Review for Chapter 2
Art Criticism and Aesthetic
Lesson 1: Art Criticism: Learning from
a Work of Art
• Art critics use different criteria, or standards
of judgment, to assess works of art.
• The process of interpretation will improve
your aesthetic experience, or your personal
interaction with a work of art.
• Aesthetics is the philosophy or study of the
nature and value of art.
Art criticism is an organized approach for
studying a work of art. It is made up of four
steps that must be taken in order.
• Ask yourself, what do I see? Make a list of all
the things you see in the work, including the
work’s subject and the elements of art that
are used. Include information from the credit
line about the size of the work and its medium
• This is the most objective step in critiquing a
work of art.
• Art Historians look for information about the
art, not in the art.
• Ask, how is the work organized? Look at how
the principles of art are used to organize the
art elements of line, space, color, form, and
• Art Historians consider the artist’s individual
Ask, what is the artist trying to communicate?
Try to explain the meaning or mood of the work,
based on your clues from the first two steps.
You can make guesses about the artwork as long
as they are supported by what you see in the
• Now ask, is this a successful work of art? You
determine the degree of artistic merit. You can
decide whether you like or dislike the work and
whether the work is successful aesthetically.
• So when you are considering how well an object
works you you would being using your judgment.
• Also requires research
• You use personal and aesthetic levels of
• When looking at literal qualities, they judge
the realistic qualities that appear in the
subject of the work.
• When looking at formal qualities, they study
how well a work is organized.
• To judge expressive qualities, critics consider
those qualities that convey ideas and moods.
• The theories that rate these different qualities
most highly are called Imitationalism, Formalism,
• Imitationalism focuses on realistic
• Formalism places emphasis on the design
• Emotionalism requires that a work arouse a
response of feelings, moods, or emotions in the
When criticizing functional objects,
when should you consider how well
the object works?
• during the judgment step
• during the interpretive step
• during the descriptive step
• during the analysis step