Modern European Cultural History

 The Art of Looking at a Work of Art or Architecture

1. What is content/shape of the work of art?  What is depicted (nature, humans, animals, buildings, etc)?

2. Is the work symbolic?  If so, what sort of symbols are used and what do they mean?

3. What is the type of work of art (painting, etc.)?  What media and surfaces are used?  What is the size of the original?  What is its present location?  Why are these answers important?

4. How are the contents depicted?  How are they arranged?

5. What is the source (the natural world, literature, mythology, religion, etc) of the artist’s inspiration?

6. What is the source of light?  What effect does the nature of the light have on your response to the work of art?

7. Who is the artist?  What is the relationship of the artist to the work of art?  Where was the work made or created?

8. When and for what purpose was the work of art created?  Who “paid” for it?  Where was it originally placed or intended to be placed?

9. What sort of mood has the artist created?  How is this mood created?

10.  What is the relation of the work of art to the “real” world?

11. What literal and greater “meaning” does the work of art have?  What “meaning” does it have for you?

12. What historical “style” does the work of art belong to?  What are the characteristics of this style?

This page is maintained by Robert W. Brown; last update: 21 January 2004

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