Work of Art or Not? Nine Tips to Recognize and Understand the Piece of Art


 Have you ever come across a piece of art, did you understand the meaning behind it? Did you get the message it conveyed? Did you feel utmost uncertainty?  Do not be surprised you will not be the first person to experience such a feeling. Art is all not easy, but you cannot get it wrong if you learn how to recognize and understand the piece of art.

A friend once told me that art is not such a hard thing to understand. I was not sure he was right until he categorized the way we look at art. That we need to understand the artist’s intention by:

  • Looking at the content
  • Looking at it formally

He stressed that art could be looked at by form or content. Looking at art this way allows us to connect with it. If there is a feeling that comes out of it, then there is a way we have understood it. When talking about form, it all trickled down to understanding the physical features and characteristics. On the other side, content involved looking at art for meaning, artist intention and the feeling an art brings when looked at.

Moreover, recognizing and understanding a piece of art requires you to know what needs to be done. In the end, you should be the expert; you should be able to understand the intention and the art in many ways:

Art requires time

Just like many other concepts in life, understanding art involves an element of familiarity. To be able to come up with an opinion about art we need to spend time with art. This way we will think of art in more than one way. Spending time with art allows us to actually appreciate art, connect with it and even understand the intention of its creator. A dig into art on your own time makes all the work once we have familiarized with it.

 Why not look at art normally

 Art is a combination of a lot, the best way to recognize and understand a piece of art by slowing peeling the onion. We need to start from the outside. What do you first see when the art is right to inform of us. The best way to understand anything is by first understanding its basics. Having the basics, being sure about those basics opens up the door towards recognizing art and understanding it.

How are your eyes moving?

Art is made of strokes, simple curves, shapes, formations, and movements towards particular directions. There has to be a point where the artist started from; you can figure that out by paying attention. Your eyes will connect with the characters of a piece of art in a given direction. Such eye movement can easily tell you what the artist was thinking about that moment, what motivates that piece of art and where he wanted the viewer to attend to when looking at the art.


Today there is a lot of knowledge about everything at anybody’s discretion. We need to look at the right places to recognize and understand art. You could use this method before you look at a piece of art to have some background information about it. The knowledge could be a good landing surface to figure art how to approach any piece of art at your disposal.

What is the feeling?

 Recognition is just directly proportional to a connection. When art is in front of us, it triggers a certain emotion. The art could make you sad, happy, angry, and piqued. The immediate reaction is what you have made of art. It is the best way you have understood that art, and it is the intention you think the artist had.

 Your likes and dislikes

 Almost every human being knows what art is and do not hate it. They do not feel any connection to it. For art, there is always a different opinion. There is always a piece that fits your description. Recognizing art and understanding goes beyond liking or disliking the art. Taking a higher order and thinking through what that piece of art means opens up your mind to subjectivity, which could mean you have recognized and understood the art from your angle.

Draw on memory

When we recognize and understand an aspect in life, it means we have some knowledge about it. To recognize art and even understand it means there is knowledge tied to it. Being able to match a piece of art to knowledge proves we know its intention and appreciating it made easy.

Think about its meaning

There is a story to every piece of art; there is a reality to it or something else. Knowing what the art tells is all you need to understand it. Is the art bringing things that have already happened, the answer to this question enables you to understand art.

Look, see and think

 Anybody will tell you to look at the art, ask what you are seeing and what do you think or make of the piece of art. Taking your time to look, see and think enables you to recognize and understand art.

The above tip should enable you to recognize and understand art from any standpoint like you had never done before, pick a few and see how it works for you.

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