Educator Resources

Analyze an Artwork

Download the illustrated PDF version. (PDF)


Meet the artwork.

  • Quickly scan the artwork. What do you notice first?
  • Type (check all that apply):
    Painting Drawing/Sketch Engraving/Lithograph   Mural Sculpture
    Mixed Media Scene/Event Portrait Landscape Abstract Other
  • What is the title?

Observe its parts.

  • List the people, objects and activities you see.
    • PEOPLE:
    • OBJECTS:
  • Write one sentence summarizing this artwork.

Try to make sense of it.

  • What do the colors, people, objects or activities represent?
  • Who made this?
  • When was it created?
  • Does it depict a different time? When?
  • What was happening at the time in history it was created?
  • What is the message? List evidence from the artwork or your knowledge about the artist that led you to your conclusion.

Use it as historical evidence.

  • What did you find out from this artwork that you might not learn anywhere else?
  • What other documents or historical evidence are you going to use to help you understand this event or topic?

CC0 Materials created by the National Archives and Records Administration are in the public domain.