Types of Criticism in Art
In Chapter 3 of the text, Being A Critic of the Arts, three types of criticism are discussed (more detailed definitions can be found in the text and PowerPoint lecture slides posted on Blackboard):
Descriptive Criticism aims at a careful accounting of the formal elements in the work. As its name implies, this stage of criticism is marked by an examination of the large formal elements as well as the details of the composition.
Interpretive Criticism focuses on the content of the work, the discovery of which requires reflection on how the formal elements transform the subject matter.
Evaluative Criticism, on the other hand, is an effort to qualify the relative merits of the work.
1) Critique three different pieces of art using each type of criticism. In other words, select a work of art (painting, sculpture, theatre, music, dance, or photography), critique the artwork using one form of criticism, then select two other works of art, and critique each of them using each of the other two forms of criticism.
a) Descriptive Criticism of The Flame by Jackson Pollock
b) Interpretive Criticism of Guernica by Pablo Picasso
c) Evaluative Criticism of The Polish Rider by Willem Drost
2) Select one work of art (painting, sculpture, theatre, music, dance, or photography), and critique it, using all three forms of criticism. For example, you might elect to do a Descriptive Criticism, Interpretive Criticism, and Evaluative Criticism of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
No works of Architecture, Literature, Cinema, or Television/Video Art
Execution in Saigon (Eddie Adams)
May 3, 1808 (Francisco Goya)
Figures 2-9 through 2-18 in Chapter 2 (Interpretations of the Female Nude)
Last Supper or Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci)
The Flame (Jackson Pollock)
Guernica (Pablo Picasso)
Mont Sainte-Victoire (Cezanne)
Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (van Gogh)
Mask II (Ron Mueck)
Holy Virgin Mary (Chris Ofili)
The Polish Rider (Willem Drost)
1) You should consult at least six outside sources, a minimum of two for each form of criticism. While you may use the textbook as a supplemental source, it does not count toward one of the six required outside sources. You are to cite those sources using MLA bibliographic form. When using outside sources, you should cite the sources parenthetically within the text of the paper, too.
Generally, sources are cited by using the last name of the author, and the page number. Click here for further information. In-text citations should look like this:
Smith argues that this film is an example of a traditional Western in that it reinforces the frontier myth (Smith 95). Then you would go on to write your next sentence like this. And so on.
2) Be sure not to plagiarize! Even if you’re paraphrasing information from a source, you must cite your source. If you use anything word-for-word from a source, you must put that direct quote in quotation marks.
3) Use only academically sound sources. Do NOT use Wikipedia and similar on-line sources. Limit yourself to books, journal articles, and trade publications. Locate the folder in Blackboard titled “Subject and Resource Guides” to get started.
a) The artistic criticism paper can be anywhere from 6-10 pages long. It should be typed, double-spaced, and use 12-point font with standard 1-inch margins. Note: This 6-10 Page Requirement Does Not Include The Works Cited Page Or Any Cover Pages.
b) The paper must be turned in on time. Late papers will receive a 20-point grade deduction for each day the paper is late. Papers may not be turned in more than 3 days late.
c) The paper is worth a total of 250 points (25% of your grade in the course).