Verbal Description: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Verbal Description: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Verbal Description: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words 150 150 cliflu_pr653e

Creator: GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching & Learning

Course Title: N/A

Assignment Description:

For this assignment, students will write descriptions of objects using precise, evocative language to convey the visual and tactile experience of a particular artwork. The descriptions should include standard information included on a label text, such as the name of the artist, title of the artwork, date, dimensions or scale of the work, media and technique. While also including vivid detail of the physical characteristics including the composition, texture, line, etc. and describe the student’s emotional response to the subject matter and/or mood of the work. 

To describe the mood and visual characteristics of a painting, photograph or object, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How does the work make you feel?
  2. What emotions does the work evoke?
  3. What does this piece do or say?

The description should inform and captivate the reader in a way which heightens the viewing experience of the artwork in a unique and personal way. 

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

⚬ Directly interact with artwork from the permanent collections of Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and Clark Atlanta University Art Museum. 

⚬ Gain experience in handling and proper care of original artwork

⚬ Gather and research information on artworks and artists

⚬ Articulately describe visual characteristics of an object

⚬ Creatively describe the mood and feeling of an object

Preparation for Assignment

⚬ Faculty should schedule a class visit to Clark Atlanta Art Museum and/or Spelman Museum of Fine Art for students to view and select artwork.


⚬ 250-500 word written description

⚬ Audio recording of verbal description

Recommended Artwork/Archival Collections:

⚬ Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

⚬ Clark Atlanta University Art Museum