The Critical Analysis Process 2009
The Critical Analysis Process
Below are "Sample Guided Questions"  from the Ontario Arts Curriculum 2009

Initial Reaction
  • What is your first impression?
  • What does this work bring to mind?
  • What does this work remind you of?
  • What do you feel? What emotions does this work evoke?
  • What puzzles you? What are your questions?
  • What connections can you make between this work and your own experience or other art forms?
  • What do you see when you examine the work closely?
  • What grabs your attention in the work?
  • What do you sense (e.g., see, hear, smell, feel, taste) when you examine the work?
  • What stands out for you? What do you notice (e.g., elements)?
  • What 'qualities' do you hear or see in this work (e.g., strong, repeated rhythm; rapid and slow movements of the upper body; vibrant paint colours; bold brush- strokes or lines; a performer speaking in role with clarity and conviction)?
  • What do you think the artist worked particularly hard at while he or she created this work?
Expression of an Informed Point of View
Students compare their point of view after reflection and analysis to their initial reaction and make connections to other works of art they have seen or heard. They also reflect on whether they have learned anything that they can apply to their own work.
  • How effectively does the artist select and combine elements to achieve an intended effect in this work? (i.e., What works?)
  • What doesn't work and why?
  • Has your point of view shifted from your initial reaction? If so, how has it changed?
  • Have your thoughts or feelings about the work changed since your first impressions?
  • If so, how have they changed?
  • What made you change your mind?
  • If you have not changed your mind, can you now explain your first reaction more fully or precisely?
  • Is this an important work? Why?
  • In what ways do you feel the work is successful?
  • How did it affect the audience? Was it the way you intended?
  • How would you alter this work for a different audience, or to send a different message?
Consideration of Cultural Context
  • What interesting things did you learn about the artistís life and work? Is there something important that we need to know in order to understand the meaning of his or her work?
  • Were working conditions for people in the arts more or less favourable at the time this artist lived than they are today? Why, and in what way? Are there viewpoints or voices that are left out or never heard in the works?
  • In what ways do you agree or disagree with what the artist or critics said about the work? Also, were there competing beliefs and practices at the time?
  • Why might different audiences view a work in a way that is different from the artistís intention (e.g., parents and a teenage audience might understand something different from seeing or hearing the same work)?
  • How might the work be understood differently by different people in the same time period or by people in the past and in the present?
  • Were you surprised by anything you discovered? If so, what?

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