Survey of Art, Renaissance To Modern - Work of art and the culture


1.Read“WORKING WITH WORDS AND IMAGES” and “A BRIEF GUIDE TO CHICAGO STYLE” (posted on Blackboard)2.Choose a work of art from the RENAISSANCE TO the MODERN ERA(1400- 1980) that interests you in one of our local museums (UIW students have free access to both SAMA and the McNAY upon presentation of a UIW ID card).

You are responsible for visiting the museum on your own outside of classroom hours.I highly recommend that you see me during my office hours for help in choosing a topic and formulating a thesis question.

You can also email me your research question and thesis statement for my advice at any point up to a week before the initial draft’s due date (not later).It is my job to help you, so do not hesitate. NOTE: What I am interested in is your ability to connect the work of art with the culture that produced it, as the expression of widely-held ideas and beliefs and historical/geographical context. Just a mere description of the work’s formal qualities won’t do. 3.Write a 4-page (not including pictures and Works Cited page) essay comprising:

A.Introduction (1 paragraph), containing a thesis statement. To be clear, you are not required to make an original discovery or unique, innovative statement.Your thesis can be as simple as: “Mary Cassat’s ‘The Child’s Bath’ shows the influence of Japonisme in the flattening of the figures, the asymmetrical composition and the viewpoint from above, characteristic of Ukiyo-e prints.”

Introductory paragraphs should include the name of the work, the title, the subject, the artist’s full name, the date, the period, the country, as well as a brief description and overview of the works. Most of this information is contained in the OBJECT LABEL, which is the first information made available to the viewer in a museum. Use sections A and B of the VISUAL ANALYSIS CHECKLIST LEAFLET** to address all such information.

 B.Formal Analysis (2-3 paragraphs) of the work (i.e., a detailed look at its physical and stylistic qualities – see section C of the VISUAL ANALYSIS CHECKLIST**leaflet for a list of stylistic elements to look for– obviously, not all will apply to your chosen work).

Always consider how each element of an artwork contributes to the overall meaning. What effect is created when all the elements are considered together? Move from discussing larger elements (such as the effect of the composition of a work) to discussing the specific details (such as the effect of the brushstrokes).

A good test to tell if you’ve described something well enough is to imagine giving a friend your written analysis and determining whether she or he would be able to sketch the artwork briefly or pick it out of a line-up. C.A discussion of the artist, his/her historical context, his/her body of work and the patron (the person/group that commissioned the work (1 paragraph).

Biographical information and personal circumstances that may have affected the nature of the work. Example: The fact that Mary Cassatt was an upper-middle-class female in Parisian society, where she enjoyed a very limited access to the public sphere compared to her male counterparts, influenced her artistic production in that she focused on portrayals of the daily lives of upper-middle class women like herself.

If no artist is identified, talk about the period this work belongs to, its purpose and its main themes and characteristics.  D.A discussion of the SUBJECT MATTER, MEANING and CULTURAL CONTEXT (2-3 paragraphs). What story does it tell? What are the historical circumstances? What are the main themes addressed by the artist here?

How? Example:Address iconography, which is symbolic content designed to convey meaning. For help in covering all aspect of contextual analysis, refer to sections D, E and F of the VISUAL ANALYSIS CHECKLIST**.

You will need to research a variety of sources, in print and online.Ask your librarian to assist you in locating these sources.  D. A Conclusion (1 short paragraph), reiterating and re-articulating the thesis statement. F.A Works Cited page, listing the sources you cited in your paper.

Recommended databases for your research: Art Full Text (Wilson), JSTOR, Project Muse, Academic Search Premier (EBSCO), Oxford Art Online, http://arthistoryresources.net/ARTHLinks.html  G.Image(s), properly printed and labeled, in a separate page.Example: Fig. 1, Sekhmet statue, ca. 1390–52 BC.4.

Run your essay by the WRITING CENTER before you turn it in.Failure to do so will result in loss of a letter grade.5. Submit your draft and essay on the dates they are due.No emailing the essay unless there are extenuating circumstances and I agreed to it.Timeline:

1st draft of essay due on ___________ (submitted through the Plagiarism Check on Blackboard)
I will review and return by ____________
Final Essay Due ________
TIPS AND TRICKS -Here are some basic tips for writing a good art history paper:

An analysis is not merely description. Every time you describe something about the artwork in the body of the essay, you should explain why that particular aspect is noteworthy. This is the distinction between the WHAT and the WHY: what did you notice about the artwork, and why is it important?

After the first reference to the artist by his or her full name, you may refer to the artist by his or her last name (e.g., Vincent Van Gogh becomes Van Gogh).

Titles of artworks should be italicized.
If you are stuck at the start of the writing process, write down everything you notice about an artwork, no matter how minor it may seem. These minor observations could develop into something sophisticated by the end of the writing process.

Write your papers in a third-person editorial voice. Do not write “I think the artist selected red as the color for the dress because the artist wanted her to symbolize...” Instead, write “The color red in the dress suggests that the woman is intended to symbolize...”

Marjorie Munsterberg’s online book, Writing About Art, has additional suggestions and pointers:http://www.writingaboutart.org/index.html
Wikipedia IS NOT a citable academic source
*for information on Chicago Style formatting, review the BRIEF GUIDE TO CHICAGO STYLE posted online
**posted online

Survey of Art, Renaissance To Modern - Work of art and the culture

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