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Critique Writing Tips

Art Critique Writing Tips
March 30, 2016

An art critique is an attempt to understand and evaluate an artwork. Even though they say that artistic taste is very relative, there are still some criteria one can use to assess the artist’s success at delivering the message intended to convey. There is a popular misconception about an artwork critique – many people believe that it is only those who are art historians who can actually approach writing an art critique. The truth of the matter is anybody can approach this endeavor if all critique methods are followed. Below you will find the procedure for writing an art critique; this procedure usually draws the line between unprepared assumptions and a skillful artwork critique.

4-Step Guide to Writing an Art Critique

Step 1: Describing

Start your art critique with giving factual information about the work along with background history of the author. Here you are to state the title, materials used, name of the artist, and date along with the location of the artwork. Keep in mind that it is not a time yet to make any conclusions despite the fact that you probably have your own opinion already. At this point you are just stating the facts, not your impressions. The introductory paragraph is to help you and readers understand the general facts about the artwork.

Step 2: Analyzing

The next stage of critique writing involves an analysis of the artwork. Here you are moving from technical details to a deeper examination of how the elements of an artwork contribute to the overall impression. Color, shape, lines, texture, light, balance, proportion, variety, etc. – all of these things are to be analyzed in the context of how the artwork is perceived. You also can ask yourself “What draws your eye within the masterpiece?” and point own things that seem to have any significance to you personally. 

Step 3: Interpreting

It is only after you have found out some facts about the artwork and analyzed its content you can interpret it. This is one of the most important parts in critique writing since it is here you express your interpretation of the artwork. As we have mentioned before, the interpretation should be based on the facts that you got to know about the artwork. Obviously, it will also be based on your own background experience which is fine. Meditate on what is the artwork about, what message it conveys, what feelings you get from looking at the piece and what point the artist is trying to make. Then organize your thoughts and put them to writing.

Step 4: Evaluating

Most people read critique writing tips to get to this point. This is what people are essentially interested in when they want to know how to critique an artwork. But critique writing tips will be helpful only if you look at all of them. This stage is only the result or logical conclusion of the first three stages mentioned above so you can’t really understand this part well if you skipped those listed before. In this part of your critique you are to summarize what the artwork is about. Write about whether your initial impression changed and why. Do you think this artwork is a successful one? Why do you think so? Does it help you learn anything about art? Is it a good sample of the art category it belongs to? These are some questions you have to answer in your evaluation section. Try to be brief when summarizing your impressions and findings.

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Comments:
Emilly Willard:

I will agree with you that writing an art critique is a great way to comprehend an artwork and it helps to understand the main intents of an author. However, I think that writing a critique is not so easy as it might seem at first! I read all the tips you shared here, but it would be better if you provide me with an example, I think it will help me clearly understand the process of writing a great art critique!

Lindsey Porter:

I must admit that I have never written an art critique! But your article has completely changed my understanding of this process. Now I understand that without the first three steps, you cannot make the correct evaluation. And I totally agree that it is a logical conclusion that you can make after having considered all the details. This topic was very interesting for me, and I want to attempt to make the same relying on your precious tips!

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