Understanding the label on the wall in an art exhibition is a crucial way to learning the identity of the painting.

The label on the wall refers to information that accompanies the physical painting on the wall or the painting image on the screen. The label on the wall usually includes these five terms: title, artist, medium, year, dimensions.  
 
Title refers to the name of the painting. The title of the painting is normally the only communication the artist has with us in words. The artist is usually the person who decides the title. The artist uses the title to tell us what she wants us to know about the painting.

Read: #4: How to understand a painting title

Artist refers to the creator of the painting. Most artists will sign or imprint their names on the painting itself.

Read: #9: The first step to appreciating paintings: know more about the artist

Medium refers to the material or technique by which the painting is created.  Common mediums include oil, watercolour, Chinese ink, calligraphy, acrylic.  The different mediums create entirely different types of paintings.  

Read: #12: Understanding art terms – medium

Year refers to the year the painting was completed. Most artists will imprint the year on the painting itself. Knowing when the painting was completed helps us to put the painting into perspective.
 
Dimensions refer to the size of the painting without the frame. They are useful for commercial reasons as it provides information to potential buyers. Dimensions are also very useful when we cannot see the actual physical painting. It is difficult for us to visualise the size of a painting by looking only at its image (on the screen on or in a book) without knowing its dimensions.
 
These five terms on the label on the wall in an art exhibtion provide an identity to the painting. They give us information that helps us to understand the painting.

How to appreciate paintings?  Understanding the label on the wall in an art exhibition is a crucial way to learning the identity of the painting.

Painting Image: Autumn at Square du Vert by Singapore artist Low Hai Hong / ARTualize.com.sg

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