The reasons you might need to write an art review are numerous. Whether you are a student, use it in your work, or want to know the basics of how to evaluate an artwork to be understood, you are welcome here! We will help you stop being distracted and turn your feelings into words with the five writing approaches!
Why do you need an art review?
The Australian writers’ community made a joke that even critics do not know who reads their judgments. Everyone may find and run through it, but how many people do that? So, in most cases, artists perceive them to get highly qualified feedback, catch ideas for their marketing strategy, take valuable quotes, and apply for grants or make art proposals.
Likewise, those willing to invest money in promising niches and artworks look for the most prominent creators and the perspectives of their works. Who does not want to buy for less and get a granddaughter who will sell it five times more expensive? Those connoisseurs will gladly accept the opinion of the knowing person. Thus, the expert makes history.
Moreover, ordinary people who understand the reality-oriented flow in art with works of Leonardo or Rafael can barely see the value in abstract canvases like the Black Square of Malevich. The more information they find about the novelty and revolutionism of the masterpiece, the better they realize the world they live in. It helps personal growth and broadens the horizons. Going out of the comfort zone is necessary and inevitable.
Art review approaches division
The following division of the ways to complete the art review depends on your purpose, the piece of art, and your requirements. Conditions received in art class differ from a friendly conversation or magazine publication, right?
Review is the same critique work, the most important is to reveal the essence of the masterpiece and make people understand it from your words as you did. Also, you can influence art history or lead an active discussion with it if you have a bug website or a large audience on your social media page.
Let’s be more precise: look at the approaches we suggest you complete the excellent yet simple art review.
1. Feldman’s Model of Art Criticism
Fieldman is the Professor of Art at the University of Georgia, and he developed the universal scheme that everyone can use to describe any artwork adequately. It requires some preparation and suggests a clear and straightforward guide instead. All you need is to see and split it into art and design elements.
Thus, you will not be accused of being subjective, old-fashioned, or preconceived. Are you inspired? So, come on, discover the aesthetics and new experience in the magical art world!
The Feldman method includes four simple steps to express thoughts and emotions about any artwork:
Let’s take a closer look at them.
In the description section, you should tell what you know, see or hear in the masterpiece. It would be best if you gathered all the facts about it. To let your readers understand you from the first words, tell them the name of the artist, its title, creation date, material dimensions, and environment where it was created.
Find the peculiarities
Likewise, identify the peculiarities of the exact art. For example, is it acoustic music or electronic, the canvas written by oil or acrylic, and what patterns are used? When a reader realizes it is from the Middle Ages period, this Information gives him some highlights and hints about the circumstances of the author’s life and struggles. However, do not go too far with suggestions about the latter. This section is only for facts.
Realize the Differences
The creator of the approach, Feldman, emphasizes that description is perfect for drawing readers’ attention, as any introduction does. Here, people decide whether it is worth their time, whether it is essential or can be forgotten. As we mentioned earlier, most people can not understand modern artistic flows. Reasons might be different. We prefer different types of music and think differently about Mona Lisa. We realize that the Modern Glass sculptures of William LeQuier are brilliant, and it required him to work a lot to create them.
But how can one value the unified curved line on the canvas sold for thousands? How can we even see if it is valuable or not if anyone could have written it? It is up to you to start explaining it with your description. Convince people with descriptive definitions of material, manufacture, and idea. Make them feel the same as you, even if it lasts a few minutes. Facts from the artist’s past help a lot as well.
First, formal analysis reveals a correlation between objects and elements. You described them in the first section. The content analysis considers the eternal meaning within the artwork. For example, it tells about present symbols, historical, religious, or ideological content, and novelty. Say your impression and experience here.
Reveal the organization steps
In the Analysis part, you should open the curtain and reveal how the creator organized the artwork. Here, you can consider the elements of design used and the principles of their usage. Thus, think of what is the intention of the line and shape and their location. Wonder and describe how the texture is more profitable and gives more meaning. Write how the author makes the highlights and balances the objects, uses patterns and tells the story.
How is it different from the previous part? It includes your consciousness and feelings. Here, you take all you already know and interpret it as you understand. Use the signals of your intuition, feelings, mood, and emotions. As long as the art is supposed to influence us on different levels, do not be afraid to express how it affects you.
Interpreting clarifies the content and makes the artwork closer to your readers. There are not a few centuries between the masterpiece and the spectacular, but you and your thoughts. Thus, the interpretation depends hugely on the background of the critique: his worldview, religion, culture, and society. So the good news is there is no notion of lousy interpreting. On the contrary, the more opinions may include the art piece cause, the longer it will be exciting.
Judge the artwork by comparing it to the other masterpieces in its niche. It is the conclusion of what place it takes in the historical meaning, its novelty, and if it reaches the goal.
According to Feldman, you may answer one of the three questions to evaluate the artwork:
- What are the imitational and literal qualities?
- People with this point of view feel that a painting should imitate life and appear “real” before it can be considered successful.
- What are the formalism and the design qualities?
- It stresses the essential work with the arrangements of the elements of art.
- What emotions does it call with its expressive methods? Critics who support this theory are primarily concerned with the artwork’s emotional content.
2. Review of an exhibition
When you need to describe the gallery that hosts a particular work, you may use the second method. To start with it, think of your purposes here:
- Describe the exhibition to those who have not seen it yet. Do you want to encourage people to attend it? Consider and express your thoughts about the art world.
- Be straightforward by answering five simple questions about what you have seen, who, when, and why created it, and where you went. As Susan Sontag, a famous American art critic, said, the job of art criticism should explain what work is and how it is what. It will establish the content and give your readers an understanding quickly.
- Then add your judgment about the novelty or the prosperity of the exhibition. Next, describe how many people and the media came. After that, you can dive into all the specific details that seem essential to you. Finally, turn them into the form of Description and Analysis.
Let other people experience what you saw. Thus, write a basic overview and move on to more intricate details. The latter depends on your general overview, the complexity of the object, and if it is possible to take photos.
Ideas of properties for the overview:
- Material and size
- Shape and texture
- Relationships between objects
- The content of what you can see or hear
- How the author and gallery represent it
Think about the exhibition setting, lighting, descriptive texts, other works shown nearby, and so on
If you observe and describe, it is the start of the analysis. The difference is that this part includes your points of view. It is when you determine the correlation between objects and why you think and feel this way. Then, you start analyzing the content that connects the artwork with the entire world.
Look at the list of hints that will help you to think analytically:
- What is unique or challenging?
- What era does the idea belong to? (A skull decorated with diamonds differs from the one made of graphite and carries a different meaning)
- What tools, techniques, and skills are required? What was the process of creating it? Hand-made?
- How does it change society and people’s worldviews?
- Does it carry any controversial or more profound meaning?
Those are the start points that indicate the direction of thoughts for you. Go further if you feel that you want to. Involve all the available sources to look for Information, starting from the Internet, artworks themselves, the gallery and author’s statement, catalogs, and so on. You may check the author’s CV and publications as well. If you need assistance with this part, because it requires time, you can ask experienced specialists from Best Essays Education to collect it. They can research and send it written to you. Also, you can ask them to write some samples for your Information and in cases when it is permitted to use other writers’ texts. The more information you possess, the better review you will write.
3. As-you-feel review
The third method will allow you not to miss a thing when expressing your thoughts about an artwork. The trusted community of Australian writers points to the review as your analysis of how successfully the artwork achieves what the author aimed to achieve.
Thus, find facts about the author, his background, and words about the essence and the intention. It is so because you can not just make up the goal because it may be the substitution of notions. Yet, art is supposed to make us think and wonder. Then, you will apply different requirements to the beginner and the master, so you should do your homework first.
Do not be afraid when you are about to write something negative because you do not like it—use the content to understand the creator and use it in your tone of voice. Yet, it is up to you. The point is that you should be honest. If you do not know what you feel, say so. If your thought had changed from the moment you saw something to when you started the review, state that.
Also, pay attention to the differences in worldviews, genders, ages, prospects, and backgrounds. The more broad explanations you give, the more grateful the reader you will get. Note that the review is about your perception. Thus, you can also add a bit of your background so that people will better understand you.
Structuring Your Work
The best way to catch your emotions and feelings when you are about to write a review is to write them down. Take a small notebook and do that as you may write in your morning pages. Thus, you will remember what you thought about entering the gallery or the theater and how your mind flew and played with you afterward. Besides, it is the perfect practice for self-reflection.
4. Art review for students
It is a simple art review scheme that matches schools and colleges. Yet, pay attention to the guidelines you received from your mentors.
Art Review Composing Steps
- Write details you see inside the artwork in the beginning. Focus on your first impression of the painting as long as you will never change it.
- Filter the ideas you caught then and what correlations you built. Then, evaluate what tools the author used to make you do that. For example, was it the play of the light and shadows, specific perspective, or facial expression?
- Explain these feelings in the next paragraph. Add the drop of your background and personality. Do you think it is beautiful, brave, fascinating, or terrible?
- Then, explain how the author arranged the work. What were the challenges faced? It refers to materials, techniques, ideology, background, etc.
- Give the overall description of what you think is essential. Give highlights, expectations of the creator, and what the artwork means. Summarize what you described with personal opinions and emotions. Share what triggers worked on you and what you will remember the most.
Do not talk about feelings without explanation. “I do not like this” is not enough for the reader. Support with arguments. Go further than being obvious. Add perceptive, judgment, and personal insight. Observe and synthesize new ideas. For example, when there is shade and color, you may suppose why the author did it. Was it the attempt to draw attention to an essential element, or was it the fashion brought by Rembrandt?
Double-check that you tell about details, patterns, and visual elements, as much as the content and meaning. Finally, be straightforward and clear when talking about art. You may surely use philosophical notions but express the knowledge with accurate remarks. What flow does it support, from what era and philosopher? Likewise, using terminology, you will not seem bored. Do not forget to add references if you found the idea from someone else.
5. Answer the questions to complete the review
This approach is perfect when you do not know how to start writing the art review. To facilitate a deep knowledge and interest in the masterpiece, answer the following questions. It will help you not to get lost in the amount of information you get. Likewise, you make people understand you.
Yet, do not be afraid to think differently and express your thoughts as you want to. There can be different, competing, and contradictory interpretations of the same artwork. You will find your uniqueness.
- Does the artwork represent any background, for example, mythical, historical, or landscape?
- What scenes, objects, or places can people recognize?
- What is the genre of the artwork?
- Is the object idealized, realistic, primitive, hidden, or stylized?
- Does it depict people? What do they look like? What are their faces and clothes? What is the relationship between them?
- What about the poses and facial expressions? How do lines and shapes support your thoughts?
- Is there any connection to the one who looks at it?
- What values does it share? An artwork is not necessarily about what the artist wanted it to be.
- What was the creator’s intention? Did he reach it?
These questions will demand you to think critically and be creative. Wake up your mind and interest in the artwork. Then, keep writing, and you will find the words.
To conclude, the work of the art critique is not simple. One has to possess in-depth knowledge of the topic and be able to compare and analyze what one sees. Yet, this article aimed to simplify the review writing process. Thus, you will express your thoughts fluently, admit details and senses, and even better, realize your deep judgments and feelings. Keep practicing, and you will be successful in this task. Good luck!
About the Writer
Lillie Jenkins is a creative copywriter and content writer. She has worked as a copywriter since school, so her writing skills are well-honed. She writes publications in such fields as marketing, business, education, and personal life. More than writing Lillie loves to travel and read professional literature.