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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Touring Turn-of-the-Century America

[Detail] U.S.S. Alert. Photographer - W H Jackson, 1901 or 1902

Art Criticism

A search on the term painting produces over 1,000 black-and-white reproductions of both famous and anonymous paintings. Although these images lack the colors of the originals, they can still be used to practice image-analysis and to examine an artist's style and technique. Examine and compare works by artists such as John Singer Sargent and William Sergeant Kendall and answer the following questions:

  • Is a specific style visible throughout an artist's work? How would you describe the style?
  • Are there any common themes or ideas throughout an artist's work?
  • What is your opinion of the artist's work? Do you think that the imagery, composition, and style are appealing? Why or why not? Do you find the subject matter compelling? Why or why not?
  • What makes one painting better than another?
  • Imagine that you are curating a museum exhibition of an artist's work. Write a description of the artist's paintings for a guide.
  • Write a critical review of the artist's work.