(1) : orderly method of arrangement (as in the presentation of ideas) : manner of coordinating elements (as of an artistic production or course of reasoning)

(2) : a particular kind or instance of such arrangement <the sonnet is a poetical form>

b : PATTERN, SCHEMA <arguments of the same logical form>

c : the structural element, plan, or design of a work of art --  visible and measurable unit defined by a contour : a bounded surface or volume

(3) The literal shape and mass of an object or figure.

(4) More general, the materials used to make a work of art, the ways in which these materials are used utilized in terms of the formal elements (line, light, color, texture, size and composition.) or asym.met.ric adj [Gk asymmetria lack of proportion, fr. asymmetros ill-proportioned, fr. a- + symmetros symmetrical] (1690) 1: not symmetrical 2 usu asymmetric, of a carbon atom: bonded to four different atoms or groups -- adv -- n n, pl -tries [L symmetria, fr. Gk, fr. symmetros symmetrical, fr. syn- + metron measure--more at measure] (1541) 1: balanced proportions; also: beauty of form arising from balanced proportions 2: the property of being symmetrical; esp: correspondence in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane or about a center or axis--compare bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry 3: a rigid motion of a geometric figure that determines a one-to-one mapping onto itself 4: the property of remaining invariant under certain changes (as of orientation in space, of the sign of the electric charge, of parity, or of the direction of time flow)--used of physical phenomena and of equations describing them

bilateral symmetry n (1860): symmetry in which similar anatomical parts are arranged on opposite sides of a median axis so that only one plane can divide the individual into essentially identical halves

Emphasis and Focal Point

formal analysis
Is the analysis of a work by discussing its form such as its shape, lines, color, texture and composition.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1984
Acrylic, oil paintstick, and silkscreen on canvas,88x77 inches
Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat; courtesy
Robert Miller Gallery, New York

Etymology: Medieval Latin iconographia, from Greek eikonographia sketch, description, from eikonographein to describe, from eikon- + graphein to write -- more at CARVE
Date: 1678
1 : pictorial material relating to or illustrating a subject
2 : the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject and especially a religious or legendary subject
3 : the imagery or symbolism of a work of art, an artist, or a body of art

Etymology: Middle English, weaving together of words, from Latin contextus connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave
 together, from com- + texere to weave

1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

 2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : ENVIRONMENT, SETTING

contextual analysis
Is the analysis of a work by discussing its history, culture, environment, and or background.
Roughly close to conclusion in music.

contextualism A methodological approach in art history which focuses on the cultural back ground of an art object.  Unlike connoirsseurship, contexualism utilizes the literature, history, economics, and social developments (among others) of a period, as well as the object itself, to explain the meaning of an artwork.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1984
Acrylic, oil paintstick, and silkscreen on canvas,88x77 inches
Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat; 
courtesyRobert Miller Gallery, New York

Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl, 
the goddess of earth, sex, childbirth and mothers.


Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night,
Saint-Rémy: June, 1889 
Oil on canvas  73 x 92 cm.
Post Impressionist

Caspar David Friederich, 
Cloister Cemetery in the Snow
1817-19 Oil on canvas 121 x 170 cm
Destroyed 1945, 
formerly in the National Gallery, Berlin
only black and white and poor color images survived
German Romantic Painter (Romanticism)