How to analyse a painting?

In this article, we want to help all our readers to understand how to analyse a painting, in the best way and in a simple and fast way!
We will try to do all this so that we can appreciate and know better the paintings we like the most.
Often, most people who visit museums do so without knowing how to analyse the works of art on display. Faced with a painting, only the aesthetic part is usually observed, ignoring the message that the artist wanted to communicate. You don’t need much education to be able to analyse a painting, you just need to know how to interpret them.

Look at the basics

The name of the artist, the title, the date, its current position, its condition and its origin or provenance are all information normally known through documentation. This information is the art historian’s best friend, although sometimes the art historian’s goal is to determine a probable artist or date in the absence of documentation.

Examine the formal qualities

Line, colour, brushstroke, tactile values, volume, modelling, proportion, perspective and composition are all important factors in understanding how the artist has conveyed his subject through his personal touch. A good artist makes his choices from his original point of view. The analysis of any work in terms of these qualities is called formal analysis. A formal analysis of any work of art can be done even without knowing anything about it.

Analyse the object

What is happening in the painting? Who are the people depicted? A good artist can be compared to a film or theatre director, because he or she has a clear personal feeling about the meaning of a story. For this reason, it is important to look at the characters in a painting and describe their actions and attitudes. Some recent paintings do not tell stories because they are abstract or non-representational, but in any case the subject matter can be anything from a place to an emotion.

Consider styles

Style is the sum total of the formal qualities of a painting. Each work of art has its own style, which means that it is different from the others. Every self-respecting artist has his or her own style, which may be different from that of other artists. In a broader sense, every country, city, century or decade has a style; knowing this information, anyone can notice these differences. People who have developed these skills are called “connoisseurs”. Any art lover can look at a painting they have never seen before and place it exactly in a specific historical period.

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