Works of art that express a superior/self-righteous tone might prominently feature characters that are haughty in regards to the viewer or to others. Beyond representation, stylistic elements such as high contrast, bold broad strokes, and hard edges might lend a superior/self-righteous tone.
An artist might impart a superior/self-righteous tone to a piece due to his or her own emotional state, or the artist might choose to evoke this tone as a reflection of the characters being portrayed. A superior/self-righteous tone might also be adopted to suit a piece meant for a setting or purpose that demands an expression of self-importance.
Featured: Portrait of a Young Man by Bronzino.