Studying ArtHenna/ ESL . . .



Pablo Picasso

Salvatore Zofrea
Five Dreamings

The Critical Study

The critical study approach reveals knowledge to be gained and understood by looking carefully at and analysing the art work. It involves a personal response. This type of study includes describing, interpreting and judging an art work.

The Historical Study

The historical study approach is an explanatory approach. It defines, compares and explains the art work's meaning or function within the social, cultural, political and historical time in which it was created. It involves looking at what others have said about an art work. This historical approach adds extra information to that gained by a critical study of the art work. It creates a deeper understanding, particularly of the intention of the artist.

Information is given about the artist and their artistic style. The section also contains statements by the artists themselves, writings in manifestos and catalogues, and comments by art historians.

Although art works will be looked at using both the critical study andhistorical study methods, there can and should be at times an overlap, as these disciplines do inform each other to create a synthesis of interpretation.

The Frames

The frames Subjective, Structural, Cultural and Postmodern - provide a basis for
interpreting the making and studying of the visual arts. Frames are a device or process
which help to give us an understanding of what the artist was trying to achieve. Using the
frames helps us not only to understand the attitude of artists but also the stance or approach
of critics and historians.

The frames are four models or ways of approaching making art and asking questions about
art. Below is a brief, simplified definition of each frame.

Subjective frame: immediate response based on the senses; expressive, personal response;
imagination, unconscious, intuitive (without thinking); shared human experiences

• Critical study

Ask yourself: What do I see and feel about the art work?

Historical study

What do others see and feel about the art work, considering its historical time?

Structural frame: codes, symbols and signs used; use of elements line, shape, texture, and so
on; organisation and relationships; composition, scale; materials and techniques

• Critical study

Ask yourself: How has it been organised and what symbols are used and why?

• Historical study
What do others say about the techniques and use of signs and symbols?

Cultural frame: cultural identity - race, class, gender, place; art movements and styles;
influence of scientific and artistic practice; influence of politics and economics; symbols
relating to culture

• Critical study
Ask yourself: What does it show you about the culture or society?

• Historical study
What do others say about the artist, influences, style or meaning?

Postmodern frame: use of words or images from the past for a new purpose or in a new way;
mass media, popular culture; new, non-traditional media and methods; diversity

• Critical study

Ask yourself: Have past art works been used in a new way (appropriated)? Is it a new form
of art?

• Historical study
What do others say about the ideas, appropriations, art form, meanings?

perceiving, responding, manipulating,
organising, evaluating.

Learning experiences


Beverly Hills Intensive English Centre

©2006 Drift1