Consider its formal qualities and its contextual qualities in detail. (Use: Object Analysis Worksheet as a guide). You should also consider the condition the work is in.
Is it damaged?
Has it been repaired? Does this affect what it looks like now?
Also, describe its location in the museum, and analyze the curatorial choices made by the exhibition organizers. What works are nearby?
What is the work’s relationship to other works in the gallery?
How is the space designed?
Why is it there?
Did the curator make good decisions in your view?
Why / why not?
Lastly, explain why you chose this work. What drew you to it?
How does it make you feel?
Why? How do its formal and contextual elements influence these?
1. Formal Analysis aesthetic interpretation of an artwork
Form and Composition
What is it a representation of?
What kind of form (3-D) does it have?
What kinds of shapes (2-D) does it have?
What kind of composition does it have? Balanced? (Unbalanced? Diagonal? Central? All-over?)
Material and Technique
What is its medium? (what is it made out of?)
What kind of technique was used? (Any special tools, devices, approach?)
Does it evidence any recognizable style (is it naturalistic (realistic)? Is it graphic (flat and decorative)? Is it fantastic (imaginary)? Is it abstract (no recognizable imagery)? Why?)
What kind of line quality does it use (Thick? Thin? Hatching? Rough? Contour?)
What hues (raw colors) are visible? (Are they Warm? Cool? Primary? Secondary? Complementary?)
Are they tinted (lightened), toned (darkened)? What is their intensity?
What kind of texture does it have?
Is its texture influenced by its technique or material/medium? (i.e. incising, collage, wood, stone, plastic, ceramic, metal)
Space, Mass, and Volume
Is it 2-D or 3-D?
Does it rely on illusionistic space? (usually created in 2-D works through perspective)
For 3-D work, what kind of mass does it have? (how heavy/dense is it?)/ What kind of volume does it have? (how does it occupy space?)
Object Analysis Worksheet (back)
1. Formal Analysis (continued)
Perspective and Foreshortening
Does it create an illusionistic sense of depth through perspective? (using vanishing points and making things further away smaller)
Does it create an illusionistic sense of depth through foreshortening? (representing a figure or object at an angle to the picture plane)
Proportion and Scale
What kinds of proportions does it employ? (correct proportions, exaggerated proportions, ideal proportions, natural proportions? unnatural proportions? by whose standards do we designate these terms?)
What is its scale (is it large, small, how many inches, cm, height/width/length/diameter, etc.)
Carving and Casting (3-D works)
Is it carved? (material subtracted such as in wood or marble)
Is it produced through an additive process? (i.e. built up, such as with clay)
Is it casted? (poured into a mold and set, such as with bronze and plaster)
Relief (3-D works)
Is it a freestanding sculpture/ sculpture in round?
Is it a relief? (raised from a flat surface)
Is it high-relief (extreme projections from surface) or low-relief/bas-relief (low projections from surface)
2. Contextual Analysis interpretation of a work based on its context
What time period/culture is it from?
In what specific location was it found?
Is it fixed or portable?
Is it intended as an art object (useless/beauty) or for functional purposes?
Who made it? Who commissioned it? Why?
What is its significance? What was it used for?
Why did the artist choose to depict this subject?
What is its relationship to other objects of the same period/culture? Are there other artworks like it? Is it unique?
What do we NOT know about it?
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