I’m working on a art writing question and need guidance to help me study.
This assignment will enable you to practice art history by investigating an artist or art historical topic that interests you through the detailed analysis of a painting, sculpture, drawing, print, or photograph in the collection of a local art museum. It fulfills SLO 1 and SLO 2 in ART 2. The completed paper should be 3-4 pages (in addition to your bibliography) that is a visual and contextual analysis of the work of art you selected during your virtual museum visit. For this final version of your paper, take your visual analysis from the preparation part 1 assignment and turn it into descriptive paragraphs. Add to this a contextual analysis into the culture of the time period in which the art was created based on your research. The paper should be in an essay format with an introduction and conclusion. In the introduction be sure to have the artist, title of the work, date and medium, along with a thesis statement or main idea. I recommend reading the Guide to Writing Art History Papers and reviewing the Grading Rubric below.
Process Part II – Contextual Analysis
1. What is contextual analysis?
How does your artwork reflect the culture that produced it? Consider some aspect of the social, cultural, political, technological, religious, or economic circumstances of the time period. The following questions would be a good starting point.
- What is the subject matter of the art work?
- For what purpose was it created?
- How does the work reflect the historical era in which it was produced?
(How does it tell us about religious, social, economic, or political circumstances?)
- What was important about the artist who created the art?
- How does the art work fit into the art movement it was part of?
- Where was the artwork meant to be seen? How would the setting affect our perceptions?
- What role(s) do patrons and or audience play in the creation or interpretation of the work?
Process Part III – Format of the paper
Based on your observations and your reading, develop a thesis which articulates the main point of your paper. In your finished paper, you are combining your visual and contextual analyses into a coherent essay that explains how the visual elements and the historical circumstances contribute to the artwork’s meaning.
- Include the identifying information from the museum label at the top of your paper.
- Use 12 point type, double or 1.5 line spacing, and no more than 1 inch margins.
- Use an essay format with introductory and concluding paragraphs.
- Develop a thesis or main idea that you will prove with your analysis in your essay.
- The body of the paper should support your thesis.
- You must document quotes with in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes.
- List your sources of research in a bibliography at the end.
- Include an image of your selected work and any other art work that you reference to support your interpretation, although this is not a comparison essay. These would be at the end and not included in the 3 page count. You can include links to the image(s) online as opposed to downloading the images themselves. Include captions for the images (or URLs) and in the body of your paper when you refer to the art work for the first time write Figure 1 (or 2, 3, etc. if you have multiple images). CAPTION format sample: Figure 1. Leonardo da Vinci, Virgin of the Rocks, ca. 1485. oil on wood.
For further description and examples of Visual Analysis and writing Art History papers:
Guide to Writing Art History papers with samples
See Citation guides for in-text citations, footnotes or endnotes: