art in description 1

There are three main strategies for analyzing works of art: contextual theory, formal theory, and expressive theory. Last week you used expressive theory to discuss a work of art by relating it to the life of the artist. This week you will discuss a painting in terms of formal theory; in other words, you will analyze how the meaning a work of art is shaped by its visual characteristics.

When artists began to create art in the nineteenth century that reflected the inner reality of the artist, they began to use color and form in highly subjective ways. In your post, please focus on a work of art by an artist discussed in this week’s reading. You can pick a work that is shown in your textbook or you can do a little research and choose something different. As you analyze the piece, please pay close attention to the formal choices made by the artist and consider the following questions:

  • How is color used? What is the visual impact of the color? Does it seem to have visual or psychological meaning?
  • What types of forms are evident in the work (organic, geometric, smooth, jagged, etc.)? How does this affect the way you experience the piece?
  • Is there a visual rhythm created by the repetition of forms and lines? How would you describe it?
  • Consider the composition: how does your eye move through the piece? What do you think is the focal point? How does the focal point relate to the meaning of the work as you interpret it?

This week I am not giving you a list of artists or specific works of art, but I encourage you to focus on a work that is associated with Fauvism, Expressionism (Die Brücke or Der Blaue Reiter), or early abstraction.

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