Students will write one short paper on painting. An example is posted here. Spring 2011 Student papers are listed here!

Description: For this assignment, you will analyze a painting from the time period and cultures covered in Unit Three. This essay should be one-two pages typed (double spaced). It is more important to cover the required components rather than to worry about length. Use essay format with paragraphs rather than question / answer format or bulleted list format. Sources are not required, but any used must be documented correctly. Essays must be submitted electronically so that they can be submitted to Safe Assign to check for plagiarism. Please read the syllabus policies on the use of Safe Assign and the consequences of plagiarism. The policies will be strictly enforced.

Components: In the first paragraph, tell the reader about the painting. What is its title? Who was the artist? Does it still exist? Where is it / was it? What ’s its condition? Where did you view it (give specifics: in suchandsuch textbook on page soandso or on the internet at suchandsuch address or at soandso museum on suchandsuch date)? When was its composition? What does it look like (you might include an image of it, though make sure you cite it!)?

Then, in a series of body paragraphs, address as many of the following categories as relevant to the painting:

  • · Medium: What medium has the artist used? What particular qualities does use of the medium impart to the work?
  • · Line: How has the artist employed the various qualities of line? Are there implied lines and outlining as well as color edges? What is the effect of line on the work’s dynamics?
  • · Form: What forms appear in the work? Are they objective or nonobjective? How does the artist’s use of form contribute to what the work means?
  • · Color: How do hue, value, and contrast contribute to the overall palette employed in the work?
  • · Repetition: How do rhythm, harmony, and variation appear in the work?
  • · Focal Area: What parts of the work draw your attention, and how is your eye drawn from one part of the work to another?
  • · Deep space: In what ways has the artist attempted to create a sense of depth in the work, if at all? How do the factors of linear and aerial perspective contribute to the work’s sense of space?

The concluding paragraph should be your Reaction: how do the previous elements combine to create a reaction in you? In other words, what draws your attention? What is your emotional response to the work, and what do you think causes the response?

Questions taken from page 63 of the Artsguide: World and Web by Dennis Sporre (2004).


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