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Introduction Looking at art


Looking closely at and thinking carefully about a work of art can be a meaningful and lasting experience.


Works of art can be seen at school, in books, on the internet, on television, in public places or in galleries, but learning to look takes time.


By the end of this chapter, I will...


* Be familiar with each of the art elements. * Know how to analyse a painting.


* Be able to research background and context.


* Be able to evaluate a work of art.


* Know how to use art vocabulary and visually descriptive language.


* Know why sculpture had such an important role in the history of Western art.


* Be able to identify a sculpture in the round * Be able to compare a contemporary work * Be able to evaluate sculpture using


as distinct from a relief sculpture. with a work from the past. appropriate art vocabulary.


* Know how to prepare an art history essay. * Know how to write a good introduction.


* Know how to combine the description of art works with formal analysis.


* Know how to conclude an essay. * Be able to illustrate your answer to


support your points.


To fully appreciate a work of art, it is important to build up an understanding of art and learn the skills and vocabulary to make observations. Knowing how to ‘read’ art can completely change how you experience it.


Appreciating art


One of the best ways to appreciate a work of art is to investigate the art elements, context and background.


Elements of art


The elements of art serve as the building blocks for creating something. They are line, shape, form, space, texture, tone and colour.


Artists manipulate these seven elements and mix them with the principles of design to make a work of art. Not every work contains every element, but at least two will always be present.


Context and background


Finding out when and why the work was created will give you a clue as to what the artist might have had in mind. This, in turn, will help you to enjoy and appreciate the work more.


Appreciating Irish painting


Look at the works of Irish art on the following page. Explore and evaluate one or more of them using the four suggested steps in the next section.


INTRODUCTION vii

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