Art Critiques

The final piece….Judgment

Sunday: Developing an Artistic Eye and How-to Critiques

The fourth and final piece of art critiques and criticism is Judgment.

Judging a piece of artwork means giving it rank in relation to other works. It is also about considering a very important aspect of the visual arts; its originality.

This is a more personal piece based on your own understanding of the work.

Although at its simplest point this means…..Do you like or dislike this artwork? I always include that this must be accompanied with an explanation of why (reasons) and evidence supporting it.

Consider a few questions:

  • Is it a good piece of art?
  • Is it successful?
  • What is the value you find in this artwork? Is it merely aesthetically pleasing or is there a social message, reaffirms religious beliefs, affect your world view, or helps you to make insightful connections?
  • Does it have benefits for others?
  • Does the work communicate an idea or feeling that would have value for others?
  • Is the work unappealing, repulsive, or unimaginative?
  • Would you display this piece of art in your home?
  • Would it be displayed in a museum?
  • Do you think it is an important artwork?
  • Consider design elements, principles, and qualities?
  • How does the realism or lack therefore of affect the work?
  • Is the artwork well-organized?

This use to be my least favorite part of the criticism process but breaking it down and using these guiding questions help simplify the act of judgment. For me the keys are determining whether the artwork is successful and its value, as well as whether the art is well-organized. I think the idea of whether you would display it in your own home can really help you solidify whether you like or dislike it? It also might not go style-wise with your decor or the size might not work.

Let’s consider Negro In The Suburbs, painted in 1967 by Norman Rockwell.

Negro In The Suburbs, painted in 1967. This painting shows a black family moving into a white neighborhood. He uses iconic middle-class America symbols such as baseball and a dog to showcase this as a normal community.


I think it’s a successful piece of artwork because the work is well-organized which makes it visually appealing. The painting is well-balanced both left and right as well as top to bottom. The use of iconic symbols such as the baseball, dog, the yellow car, and the row of houses showcases this as an ordinary community. The row of similar houses demonstrates Rockwell’s ability to create a sense of a middle-class American neighborhood that could exist anywhere in the United States. Rockwell was well-known for being an advocate for social and civic issues such as race. This painting has a strong social message (value) about letting go of our racism and recognizing that everyone can live in the same neighborhood and get along. People didn’t have to be fearful about their kids playing with kids of other races. I would definitely display this piece of art in my home. It is a successful piece of artwork that remains relevant in the current political and social climate within the United States. Race continues to be a relevant issue 50 years after this painting was created.


Art Criticism and Formal Analysis

Artistic Criticism

Art Criticism Process

Four Step Art Critique


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