Art analysis paper 1 | HUM1020-2225-1840 | Miami-Dade College

From one and half pages to two pages.

Choose one work that particularly engages you. Take time to look at the work in detail; include a picture of the work. Ask yourself: “How does the piece ‘work’? What is the artist doing? Why do I have a particular response (such as joy, fear, curiosity)?” Your response is, to a great extent, the result of the choices the artist has made in the process of creation. You will find useful ideas for thinking and writing about works of art in the text which was required for this course in chapter 1. The following is a specific outline for this paper. Part of your grade will be determined by how well you follow this outline. Other important aspects are thoroughness, clarity, and a demonstrated sensitivity to the work of art as shown in the rubric at the end. Parts 3 and 6 are 80% of the grade for this paper.

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THIS ON THE FOLLOWING WORKS OF ART – THEY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED

MONA LISA BY DA VINCI

LAST  SUPPER BY DA VINCI

ANYTHING IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL (INCLUDING THE CREATION OF ADAM) BY MICHELANGELO

THE SCREAM BY EDVARD MUNCH

STARRY NIGHT BY VAN GOGH

STATUE OF LIBERTY

EIFFEL TOWER

DAVID BY MICHELANGELO

Write the paper numerically (#1-7)

  1. State the title, artist, date, dimensions, and medium (what it is made of) of the work. 
  2. State the name of the exhibition in which the work was displayed. 
  3. Introduce the reader to the work of art by writing a brief, overall description of it. (Simple not detailed)
  4. Discuss the Elements of Art and Principles of Design that you think are important in understanding and analyzing this work. 
  5. Always refer to the artist by her or his last name, not the first name. 
  6. Explain your personal response to the work based on its form as you analyzed it in the previous sections. (Why did you like/dislike it?)
  7. Include a photograph/picture of the artwork (Google images or similar)

The following list of the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design will help you to focus on the most important aspects of the work you are analyzing. Discuss the element or principles that seem to create the meaning of the work or contribute to its aesthetic quality. 

  1. Elements of Art 
    • line  – shape and mass  – light, value, color  –  texture – space – time and motion 
  2. Principles of Design 
    • unity and variety – balance  – emphasis  – focal point – proportion and scale  – rhythm 

Although different texts may sometimes use different terms, the basic concepts are the same. The textbook reviews some fundamental terms in the “Introduction” to your textbook for this course. If you should want an additional review of these elements and principles, consult any textbook for a college level Art Appreciation or Art History course.

Keep in mind:

1.  Writing a formal analysis does involve your interpretation of and personal response to the work, but your reactions must be supported by referring to specific elements and qualities which you see in the work.

2.  Accept the work as it is. Do not “second guess” the artist and make such statements as, “I think the painting would have been better if the artist had . . .”

3.  Titles of exhibitions are in quotation marks; titles of works of art are underlined or are in italics.

Common mistakes you will want to avoid:

1.  Failure to proofread your paper to check for spelling, punctuation, subject/verb agreement, incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, etc. Don’t rely on your computer’s spellchecker; the computer may not know if you mean “there” or “their.”

2.  Confusing “it’s” and “its.”

3.  Referring to the artist by her/his first name. Would you write English literature paper on Romeo and Juliette and refer to the author as “William”?

4.  Handing in your paper and asking me if I have a stapler.

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