One must ask oneself the following questions
regarding the physical
aspects of a work of art
These are notes
I took (and translated for you all
) in my class "Lecture et Analyse de l'Oeuvre d'Art
I provide an example of a piece of art analysed by this method here
In what way does the work occupy the presentation space?
Is it from in front of, from beside, or beneath or above the spectator?
For the spectator, what is the effect of a work being presented in this manner?
The Dimensions of the Work of Art
What are the dimensions?
What is the best distance to visually understand the entirety of the work?
What rapport is established with the spectator by the size of the work?
What is the global effect felt by the spectator about the space taken up by a work?
The Global Form of the Work of Art
What is the global form of the work (simple geometric, composed, floating in space)?
What dynamic comes out of the global form of the work of art (stability, dynamism, rising, circularity)?
Does it suggest an actual frame?
What is the colour, thickness, and shape compared to the work?
Is it decorative, or is it integrated into the field of the work?
If the work has no frame or base, how can we distinguish it from its environment?
Does the frame have a critical function within art history?
Is the frame part of the discourse of the work?
What is the dominant chromatic of the work (cold or hot, and what general tone)?
Are the colours saturated or translucent, mixed or pure, bright or matte?
Is there complimentarity between the colours?
Are the colours local or arbitrary; do they relate to the objects they represent?
What is the general effect of the chromatic organisation of the work?
What is the actual texture of the work (smooth, dry, granulated, pointy)?
What illusionary textures are present in the work?
What is the actual effect of the represented textures?
What are the tactile effects that come from the textures?
The Network of Lines
What type of lines dominates the work (contour, straight, broken, curved)?
What are the various values of the visible lines in the work (direction, density, closure, opening)?
Do the contour lines have mimetic value in the work?
What kind of iconic figures do the lines make?
What type of line do we find in the work (geometric, topologic, open, closed, large, small)?
What is the appearance of these lines on the surface?
Are the forms homogenous or heterogenous in the work?
Are there icons, hints, or symbols?
What is the general effect of the forms?
Analysis of Iconographic Themes
If the work has significant icons, how do the dynamics garner the sense expressed by the forms?
In looking at an abstract work, what is the global effect of the physical dimension of the whole?