Wells

How to Look at Great Art-Tools for 13-15

How to Look at and Understand Great Art - Tools from Lectures 13-15

Lecture 13: Sculpture - Salt Cellars to Monuments (14.01.19)

Notice how sculpture creates its effects:
⦁ What is the subject of the sculpture (person, animal, object, other)?
⦁ How big is the sculpture compared to the natural size of the figure or object in nature?
⦁ How does light affect how we see the sculpture?
⦁ Is the sculpture indoors or outdoors?
⦁ Is the sculpture on a level with you or raised above you?
⦁ Is the sculpture in relief or in the round?
⦁ Is the texture smooth or rough?
⦁ What medium is the artist using - marble, clay, bronze, wood, gold, acrylic, found objects?
⦁ Has the work been painted or gilded or otherwise had its color altered?
⦁ Is the sculpture in an expected place, like a museum or a public square, or does its placement surprise you in some way?
⦁ Is the work additive or subtractive, carved or cast?
⦁ Is the sculpture interactive in some way? Does it invite you to respond?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the sculptor's choices of lighting, subject, size, placement, texture, medium, or interactivity affect how I respond to the work?

Lecture 14: Development of Painting - Tempera and Oils (14.01.19)

Notice the type of paint the artist chose and how it was applied to the surface:
⦁ Is the paint oil, watercolor, tempera, or some other type?
⦁ On what surface is the paint applied?
⦁ Are brushstrokes smooth or rough, tiny or large, hidden or visible?
⦁ Can you tell if a palette knife has been used on the paint?
⦁ Do you see evidence of varnishing?
⦁ Did the artist use more than one medium?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the types of paint and the method of application affect how I see the painting?

Lecture 15: Modern Painting - Acrylics and Assemblages (14.01.19)

When you look at modern paintings, notice the effects of acrylic paint or other nontraditional materials and methods of application:
⦁ Was acrylic paint used in this work? What effects does it have that are different from a traditional oil painting?
⦁ Can you detect other media used in combination with acrylic, like wax or oil sticks, enamel, or chalk?
⦁ Has the painter used any nontraditional methods of applying paint: finger painting, splattering,dripping?
⦁ On what surface are the paint and other media applied?
⦁ Can you see the texture of underlying canvas, indicating thin gesso, either hand-applied or preprimed?

Ask yourself:
⦁ What effects can modern painters create with new materials and methods of application that earlier painters could not?