If you are taking this class, you have certainly questioned yourself why you do it at least once. It often seems like the subject is not of a big value and should be learnt only if you are into art or going to compose art history curriculum vitae to become a good expert in future. Also, you have already learnt history, so why bother?
Even though history is an important discipline that shows how people lived, what they did, how the societies functioned, and what was going on during all of the previous years, it, as a school and university course, does not go further the presentation of the factual information. It is a very broad subject that covers all of the human activities, tells the stories of the nations, and shows the evolution of the humankind, the way it influenced the world, and the impact everything around had on it. Yes, it surely looks for the reasons why certain things occurred and teaches to analyze everything in global context.
However, the history courses are usually so limited in time that they have to focus on things, which are more general, and give an overview of the main, most influential, and important figures or event. Hence, it has to omit things that tell about what people felt, thought about, and wanted. Fortunately, there is an area of the history that focuses exactly on those things, and it is called the history of art. To become the person who can be called a real professional in the sphere, it is often needed to write art history resume. Do not forget how important it is to complete this document properly.
If you think by learning this subject you simply look at pictures, sculptures, other forms of art and the way they described, the times people who created the works lived in, you are certainly wrong. All of paintings, buildings, and other magnificent pieces, facts about which can be applied in art history dissertation, crafted by the masters of that days, have interesting backgrounds, depict stories of lives of people, families, nations, and, in many cases, show the inner state of authors. The history of art does far more than looking at genres, forms, styles, analyzing and comparing them. It takes you to the world of your ancestors, allows you to look with their eyes on the state of things in the certain time and place, and helps to understand what they felt and though about this.
As a class in the academic facilities, it is mainly known for teaching all of art forms, their significance, meaning, and development. It shows how to analyze, compare and contrast, evaluate, and perceive all of the forms from different perspectives. This knowledge will give you the possibility to learn the answer for the question “How to write an art history essay?” During the studies, you also realize what beauty and emotional power each masterpiece holds. The course is a great opportunity to not only learn more, but also to develop a personal taste, understand own preferences in art, gain numerous important skills, applicable in all of the spheres, and find out how to write art history assignments.
Taking the given class also means preparing a lot of papers on subjects. However, if you think that writing is not the best way of gaining knowledge, or you just do not have time to complete the task, it is not necessary to force yourself into the homework completion process, as our art history essay writing service is here to cover your back when needed. Pro-Papers experts can work on any types of papers on the subject; they will gladly help you create a flawless work within the stipulated time. Therefore, when you have to write any paper on the history of art, you can always count on us!
It is a discipline, which covers an unbelievable scope of information. It dates back to the earliest periods of Stone Age and comprises everything from there and until now. Due to the numerous researches made and various subjects the history of art is related to, there is a lot of data available on most of the topics. However, it does not make the paperwork on the subject easier, as it is hard to think how to write an art history research paper and what to concentrate on. Luckily, Pro-Papers has a few useful guidelines, which will definitely facilitate your work.
- Pick a perfect topic.
You may wonder what makes a topic perfect, and the answer is pretty simple. Such topic should be interesting and original so that you can write art history article about something you actually like, and the teacher – read a work that will not make him or her fall asleep. A perfect topic must be focused, and, therefore, manageable, not covering too much, but just enough to produce a good art history research paper. More importantly, it has to be researchable, if you do not want to spend most of the time trying to gather arduous data. If the topic fits this mix of requirements, you can surely pick it for your art history writing assignments.
- Research qualitatively.
Some of papers you will write will require you to describe works of art in your own words or tell about your feeling regarding certain pieces. For example, you will face such a situation when you write an art history comparison essay. However, in most of the cases, you will need to have a sufficient informational background to come up with a well-reasoned paper. That will be so when you work on art history assignments, which do not ask you to provide data from literary sources. Hence, it is necessary to find as much information on the topic as you can to have a clear understanding of what to write about. It is especially important with the works like art history presentation, where everything is based on data and conclusions can be derived only with the help of reliable sources.
- Take a position.
If you are working on the art history argumentative essay or any other paper, which requires to include own opinion or take a certain position, it is important to make a choice before you start working. It is crucial to understand that you cannot consider one point to be better than other ones relying merely on a feeling or desire that came out of nowhere. As you have already done a research, you can evaluate data and see what kind of information seems more realistic to you to form a logical opinion based on factual information for your art history thesis paper. Thus, it will be evident that you have thought over details and analyzed them before.
- Outline the work.
When writing about art history, remember that the best example of essay structure is a well-known combination of introduction, body, and conclusion. Outlining the paper, you should decide what kind of information will go to each block and which points exactly do you want to cover in paragraphs. Also, you need to come up with a comprehensive thesis, which will present the whole essay in a single sentence. Art history thesis statement is a thing you have to focus on after you outline all of the other parts so that you can make it more concise and accurate.
- Consider requirements.
All teachers have requirements to homework assignments, and it is necessary to follow them if you want to get a good grade. Hence, make sure that style, format, and word count of the paper comply with guidelines. Also, consider spacing, font, and a number of sources you need to include. Teachers highly appreciate students who take their instructions into consideration and are more loyal to such individuals when it comes to grading papers.
- Check carefully.
Always read the paper upon completion carefully. Even if you are a writing expert, there is no way to make an ideal work from the first time. Typos and slight grammar errors may not be the worst problems in this paper, and proofreading helps to find everything that lowers the quality of writing or worsens the overall impression. You may realize that some of sentences or paragraphs make no sense or do not fit the work, but it is better to face these issues before you submit the paper, than get a bad mark for the hard work you have done.
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Writing Essays in Art History
These OWL resources provide guidance on typical genres with the art history discipline that may appear in professional settings or academic assignments, including museum catalog entries, museum title cards, art history analysis, notetaking, and art history exams.
Last Edited: 2016-03-01 09:17:11
Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis
Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.
A formal analysis is just what it sounds like – you need to analyze the form of the artwork. This includes the individual design elements – composition, color, line, texture, scale, contrast, etc. Questions to consider in a formal analysis is how do all these elements come together to create this work of art? Think of formal analysis in relation to literature – authors give descriptions of characters or places through the written word. How does an artist convey this same information?
Organize your information and focus on each feature before moving onto the text – it is not ideal to discuss color and jump from line to then in the conclusion discuss color again. First summarize the overall appearance of the work of art – is this a painting? Does the artist use only dark colors? Why heavy brushstrokes? etc and then discuss details of the object – this specific animal is gray, the sky is missing a moon, etc. Again, it is best to be organized and focused in your writing – if you discuss the animals and then the individuals and go back to the animals you run the risk of making your writing unorganized and hard to read. It is also ideal to discuss the focal of the piece – what is in the center? What stands out the most in the piece or takes up most of the composition?
A stylistic approach can be described as an indicator of unique characteristics that analyzes and uses the formal elements (2-D: Line, color, value, shape and 3-D all of those and mass).The point of style is to see all the commonalities in a person’s works, such as the use of paint and brush strokes in Van Gogh’s work. Style can distinguish an artist’s work from others and within their own timeline, geographical regions, etc.
Methods & Theories To Consider:
Social Art History
Visual Cultural Studies
Stylistic Analysis Example:
The following is a brief stylistic analysis of two Greek statues, an example of how style has changed because of the “essence of the age.” Over the years, sculptures of women started off as being plain and fully clothed with no distinct features, to the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite figures most people recognize today. In the mid-seventh century to the early fifth, life-sized standing marble statues of young women, often elaborately dress in gaily painted garments were created known as korai. The earliest korai is a Naxian women to Artemis. The statue wears a tight-fitted, belted peplos, giving the body a very plain look. The earliest korai wore the simpler Dorian peplos, which was a heavy woolen garment. From about 530, most wear a thinner, more elaborate, and brightly painted Ionic linen and himation. A largely contrasting Greek statue to the korai is the Venus de Milo. The Venus from head to toe is six feet seven inches tall. Her hips suggest that she has had several children. Though her body shows to be heavy, she still seems to almost be weightless. Viewing the Venus de Milo, she changes from side to side. From her right side she seems almost like a pillar and her leg bears most of the weight. She seems be firmly planted into the earth, and since she is looking at the left, her big features such as her waist define her. The Venus de Milo had a band around her right bicep. She had earrings that were brutally stolen, ripping her ears away. Venus was noted for loving necklaces, so it is very possibly she would have had one. It is also possible she had a tiara and bracelets. Venus was normally defined as “golden,” so her hair would have been painted. Two statues in the same region, have throughout history, changed in their style.
Compare and Contrast Essay
Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.
Compare and Contrast Example:
Stele of Hammurabi from Susa (modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792 – 1750 BCE, Basalt, height of stele approx. 7’ height of relief 28’
Stele, relief sculpture, Art as propaganda – Hammurabi shows that his law code is approved by the gods, depiction of land in background, Hammurabi on the same place of importance as the god, etc.
Top of this stele shows the relief image of Hammurabi receiving the law code from Shamash, god of justice, Code of Babylonian social law, only two figures shown, different area and time period, etc.
Stele of Naram-sin, Sippar Found at Susa c. 2220 - 2184 bce. Limestone, height 6'6"
Stele, relief sculpture, Example of propaganda because the ruler (like the Stele of Hammurabi) shows his power through divine authority, Naramsin is the main character due to his large size, depiction of land in background, etc.
Akkadian art, made of limestone, the stele commemorates a victory of Naramsin, multiple figures are shown specifically soldiers, different area and time period, etc.
Regardless of what essay approach you take in class it is absolutely necessary to understand how to analyze the iconography of a work of art and to incorporate into your paper. Iconography is defined as subject matter, what the image means. For example, why do things such as a small dog in a painting in early Northern Renaissance paintings represent sexuality? Additionally, how can an individual perhaps identify these motifs that keep coming up?
The following is a list of symbols and their meaning in Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth (1743) that is a series of six paintings that show the story of marriage in Hogarth’s eyes.
- Man has pockets turned out symbolizing he has lost money and was recently in a fight by the state of his clothes.
- Lap dog shows loyalty but sniffs at woman’s hat in the husband’s pocket showing sexual exploits.
- Black dot on husband’s neck believed to be symbol of syphilis.
- Mantel full of ugly Chinese porcelain statues symbolizing that the couple has no class.
- Butler had to go pay bills, you can tell this by the distasteful look on his face and that his pockets are stuffed with bills and papers.
- Card game just finished up, women has directions to game under foot, shows her easily cheating nature.
- Paintings of saints line a wall of the background room, isolated from the living, shows the couple’s complete disregard to faith and religion.
- The dangers of sexual excess are underscored in the Hograth by placing Cupid among ruins, foreshadowing the inevitable ruin of the marriage.
- Eventually the series (other five paintings) shows that the woman has an affair, the men duel and die, the woman hangs herself and the father takes her ring off her finger symbolizing the one thing he could salvage from the marriage.