Art Criticism Example

This art criticism example discusses the photo Beyond Real by the artist Man Ray.

Beyond Real by man Ray


The following art criticism example shows a three-paragraph structure. If you add an introduction and a conclusion, you will have a five-paragraph essay:


This photograph by Man Ray shows part of a woman's face. You can see her eyes, nose, eyebrows, and most of her forehead. The camera was aiming upward toward her when the picture was taken. The eyelashes are very long, as though she were wearing false eyelashes or lots and lots of mascara. She also has glass-like, clear spheres on her cheeks that are slightly bigger than teardrops. In the lower right corner of the picture is Man Ray's signature.


The glass-like spheres are like teardrops. So, it looks like she is crying. The reason for her forlornness shall remain unknown. Her still image is a picture of persistent sadness with its persistent cause. She is looking upward, hopefully for help; but help doesn't come.


This photograph by Man Ray shows the photographic technique available at that time, black and white. When this photo was taken, in 1930, color photography had not yet been well developed. As she is so carefully made-up with props, we can see that this photo is not a candid or documentary photo but done in a studio situation. Beyond Real is a surreal image; it appears dreamlike. We are not sure whether the image is realistic or depicts fantasy. In this way this picture is similar to the Untitled Film Still photographs of Cindy Sherman.

Click here to return to the art criticism example assignment page.