect the expressive content? Does the artist use chiaroscuro to give an illusion of three-dimensional reality or does the work seem flat and two-dimensional?

Color: Name and describe the content of hues. Are they light or dark? Are they dull or bright? How does the artist’s use of color affect the mood of that piece?

Texture: What are the textures: rough, smooth, shiny, or dull? Describe them. Are the textures real or implied? Do they seem appropriate to the subject and expressive content as you interpret them? If the work were not a painting, would you describe it as painterly?

Space: Describe the illusion of space and the use of perspective. Does the work have a feeling of openness or does it seem closed in? If it is a three-dimensional work (sculpture), is it a solid or does it have openings or holes (negative spaces)?

  1. Content or message: What is your emotional response to what you see? What message or concept do you think the artist was trying to convey? (Remember to go beyond merely restating the subject here.)

Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated. You will fail for the semester if there is a question.

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