A critique is an endeavour to comprehend an artwork and understand the intent of the artist. They take two forms: written reviews and public critiques (ie art class critiques). Public critiques may be a very intimidating experience, especially if you are shy or do not like public speaking. I’ve always preferred written critiques, since I have the time to gather thoughts, and form my own opinions on the piece.
This is the Feldman Method of critiquing art, which is Description, Analyzing, Interpretation, and Evaluation. This is the method that I was personally taught in art school.
What follows are general guidelines for the critiquing of art which may benefit whether you are an art school student, or want to write about art on an art blog.
Answer only the questions that relate to the artwork being reviewed when writing about art.
Writing a Critique of Art
Make the first sentence count, and grab the reader’s attention. State only factual information about the artwork, and give a basic background history of the artist. Include the title, art materials, artist, date, and location of the painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.
- What was your first impression when viewing the painting/sculpture?
- What does the artwork look like to you?
- What objects can be recognized?
- What is the subject of the painting?
- What textures, colors, and shapes are there in the piece?
- What about line, forms, and space?
If you have trouble thinking of words to fit your descriptions, check out this art word list.
Give an evaluation of the aesthetic principles and elements seen within the artwork.
- What stands out and draws your eye within the artwork?
- Write about the commonalities of the design elements previously mentioned.
- How are they organized or related?
- Think about contrast, rhythm, balance, proportion, variety, and emphasis.
State your personal interpretation based on background experiences, and what you know about art, but try not to ramble. Stare at the artwork for awhile and gather your thoughts.
- What is the painting, sculpture, drawing, etc. about?
- What message is the artist trying to convey?
- Does the artwork have a purpose?
- What feelings do you get from the piece?
- Does it remind you of something?
- What point is the artist trying to get across, in your opinion?
This is the conclusion to the art critique. Be sincere and intelligent. Summarize what the painting is about, in your own words. State your personal feelings and thoughts.
- Did your first impression change, and why?
- Do you think it was a successful artwork?
- Is it unique?
- Is it an accurate depiction of the artist’s skill? Can you do better?
- Can you readily understand the subject matter, and does the design elements (space, form, line, shape, color, texture) help you to do so?
- Was the artwork well planned, in your opinion?
- Would you buy it or hang it in your home?
- Have you learned anything that you could apply to your own art?
- Does the painting inspire you?
- Is it a good representation of the category of art?
Critiquing art takes practice. If you have not critiqued an artwork, why not try critiquing one right now.
Please critique my graphite drawing above, entitled “Beginning of the Rainbow”.