Description: You will need to do research on 1 specific artwork/art period form the list provided, in order to write this paper. The paper must be at least 2 full and complete pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman or Cambria (Body), 1-1.25 in. margins. Do not skip extra lines between paragraphs or between lines of your heading. You cannot get full points on this assignment if you do not meet the assigned length in the body of the paper, not counting long quotes (so avoid long quotes).
List of choices: (choose only one)
-Proto-Renaissance in Florence: A Comparison Between Cimabue and Giotto
-Masaccio, Tribute Money, fresco, Brancacci Chapel, Florence, c. 1427
-Michelangelo, Last Judgment, fresco, Sistine Chapel, 1536-41
-Tintoretto, The Last Supper, oil on canvas, 1592-94
-Bronzino, Allegory of Venus and Cupid, oil on panel, c. 1546.
-Jan van Eyck, Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, oil on panel, 1434
-Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, oil on oak panels, 1490 and 1510
-Hans Holbein, The French Ambassadors, 1533
Steps for Writing the Paper:
Once you have selected your focus work of art, look at it for at least 10 full minutes. Try to do a quick analysis first. Think about the elements and consider the principles of art and design. How is it lighted? What grabbed your attention initially about this work? What surprises you about it? Is there an artist’s statement? Follow the basic steps of the formal analysis, in the correct order.
Be sure to record the artist, title, date, and materials of the work. Then, summarize what you learn from the label. However, depend more on your own observations and what your eyes see than what you read. The label is there to help you but it is not the last word on the work. If you want to cite it in your writing, do so. But remember any quote from the label will not count toward your word length, and any uncited copying will be seen as plagiarism. Put it in your own words if you use it and cite it.
Next, take some detailed notes about your chosen object. Think about why this work struck you and grabbed your attention. Begin taking notes on everything you can about the work of art. Follow the hints below. Don’t be afraid to give an opinion but remember to anchor or ground your opinion in viewed observations and evidence. Say why you think the way you do. What is your evidence?
Subject matter and message: Look closely at the images or figures rendered in the work of art. Can you identify things in the work? Symbols, people, animals? How do they look? What are they doing? Do a good description of everything you see in detail. Where is each thing you see? Locate it with language. What do you think is the overall subject or message of the art object? How has the artist communicated that subject, story, or idea?
Medium: What is it made of? Be as specific as you can. Don’t just say stone but say “alabaster, which is a light tan colored hard stone with flecks in it” for instance. If you have to look up the technique, cite your source; remember to use either Heilbrunn Timeline through the Met Museum or Oxford Art Online rather than Wikipedia. And cite it as “(Heilbrunn or Oxford Art Online)”. Use descriptive language: hard or soft, light or dark, smooth or rough, natural or synthetic. Describe how the medium is used and to what effect. Why do you think the artist choose this material? Is it 2d or 3d? Do you look at it from one angle or many angles? Is it colored or monochromatic (one color)?
Design elements: Consider how the artist chose to use design, such as line, shape, size (life-size, bigger, smaller?), scale, space (actual or implied), color, depth, balance, unity, variety, focus, texture, etc. Be specific. Tell me where you see each color and what color it is, for instance. Don’t just say “it’s red and green.” What does red seem to mean here? What does green mean here? What shade of red and green? Why? Go back to your readings by Sayre and Barnett (posted on WT Class) for help.
Art Historical and Historical Context – When was this object made? What culture was the artist part of when it was made? Does it deal with a certain religion or belief system? Do you think it was used by rich people or ordinary people or poor people? Why? Are the materials cheap or expensive? Is it too big to fit in a small home or apartment? Does it deal with race or gender it any way? Does it deal with power, government, and hierarchy in any way? Does it respond to changes or events that occurred in human history? If so, how?
Paragraph 1: Introduction – Introduce your chosen object and how it’s situated in its space, dealing especially with your notes taken for numbers 2 and 3 above. Name the artist, if known or say unknown if not, the Title in Italics, the date if known, and the medium. Describe why you picked this object. Why were you drawn to it or why did it catch your attention?
Paragraph 2: Subject Matter and Message, following number 4a above. Use the art of describing here. Tell me what you see that is happening in the work, in detail. Also use the museum labels for help, but be sure to cite these if you use them. It’s better to restate in your own words, and then put a citation in parentheses, such as (museum label).
Paragraph 3: Medium, materials, and technique (number 4b above). The artist made this object in this specific material for a reason. Use the wall and object labels to get started but then move on to observe that material at work in the art. Look up that medium through a reliable online source (www.metmuseum.org/toah or through Oxford Art Online through WT Library system http://infoguides.wtamu.edu/arthistory), and cite your source with a shorthand phrase or use a footnote.
Paragraph 4, etc: Design Elements (number 4c above). You can also split this section up into different paragraphs, each one considering a separate element of design.
Paragraph 5, etc: Art Historical/Historical Context (4d above). Here is where you connect the work you have chosen to a broader context beyond the work itself. How does it have wider meaning in art history and/or cultural history? What relevance does it have to society, either in the past or in the present?
Paragraph 6, etc: Conclusion – Write one final paragraph in which you review the elements from the previous paragraphs that you feel are most important. You should return to your overall feelings about the work of art based on observed aspects. Don’t just say, “I liked it” but say why specifically. What drew you to the object? Why is it important? Why is it worthy of being in a museum or gallery?
THIS IS A RESEARCH PROJECT. You need to use books or the internet and your eyes, your mind, and the work itself. This assignment is where you demonstrate that you can examine art carefully and intelligently. If you need to look things up, please use things like museum websites, or the above mentioned web resources instead of Wikipedia.
If you cite an internet source, put the shortened site in parentheses (Heilbrunn Timeline or Oxford Art Online) following your sentence before the period.
Use your own words rather than quoting from other sources. Remember, quotes don’t count for your page limit. They can help you out, but it’s your words that count toward the 3 pages you need for the assignment.
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE FROM THE MUSEUM LABELS OR THE INTERNET BECAUSE YOU WILL FAIL THE ASSIGNMENT. Instead, find the confidence to think for yourself. I would rather have this writing in a student’s honest voice with errors, than a scholar’s voice that is not your own.
Heading – a basic heading with your full name and the date is fine; do NOT take up too much room for your heading, a few lines will suffice
Grading Rubric: You will be graded on the following categories –
Content – Does your paper have all the sections mentioned above? Did you go into the appropriate depth and specificity with each section? Does it provide intelligent and thoughtful conclusions about the exhibit, supported by specific observations? Does it avoid vague generalizations?
Format – Has your paper been proofread and is appropriately organized? Is it free of grammar, spelling, and clarity errors?
Professional presentation – Does your paper reach the appropriate length? Are the margins as specified? Do you use italics for titles? Are your citations present and in the described form? In sum, did you follow the directions?
Do’s and Don’ts:
Do give your paper a better title than “Paper” or “Art History Paper”
Don’t be vague. I will write this word all over your paper if you aren’t specific enough. Use examples and discussion for every point you make. Tell me why and how. Always say a second sentence about your observations. This will help with length too.
Do use complete sentences (subject AND verb, please, in every sentence), spell check, proper grammar, etc. This is a formal writing.
Do use italics instead of quotes for the title of a work of art
Don’t use anything but italics for the title of a work of art (get the point yet?)
Don’t make a paragraph longer than half a page or shorter than three sentences. Make balanced paragraphs. Write good topic sentences, such as “the work of art employs line to great effect” then go on to describe in that paragraph how the art uses line.
Don’t use “texting” language, abbreviations, or overly familiar language you might use with your friends. Don’t say “OMG. Love this work,” or “back in the day,” or the work was “cool” or “awesome” or “so great.” There are better ways to say this.
Don’t feel like you have to celebrate or be a cheerleader for the work of art. Saying you LOVE it won’t get you a better grade. Saying you are moved by it and talking in detail about how it affects you will get you a good grade. Avoid exaggerated but empty praise.
Do pay attention to the differences between “It’s” and “Its” and “their” and “they’re.” For example, “the work is sitting on its pedestal” but “The work is big. It’s also wide.” Or, “the figures have objects in their hands” but “they’re holding objects” as in “they are holding objects.” Remember “It is = it’s” and “they are” = “they’re”; “Its” without and “their” apostrophe means ownership, like the thing or things own something.
Do spell the following words right: “Piece of art;” “angels fly in heaven bringing peace on earth;” but “the angles of the frame are sharp”