Art introduction

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Step One:

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For this assignment you will be expected to visit an art museum in Washington, DC or the Washington National Cathedral.

Step Two:

While there, you will pick a favorite work (any medium, any time period, any culture) and critique that work based upon its physical properties, expressive elements, iconography, and cultural context. If visiting the cathedral you should analyze the architecture and interior decoration using the same parameters.

Tips To Approaching and Writing this Paper:

Physical Properties: DESCRIBE what you see. Look to your textbook for further ideas.

1. What objects and/or shapes do you see?

2. How are they organized?

3. What is the focal point and how do you know?

4. What types of lines are used?

5. Colors? Why might those colors be chosen?

6. Space?

7. Materials? Technique? Condition?

Expressive Elements: IDENTIFY what you see.

1. Is there an identifiable subject? Or is it purely abstract/non-objective?

2. What is the subject?

3. Is there any Iconography used? Signs? Symbols? Which provide more meaning?

4. Attributes? Personifications?

5. What is the artist trying to tell the viewer? Are they trying to make you think about something? Feel something?

6. How do they do this?

Cultural Context: ANALYZE what you see.

1. Who made it?

2. Where they part of an art historical group or movement? Can those characteristics be seen in the work through subject and style?

3. Who paid for it? Was their a patron? Did they have any impact on the work?

4. Does the subject depict a specific historical person, place or thing?

5. Does the style refer to a specific historical person, place, or movement?

6. How is this artist or movement connected/impacted by their time period and culture?

7. How is that reflected in the painting you have chosen?

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