Questions to Ask Yourself When Viewing Art

religious renaissance painting

Essential Art Questions

If you’re truly trying to understand the motivations of an artist or the message a particular piece is made to convey, you must look at art through fresh eyes. The seven principles of art may give you some clue as to the composition of a piece, but there are certain art questions you should be asking yourself to fully explore the possibilities of the artwork. If you’re ready to take a look at art through the eyes of an artist, follow along with FrameStore as we discuss the essential art questions behind every creation.

1. When Was The Piece Created?

The era when the artist lived will have great influence on the meaning of their piece. The beliefs and controversies of the time will have influenced the artist to create what they did. Many eras have particular trends many artists followed. In the Renaissance period, for example, religious art was incredibly pervasive, while in the 1950s, abstract impressionism took the lead. This art question may require a little research before you discover the artist’s motivations, but it will help you think deeper about the meaning behind a piece.

2. What is the Theme of the Piece?

This art question is meant to challenge you to analyze the events occurring in the piece. Who is the main character, what is the focal point, where are your eyes drawn on the canvas or sculpture? You might want to consider the theme before you even look into the artist or the time period so that you can explore the ideas in an unbiased manner.

3. What is the Mood of the Piece?

Do you think the artist was happy when they created this piece of art? Are they trying to convey any particular emotion? Colors, lines, and textures can all help you decide the emotion contained within the work. Often, dark colors, vertical alignments, and heavy brushstrokes signify serious and sad pieces. Happy, lighthearted pieces generally feature bright colors, horizontal shapes, and smooth transitions between subjects.

4. Is There An Artist Statement?

editorial modern art piece of a hand

Some artists like to be vague about their work, leaving interpretation entirely up to the viewer. But many artists want you to fully understand their message. Sometimes, you can find a quote below the work that provides insight into the artist’s ideas; at other times, the name of the piece alone can provide some insight into their message. You may even be able to answer this art question by watching interviews with the artist about their work.

Inspired to buy a print of your favorite work after viewing fine art? We can help! Bring it into FrameStore for a custom frame that will accent your gorgeous piece and tie it perfectly into your home decor. We’re delighted to help you display your prints in style.