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Texture


What is the surface texture like? Is it even or uneven, smooth or coarse, shiny or matte? Can you see brushstrokes?


Process and technique


* What type of art work is it? For example, is it a painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, video or installation?


* How do you think it was made? * Can you see how the artist worked?


* Do you think the artist worked slowly and carefully or quickly and energetically?


* How long do you think it took to make?


* Do you think other people may have helped the artist?


* How is it displayed? If it is in a frame, what is the frame like?


Language of art


Try using visually expressive language. For example, when describing A Connemara Village by Paul Henry in the National Gallery of Ireland (see Fig. 1), instead of saying:


In the lower half of the painting there are mounds of turf, houses and a mountain. In the upper half there is a cloudy sky…


You could say:


The upper half of the composition is given over to the sky, which is filled with soft white clouds. A row of tiny whitewashed cottages is clearly outlined in sunshine on a little hill against a backdrop of deep blue mountains. This is highlighted by a large area of shadow crossing the foreground diagonally, balanced by the dark shapes of three mounds of turf.


3. Interpret


* What is this work of art about? * What is the setting? * Is a time and place depicted?


* Is there a narrative?


* What mood does the work convey or how does it affect your emotions?


* Do you think the artist is trying to communicate a message? What might it be?


Why do you think this?


4. Research * In what period in history did the artist live?


* How do you think the artist’s social or historical background influenced the subject, style or technique?


* Was the work originally created as a piece of art or do you think it had some other purpose,


such as religious, ceremonial or practical?


* Do you think it was originally intended for display in a private home, an art gallery or for


another space, such as a palace, temple or church?


* Is this work typical of a particular period of the artist’s career?


* Compare the work to another by the same artist.


* How does it relate to the work of other artists from the same period?


* Does knowing more about what the artist was trying to convey help you to enjoy it more?


Why is that? NOTE!


Finding out more about the life of the artist and the period during


which he or she lived can greatly help you to appreciate their art.


Figurative or abstract art


Painting and sculpture can be figurative or abstract.


NOTE!


An element of abstraction is simplification.


INTRODUCTION xi


INTRODUCTION

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