APSU Notes

ART 1035 Introduction to Art
Assignment: Description & Analysis for Critical Analysis Assignment

This semester you will be completing a Critical Analysis of a work of art of your choosing. This is your main written assignment for the semester. The process of completing the Critical Analysis will be broken down into four separate assignments. These are:

  1. Image Selection
  2. Description & Analysis
  3. Interpretation & Evaluation
  4. Final Critical Analysis

The first three parts of the Critical Analysis Assignment will be for Credit, but any missed work or late work will affect your final Critical Analysis grade.

For this assignment you will be using the image you selected during week five.

You will provide a detailed description of your chosen work of art.

  • Look at Chapter Four Section 4.3.1 Description in the book to help you complete your description.
  • Include information about line, shape, mass, volume, space, texture, and color.
  • Make sure you give a detailed and complete description of your work.

You will complete an analysis of your chosen work based on your detailed description.

  • Look at Chapter Four Section 4.3.2 Analysis in the book to help you complete your analysis.
  • How are the elements related?
  • Discuss the unity, variety, scale, balance, emphasis, and rhythm

Submit your word document or pdf to the D2L assignment folder, pages files will not be accepted. When you turn your assignment in on D2L you will receive a similarity report through Turnitin, as well as a grammar check. Make sure you look at both items to help you in editing for your final Critical Analysis assignment. Your final paper will need to be 2 – 4 pages in length and have a similarity score of 15% or less.

This assignment is for Credit and will be calculated into the final grade of your Critical Analysis.

Example of Description and Analysis
ART 1035-(Class Section)
Critical Analysis: Description & Analysis


        Raphael painted the fresco The School of Athens between 1510 – 1511. The fresco is one of four frescos within the Stanza della Segnatura. Raphael uses lines, colors, unity, variety, perspective, and balance to give this fresco a calm yet thought-provoking quality. Raphael set this painting in a large open arched architectural area with groups of people sitting, standing, and lounging around. The arched ceiling, and architectural molding lead the eye to the vanishing point that falls at the waist level behind the two central figures of the work.

        Raphael uses a wide color palate of mainly muted colors, but has used brighter blues, reds, and purples to draw the viewers’ attention to the main figures of the fresco. The central figures, both those standing at the top of the stairs and those lounging on the stairs, are shown in blues, reds, and purples drawing out eye to the center of the image. Within each group of figures, the figure of focus is wearing red, except for the group standing on the top of the stairs to the left. The figure of focus here is wearing green. Within the groups we can see complementary color schemes of reds and greens, and orange and blues. We can also see the analogous color schemes of oranges to red-violets, and greens to violets.

        There was great care taken to make sure that the texture of the architecture and the statuary looked like smooth marble that retains its strength pointing to the great ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. The statues on either side of the archways are clearly reminiscent of those of Ancient Greece and Rome, most likely referencing the pantheon that was followed by these civilizations. Raphael has kept detail in the architecture and statuary that makes up the receding archway of the architectural area but has added a bit of atmospheric perspective in the clouds and sky seen through the back archway. The fabric of the ancient style clothing, again pointing the Ancient Greece and Rome, maintains a soft flowing look. The group of figures within the architectural setting are proportioned to show the vastness of the arched area, allowing the viewer to get the feel of a great meeting hall. The arched architectural area of the fresco is mirrored in the arched area of the Stanza della Segnatura in which the fresco is painted. The arched area of the Stanza della Segnatura has a Greek Meander arch over the image. This gives the illusion of looking through a window into the past intellectual ideals and philosophies of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

        The fresco is divided down the middle between the two central figures standing on the steps, no figure crosses this dividing line. The groups of figures on each side of the dividing line are symmetrical in their location. There is a group of figures in the foreground on the edge of the image, a group standing at the top of the steps on the edge, and another group standing facing the central figures. The two isolated figures lounging on the stairs are asymmetrical with the figure on the left being placed lower on the stairs and further forward in the image. There is unity within the figures of the groups, they wear similar colors and are focused on the same point within their groups. The central figures provide variety in their positions and focus. The figure on the left, holds a book under is left arm and is gesturing toward the heavens. The figure on the right, holds a book against his left leg and is holding his left arm out, hand open with palm down toward the ground. This indicates the differing ideals of the two sides of the work, one toward the unseen ideals and one toward the physical present ideas. Raphael took the time to render each figure as an individual, giving them each their own identity. The individual figures also have items within their hands or groups that point to the focus of each group of people, or the identity of individual figures. The placements of the groups of figures draws the eye of the viewer first to the central figures, then to the groups in the foreground, and around to the groups standing on either side of the central figures, again drawing focus back to the two central figures.