Cezanne Assignment

AA100 : Things to look for in a painting

Note : this checklist applies to any type of representational (non-abstract) painting.

1. viewpoint (in/out, up/down, left/right)

- are we close to the scene, or standing back?
- are we seeing it from above or below?(the horizon = our eye level)
- are we seeing it from left, right or centre?
- how do size & format (horizontal/vertical) affect how we see it ?

2. organisation of picture space

- how deep is the picture space? (how far back does it go?)
- what clues to distance are provided? (scale, colour,perspective)
- is there a vanishing point?

3. organisation of contents (composition)

- does the picture divide into areas (vertically or horizontally)?
- how are the people/ objects/ elements grouped?

4. lighting

- where does it come from? what kind is it?
- does it create a wide or a narrow tonal range?
- are there any strong contrasts of light & shade (for dramatic effect)?
- is it used to create impressions of shape (modelling) or texture?

5. other formal techniques will make various contributions to the way we respond to the painting.
Consider :

- colour (warm or cool hues? saturated/intense or muted?)
- line (look at the edges of what's painted)
- brushwork (fine, for detail & smoothness; coarse, for bolder effects)

6. genre

- in order of status : history (istoria), portrait, everyday life (genre), landscape, still life
- each is associated with different audiences & formal conventions.
    (eg. portraits will tend to be for private purchasers but maybe semi-public display; the subject will usually be depicted close-up, central, in vertical format)

Always consider not only WHAT the artist has done, but WHY s/he has done it.