How to Critique a Work of Art- Part V- The Final Chapter!

Posted onCategoriesUncategorized

How to Critique a Work of Art

Part V The Final Chapter!

judgementHere it comes, are you ready? This is the fun part of art critique. It’s judgement time. Cue the dramatic music- Dun dun DUNNNNN! It can also be the scariest part if you’re in art school. Heh. This is the final step in critiquing a work of art.

Here we are going to talk about interpretation and judge the overall successfulness of a work. In the last few blog posts we used a famous work of art to critique. For this post, we’re going to use…GULP…one of my paintings. EEEEP! And you’re going to help me.

It’s Contest Time!

Here’s what we’re gonna do. I’m going to explain the final step in critiquing and quickly review all of the other ones you may have missed. Then, you can leave YOUR critique on my Facebook Page. If you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win the painting shown below!

Here’s how the contest will work:

1) You must like the Facebook Page!

2) Leave your critique of my painting on the pinned Facebook post on my page. It doesn’t have to be long. Positive or negative; it won’t affect your chance of winning, although positive would be nice 😉 Don’t know what to say? Take a look at my recent blog posts to get an idea.

3) Share the Facebook post!

4) Do all of this by midnight on Sunday, October 15th 2017. A winner will be selected at random to win THIS PAINTING!!!

Got it? Here we go!

Sara Jouett Martínez
Oil on panel

Interpretation and Judgement of a Work of Art

Interpretation is often what many people jump to first when looking at a work of art. Nothing wrong with that, but remember to analyze the other elements of art too! This is where we decide what the artist is trying to communicate. We can try to find out the meaning of the work. There are no wrong answers when it comes to this part. Often, the viewer may see something that the artist never thought about!

Judgement is when we decide if the work is successful overall. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we like the piece, however. Remember, taste is subjective! You can think about how many elements of art are working together in the piece. The more elements of art and principles of design that work well together in a work, the more successful. Let’s review, shall we?


Elements of Art

  • Subject- what do you see? A girl, a boat, a flower?
  • Line- thick, thin, squiggly, smooth?
  • Shape- shapes made from objects or overall shapes of the background
  • Form- organization, relationships and visual order between objects
  • Space- is it shallow, deep, near or far?
  • Value- the amount of light or dark in a work
  • Texture- actual texture or implied; smooth, rough, bumpy, etc.
  • Color- the relationships between colors in a work, also the “temperature”, warm or cool

Principals of Design

  • Balance- distribution of visual weight in a piece
  • Emphasis- where does your eye lead you? What stands out?
  • Contrast- the difference between principles of art like texture, color or value
  • Rhythm-the sense of movement shown through repetition
  • Pattern- similar to rhythm, more about organization than repetition
  • Movement- see rhythm and pattern, what follows when there is rhythm
  • Harmony- how are various parts of a piece related?
  • Proportion- the ratio of individual parts to one another
  • Unity- elements of art working together to give a sense of balance and ease

Well, there you have it. You have learned all of the different ways to analyze and critique a work of art like a pro! It will take some practice before you can remember it all. And sometimes, you will know right away if a piece works. Now, go forth and look at art!