What criteria are used to determine what a work of art is? If art lacks a clear definition, what criteria are used to determine what a work of art is?
Please look at several works on any museum website to discuss what constitutes “art.” Some major museums include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, or National Gallery of Art, or consider finding a local museum. The permanent collection is normally under the Collections link, but feel free to explore the entire website for your selection.
For the initial post, address the following:
What approaches should we take in responding to a work of art?
Select an example of art that fits your definition of art and provide an example of non-art (either from the site or in the world around you).
Determine how line, color, texture, and/or composition are part of your definition.
Knowing the difference between good and bad art can be difficult. You can’t always trust the art experts; many times it’s hard to even understand them. Since I believe that it’s important to make up your own mind about art, I decided to write this article to help each and every one of you judge art for yourself.
I’ve come up with five characteristics that you can use to determine the quality of art, ranging from the paintings in your local gallery to the strange contemporary sculpture your boss added right outside your office.
The characteristics I found were beauty, skill, inherent meaning, uniqueness, and fulfilled intent. I’ll explain each of these throughout the article.
I’m convinced that anyone can use their own fundamental knowledge to compare artwork based on these five inherent properties. Even if other people have a different opinion than you do about a particular work of art, this article should help you explain how you came to your conclusion.
All right, so on the basis that all art is not created equal, let’s get to the nitty-gritty and break down these five characteristics of art.
Beauty is, and always will be, in the “eye of the beholder.” Your decision about the beauty or lack of beauty in a particular work of art is instinctive and natural. In fact, you probably won’t even have to make that decision, you’ll just either be captivated by a piece of art or you won’t.
People within the same social context often agree on what is beautiful, so you’ll probably find others close by who will like the same things as you do. Some aspects of art that are generally appealing to people are:
1. Repeating shapes, patterns, and symmetry.
2. Colors, especially colors that complement or enhance each other.
3. Textures, both visual and physical (like thick, impasto paint).
4. Crops and compositions that focus the eye and keep the viewers’ attention.
5. Movement or flow to guide viewers through the art.
6. Correct or appealing proportions of figures and objects.
7. Presentation and framing.
You won’t need to take a checklist into the galleries for this since your eye will naturally be drawn to the art you prefer. Like I mentioned before, this is the easy one. All you have to do is answer the question, “Do I like this?” Of course, if you decide to ask why you like it, then the list above might come in handy.
Technical skill is the most comparable and measurable aspect of art. As you look at a painting (or any other work of art) you probably will be able to determine how skillfully it was created simply by comparison with other works.
First, compare the works to other art you’ve seen in that medium before—if it is a painting, for example, decide whether this artist is more talented than others you’ve seen. It might be difficult if you’re just starting out, and in that case, don’t let it worry you. It will only take a short amount of time for you to see the differences between a skillful painting and one that’s poorly done.
Second, look at all the artwork on display by the artist. You might find that some are more impressive than others, or appear better made, and you’ll certainly have an idea of one or two that are the best out of the entire group.
Third, look at each work of art itself. Are they individually consistent? Are there places that you can see odd markings compared to another area within the same piece? Sometimes art may look rushed or strange, but if it is created in a similar fashion throughout the entire piece then the effect is most likely intentional. If not, then that work may not be as good as some others that are more internally cohesive.
Judging the level of skill in a work of art is probably the most difficult thing I’m suggesting to do in this article. Over time and with more exposure to art you will eventually come to a greater understanding of different mediums. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to be an artist yourself you’ll probably find out that you instinctively have a better grasp of other mediums already.