Follow Directions: How to Critique an Artwork
Description Describe the work without using value words such as “beautiful” or “ugly”:
? What is the written description on the label or in the program about the work?
? What is the title and who is (are) the artist(s)?
? When and where was the work created?
? 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?
Analysis 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?
Interpretation Describe how the work makes you think or feel:
? 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 Present your opinion of the work’s success or failure:
? 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?