Carefully select one work of art from course material you would like to write about. You will be spending a lot of time with this artwork so you should make sure that you have a lot to say about it AND, most importantly that you will be able to find reliable and academic research for your selection. Major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art have extensive online collections and you should reserve a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the navigation and assorted links, which provide valuable information and research material. Whatever artwork selected, you will need to find academic research on the time period or artwork.
Organize your paper in the following manner and include the bolded headings below in your paper:
Image: Include an image of the artwork and caption it with title, artist, date, and location.
Introduction: Introduce the artwork. What artwork have you selected, why have you selected it, and what do you hope the reader will learn from your paper?
Subject: Fully describe the subject and any of its symbolic meanings. If applicable, explain its function, and if relevant, its location. As for example, if the artwork was located in a tomb and used for burial purposes then location and function is relevant.
Visual Analysis: Provide a thorough visual analysis in your own words (research not needed here). The following elements should be included (if relevant):
1. Medium (limestone, marble, fresco, etc.)
2. Size (approximately thirteen inches long, roughly three inches in diameter, etc.)
3. Shape: Is this a two-dimensional or three-dimensional piece? What are the dominant shapes apparent within the work? Are they geometric? Irregular? How are they organized? Do you detect dominant patterns? Are there shapes that appear to recede into space?
4. If it is a three-dimensional piece (sculpture or artifact): Is it relief sculpture or sculpture in the round? Did the artist compose it to be seen from one primary vantage point, or is it meant to be seen from all sides? Is the sculpture carved or molded? How does the location affect the viewing experience?
5. Light: How does the artist employ effects of light and shading? Does the light appear to come from a single direction? Is the light evenly distributed? Which parts, if any, appear in a strong light? Which parts are in shadow? For sculpture, light is not relevant.
6. Color: What are the dominant colors employed by the artist? Does the artist use a wide range of colors, or does he restrict himself/herself to a few? Does the artist create color harmonies through analogous colors, such as red and orange? Does he/she create contrasts through complementary colors, such as red and green?
7. Texture: Is the surface of the object soft or rough (to the best of your knowledge)? What are the tactile qualities of the object (meaning how would it feel to touch its various parts)? Discuss actual texture versus intended/implied texture. Is there an illusion of texture? Is the artist trying to mimic actual texture?
8. Space/Mass: If it is a two-dimensional work, does the artist draw the viewer’s eye beyond the picture plane and into the distant space of the picture? Is this a deep or shallow space? How is space suggested? If it is a three-dimensional work, is it large or small? Would you describe the overall effect as sleek, bulky, heavy, light, etc. Are there any open spaces or are they closed spaces? Describe fully.
9. Line: Is there an emphasis on line? For example, are there sharp diagonals or angles in the work? Are the lines balanced and ordered? Do they imply directional movement? Does the artist emphasize line? Are the lines broken and lost or clearly defined and distinguished. Do the lines lead your eye to any particular direction? You can think of line as outlines if no obvious lines are apparent in the work.
Formal Comparison: Select one other artwork from the same time period (include the image and fully caption it) as your artwork selection. Compare and contrast the style, the meaning, and the visual elements. At the end of your comparison analysis, explain the characteristics of artworks for the time period.
Contextual Analysis: What were the cultural values, and the social, religious and political systems of the time? How were they relevant to your artwork? You must fully explain the relevant contexts with comprehensive analysis.
Conclusion: Sum up the salient ideas of your paper and what you have learned from the process of examining this artwork.
Citations: You are to use both in text citations and provide a Works Cited Page in MLA citation style. A minimum of three academic sources must be used.
Research Suggestions: First, visit the UMUC online library. You may not find a source on your specific artwork but you will find material on the culture and time period. When selecting an artwork at a museum website, check to see if there is associated research or links. The Course Helpful Resources tab will also provide pertinent links. SPECIAL NOTE: WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE FOR THE PURPOSES OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR THIS COURSE. Images; however, can be retrieved from the website.
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