lunes, 11 de abril de 2011



A picture description is an ideal way of practising your English vocabulary in all sorts of fields. And there´s also a benefit for everyday life – imagine you want to show pictures of your family or home to your foreign friends.
Describing paintings or other art pictures (e.g. caricatures) is something for the art students as you also have to talk about the artist´s intent ion and the impression on the viewer.

Have a close look ath the picture and decide on how to structure your pictures description. What is important or special? What should the viewer pay attention to?

Structure and Content
It is not easy to follow a picture description if the writer jumps randomly from one point to another. Therefore, make sure that your picture description is logically structured, for example:
·         From left to right (or from right to left)
·         From the background to the foreground ( or from the foreground to background)
·         From the middle to the sides ( or from the sides to the middle)
·         From details to general impressions (or from general impressions to details)

Which structure you finally choose depends on your taste and the picture you want to describe.

Pictures in general
·         Short description of the scene (e.g. place, event)
·         Details (who/what can you see)
·         Background information (if necessary) on place, important persons or event.

·         Name of artist and picture, year of sign (if known)
·         Short description of the scene (e.g. place, event)
·         Details (who/what can you see)
·         Impression of the viewer
·         Artist´s intention
·         Perscpective, colours, forms, proportions, etc.

Important tenses
Simple past, present progressive, both tenses also in passive voice.

Word list on picture description

  • Portrait
  • Landscape painting
  • Worm´s eye view
  • Bird´s eye view
  • Foreground
  • Background
  • In the upper part
  • In the lower part
  • In the left part
  • In the right part
  • In the central part
  • In front of
  • Behind
  • Next to …
  • On the right
  • On the left
  • In the middle
  • From front
  • From behind
  • From above
  • From below
  • The second from left/right
  • Artificial light
  • Daylight
  • Subdued light
  • Light colours
  • Loud colours
  • Contrast
  • Vanishing point
  • Vanishing line
  • … (image) is a painting by … (artist), painted in … (year
  • … (image) painted in … (year), is a work by … (artist)

  • … (artist) painted … (image) in … (year)

·         … (image) is a famous painting by … (artist)

Describing the scene
  • The picture was taken in/at  … (place)
  • The picture shows a scene from …
  • It´s an image of … (place, person, scene)
  • The picture describes … (scene)
  • The picture shows … (place, person, scene) from a distance
  • … (place, person, scene) is shown from … ( a bird´s eye view/…)
  • You look at … (place, person, scene) from … (above/behind/…)
  • In the picture you can see …
  • … (position on the left/right/…) there is/are …
  • … (position on the left/right/…) you can see …
  • … is … (position on the left/right/…)

  • … gives the impression of depth
  • … (person) seems to look at the viewer
  • His/her eyes seem to follow the viewer
  • The figures look as if the exist in three dimensions
  • The viewer has the impression that the people in the picture are alive
  • The viewer´s attention is focused on …
  • The viewer finds it difficult to withdraw his yes from …
  • The painting is vivid/ happy / expressive
  • The picture makes the viewer feel … ( sad / happy )
  • The picture inspires the viewer to think abour …

  • the artist mainly uses… ( colour/forms/…)
  • important elements are highlighted.
  • The artist / photographer / painter uses … to express …
  • He / she (probably) wants to criticise / express / shows  
  • It is obvious that the artist wants to criticise / express / shows 
  • What the artist / photographer / painter wants to criticise / express / shows  is …
  • What the artist / photographer / painter wants to point out is …
  • I think / believe / am sure that …
  • It seems / appears to me that …
  • The problem illustrated here is …
  • … is typical of


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