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Rationale A critical step in learning to about art is learning to analyze an art

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Art


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A critical step in learning to about art is learning to analyze an artwork. The application of terminology and understanding how to analyze what you see and relate it to the principles and elements of art is essential in developing an understanding of what makes an artwork function and the basis for a sound interpretation.
In Writing Assignment 1, you are to write three (3) concise paragraphs on an artwork you find in their book.This must be a different artwork than what you selected for FD3 – Exercise: Describe & Analyze. You may NOT choose images of architecture, performance art, or still images from a motion picture. You do not have to upload the image. You only need to cite the title, artist, medium, and page number from the book.
As indicated on the Example Page, One paragraph should describe the artwork and the second and third analyzing it. The first paragraph should emphasize three to six aspects of the artwork and make brief mention of 2 to 4 other aspects of the work. The second and third paragraphs are to be an analysis of the work. The analysis of the work essentially describes how the work relates to the principles and elements of design. This paragraph should specifically discuss how three emphasized aspects from the description function in terms of the principles and elements of design.
You do not have to underline or italicize as in the example but you are welcome to if you feel it helps.
This assignment should be typed in Times New Roman 12pt double spaced with 1 inch margins. Your name, course, assignment, and instructor name should appear in the upper left hand corner of the paper. The paper should be titled! The title of your paper should not be in italics or underlined. Make sure to indent paragraphs. MLA guidelines should be followed.
As an academic essay, this assignment should be written in THIRD PERSON! Do NOT use FIRST or SECOND person!
You are not required to include citations! If you choose to do so, please make sure the in-text and the works-cited page follow MLA guidelines!
Not sure how to format in MLA? Go to the Purdue Writing Center Website and look at this page! It even has a sample of what it should look like. (Links to an external site.)
Things to Remember
Do not be apologetic or humble in the postulation of your description or analysis. This means, do not use phrases such as, “I Think…”, “In my opinion…” “It could mean…”. If you support your analysis with visual evidence then you are asserting facts.
Make sure you know and refer to the medium correctly!
If it is oil on canvas it is a painting. If it is a photograph, call it a photograph, do NOTcall it a painting or a drawing! You have no idea how often this happens! If it is an etching, lithograph, or woodblock print then you state etched print, lithograph/lithographic print, or woodblock print. If you need to refer to the medium of the work after that point, you simply call it a “print”.
Do not call artworks “Artpiece” or “Art Piece”!!!
You may refer to it as: artwork, work, piece, or by its correct medium (painting, drawing, print, photograph, sculpture, stoneware, earthenware, etc…). Never ever say “art piece”, please.
Value not “Shading”!
Shading is a verb, thus it is an action! It means, “the action of making darker”. Never refer to “the shading” in an artwork or on an object. Always refer to the “application of value”, “shift of tonal gradiance”, “shift or movement in value”, or the “chiaroscuro” (when applicable)
Do NOT create a narrative story, use metaphors, give details that you cannot verify (e.g. the painting takes place at sunrise.), make unfounded assertions, or discuss anything that is not actually present in the image. When uncertain about an object in the painting, qualify your statements with phrases such as “…appears to be…” or “…suggestive of…”. Move your description in a direction (i.e. top to bottom, left to right, foreground-midground-background).
This also goes for analysis. Specific elements and principles may apply calmness, tension, energy, drama, authority, etc… but these are related to specific aspects of elements and principles and may be used in that way only. Save interpretation for the interpretation.
Approach your description as if you are explaining the precise visual facts to someone who has never seen the image in order for them to imagine what it looks like. Approach your analysis as if supporting a scientific theorem. While the elements and principles have a measure of subjectivity, they are the theoretical framework upon which artworks are built.
*Please remember that a paragraph is longer the two sentences and should have some substance to it.
Things to Consider
Do not make or state any judgments at this stage. Do not form or state any opinions at this time.
1. What is the Artist’s name?
2. Title of the work?
3. Date of the work?
4. Medium or materials used?
5. What do you see in the picture? (Only describe what you see, example; trees, sky, animals, etc. Do not interpret anything)
6. What kind of subject matter is in the picture? (Example; rural farm scene, landscape, industrial imagery. Again do not interpret or judge anything in this stage.
7. Is the picture a landscape or a portrait shaped ‘canvas’?
8. What is in the foreground, mid-ground, and background?
Write about the elements and principles of design and the relationships between the subjects that you mentioned in the description.
1. How has the picture been arranged?
2. Are there any leading lines and if so, where is your eye lead,
3. What Principles and Elements are actively present?
1. What colors are used and how have they been arranged?
2. What shapes are there and how have they been arranged?
3. Is there a sense of space or perspective.
4. Are there any special techniques employed by the artist?
Submitting Your Paper
Before you submit… proofread! Check for grammatical errors. You may also want to consider running the paper through a service like Grammarly (Links to an external site.)
Is the paper in Times New Roman 12pt font with double spacing and 1 inch margins?
Does the paper conform to MLA formatting? (NOT APA, CHICAGO, TURABIAN, or something else)
Did you use a cover page? If so, get rid of it! Go look at the example. (Links to an external site.)
Is the title of the artwork in always italicized?
Is the paper in First or Second Person? If so, STOP and go back in and change it to Third person!
Is there anything narrative or interpretive in your paper? Is so, get rid of it. This is one Paragraph of Description ONLY and two paragraphs of Analysis ONLY!
Did you Proofread?
Does your description and analysis flow from one item to the next logically or does it seem to sporadically jump around?
Do you support your analysis with key terms and ideas from the elements and principles?
Are you making assumptions (BAD) or supported assertions (GOOD)?
Once you are ready…
Upload your paper to canvas in .doc, .docx, or .pdf formats ONLY. No other file type will be accepted.


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