The text of the paper should be approximately 3-4 pages long (double-spaced) with bibliography and footnotes. Included images are in addition to the 3-4 pages of text.
Select a work of art from a museum in your area (or an architectural structure in your area). Basically, this is an assignment to have you look at original works of art and use the skills acquired in class to analyze the work in its historical and cultural context.
Christina Maranci’s “A Survival Guide for Art History Students” is recommended (but not required) for this assignment.
Here are some considerations as you prepare to write this paper:
1. Describe and discuss the original work of art
2. Analyze the subject of the work of art. If you are writing about a building,
describe the purpose of the building. Please describe the subject as you
understand it. You are encouraged to use information from wall labels, but
secondary research is NOT expected.
3. Analyze the visual elements and the design of the work of art (or building),
describing how these relate to the properties of the artistic medium; i.e., use of
line in a painting, the use of shape in a work of sculpture. If you are writing
about a building, identify the issues of space and human activity as characteristic
4. Discuss how the visual elements, design and medium contribute to, or enhance,
the subject of the work. If you are writing about a building, discuss the impact of
the design and materials of the building upon the activities that take place within
5. Discuss how the site where the work of art is exhibited (or the location of the
building) influences your experience. For example, if the work is in a museum
gallery, what is the impact of the size of the gallery, the adjacent works of art,
the labels, the height where the work is hung, your understanding of the
purpose and reputation of the museum, where the museum is located, etc. If
the work is a building, how does the changing light of day/season affect your
experience of the interior spaces/exterior forms of the building? How does the
surrounding landscape affect your experience of the building? Etc.
Remember, you are not expected to do outside research on the work of art (although
you can, if you’d like and if it helps your understanding). The expectation is that you will
use the knowledge and skills acquired from this class to analyze the work of art and
place it within its historical and cultural context.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
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