How to Write a Painting Descriptive Essay

The essay is carried out at school in order to check how well the student is able to competently and succinctly express their thoughts. And the essay-description based on the picture also makes it clear whether the student is able to understand and explain works of art. To make it easier for you to cope with such tasks, we have prepared detailed instructions.

Category: Business     Written By: Eva William

How to Write a Painting Descriptive Essay

Also, before starting to write a descriptive essay, it will be helpful to order its sample. You can pay for an essay online and receive a high-quality template. In this way, you will deal with your writing much faster.

How to write an essay on a painting: the preparatory stage of work

Before starting work, you should prepare. After all, you must be able to read and recognize the message of the author in a picture like in a literary work. First of all, study the biography of the artist and their creative path. It is important for you to understand in what technique, subject, and style the master worked. Google a couple of links with the history of the painting: as a rule, well-known works of art have interesting backstories of writing. By the way, if you do not understand the genres of painting, Google will help. This information will be needed in order to know what is in front of you: landscape, still life, or portrait. An obvious plus for your work will also be the mention of several facts from the artist's biography.

For example: “Considering the “Morning” painting, I want to note that John Smith is an American landscape painter. Almost all of his pictorial activity is devoted to American landscapes, where animals are almost never found. However, the “Morning” painting has a very interesting history of creation. Initially, it was painted by Smith without bears on it – there was only a pine forest. The cubs were later placed in it by another artist, Peter Kane, so for a long time, there were two signatures in the lower right corner: Smith and Kane. The patron of the painting was Miles Turner, who demanded that the authorship remains with Smith. That is why this picture is known to the whole world as a masterpiece of John Smith.”

Now let's move on to the work itself. First, analyze the picture from the technical side: who or what is depicted on it, what color scheme prevails, where the action takes place on it, general sensations, and so on. Then try to highlight the theme and idea of the canvas and link it to the technical characteristics. It is also important to say about the emotions and feelings that the picture evokes in you: sadness, or, conversely, peace and tranquility.

An essay on the picture: a rough plan

As in a standard written work, an essay based on a painting has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. And now we remind you what the structure of the essay should look like.


In the introduction, they usually give brief information about the artist and their significance in art. You can write in what style the master worked, and what is the peculiarity of their work. It is good to mention the history of the creation of the picture, the year of writing, the genre of the painting, and so on. Refer to the first example that we gave above: this will be a guide for you on how the introductory part should look. In the beginning, you can also delve into the biography of the author or tell more about the genre in which the picture is written.

Main part

The main part is devoted to the analysis and description of the painting: you need to tell what this picture is about and how the author shows their idea to the viewer. Analyze what is in the background, middle, and foreground. Describe the main characters of the picture (if any), and pay attention to important details. Describe the color and light design of the painting and note what mood the author conveys with their help.


In the end, it is necessary to summarize your description with a small conclusion. Mark whether you liked the picture and why, and whether everything seemed clear.

For example: “In my opinion, the artist managed to fully convey the atmosphere of the early morning in the forest. Remembering how my grandfather used to take me to the forest for a walk, I feel the light coolness, freshness, and silence of the thick forest. The same feelings arose in me when viewing the painting “Morning” by John Smith. It seems to me that masterpieces are such precisely because the authors, with their help, even through the ages can make a great impression. John Smith certainly succeeded.”

To write an essay on a painting, be careful, do not be lazy to look for facts about the artist and the picture, and also use synonyms, marker words, and linking phrases. They can be selected using a dictionary or special online services. And do not forget that when grading, not only your creativity is taken into account, but also your literacy. We wish you good luck and inspiration!

Thank you for reading to the end. We're glad we were helpful to you.