Writing about Art


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The chapter “Analysis” deals with the general overview of process of analyzing the works of art, the main steps of analysis, and questions that are to guide it. First, the author explains what an analysis is, and claims that it can be expressed not only through talking or writing about art, but through thinking about it, as well. Analyzing a picture, one may take into consideration either one element, or all of them at once. In fact, the number of elements under analysis does not matter if the purpose of analyzing is to record any perceptions and to reflect on them. Besides, the author reflects on the importance of such issues as subject matter, form, and content. The article presents the answers to the main questions that can appear while analyzing the artwork, and, finally, there is detailed information regarding the analysis of different arts, namely painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, and video art.

“Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible,” is the statement in this reading that I liked most. I absolutely agree the work of art consists of the great number of elements, each of them conveying particular meaning. Every thing in the picture (or movie, or photo, etc.) does matter, and it is necessary to draw the distinct line between all the elements and, at the same time, to see all of them in total. Every artwork makes us see something except the form. Looking at the picture, one may notice the purpose of the artist, his style, hidden message, and culture.

To sum up all the ideas of reading, it becomes clear the main objective of any analysis is finding out the way in which the work of art communicates; and the successful analysis is impossible without clear understanding of the differences between content, form, and subject matter and knowing answers on the basic questions relating to the analysis of artwork.

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Formal Analysis

The article “Formal analysis” focuses on the formal approach to analyzing the works of art, its main peculiarities and advantages. At the beginning, the author explains the notion of formal analysis, claiming that it is an analysis of the form produced by the artist, which, in its turn, consists of line, shape, texture, color, mass, composition and other components. The most meaningful things for such an analysis are the meaning of the artwork, its hidden properties, and expression because different people may interpret the same form differently. Moreover, the author contrasts formal analysis and description, explaining the main difference between these approaches. The reading also deals with the term style, which is considered the marker of an artist, period or culture, expresses the meaning of work, and creates its form.

Most of all I liked the way the author expresses his ideas and explains the key notions of the article. One of the statements I liked is, “… a picture is like a chair: a chair can be stood on or burned for firewood or used as a weapon, but it was created with a specific purpose that was evident and remains evident to all competent viewers.” The purpose of the creator of an artwork is closely connected to his style, technique, and culture in general. When looking at the picture (or some other work of art) it is necessary to see not only the shape, surface and color but also the meaning conveyed by them and their purpose. Finally, all the elements mentioned work together, create the meaning, style, and, at last, form. Thus, formal analysis considers the artwork a constructed object with a definite meaning, taking into account the relations between all its elements in coherence.

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From this article, a competent reader learns about the formal analysis, which helps to understand the underlying meaning of the work of art and get the author’s style and purpose. I think that this reading helps to understand the objective of formal analysis better and to realize its significance.

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