Art Criticism Cubes

By Johnt, Marleen | School Arts, December 2000 | Go to article overview

Art Criticism Cubes


Johnt, Marleen, School Arts


Cube writing is often used in the lower grades to improve student's writing skills. The cube serves as a graphic organizer for deductive reasoning. Specific ideas are written on each of a cube. I adapted this strategy for writing art criticism.

The six sides of the were used for: 1. A colored pencil drawing of a painting or sculpture in full. 2. A colored pencil drawing of the focal point of the same artwork. 3. A written description of the painting or sculpture. 4. A written analysis of the artwork. 5. A written interpretation of the artwork. 6. A written judgment of the artwork.

Students prepared for the assignment by making distinctions between description, analysis, and interpretation statements. To assist in writing descriptions, we reviewed the elements of art and how to locate the basic information in captions. We also reviewed the principles of art to assist in the analysis of artworks. By then students had really studied the artwork and could make some educated guesses about an interpretation of what the artist was trying to say.

In the written judgment of the artwork, students had to back up why they liked or disliked the work of art. I required the students to base their opinion on one or more of the art theories: imitation, formalism, or emotionalism.

Students colored and wrote before the model was cut out. I used a stiff 8 1/2 x 11" (22 x 28 cm) vellum Bristol cover paper that could be run through the copy machine. A tan paper accepted white colored pencils beautifully.

All dotted lines were carefully bent with crisp and sharp edges, with white glue used in little dots to seal the boxes. …

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