Chapter 2 – What is Art?

This is a sort of visual self-test to help you study important concepts from Chapter 2; read the chapter first, then answer the questions I’ve provided in this document. Below, you will see images of works of art that you are most likely unfamiliar with. You are intentionally given no factual data about these pieces. To answer the questions, you need only LOOK at what you see…

This document also functions as a study guide. The terms listed here are ones you’ll need to know for testing purposes. I will post the answers to these questions in a separate document, so you can check your mastery of course content.












1. What do the two sculptures (above) have in common?

2. What are their differences?

3. What kind of aesthetic experience do you have with the one on the left? With the one on the right? How might you explain the different effects that these two works of art have on you?

4. Would you say that these two sculptures have similar or different iconography?

5. Would you say that they have similar or different style?

6. What is the figure, and what is the ground in the above piece?

7. As your textbook says, we have, by necessity, trained ourselves to have a selective visual concentration. When driving, for example, we must learn to focus on certain elements of our visual environment (other cars, lane markings, traffic lights and signs, etc.) while “tuning out” other, less important elements. When dialoging with a work of art, however, we must take a different approach. View the whole thing, every detail. Our conditioned response to this work of art is to focus on the figures, and tune out the background. But if we do not look at the background, we miss out… what’s in the background? What are those lines?

8. Which of the above paintings is representational?

9. Which is non-representational?

10. Is the above painting representational or non-representational? Why?

11. Which of the above 3 works would you say is naturalistic?

12. Which one would you say is stylized?

13. Which one is abstracted?

14. What do these three works have in common: their iconography or their style?