Art research paper

Project: A descriptive analysis and comparison of two sculptures or two paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Due to the current circumstances, you DO NOT have to go to the Met museum to complete the assignment, you can use the museum website. The Met museum is open and following Covid protocols. It is completely up to you if you want to visit the museum to see your chosen artworks in person.


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Museum address and hours: The museum has new hours and guidelines for purchasing tickets. Fifth Ave. at 82nd St. Open Thursday and Friday, 12pm-7pm, Saturday-Monday, 10am-5pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. You must reserve your timed ticket online:

NYS residents and students pay what they want- you can donate any amount you wish.


Format:4-5 pages, typed in Times 12 font, double-spaced, one-inch margins.


Pick a pair of artworks from one of the groups below.  Do not mix and match works between groups.


GROUP ONE: Sculpture


  1. Virgin and Childin Majesty, French, ca. 1150-1200. 1st Floor, Medieval Art,


  1. Mother and Child, Bamana Peoples, Mali, ca. 15th-20th century. 1st Floor, Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, (1979.206.121)




GROUP TWO: Sculpture


  1. Sphinx of Hatshepsut, ca. 1473-1458 B.C.E. 1st Floor, Egyptian Galleries, (31.3.166).
  2. Human-Headed Winged Lion (lamassu), ca. 883-859 B.C.E. 2nd Floor, Ancient Near Eastern Art. (32.143.2).



GROUP THREE: Sculpture


  1. Gaston Lachaise, Standing Woman(Elevation), 1927, American. 1st Floor, Modern Art (1984.433.34).


  1. Marble Statue of an Old Woman, Roman copy of a Greek work of the 2nd. Century B.C. 1st Floor, Greek and Roman Galleries, (09.39).





GROUP FOUR: Painting


  1. Pablo Picasso, Reading at a Table, c. 1934, Spanish. 1st Floor, Modern and Contemporary Art. (1996.403.1)


  1. Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, c.1662, Dutch, 2nd Floor, European Paintings. (89.15.21)

GROUP FIVE: Painting


  1. Lorenzo Lotto, Venus and Cupid, c. 1520s, Italian,2nd Floor, European Paintings. (1986.138)


  1. Petrus Christus, A Goldsmith in His Shop, Possibly St. Eligius, 1449,

Netherlandish. 1st Floor. Robert Lehman Collection, (1975.1.110).




GROUP SIX: Painting


  1. Francois Boucher, The Toilette of Venus, 1751, French. 2nd Floor, European Paintings. (20.155.9)


  1. Gustave Courbet, Woman with a Parrot, 1866, French. 2nd Floor, 19th Century European Paintings and Sculpture, (29.100.57)





How to Begin:


  1. Look up the works above on choose your group- remember to pick one group, sculpture or painting, do not mix and match from different groups! On the Met website, click “Art” from the menu and then click “Art Collection” from the dropdown menu. It will take you to another page with a search box. Notice that each artwork above has numbers in parenthesis at the end of the listing; this is called the accession number. Copy and paste this number in the search box to find your work. This is a much easier way to search for the work than using the artist name and title. Do this step whether you are going to be looking at the work from the website or at the museum.


  1. Make sure to indicate the art historical period for each work in your introduction-i.e, Ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Medieval (Romanesque, Gothic), African, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-classical, Impressionist, etc. This is very important for your analysis because many of the differences in works of art depicting a common theme stem from the art historical period.


  1. Each group has a specific theme or subject. Figure out what the theme/subjectis for your chosen group. This must also be included in your introductory paragraph. The themes are pretty simple and obvious. Ask me if you have problems.



  1. You will be describing each work from your group in detail, finding out some background information about the works using the Metropolitan museum’s website, and finally, comparing and contrasting the two works. I’ve posted two sample essays to show you how detailed I want your descriptions to be. They also show you how to write a comparative analysis between two works. One is a comparative analysis of two sculptures; the other is a comparative analysis of two paintings.  These papers are only descriptions and a comparative analysis. Your papers must also include some basic background information about the works- what the works mean, symbolism, any significant history, etc. There is information about each work on the website. Remember to paraphrase (put into your own words) the information you include. Do not copy word for word. Please do not use any sources other than the Metropolitan’s website.


How to organize your paper:

  1. Introductionin which you state the organizing theme of the group and the art historical period for each work. You must also state the title, artist (if known), date, and medium of each work.
  2. Discussion of the first work of art and information (from Met website) about the work.
  3. Discussion of second work of art and information about the work. Comparison of the two works; contrast of the two works.
  4. Conclusion.


When discussing each work of art, you must describe the work in detail as if describing it to someone who cannot see it. Usually it is best to first analyze one work and then to integrate the comparison and contrast of the two works into your discussion of the secondwork.



Proofread your paper out loud, checking grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation.  NO personal pronouns –I think, I went, I saw, I believe, etc.





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