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John Ruskin (1819-1900), c.1870. Leo Tolstoy described Ruskin as, "one of those rare men who think with their heart." A champion of the work of J.M.W. Turner, Ruskin detested the work of James McNeill Whistler[1]

An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism and they are published in newspapers, magazines, books, exhibition brochures and catalogues and on web sites. Some of today's art critics use art blogs and other online platforms in order to connect with a wider audience and expand debate about art.

Differently from art history, there is not an institutionalized training for art critics (with only few exceptions); art critics come from different backgrounds and they may or may not be university trained.[2] Professional art critics are expected to have a keen eye for art and a thorough knowledge of art history. Typically the art critic views art at exhibitions, galleries, museums or artists' studios and they can be members of the International Association of Art Critics which has national sections.[3] Very rarely art critics earn their living from writing criticism.

The opinions of art critics has the potential to stir debate on art related topics. Due to this the viewpoints of art critics writing for art publications and newspapers adds to public discourse concerning art and culture. Art collectors and patrons often utilize the advice of such critics as a way to enhance their appreciation of the art they are viewing. Many now famous and celebrated artists were not recognized by the art critics of their time, often because their art was in a style not yet understood or favored. Conversely, some critics, have become particularly important helping to explain and promote new art movementsRoger Fry with the Post-Impressionist movement, Lawrence Alloway with Pop Art as examples.


According to James Elkins[4] there is a distinction between art criticism and art history based on institutional, contextual and commercial criteria; the history of art criticism is taught in universities, but the practice of art criticism is excluded institutionally from academia.[5] Always according to James Elkins in smaller and developing countries, newspaper art criticism normally serves as art history. James Elkins's perspective portraits his personal link to art history and art historians and in What happened to art criticism he furthermore highlights the gap between art historians and art critics by suggesting that the first rarely cite the second as a source and that the second miss an academic discipline to refer to.[6]

Some famous art critics[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], from the Tate, retrieved April 12, 2009
  2. ^ James Elkins, What happened to art criticism, Prickley Paradigm Press, 2003, p. 8.
  3. ^ Website of the International Association of Art Critics http://www.aica-int.org/spip.php?article3.
  4. ^ James Elkins, Introduction in Is Art History Global?, dir. James Elkins, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2007, pp. 5-15.
  5. ^ An experience-related article is Agnieszka Gratza, Frieze or faculty? One art critic's move from academia to journalism in The Guardian, 17/10/2013.
  6. ^ . James Elkins, What happened to art criticism, Prickley Paradigm Press, 2003, pp. 4-5 and p. 9.
  7. ^ Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, French Eighteenth-Century Painters. Cornell Paperbacks, 1981, pp.222–225. ISBN 0-8014-9218-1
  8. ^ Joanna Richardson, Baudelaire, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994, p. 191, ISBN 0-312-11476-1.
  9. ^ J'accuse letter at wikisource
  10. ^ IAN CHILVERS. "Fry, Roger." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 9 Mar. 2009 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.Retrieved 9 March 2009

External links[edit]

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574 news items

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:07:30 -0700

The latest spot in Old Navy's ongoing series starring Amy Poehler debuted this week. Chandelier Creative of New York casts the Parks and Recreation star in what may be her oddest role yet: art buyer/critic. In a mildly amusing twist, Poehler's best ...

New York Times

New York Times
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 07:01:11 -0700

The only history you can really know is your own. The only art I'm truly an expert on is art I've experienced firsthand. As a critic, I'm partly a research analyst, comparing and evaluating new data. But I'm also a curator of my memory, which carries ...
Boyertown Berk Montgomery Newspapers
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:07:04 -0700

Schira has been the lead art critic for The Reading Eagle newspaper for 19 years with over 1000 articles published. He has written reviews for RawVision magazine and Art Matters among others as well as curated shows for Albright College's Freedman ...
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:30:18 -0700

Jed Perl, a savvy polemicist far above fatuous windbag trolling, is mad as hell. Why? Because “Liberals Are Killing Art,” according to the headline accompanying the art critic's latest for The New Republic. This is actually the best part of the piece ...

Toronto Star

New York Post
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 02:11:15 -0700

A self-styled art critic gave a scathing review to the Jeff Koons exhibit the Whitney Museum Wednesday — splattering a red substance on a wall in a bloody-looking X pattern. “It appears to be either blood or red paint,” a police source said. Canadian ...
Gazzetta del Sud english
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 07:37:30 -0700

Catanzaro, August 12 - Debate over whether the 2,500-year-old Riace bronzes should travel to Milan Expo 2015 continued Tuesday when art critic Philippe Daverio weighed in with ironic commentary in a popular magazine. In an interview in this week's ...
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Renowned art critic, visual artist, lecturer and writer, Dr Tony Monda has been invited by the Namibian National Gallery to adjudicate at the Bank Windhoek Triennale to be held in Namibia this month.It is the first time that a Zimbabwean artist has ...

New York Times

New York Times
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:21:51 -0700

Holland Cotter, a chief art critic, established a museum of memory by envisioning a global collection in one place. Many readers shared how art had touched their lives. “Petrov-Vodkin's portrait of Lenin, painted from memory, long after the subject's ...

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