5 tips to understand the works of art in Literature

Many people get confused when they see a photo or a picture in the Enem Literature exam or the entrance exams. Wow, was not it supposed to be about texts?

In fact, art is art! Literature is one of the possible manifestations, but it relates to the other forms through the thematic and the historical period, for example.

So it is important to note what image and word they have in common when it comes to tinkering with the public’s feelings and conveying a message. After all, even reductionist, that’s the goal of art, is not it?

And doing this interpretation is not difficult as it sometimes seems. Some aspects can help you “decipher” the possible relationships of the visual arts with schools and literary works. Check out!

1. Likelihood

This giant word, verisimilitude, refers to something that seems real, indeed. A person with green skin, for example, is not real; on the other hand, some pictures look like they are photographs!

To deconstruct what would normally be called “real” is characteristic of some schools. Just as being super faithful to the objects of the world is characteristic of others. In the middle of the way, so to speak, we have the idealization of the things of the world: when they are portrayed perfect, but in life are not exactly so.

2. Shapes and colors

It is worth taking a close look at the shapes and colors. If a round object, like the sun, is square: what does that mean? What did the artist mean by transforming something that everyone knows about something so different?

Of course the proof is usually in black and white. But you can still see light and dark. The light can mean enlightenment, divinity, purity. The dark, by contrast, can symbolize doubt, fear, anger, sin.

3. Characters

Notice who the people are portrayed in the work. Are they men or women? Is the focus the beauty or the ugliness? Are they people known as saints or gods? What can clothing and / or accessories say about the socioeconomic status of these characters?

Not all works of art show people, of course. But this is also part of the characteristic of certain historical moments, precisely the lack of interest in the human being, or the greater interest in the environment.

4. Scenario

Besides the people, also observe the place where they are. Is it a room of a palace or a field of work? A city or a rural area?

Also note the artist’s point of view: is the idea to value the environment or give focus to people? Is this place portrayed as good, important, or as bad, dirty?

5. Contemporaneity

Another great word to say something very short: today. What does this work bring to you today? Think about how you would describe this image of the proof to someone. Is it cute or weird? Is it pleasant or disturbing?

It is worth pointing out that many meanings may seem to be meaningless these days, as values ​​and thoughts change over time. So you have to think of the parallel between what you see today and what the artist saw / showed at the time you did the work.


Baroque. Notice the light and dark, with religious motives / characters and quite verisimilitude. “St. Francis of Assisi in ecstasy,” Caravaggio.

Romanticism. Observe the presence of the city, the steam engine, depicting an idealized reality. “Rain, steam and speed,” Turner.

Romanticism. Note how social conflicts are at the center of the scene, with Liberty personified, alluding to the French Revolution. “Freedom Leading the People,” Delacroix.

Realism. Observe the likelihood that makes the picture remember a photograph, with characters wearing clothes and accessories that clearly distinguish a social class and expected behavior. “Good morning, Mr. Coubert.” Courbet

Modernism. Note how the picture brings everyday elements into an unusual arrangement, and how the melted watches seem to give concreteness to the abstract notion of time. “The persistence of memory,” Dalí.

Modernism. One of the most important paintings of modernism, brings a profusion of colors, as well as elements of the landscape, along with a deconstruction of the metric. “Abaporu”, Tarsila do Amaral.