Three Basic Theories of Art Criticism

1097 Words Feb 20th, 2018 4 Pages
List the three basic theories of art criticism and explain each one.
Just like everything else in life, art has its critics. Art criticism is the expression used to describe the act of making selective judgments, both positive and negative, about an art piece. Just as art is so diversely expressed and interpreted, those who critique it also have various methods and use various standards when criticizing an art piece. There are many theories critics use to evaluate art but there are three basic theories most commonly put to use by professionals. The three basic theories are: formal theories, contextual theories, and expressive theories. Formal theories focus on the formalities of art. Critics using formal theories pay close attention to the making of a piece, how each section of the art piece works to form a visual experience that may or may not attract the attention of those who come across it. Formalists’ attention is centered on the formal organization rather than the themes, which they deem irrelevant. Contextualists, on the other hand, value the theme and its relevance to the times in which the artwork was created. The contextual theories deal with the context in which an art piece is used; what it symbolizes concerning the culture and values of the environment. Lastly, there are the expressive theories. Expressionists are more concerned with the artist and the personal expression put into the work. Also, because art is a method of communication, expressive theories…

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