> Compare and Contrast: Preparing for an Art History Essay This is an important first step as you prepare to write an effective essay that covers multiple main. 1 Writing an Art History Essay An essay is a short literary composition on a single topic that presents the views of the author. The French writer Michel de Montaigne. First of all we ought to ask, What constitutes a good history essay? Probably no two people will completely agree, if only for the very good reason that quality is in. Writing a paper for an art history course is similar to the analytical, research-based papers that you may have written in English literature courses Continue.
A formal analysis is the fundamental form of writing about art and often the first taught in any introductory art history course.
In a strict formal analysis, no other information is required besides that which you can see, and while some knowledge of the subject matter helps, your focus should be on the visual elements of a work. A formal analysis focuses on aspects like line, color, composition, and style, and describes the effect of these artistic decisions on the viewer.
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While any formal analysis must employ a good deal of description, it is important to remember that even a pure formal analysis must always be thesis-driven and each point should tie back to the overall interpretation of the work. Example of a short formal analysis: In the foreground, a man and women stand on either side of a central figure, go here adjoining hands creating a focal point that extends back to the doorway on the horizon line.
The almost perfect symmetry of the scene, as well as the relatively empty middle ground, underscore both the spiritual theme and the aesthetic values of the time. Note how the writer balances description of the work, using a vocabulary based on knowledge of artistic techniques and visual elements, with analysis of their effect on the viewer.
The thesis in bold provides a framework for the rest of the paragraph and acts as the driving force behind the descriptive observations. The example above merely demonstrates the type of writing typically employed in a formal analysis and is therefore shorter and less thorough than most visual analyses.
Also note that while the writer acknowledges the subject of the piece the Christian account of the marriage of the Virgin Mary and its time period the Renaissancemost of the focus is kept on the visual elements themselves.
If the writer were to include more information beyond the observable aspects of the scene, this would become more of a research paper.
An art history research paper can take a variety of forms, depending on the intended audience of the work and the aims of the writer. An iconographic analysis focuses on the representative iconography of a work, taking into account the symbolic role of images, the historical or mythological identity of figures, and any other elements that may have a visual significance.
They may also take into account such factors as patronage and social context and use these to place the work within a historical framework. In all cases, it is important to balance background research with analysis that ties these facts back to the work itself. In many cases, you will rely on the principles of formal analysis to back up some of your claims. Example of an iconographic analysis: Erwin Panofsky, a prominent art historian in the first half of the twentieth century a nd one of the foremost proponents of iconography, attributed symbolic meaning to the various elements of the scene; he ultimately viewed the painting as a legal document of a marital union between Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife in Margaret at the top of the bedpost, protection for expecting mothers; and the bedroom setting for the scene underscores the intimacy of the ceremony.
Not only do these elements work in a symbolic manner; it is the very nature of their symbolism that gives the work its nuptial significance. Research papers are usually thesis-driven as well, and always directed at a specific audience more on this in Section IV. For more information on writing Skill Sets To Put On Resume iconography and doing art historical research, refer to pages of Writing About Art 8th ed.
Comparisons of two works of art are often used in both research papers and exam responses. They provide an opportunity to combine formal analysis with more info of the artists, the subjects, and relevant background information needed to make inferences about the relationship between the two works. Begin by asking yourself what How To Write An Essay Art History of the two works stand out as particularly notable and whether or not these attributes are shared.
A comparison typically starts with similarities; if the two works share a stylistic background, have the same artist or relative period, or depict the same subject, mention the commonality as grounds for establishing a http://cocktail24.info/blog/nursing-personal-development-essay.php. Then, move on to the ways in which the two works differ, beginning with the obvious and moving on to the more subtle and How To Write An Essay Art History.
Art 206: Analysis of an artwork
Conclude each point by analyzing what this difference might reveal. How does the difference between these two indicate the stylistic difference between their two respective periods? The most apparent difference between the two is the moment in the learn more here that each artist chooses to depict. Michelangelo, on the other hand, has caught his David in the moments before the battle itself.
He stands proudly in a position of perfect contrapposto, his hand holding the sling, the only iconographic reference in the entire piece, over one shoulder, looking into the distance with a pensive, almost fearful gaze.
This David is no longer a shy, pretty vision of youth, but a man on the verge of adulthood, an embodiment of the Florentine identity and the full realization of the artistic ability of the high Renaissance that Michelangelo came to represent. This is a shortened example; a full version would cover more points of comparison and go into greater depths of analysis.
As with the formal analysis, description should never take precedence over analysis, and the writing should always pursue a thesis. An article in a newspaper differs substantially from a purely academic analysis, assuming a more casual tone and appealing to a more general audience.
This, in turn, is different from an exhibition review.
Keeping these different voices distinct when you write about art will help make your writing interesting and alive. While art history has no default audience, and you should always check whether the assignment specifies an intended reader, it is usually safe to assume you are writing for a classmate, and not only your professor.
While references to the life of the artist and the historical period surrounding the work should generally be in the past, formal analyses should always be in the present, as should as any descriptions of the works themselves. If a work elicits go here certain reaction, there is almost always a reason for this response.
Learn to articulate your instincts in a way that helps your audience understand more about the work and its intended function. Why is a dress painted red rather than blue?
You have been assigned an art history paper to write. You would like to finish your assignment on time with a minimum of stress, and your instructor fervently hopes to read an engaging, well-written paper. For more information and a longer example of formal analysis, see pages of Sylvan Barnet’s Writing About Art (8th ed.). II. Research Paper. An art history research paper can take a variety of forms, depending on the intended audience of the work and the aims of the writer. Compare and Contrast Essay. Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Several books have been written specifically to help you write a paper in art history. All are pretty widely available, so check your library and local bookstores: Acton, Mary. Learning to Look at Paintings. New York: Routledge, Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. New York: Harper Collins College, Taylor, Joshua. While some might think that an art history thesis is a “feel it and write it” paper, there are certain aspects of it that should be considered during the writing process. We have used such terms as formal analysis, historical research, theory and criticism, and comparison and contrast, to give you ideas on what to write in your thesis’ body.
Why choose marble for a medium, if bronze is lighter and less costly? These questions help to place you in the mindset of the artist and gain further insight into the work itself. At times, this can seem rather daunting, and even counterintuitive.
Keeping this distinction in mind as you begin to write about art will help to make your task easier and ultimately illuminate the best aspects of How To Write An Essay Art History forms of expression. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, For more information on style, constructing a thesis, and introductions and conclusions, see the Writing Center handouts on each of click here topics.
Writing an Art History Paper. Additional Navigation About Us History. Seven Deadly Sins of Writing 1. Incorrect Punctuation of Two Independent Clauses. Misuse of the Apostrophe. Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers. Faculty Resources Writing Materials for Faculty.
In an art history paper, we must employ a visual vocabulary and translate our visual impressions into a concrete verbal articulation. While this kind of writing can take many forms, the ultimate goals of any art history paper should be to explain the relationship between the technical form of a work and its impression on the viewer and to articulate how the visual elements work together to convey an overall effect.
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