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Your Research Project
Students will be required to choose (pending instructor approval) and research a work of art. Students will then write a 3-4 page research paper about the chosen work, including background information about the artist, a formal analysis of the work including what other art historians/critics have said about this particular piece of art, and the student’s own personal response to the piece. This will require using at least two SCHOLARLY sources.* Wikipedia is NOT to be used as a source for anything in this class. All sources must be cited directly in the paper using MLA format and on a Works Cited page.
*8-week classes need to locate only 1 source.
Parts of Analysis
- Description – defining and describing the work of art using art elements and the principles of design. “What do you see?”
- Basic Facts (artist’s name, medium, title, date, location, condition)
- Art Elements (line, shape, light, color, texture, space)
- Analysis – researching the reasons why the artist used certain elements and exploring what these features suggest about the work. “How did the artist do it?”
- Subject Matter (iconography)
- Formal Qualities (perspective, brushwork or handling, proportion, composition)
- Design Principles (unity, variety, balance, emphasis, scale, mass/volume, rhythm, setting, interior/exterior relationship)
- Interpretation – discovering the meaning behind the artwork and relating it to historical context. “Why did the artist create it and what does it mean?”
- Theme (overall meaning of the work)
- Style (personal style, national style, period style)
- Patronage (commissioner of the work)
- Historical Context (evidence of the time)
- Judgment – assessing if the work succeeded in conveying its intended purpose, in relation to other works from the same period. “Is it a good piece of art?”
- Art Historian Critique
- Historical Significance