National Gallery of Victoria Education Resource

Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now

Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now


Pre- and Post-Visit Activity

Senior Years Students
VCE Art / Studio Arts

Based on a model by Margaret Marsh


  • This work-sheet is suitable for use either as a pre-visit or post-visit activity.
  • This work-sheet is presented in two sections: Personal response and Critical response.


  • To undertake research, reading, analysis and careful firsthand observation of one artwork in the exhibition.
  • Students are firstly encouraged to respond personally to the work of art and after visiting the exhibition to present a creative response to their class with a partner if they wish.

    In this way students become an expert on one work, but gain knowledge about the other artists represented in the exhibition.

Visual Analysis Worksheet

Personal and Critical Response

Title of artwork

Date of artwork

Place artwork was produced

Name of artist

Artist place of birth

Dates of artist’s life



Personal response

This is your personal response to the art work.

What is you first impression?






Looking for clues – evidence given WITH the artwork

Does the date indicate anything to you?




What is the artist’s gender or nationality? Is this information useful, and if so how?




Comment on the dimensions of the artwork.



Comment on the placement or site of the work.



What materials have been used?



What techniques have been used?




Does this artwork remind you of any others you have seen? Comment.




Sketch part of the artwork.






Formal analysis – aesthetic qualities IN the artwork

Discuss line, shape, colour, tone, texture, space, perspective, light, composition, and other elements of design.






Sketch the composition.


What did you notice? Discuss balance, focal point, scale, dominance, discord, and harmony





Is the composition familiar to you? If so how?





Descriptive evidence IN the artwork – What you see!

List all the images and objects. Details included.




Are there parts within the artwork which you recognise from other artworks, or sources? e.g.symbols? Comment.




List everything you are reminded of from life, television, film, your experiences, associations, memories, imaginings.




Is there anything left out of the artwork?




Update your response.






Expressive qualities IN the artwork – What you feel!

Does the artwork suggest a mood?




How does it make you feel?




Discuss the qualities of emotion and atmosphere in the work.




What devices has the artist used to create or achieve these?




Critical Response

To extend this personal response into a wider social, political, and cultural context we can now explore perspectives of gender, race, class, and place.

Is the artwork about gender?
Discuss the terms of male/ femaleness, feminist issues, stereotypes, identity, body image, and other issues. Look at values and roles regarding family, work, equality, patriarchy and power.




Is the artwork about race? Discuss issues related to multiculturalism, customs, identity, nationalism, ritual, prejudice, and religion.




Is the artwork about class? Discuss issues related to status,power, authority, social class, working class, middle class, upper class, values, attitudes, popular culture, mass culture.




Is the artwork about place? Discuss issues of location, identity, environment. Is it urban, landscape, desert, historical, ecological?




These perspectives can give you concepts and vocabulary to find meanings from the evidence you have gathered from the artwork in your personal response.

Other considerations. What do others think? What have historians, or other artists or critics said about the artwork?




Cultural Context
Research what was happening in society at the time the work was produced.




Other Interpretive Frameworks

Refer to VCAA website for the VCE Art Study Design (Unit 4).