Please read carefully and follow directions for possible full credit.
The formal analysis is a technique you can use to observe a painting, sculpture, or building. If you get into the habit of looking at artwork this way you will be observing completely. A Formal Analysis considers all the formal aspects that we have been concentrating on this semester. (e.g., framing, symmetry, perspective, etc.) of a work of art and their relationship to each other in the work. Please use the guide below to help you focus on how to look at artwork. If you want to review this information it can be found in chapters 1.1 to 1.9.
Directions: Please follow all directions, points will be deducted if you do not.
Please choose a painting from the chapters we have covered so far. Copy an image of it and paste it into a word document. Then copy and paste the outline below into the word document. Answer each question in a red font.
You can see the possible points for each question below. Please do not answer yes or no, you will not get points for this. You will get points for full sentences with correct spelling and grammar.
Please note the answers to the questions are your observations of your painting. This is an observation and recording exercise, not a “look up the answer assignment”.
Note: not all of the prompts will apply to all paintings. If you do not see evidence of the prompt in your painting explain why and you can still get the points, if you leave it blank, you will not get points.
1. Image of Painting-2 points
2. Identification of Painting-3 points
–Who is the artist?
–What is the title?
–When was the work painted?
3. Subject Matter-1 point
–What type of painting is it?
d. genre (scene of everyday life)
e. still life
i. architectural view
j. style-abstract, surreal, etc.
–If the painting seems to belong to two or more categories, which dominates?
4. Frame (the frame is the edge or boundary of the painting) 3 points
–What is the proportion of height to width? ( is it wider than tall or taller than wide?)
–What is the actual size of the picture (height x width)?
–Does the frame cut the shapes in the painting or does it contain them?
5. Picture plane-1 point
–What is the relationship of the shapes in the painting to the frame? Are they harmonious or
discordant? What other ways can you describe the relationship?
6. Media-3 points
–What materials are used for support: wood, canvas, cardboard, paper?
–What kinds of paint are used: oil, tempera, watercolor, pastel?
–Have other materials been used, as in a collage?
–How is the paint applied: thickly or thinly, with a fine or coarse brush, or by
–Are colors transparent or opaque?
Lines (can be actual, the edges of shapes, planes, forms, or implied)- 4points
–how do lines appear to you in this painting?
–What are the directions of the lines?
–Do the lines help create space?
–do the lines help create volume or shape?
–Organic or geometric?
–use negative space?
–actual or implied?
Implied Depth, Value, and Space-7 points
–What is the degree of the illusion of space? Does it look three-dimensional? Or flat?
–What role does value have regarding the illusion of space?
–Where is the source of light, in the painting like a lamp or candle or not in the painting?
–Is there a sense of contrast in the values used? Light and dark?
–How is overlapping used to show space or not?
–what type of perspective is used?
–is there a vanishing point?
Color- 5 points
–Describe the color pallet used in the painting?
–What are the color relationships of this pallet?
–Describe the chroma, tone, shades, and or tints in the pallet.
–is there an expressive use of color in the painting?
Composition (arrangement of the Elements and Principles)
Organization: -5 points
–Describe the main sense of organization (what you first see when you look at the work) is it simple or complex? Ordered or seemingly accidental?
–do you find it stable?
–Do some forms dominate?
–is there symmetry? If so what kind?
–Is the painting crowded or spacious?