Pictures worth writing about art

Two class periods of 45 minutes, including one evening of homework Grade Level Grades Objective Students will analyze documentary photographs and discuss their context in the history of the United States. Discussion is just the beginning.

Pictures worth writing about art

Writing About Art Visual Description The simplest visual description uses ordinary words to convey what the writer sees. First he or she must look at the subject — slowly, carefully, and repeatedly, if possible — to identify the parts that make the whole.

These parts must be sorted into the more and the less important, since no description can include everything, and assumptions must be separated from actual observations. It is easy to confuse what we see with what we think we see, or what we know is there.

Then comes the difficult job of finding appropriate words.

A picture is worth a thousand words – Lesson Plan

In effect, writing a visual description consists of two separate acts of translation. The first transforms a visual experience into a verbal one and the second turns a private experience into one that can be communicated to someone else.

Any writer takes some things for granted. It is crucial to understand what these things are and then consider them in terms of both the purpose of the description and the interests of the reader. For example, to describe the sky in a particular 17th-century Dutch landscape painting as cloudy indicates one aspect of the picture in a general way.

It leaves entirely unexplained the specific elements that create the visual effect — like the shapes and colors of the clouds, the way they have been arranged, or how they suggest space.

These qualities cannot be imagined by a reader who has not been given explicit details. In the same way, identifying something by artist, title, and date might be all a specialist needs to visualize the work.

Anyone else, however, will need to be told much more. Together they provide enough information to orient any reader.

In most cases, though, neither will be enough by itself. To say that a work of art shows a woman and a child, but not whether the representation is in two or three dimensions, makes it hard to form even the roughest mental image.

If, however, the writer says that the work is a life-size sculpture of a woman and child, the reader can begin to imagine what it might look like. He or she also will know enough to have questions. A good written description will anticipate these questions and provide information in an order that answers them.

Additional observations can make the first sentence even more useful. Perhaps the subject is the Virgin Mary and Jesus, an identification filled with meaning for someone who is knowledgeable about Christianity.

Maybe the sculptor is not known and the subject has not been identified. Then describing the relationship between the figures might be helpful.

To say that the work is a life-size sculpture of a seated woman holding a small child on her lap gives the reader a beginning. Of course the introductory sentence cannot hold too much information. It must strike a balance between giving the reader a few vague generalities and trying to convey everything at once.

A traditional work of art is, first of all, a physical object. The material or materials used may not be possible to identify by just looking. Perhaps they look like something they are not, or the surface and texture have been obscured by layers of paint. In cases like these, the correct identification can be brought to the attention of the reader, but not as part of what anyone can see.

This is an instance of knowing being different from seeing.

pictures worth writing about art

If information is based on an external source, even a museum label, the source must be cited after it has been verified. Many mistakes get repeated as facts by people who did not bother to check them. The size of a work is always crucial. The effect made on a viewer by an object that can be held in the hand, compared to a billboard that covers the side of a building, is so different as to make any similarities seem almost inconsequential.

The first demands a very intimate relationship, with careful and close looking to see what is there.


The other must be seen from a distance and may contain details that are too small to be comprehensible. Scale also influences the design of a work, since the same composition, colors, and methods of making rarely transfer effectively from a small format to a very large one, or vice versa.Art definition, the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

See more. Santa Barbara City College combines comprehensive academic programs and modern facilities on a beautiful seaside campus creating a learning environment unmatched throughout the nation. While the expression “A picture is worth 1, words” is meant to convey that an image means more than “talk,” images can also compel us to volunteer, donate money, vote a certain way, or.

The Biography. Although visual and stylistic analyses are fundamental to the practice of art history, the most familiar way of grouping art is by artist.

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“It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it's also true that a word is worth a thousand pictures.” ― Marty Johncox tags: art, literature, meaning, photography, pictures, poetry. Pictures Newsletters Inside the Guardian Guardian Weekly Crosswords Writing and photography – is a picture really worth a thousand words?

Fishing, like photography, is an art that calls.

OWL // Purdue Writing Lab