Talking about Art

Talking About Art

What is a critique?


Critique is the manner in which we interpret, analyze, and describe works of art.  Critiques are invaluable to an artist, as it allows them to have a better understanding of how their work comes across to others.  It allows them to step back and examine what they have done, and perhaps what they need to do.  It allows artists to work with intention.

The key components to critiquing art are:

1. Description

What do you see?  What are some features or elements in the work?  What tools or techniques are used?

2. Analysis

How was it planned or constructed? What is the relationship between the subjects?  What is being emphasized?

3. Interpretation

What are some expressive qualities?  Does the work remind you of anything?  Does it remind you of any experiences?  How does it relate to the world?

4. Judgement or Evaluation 

Do you feel like the work is successful? Why or why not?  What are some points of reference can you give the artist? 

(Payne, n.d.)


We also use specific language to describe how art looks: tone, texture, line quality, color, shading, light, value, and more.  Teaching students this vocabulary is important- it allows them to focus on imagery, technique, and meaning instead of getting hung up on the words to use when describing these things.

Students during a critique

Students during a critique