And what makes an artwork successful?

1. Content (idea-based)--What did the artist mean to portray?
2. What did the artist actually portray?
3. Did the artist succeed in portraying what it is he/she meant to portray?
4. Who might identify with this artwork?
5. How do you as an individual react to both the intended and actual message?
6. How do you as an individual react to the aesthetics of the piece?

suc·cess n
1. the achievement of something planned or attempted
2. impressive achievement, especially the attainment of fame, wealth, or power
3. something that turns out as planned or intended
4. somebody who has a record of achievement, especially in gaining wealth, fame, or power

aes·thet·ics or es·thet·ics n
1. the branch of philosophy dealing with the study of aesthetic values such as the beautiful and the sublime (takes a singular verb)
2. the study of the rules and principles of art (takes a singular verb)
3. a particular idea of what is beautiful or artistic (takes a singular or plural verb)
4. how something looks, especially when considered in terms of how pleasing it is (takes a singular or plural verb)

How Do You Know It's Good? by Mayra Mannes:

"Purpose and craftsmanship—end and means—these are the keys to your judgment in all the art." - MannesDoes Mannes believe that “good” and “bad” can be defined? Does she define those terms? How do you define those terms? Can those terms be defined?

In paragraph four, Mannes states that “it is the audience which makes the arts,” an opinion that is implied repeatedly in the essay. Do you agree with this opinion? What effects do you feel an audience has on the arts?

What are the responsibilities of the audience? Do you feel qualified (based on her idea of responsibility) to “make the arts”? Do you think she’s asking too much or not enough of the audience?

In paragraph eight, Mannes implies that recent art is in the poor state it is because people don’t care about craftsmanship. Do you agree with Mannes’ explanation of the cause-and-effect relationship? Do you think she is over-generalizing? Why or why not?

How would you answer the question posed by the title?

Are these works good art?

Untitled 1969
Mark Rothko
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Weeping Woman
Pablo Picasso

Critically analyze the following works of art using visual terminology:
Edvard Munch, The Day After, 1894-1895, oil on canvas, 115x152cm
Edvard Munch, Vampire, 1893-4, oil on canvas, 91 x 109 cm 

Andy Warhol, The Last Supper, 1986, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 9' 11 1/4" x 21' 11 1/4"

Ron English, Super Supper


Brice Marden, Vine, 1992-93, oil on linen, 8' x 8' 6 1/2"


Terry Winters, Double Gravity, 1984, oil on linen, 6' 8" x 8' 8"

Cy Twombly, The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, 1993-94, synthetic polymer paint, oil, house paint, pencil and crayon on four canvases, Spring 10' 3 1/8" x 6' 2 7/8"

Questions to ask yourself:

What is the subject matter?

What materials do you think were used in creating this piece?

What shapes do you see? (circles, rectangles, triangles, squares, angular, hard-edged or soft, curved)

What do the lines look like? (sharp, thick, thin, jagged, choppy, vertical horizontal, smooth, curved, graceful straight)

Do you see any texture? (rough, smooth, shiny, soft, hard, dull)

How about the colors? Are the colors clear or muddy, bright, bold, or dismal? Are they dark or light, warm or cold? Are they neutral? Are they compliments? What are they?

If you squint your eyes to look at the piece where do you see the lightest areas? (right, left, bottom, top, center)

Do the same, but with dark areas.

Describe the lighting to the best of your ability.

Is anything repeated often in the piece? (lines, shapes, images, colors)

What kind of space is used? (deep space- you can see for miles, shallow space- cannot see very far, or flat space- things do not pop-out or seem very

What is the first thing you see when you look at the artwork? (focal point)

List other items you see?

What kind of balance is used? (asymmetrical, symmetrical, a bit of both)

Describe the scene.

How does it make you feel?

If there is a figure(s), explain the gesture they are making. What about there posture? Is it upright or slumped?

Can you make a story up about the artwork? What would it be?

Is it a representational, nonrepresentational or abstract piece?

Is it naturalistic in any way?

Is it stylized in anyway?

Is the image an icon?