what is visual literacy in art ?

Writing about art involves processes of knowledge and response to the visual image – i.e. visual literacy .

Let’s look at what visual literacy is in art analysis, its meaning and its importance in the communication process.


By Yolanda Silva, author of the online course Analysing Art.


what is visual literacy ?

The simplest definition we can give for visual literacy is the ability to understand an image. o que é literacia visual visuala literacy

and what is visual literacy in art?

But visual literacy not only involves the process of assimilating and understanding the message of the work of art. It is the process of thinking that may be involved in the construction and/or manipulation of an image. Therefore, it has to do also with being able to discuss about the work of art: the production of a discourse on the representations.

o que é literacia visual 2 visual literacy
The verbalization of an image involves the transformation of something visual into words that are understood by others and thus creating a coherent discourse using the articulation of established knowledge (related to the piece, creative process, expressiveness, historical and cultural context, iconography …).

What is visual literacy in the communication process?

Writing about art forces us to observe with double or even triple the attention the work that is before us and what it may awaken in us (and therefore what it might reflect of our own selves, as an individual or society).

Thus, writing or commenting on a particular work or artistic production of an author as a whole can sometimes seem intimidating. There is so much to say within the own languages ​​of the different types of art, as seen above, as there is in the one original thought of each artist. Above all, what strikes us is that not all messages are clear – Heidegger told us: “The work is a symbol.”

This symbol was created by the artist, it has its own language, a rhetoric that seeks to convince us of an idea; that persuades or seduces us. Rhetoric, the art of discourse, becomes visual to show us through figures of speech (such as metaphors, analogies, etc., but now visual) what the artist wants to communicate.

Visual Rhetoric visual literacy

Course Program | Analysing Art Online Course

Lesson 1. Analysing Art

a)      Reading / Interpreting

b)      Writing about Art: concepts of visual rhetoric and visual literacy

Lesson 2. Painting

a)      Elements of formal analysis

b)      Contents: iconography and symbolism

c)       Themes in painting

Lesson 3. Sculpture

a)      Elements of formal analysis

b)      Types of sculpture

Lesson 4. Architecture

a)      Elements of formal analysis

Learn about Art analysis

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