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Writing about art.

Just as students have been taught that through reading stories and poems they can find meaning in literature, students also can be taught that through writing about paintings and sculptures they can find meaning in works of art.

Teachers can create activities based on art that are similar to those that are created for literature. One approach is the use of a student writing and research center to create an environment for writing critically about art.

Writing and Research Center

The center should contain all the "tools" for digging up ideas for writing about art. Students should base their writings on the meanings they find in works of art.

The facts researched by the students, as well as the efforts to describe and analyze the works of art, may be a part of the writings and may therefore support the meanings and purposes of the works.

Learning to Interpret and Evaluate Artworks

It is not only important that students learn to interpret and evaluate the artwork of others but also that they learn to write critically about their own artistic efforts. Students can express themselves through images and words as they give written explanations of their own artwork.

Journal writing is a quick but effective way for students to write about the meaning intended in their own works of art and to make self-assessments.

The student writing guide below is designed to be used individually. It can be given as a class assignment or used in a learning center.

Tools for Learning

Teachers can become facilitators for learning when they give their students the tools they need to become responsible for their own learning.

As students find meaning in works of art, they learn to see the world in which they live with improved perception, thus preparing themselves for the challenges of the future.


Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tools for Writing and Research

* Art reproductions (postcards, posters, study prints)

* Writing materials or computer

* Art books

* Timelines and chronologies

* Student writing guide containing suggested questions to help generate ideas

RELATED ARTICLE: Student Writing Guide

Choose a work of art. As you look at the work, use the question(s) below to help you find meaning and to help you understand what the artist was trying to say (Not every question will apply to every artwork.). Use the question(s) to help you write about the meaning in the work of art. Write an introduction and finish with a closing statement. The body of your paper may express anything you think is important about the meaning of your selected work of art.

Choose one or more of the following questions, and write about your chosen work of art.

1. What is this about?

2. What is the artwork saying to you? Is it telling you a story? What story?

3. What is the main idea?

4. How do all the objects within the work of art help to express or to show the main idea?

5. What does the work mean to you?

6. What are some of the clues you can find that will help you understand the main idea?

7. What can you find out about the artist?

8. What is the title of the artwork? What do you think it means?

9. What media did the artist use?

10. Describe the subject matter of the artwork.

11. What is the mood of the artwork? (happy, sad, quiet, loud, cheerful, bright, dull, light, heavy)

12. If you could, would you buy this work of art for your own home? Why or why not?

13. Did you like this artwork? Why or why not?
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:art criticism instruction
Author:Reynolds, Nancy Walkup
Publication:School Arts
Date:Sep 1, 1995
Previous Article:Gesture sculpture.
Next Article:Match, pair, sort.

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