Talking About Art

Edward Hopper, New York Movie, 1939


How to Talk  About Art

1.   Formal Analysis: What do you see?
(Talk about mediumcomposition (arrangement) of visual elements such as line, shape, texture, space, value, color)

Sometimes the visual elements are described as   line, space, light, color, texture, composition. It’s all good.

2.  Iconographic Analysis:  What does it mean?
(Talk about symbolism)

3.  Contextual Analysis: What does it come out of?
(Talk about background)

Question: How are iconographic and contextual analysis related?

Let’s Talk about Formal Analysis (Only what it looks like) first:

  • Medium = what it is made of (oil, pastel, paper, charcoal, mixed media etc).
  • Composition = Arrangement of visual elements
  • Visual Elements:

  1. Line
  2. Shape
  3. Texture
  4. Space (perspective)
  5. Value
  6. Color


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