Artwork By Gustave Dore

Write a critical response paper discussing (comparing and contrasting) a minimum of 3 works of art created by Gustave Dore. These can be from your text, the online lectures, or the videos. (minimum of 4 pages).  Be sure to incorporate some of the items mentioned in the handout “Analyzing Art.”   There is a sample paper under “Content”, then “Course Resources”. It gives you an excellent example of how to write a paper for this class.

Minimum 4 pages.  APA style.

Attached is the “Analyzing Art” and Sample paper.

First Thoughts and Reactions


What did you notice about the art when you first looked at it?

What struck you as being unusual or interesting about the forms or images?

What was your feeling as to what it may have meant?

Did you like what you saw or did you have another sort of feeling about it?

Why did you like or not like it?


Form and Content of the Picture or Art Form


List all the things that you can name in the picture. Indicate some that are repeated.

If the work is abstract name the figures, forms and visual content of the art. For abstract art use words like color, shape, area, line, etc. (the visual elements).

Does the work seem to express one of these qualities more than others.

“Emotional content,” “Intellectual order,” “Sensual form” or “Prettiness or beauty?”


What the Artist May Have Tried to Express


What do you think the picture is about? What is the artist trying to say?

Identify parts of the picture or art form that provide clues about the meaning.

Do colors provide clues to the meaning?

Do line movements suggest clues to the meaning?


Visual and Design Features of the Art Work


What kind of space is the artist portraying? Flat patterned space, Shallow 3 Dimensional space, or deep perspective in 3 dimensional space.

What is the dominant color in the work? (The color that seems to be used more than others)

How and where do the line movements travel in the space? (Mostly horizontal, mostly vertical, intercepting angles, circular or radial.

Where can you find repeated forms that create a rhythm? What are these forms?

What colors are repeated? What is the affect that repeating these colors produces?

What part of the over all design seems to be emphasized?

How is the emphasis achieved? Size dominance, Color illuminates it, lines point to it? Other?

Is there any evidence that the artist was using textures? No, mostly smooth and blended; yes, the use of details seems to produce a texture; yes, the physical use of materials produces a texture.

Where can you see contrasts? The colors contrast; dark and light contrasts, large and small forms produce a contrast; There are contrasting line sizes; There are contrasting line types, – – angular, curved, and straight lines.

How does the artist make the work harmonious or integrated? Unifying colors, unifying rhythms, line movements take the eye smoothly around the spaces, others?


Art Skills, Methods and Technology


If you had done the work what things would have been difficult or challenging for you?

Do you see forms of expression that are unknown to you?

Does a particular kind of technology or ideology seem to influence the art work?

Is there anything experimental in nature about the work?

Where can you see the artist use special creative gifts or skills being employed?


Influence of the Historic Period of the Work


What are some of the characteristics of the art style or period of which the artist is a part?

What was happening in the world or in the country of the artist at the time the work was done?

Was the time a time of peace or war?

Was the environment a risky one in some way or another?

What important events happened during this time?


Biographical Insights


Where did the artist grow up?

What was the time period of his life?

Who were some influential people in the artist’s life?

What challenges did the artist overcome?

Was the artist successful in his own time?

What was the artist’s principle interest that becomes a recognizable feature of his/her mature work?

What have you learned by learning about the artist life and looking at his/her work?

Why is this artist different from others that are known to you?

How is the artist like or unlike you?





First describe what you see.




* Technical

What is strong about these materials in this project? What is strong about the way those materials are used?  Contrast with your understanding of how these materials are traditionally used.

What sorts of surfaces are used/made – and how do those contribute to the whole?

What seem to be the artist’s principal technical skills evident here?



Pay attention to points, lines, planes, masses, and their connections; how are these used in a powerful way?  Does the scale of the piece seem adequate to the subject and materials?

Where does the viewer position him/herself in relation to the project, physically? What seems strong about the physical orientation of the project to the viewer?

How is the piece displayed? What seems strong about the method of displaying?

What is strong about the use of negative space?

Is there anything surprising about the way the visual traits are being “described” in this piece?



What sort of psychological or emotional impact does this make, if any?

What content, beyond perhaps the identification of an object or situation, is being communicated?  What references or emphases are being made?

What surprises do you experience in considering this as a solution to a problem?

What to you is the best aspect of this solution of the problem?




First, what are the principal materials used in this project, and what do these materials usually do best?

How does the use of the materials seem inadequate to the task the artist has taken on?

Is the artist fighting the materials, or using them creatively?

Given what the artist is attempting in this project, would other materials seem more appropriate?

Could this piece be more effective with more care given to its execution, or less; keep in mind that the answer depends on the intent of the project.

What other skills or techniques might have worked better in this project?



Are the visual elements expressive as well as descriptive in this piece?

Are there enough variations among the visual elements to create tension, yet enough similarity among some of the elements to suggest a cohesiveness?

Is the scale adequate to the solution here?

How should tones, textures, point of view, etc., be used differently?

What seems ordinary, stereotypical or clichéd in the artist’s solution to the problem?



How could this project imply more than its simple visual description? Does it do that?

What does this project need to make it more surprising?

What has the artist not thought fully enough about? Or not taken enough care to execute better?

If this piece were to be done again, what would you suggest to the artist that they change?

What is the overarching least successful aspect of this project?




What are you initially attracted to or dis-attracted to?

Is your first sensation comfort or familiarity? Discomfort? Do you know why in either case?


*After Time

Is there anything provocative about the piece that accumulates over time with you?

Are there aspects to the image that you’ve never seen before?

Do you ever think about the piece after your initial encounter? What might be the reasons?




  1. Describe what you see and only what you see (articulate details, colors, textures, forms, composition, materials, how it takes up time and space, describe its craft, properties and characteristics as an object, the details of each image and the characteristics of the image., etc) Avoid free associations at this time.


  1. Describe what the work or object feels like and how it makes you feel – avoid free associations.


  1. Analyze possible meanings of the object or image and/or the intentions of the artist.


  1. At this step we can now freely associate possible meanings.


  1. Give any possible historical or contemporary art contexts for the art, process, object or image.


  1. Research statements by the artist about their own process of making the work.

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