What is a critique? A critique is an oral or written discussion strategy used to analyze, describe, and interpret works of art. Critiques help students hone their persuasive oral and writing, information-gathering, and justification skills.
Part of the critique process is recording information about the artwork and artist. This is called the credit line. It includes the artwork title, the artist, the year it was created, it's dimensions, and sometimes where it resides.
Below is a sample set of focus questions for an art critique related to four major areas of art criticism: description, analysis, interpretation, judgment. (The number of questions and aspects of specificity will vary according to the art form and number of works in the critique).
Credit Line A credit line is a list of important facts about a work of art. Most credit lines contain at least six facts. They are as follows: 1. Name of the artist. 2. Title of the work. This always appears in italics. 3. Year the work was created. Sometimes, in the case of older works, "c" appears before the year. This is an abbreviation for circa, a Latin word meaning "about" or "around". 4. Medium used by the artist. This is the material used to make art. If more than one medium is used, the credit line may read "mixed media". 5. Size of the work. The first number is always the height, the second number is the width, and if the work is three-dimensional, the third number indicates the depth. 6. Location of the work. The location names the gallery, museum, or collection in which the work is housed and the city, state, and country. The names of the donors may also be included. https://www.engrade.com/msgibson1/5000005802207/9
Artist: Grandma Moses(American, 1860–1961) Title: Old Covered Bridge, Woodstock Date: 1944 Medium: Paintings, Oil on pressed wood Size: 16 x 24 in. (40.6 x 61 cm.) Movement: Folk / Naïve Art, Modern Location: Galerie St. Etienne
Description (The Elements of Art) Describe the work without using value words such as "beautiful" or "ugly":
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?
What kinds of things do you see in this painting?
What else do you see?
What words would you use to describe this painting?
What other words might we use?
How would you describe the lines in this picture? The shapes? The colors?
What does this painting show?
Look at this painting for a moment. What observations can you make about it?
How would you describe this painting to a person who could not see it?
How would you describe the people in this picture? Are they like you or different?
How would you describe (the place depicted in) this painting?
Analysis (The Principles of Art) 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?
What type of balance does the artist use (Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, Radial)?
Describe some areas in the work that contrast each other (big/small, plain/patterned, bright/dull, thick/thin, etc.).
Do all the parts fit well together creating a sense of unity? If so, give several examples. If not, what stands out as not belonging?
Are there any patterns in the design?
How does the artist lead the viewers eye around the picture? Are there areas of implied movement
Interpretation (What you believe the artist is trying to express) Describe how the work makes you think or feel:
What is going on in the artwork? What evidence did you see that lead you to this conclusion?
Why do you think the artist created this work?
What do you feel as you study the image? 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 (Your opinion about the artwork) Present your opinion of the work's success or failure:
Do you like this piece? WHY or WHY NOT?
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?