How to be an Art Critic

Lesson Title: How to be an Art Critic (4 of 5): Interpreting the Mood or Meaning of Art
Academic Standards: National Core Arts Standards (Responding): Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning. Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work. Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. Anchor Standard #9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
Content Creator: Ms. Beth Bachuss
Level: High School
Duration: 50-60 min
  /  How to be an Art Critic (4 of 5): Interpreting the Mood or Meaning of Art


  • Students will understand how mood and meaning relate to each other.
  • Students will understand that their interpretation of the meaning of an artwork is as valid as the artist's intended meaning.
  • Students will interpret the meaning of various artworks
  • Students will interpret the mood of various artworks.


This lesson is about the content (meaning, idea, or emotion) that the artwork is conveying. Students will examine several artworks and interpret their meaning or mood based on visual cues. We will also take a field trip INSIDE a famous artwork, and visit a gallery to look at some street art turned fine art. By the end of this class, students will be almost done with the Art Criticism process.


  1. After a review of our previous lessons, students will learn the terms related to Step 3: Interpret - content, emotionalism, expressive qualities.
  2. We will discuss how mood and meaning are related to each other.
  3. We will learn about the two meanings an artwork has - the artist's intended meaning and the viewer's interpreted meaning.
  4. We will practice by examining several works of art.
  5. We will enter and take a 360 tour of a famous artwork.
  6. We will visit a gallery and examine some street art that became fine art, and discuss how that might change the works' meaning.
  7. We will practice our art criticism skills with the images we saw at the end of session 3.
  8. Review

Demonstratives & Media

Classroom Space
Virtual Field Trips & Lab Demonstrations
Instructional Videos
3D objects


Classroom space will actually be the same Engage location we used last class.