This is Part 2 of my “How to Look at Art” series. I’m introducing you to the second part of how to look at art, contextual analysis.
So, what is a contextual analysis?
This is the part of the process where you’re going to have to do a little bit of research to try to figure out what the hell does this piece even mean.
Some questions you can use to start off with your research are:
- What time period is it from?
- What date was it created?
- Who’s the artist?
- What culture did the piece or artist come from?
- Where’s the artwork now?
- Who commissioned the piece?
- What’s being depicted?
- What’s the provenance of the piece?
Lots and lots of questions!
There are so many different questions here that you can ask in the contextual analysis, but once you start with a few different ones, they will lead you into what you need to know.
At the end of the day, the contextual analysis is just to help you further understand the piece and it’ll lead into the 3rd part of analysis: the interpretative analysis.