Five Approaches to Art Criticism

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The five approaches to art criticism are: formalist criticism, ideological criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism and post-structuralism. Formalist criticism is judging artwork by its form and element. One example in our book is the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C, which formally looks like a very important building. Ideological criticism judges art from a political point of view. Psychoanalytic criticism judges art “as the product of individuals who are shaped by their pasts, unconscious urges and social histories.” Structuralism judges artwork based on how all of its formal components are put together. Last is post-structuralist, which still judges artwork by its formal parts but takes many meanings out of it. I find psychoanalytic criticism to be most valuable. This is because the viewer can assign any meaning to the artwork. It allows the people to escape reality and find out the deeper meaning of the piece of art. For example, coming back to the U.S. Capitol Building, according to the psychoanalytic approach it was built large because the architects wanted people to feel inferior to this important building. Feminist criticism has changed the way I will interpret a piece of art. Before when I would look at pictures of nude women especially in Renaissance paintings, I thought they were made for the general public. When I look at these paintings now I understand that they were made for the male gaze. It was that era’s version of the Playboy magazine. Ideally it would be nice if artists had money to keep them free to make art that they want to make. However, in the real world that is not always the case. If an artist takes money from a patron they may not be able to express themselves because they need to answer to that patron. I think there is nothing wrong with taking money from a patron as long as it does not interfere with the

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