How to Write an Essay about Art

Guideline And Tips For Writing A Great Art Essay

The Definition of an Art Essay

Art is definitely an interesting and exciting topic to write about. Working on art critique lets you explore new spheres of culture and learn more about the meanings of popular pieces of art. It sounds more entertaining than academic assignments on other subjects, but it still requires following some rules and structure. 

Art essay is a paper reviewing some work of art that includes description, analyzing, critique, opinion, interpretation of the main idea of it. Art essay aims to help readers understand the piece of art and see it from different angles. If you want your art essay to be noticed, it should be creative and catchy, contain new brave thoughts and points of view interesting to discuss. It’s the type of writing where you can combine your academic knowledge with your thoughts, theories, and interpretations. 

Preparation for Writing an Art Critique

There are a lot of different fields of art to choose from. If you don’t have any determined topic or a piece of art to analyze, feel free to pick any theme you feel excited about. You can write about your favorite painting, sculpture, musical composition – whatever inspires you. If you get to your writing with genuine interest and excitement, you are guaranteed to do excellent work. Also, pay attention to your competency in a field you are about to choose. If you have always been interested in abstract paintings or specific forms of art, go for it! Don’t put up with something more common and popular if you feel excited about other topics. Similarly, remember that it’s going to be hard to cope with a difficult narrow topic you have never explored before. But if you love challenges, then why not? 

Before you get to writing, take your time to explore the topic you have chosen. Do the research and find verified information to use. You can look through examples of art critique in media; it will help you understand the structure of writing and the main idea of this genre. It’s important to find some facts about your piece of art: when and under what conditions it was created, what kind of contribution does it make to culture. Find out what impact did it has on the author’s life and what do art connoisseurs think about it. Diligent research is pretty useful for you when it comes to arguments and facts, so don’t neglect it. 

The Main Parts of an Art Essay


First of all, you need to present a piece of art you are writing about. Mention the name of it, write down who is the author provides some information about the genre and style of the work, date of it. You have to make a proper description for the readers, write about the main features of the work, colors, shapes, materials, textures, some parts that differ from another creation. Describe the techniques the author had applied while creating his art. 


Now it’s time to estimate all you have described. Take a look at your piece of art and evaluate every important point about it. Think of the whole composition looks harmoniously if it catches the eye of the viewer and makes a good impression at first sight. Analyze the combination of elements, are they balanced? Find parts of work that stand out and try to explain why do they look this way. 

It is a part where you should show your academic knowledge. Make an analysis based on the main principles of art mention every important point. What do you have to mention? There are essential things like proportion and balance of the composition, contrast, and resemblance. It’s better for you to know what do these words mean and be ready to apply these principles to the piece of art. There are some basic rules that should be referred to in your work in order to show your knowledge and ability to understand and estimate art. 

Your interpretation

Here comes the most interesting part of writing. Now, when you are done with analyzing the appearance of the work, you should get to know its sense, purpose, and the main idea. Feel free to describe what feelings you have when you see this piece of art. Maybe, it excites you or brings you great aesthetic pleasure. Or otherwise – it gives you some sort of anxiety and makes you think about important things. Some paintings have a magical ability to transport the viewer to the place that is captured on them. Yeah, it’s only an expression, but the wholesome feeling caused by some atmospheric painting puts your mind in a different state that does seem like a mental traveling. Therefore, try your best to present your emotions using metaphors, comparisons, euphemisms, any techniques to decorate your writing and reflect your thoughts. 

Discuss what the author tried to tell us about this work? Explain the whole point of the work, find the main idea of it. Sometimes it’s pretty clear and easy to indicate, but some works of art were created to make us think over and over while trying to understand what do they mean. In some cases, the author would explain the idea hidden into the work in the description of it or while conducting a presentation. But it would not work with old pieces of art, made hundreds of years ago, in an era without the internet, art galleries and presentations. So sometimes we are left to guess and come up with the meanings by ourselves. 


When feelings are successfully expressed, it’s time to formulate your opinion and estimate the artwork with a sense of poise and rationality. Here are some questions to consider.

Does this work have a cultural value? Or maybe it’s overrated and do not deserve to be as famous as it is? Feel free to write your opinion, but remember to explain why do you think a certain way. Your arguments have to be reasonable and strong. 

Is this piece of art original? Can you call it unique? If you do, describe what is special about it, why it deserves to be defined as a masterpiece. Keep in mind that every point of your opinion has to be backed up with arguments. 

Do you think that the author successfully brought his idea to the viewers? Maybe the artwork happened to be too complicated for the common people, or its creator overdid the work with hidden senses. Evaluate these points to make a proper conclusion of your work. 

There were the main parts of your art critique that should be necessarily included in your essay. But besides proper content art essay requires a certain structure of writing, let’s mention it briefly. 

Structure of Writing

It’s pretty simple and the same for every other academic assignment. Start with the introduction, write all the important information about the piece of art. Make it clear and brief enough to stay focused on your critique in the main body. 

Then you have to state a thesis – the main question you are going to discuss through your writing. Here you can show your position to be proven in your next paragraphs. The thesis should be understandable and short.

Next comes the body of your art critique. It should include all the main parts mentioned before. Here you have to discuss your thesis and back it up with your facts, arguments, and examples. Divide your main part into several paragraphs smoothly interconnected to each other. Don’t mix analysis with your opinion; keep these parts separate. Remember that art is a creative field, but it’s not only about impressions and emotions, but there are also some rules and principles just like in serious fields of science. Therefore, your critique should be rational and comprehensive. 

Finish your art essay by making a wholesome conclusion. Write down your assessment for the artwork, briefly summarizing every point you mentioned through the paper. You can remember your first impression of the artwork and compare it with your attitude now when you have done some investigation. Make sure your conclusion is connected to the thesis you made at the very beginning. 

That’s all with structure; as you can see, it’s not that hard as it seemed to be. Try your best to put a decent content in every part of your writing and bring your own unique thoughts about some object of art. In this manner, you will avoid banality and make your work valuable and interesting to read. Keep in mind that the theme allows you to be creative and poetic, so don’t neglect this opportunity to express yourself.

Tips for Writing an Essay about Art

Here is some advice you need to know before you start writing your paper. First of all, try to avoid clique phrases. Expressing your own thoughts can be difficult or uncomfortable, but that’s how essay writing works. Typical clique phrases about the features of some artwork can ruin your critique and make it boring. Don’t cite art manuals in the part where you should introduce your thoughts, feelings, and opinion. It will make your writing dry and hard to read. 

The second tip – try to find some hidden meanings in the work you are reviewing. Don’t be afraid to think deeper and analyze moments no one has noticed before. Fresh and bold theories will be appreciated by your professor – you will show yourself as a diligent and enthusiastic student.

If you are writing about specific art movements, provide some explanation of its meaning and history. For example, not every reader will understand the sense of abstract painting, so if you do, explain it with simple words referring to the history of it and conditions of its occurrence.

With this guideline and tips, it won’t be difficult for you to deal with your art essay. Choose the topic you feel excited about, do some research, and don’t be afraid to express your feelings and new thoughts. As a result, you will make a great essay!