How to Look at (and Approach) a Work of Art

How to look at art.


A guideline containing four basic components or stages of looking at art, as suggested by art educator Edmund B. Feldman.


The following is a guideline containing four basic components or stages of looking at art as suggested by art educator Edmund B. Feldman. The questions can be used to provoke curiosity and inquiry and encourage active student participation … and to help students better understand and share their feelings on a work or works of art.


  • Describe what you see.
  • Describe the artist’s use of color. How many colors have been used?
  • How has the artist applied the paint?
  • Describe the texture.
  • Describe the lines in the work.
  • What kinds of shapes do you see?


  • Is your eye drawn to any particular area of the painting?
  • Is there an element that stands out in the composition?
  • Is the composition balanced?
  • Does the work make you think of movement? How does the artist show movement?
  • Does the painting look flat or does it give a feeling of depth or space?
  • Where might the artist have stood while painting this picture?


  • What kind of mood or feeling do you get from the painting?
  • If you could imagine yourself within the painting, how would you feel?
  • What sounds would you hear?
  • Why do you think the artist choose this particular subject to paint?
  • What part of the landscape, building, person, animal etc. most interested the artist? Why do you think so?


  • Find an interesting painting. Why is it interesting to you?
  • What do you like or dislike about the work?
  • The more you look … the more you will see.
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