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Lesson Plans

Art Criticism & Aesthetics

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 21:12:33 -0400

It has always been my nature to take complex things and break them down to
simpler, easier to understand things. This is what I tell my students about
Art Criticism and Aesthetics. Art Criticism is when you examine a work of
art (or works), using the acts of description, analysis of the visual
elements and principles of design, and interpretation of mood or meaning.
This could be a personal, individual examination, or it could be based on
what "Art History" has said or written about the work. Aesthetics is
basically when you make a judgment about the artwork - usually based on the
previously done examination. When you decide how you feel about it, what it
really makes you think about or react to, what you like about it (the
subject matter, the design, the mood or meaning, the media, etc.), how you
feel it fits, or doesn't fit, your philosophical viewpoints.. I don't
believe one can make a valid aesthetic judgment about a work of art without
effectively participating in some form of critical analysis.

Whenever I bring Art History into my classroom, I try to do both of these
activities some how, because the one thing I dislike the most is people
reacting to art they don't understand with remarks like "that's trash - I
could paint that" or "that's not art, it's ugly, messy, it has no meaning".
No one has to "like" all art - but I feel if people are more informed about
the artwork (through a critical examination), and the world and personal
events that might have been influencing the artist, then they have every
right to make whatever judgment they feel strongly about. Aesthetics and
Art Criticism go hand in hand - and the littlest elementary child is
capable of both, with teacher guidance.

Sandra Hildreth <shildret>
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617