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The Art Critique

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.” – Pablo Picasso

The critiquing of art is not unlike critiquing other forms of intellectual creation. In the evaluation of any work of art, the critic isn’t just interested in a nice looking painting or sculpture; he is looking for meaning and significance as well.

Introduction to an Artistic Analysis

Without fail, art critique begins with a statement about what work is being critiqued and who the artist is (was). If the work is housed in a museum or gallery, mention of the facility would be appropriate. Noting the media and general style is a requirement.

In the introduction, the writer should also describe the overt and covert messages of the work. An understanding of the historic environment the work was created within may also give additional insight into the overall message and its ability to transcend the passing of time.

Getting to the Meat of Art Analysis

The critic’s next step is to describe the aesthetics of the artwork and his or her impressions of the work. The aesthetics can include the use of color and contrast, connections between elements and the movement of the artwork, the use of depth and shading, and the overall style. The critic’s impressions normally describe the critic’s perceived message and purpose of the painting, making the critique a more personal evaluation.

The critic should be careful not to give a negative response when they lack an understanding of the artwork. This does not mean the critic should not give a poor critique if he or she truly believes the work deserves it.

Concluding the Critique

Finishing the critique, the critic must draw some conclusions about the artwork based on the information he or she has found and/or developed. Starting with his or her first impression, discussion should focus on what was learned and if something has altered his or her initial impressions of the artwork. If not, an explanation of the first impression should be reinforced.

Final Thoughts

The critiquing of artwork can be a challenging subject, particularly for students in their early years of training. The skills of a talented writer who has already gained some worldly experience may be in order and companies like ours stand ready to assist.

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