The Art History Critique (AHC) process takes a deep look into an individual work of art. Each Critique begins with an object, which will be assigned by the
instructor. The Art History Critique process involves analyzing different aspects of the work of art: Descriiption/Subject; Formal Analysis; Interpretation; and
Process: The instructor will provide students with a list of works. Students will select a specific work from this list. Using only the Art 101 course sources
provided by the instructor, you will complete the sections of the AHC process as described below.
Deliverable: You will write an essay in a Word document that will be submitted in Canvas. Your essay should be organized into well-developed paragraphs
that use correct grammar and punctuation. Each section must be a minimum of one cohesive paragraph, although you are not limited to this.
Use of sources: Information from the provided sources can be paraphrased or directly quoted. Direct quotes should make up no more than 20% of the paper
and must be in quotation marks. Cite the sources in MLA format in the text of the paper and in a Works Cited list at the end.
Descriiption/Subject: As the introductory paragraph for your essay, this section should include the artist, title, date, and medium of the work; a brief
descriiption of the work; a summary of the story and/or subject; and your rationale for selecting it. Statements like “I picked it because I like it” or “I chose it
because the colors pop” are not appropriate rationales. Your answer should be based on information about the object, not just what you see. This summary
should include specific information gathered from the provided resources and will serve to establish the topic to be considered.
Formal Analysis: In this section, you will analyze the form of the work of art. The form is the physical object, independent of any subject, interpretation, or
context. The form includes its size (scale), the type of work (i.e. sculpture, painting, print, drawing, etc.), and the media used (i.e. oil paint, watercolor, relief
sculpture, pencil drawing, etching, etc.). To analyze the form, the student must also describe the way that the artist used specific elements of art and the
principles of design.
**Do not attempt to describe how the artist used all of the elements and principles, but you should discuss a minimum of two. Select those that are
dominant in the work and that are the most important for understanding the meaning and context of the work.
**Do not address that meaning or context in this section.
Interpretation: In this section, use evidence from the sources provided to draw conclusions about what the work of art was intended to communicate to the
viewers for whom it was made. Focus on what the work of art meant in its time and place, not what it means to you personally or to people now. A work of
art can have many different layers of meaning to its viewers. Levels of interpretation can include political, emotional, and cultural. Interpretation can also
include how the artist intended for the viewer to use the object.
Context: In this final section, use evidence from the sources provided to draw conclusions about the historical, cultural, and/or artistic context of the work of
The Subject, Formal Analysis, and Interpretation sections investigate what a work of art is. They represent the end result of a deliberate series of choices
made by the artist. In this section, you will consider WHY the artist made those choices. What was happening socially, politically, culturally, etc. and how did
these events and currents influence what the artist decided to do in this work?
Use the sources provided to guide you in understanding the context of the work of art that is the subject of this critique. Be specific and focused in your
explanation of the context. Provide rationale for your conclusions from information gathered from provided sources.
List of works to choose from:
Giotto di Bondone, Meeting at the Golden Gate
Botticelli, Birth of Venus
Albrecht Altdorfer, Danube landscape near Regensburg
El Greco, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz
Bernini, Ecstasy of St. Theresa
Velazquez, Las Meninas
Maharana Sangram Singh II of Mewar
Kanō Tan’yu, Spring Landscape