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How To Evaluate A Painting?

Updated: May 10

Evaluating a painting is not easy, and it goes beyond the first impression and emotional effect the Artwork leaves in the heart after passing through the eyes.


These are the most important guidelines that an art collector would consider in the process of evaluating a painting:


What Message Does the Painting Convey?


Art is a timeless message from the artist to his viewers, a true artist would use an emotional approach to define or redefine the basic concepts of humanity, a true artist mainly practices art as an illuminating ritual to visualize the path of humanity toward a brighter future.


The message the artist is trying to immortalize.


In the process of evaluating a piece of art, before talking about Light and shades or the color palette or the techniques the artist used, the message the artist trying to immortalize and the artist's ability to deliver it to his viewers' hearts is what matters.




Why Is The Date Of An Artwork Important?


Every art movement is a wave, first, the groundbreaking pioneers, the origin of the avant-garde art movement, then comes the second generation's validation of the ideas of the pioneers and spreading the wave into the art community.


After some time, the purity of the art movement starts to fade and turn into a precursor from which new ideas and concepts start to develop.


For example, the abstraction wave evoked by theosophical society in the early 20th century started with the groundbreaking works of its pioneers Hilma Af Klimt, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian. After the three pioneers, the second generation was represented by the rise of the abstract expressionist generation in New York Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning...etc.


The original groundbreaking pioneers' paintings.

Knowing the creation date of an oil painting is important because it enables the viewer to classify the piece of art within the art wave, in its time was the painting a work of a pioneer or a follower?


How Can I Tell If a Painting Is Original?


The word original has many different interpretations. Some would say that to be original is to do something that has never been done before, Others might think of the original as the first presentation or the unveiling.


To be original is relative, some paintings are original in introducing a new style, composition, color tones, techniques or even being non-subjective like Hilma Af Klint's abstract paintings.


Any step forward out of the art world boundaries is considered an original step.

Creating art in a remarkably distinguishable way so the viewer knows who the artist is even without Looking at the signature is a step forward in creating original art.


The style includes the steps the artist took to create the artwork, whether it was classical multilayered artwork or an impression with a single layer of thick paint on the canvas.

The Artist's style also includes the color whether realistic tones or fictional tones out of the realistic spectra, don't mention the skill and time required to establish this style.



Evaluating The Artist's Painting Techniques.


Whether the artist used a painting brush, pallet knife, or even his hands directly to apply oil paints on canvas, the marks the tool creates on the surface of the canvas tell the story of the artwork creation process.


The Technique Is The Path The Artist Used To Create The Painting.

A good artist's technique would guarantee a durable time-resistant piece of art, and a good technique guarantees the surface of the oil painting would remain shiny, intact, and crack-resistant.


The Fat Over Lean Rule.

The "fat over lean" rule is key, the primary layer is to be leaner in terms of oil than the successive layer above, notice that fat over Lean refers to the oil painting principle that applying paint with a higher ratio of oil to color pigments over paint with a lower ratio of oil to color pigments can ensure a more flexible paint film that will not crack later.


Evaluating The Color Palette of The Painting.


An artwork will create very different energy depending on whether it contains a monochromatic, few colors, or wide versatile colors pallet. And then the type of energy they emit will depend on what exactly those colors are.


For example, a monochromatic painting that contains seven different tints and shades of off-white will look and feel entirely different than a painting that has the same composition but is painted with every color.


Evaluation Of the Artist's Utilization of Light and Shades.


Notice the light transitions, the sensitivity of the artist's eyes toward the light and shades is crucial to depth creation, a good work with light and shadows is essential to capture the viewer's eyes on the flat canvas.



Evaluating The Composition of The Painting.


A painting composition is the arrangement of elements within a work of art. It’s how the artist arranges shapes, colors, and lines to deliver the artwork's message to the viewer.


A good painting composition can capture and hold the eyes of the viewers, while a bad one can make it look chaotic and unappealing.


A good composition is the most important aspect.


A good composition is one where the artist controls the movement of the viewer's eye to a beneficial result. Artists can do this by several means, such as reinforcing the focal point with the Rule of Thirds, implied lines, and selective color saturation.


The full utilization of the two-dimensional space on a canvas, the interaction between the artwork subjects and the background, the color, and light transitions all these elements target the capture of the viewer's eyes and enhance the delivery of the artist's message.

To achieve a successful composition is not easy and depends on the artist's ability to utilize his skills to create a unique homogeneous or heterogeneous artwork, sometimes achieving an emotionally effective heterogenous artwork is much harder than a homogenous piece of art.


Evaluating The Artwork's Impact on The Viewers.


The value of the artwork is not only about the realistic color tones but the subjective emotions and responses that the painting arouses within a person should be the artist's main concern.


The artist accomplishes this aim through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, fantasy, and through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic application of formal elements.


Creativity, originality of the depicted theme, and the overall impression of the artwork are important factors to consider while evaluating a piece of art.






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