Visual Culture: Methodology

The most interesting thing for me in the second reading, Visual culture, is the methodology for analyzing a painting. The author let us know the seven steps of the methodology.

  1. Describe types or genres of painting.
  2. Ask simply what is shown.
  3. The location of a scene.
  4. Assemble more knowledge and informations such as the age, period or even year that a painting depicts.
  5. Look at the subject-matter of a painting.
  6. Think about the time of the day from a painting.
  7. Take a particular moment of a painting.

Through all above methodologies to analyze a painting, we can examine the painting and would know some information like below:

  1. The type or ‘genre’ of painting
  2. The central or basic subject-matter
  3. The location or setting of a particular scene
  4. The historical period which the work depicts
  5. The season or time of year shown
  6. The time of day portrayed
  7. The particular instant captured by the work in question.

These methodologies have four advances when we use it. The methodologies those the author mentioned above would help us to look at a painting to examine it actively. Additionally, we can pay attention on the evidence provided, and the methodology would be infinitely more useful for approaching painting in general. At the last, through the methodology we are encouraged to look for ourselves.

For the case study of these methodology, the author talked about the Jan van Eyck’s painting, The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, 1434.

Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, 1434. Oil on panel. National Gallery, London.
  • Howells, R. (2003). Visual culture / Richard Howells. Cambridge, UK : Malden, MA: Polity ; Blackwell.
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