Paper 2-Art History


You will have to look up information to write Part I of the paper. You must write the information you have learned in your own words. If you use the words of the source (copying and pasting) it is plagiarism. All writing must be your own. No one else can do the work for you. If you use other people’s words it is plagiarism, and it will result in an automatic “F.” Do not use quotations in this paper.

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You do not have to attach a list of sources consulted, or to cite them.

Paper 2 Assignment:


Fine Arts Learning Goals 1.       To explore visual or performing arts within historical contexts or from creative view points.

2.       To explore and understand the principles of artistic expression and the creative process.


Students will analyze ONE work of art of their choosing. It MUST be a non-Western work (that is, not European or American). It can be a painting or sculpture or a building/architecture.

The reproduction of the work you study should be in Color. You can choose an artist studied in class or even a work studied in class. If you choose a work not related to our class topics. It MUST be a work made between 30,000 BCE and 1400 CE.


The paper consists of the following three parts:

PART 1: Artist’s Biography OR Historical Setting(not both)

If the artist of the work you have chosen is known, then write a one-page biography of him/her. The biographyshould stress more than just dates and facts: focus on what’s interesting about their career, why the artist is important, their originality, what they’re famous for, etc.

If the work is anonymous, then write a brief overview of that historical period in art history.


PART 2: Visual Analysis 

Analyze the visual forms emphasized in your work, including the use of line and contour, texture, color, scale and other visual design elements, as suggested by your answers to the following questions.

1)  What is visually mostdistinctive/special about the work? Which elements are most emphasized: lines/outlines; space/depth; light and shadow; textures; color?

2)  Is line important? outlines? inner lines? detail? What kinds of lines?

3)  What colors are emphasized? What is the effect of the colors chosen? How are colors combined — to harmonize or to create strong contrasts? Do the kinds of colors used draw your attention to a certain focus in the picture? (If the work is black and white, where are the darkest darks [values] used and where are the lighter shades [values]?)

4)   What is the approximate size (scale) of the piece? Is the work monumental, or is it small-scaled & intimate? How would it be different if it were smaller, or larger? Why do you think the artist choose that size for this work? What is the effect of the scale chosen?

5)  Is texture important – either represented texture (in painting) or actual surface textures (in painting or sculpture)? If yes, how are textures shown? Why are they important? What do they add to the image? For sculpture, are actual textures emphasized? Analyze surfaces.

6)  What kind of space is used/shown? Shallow space, medium space, or deep space? Why do you think the artist chose this kind of space?

7)  How are lighting and shadowsused? Are shadows prominent, dominant? Or is lighting emphasized more than shadow? Or are both subdued, and why?

8)  Is there a focal point in the work? If so, how does the artist lead your eye to that point of emphasis? If there’s no one focus, there multiple points of focus? Why would there not be a single focal point?

9)  Is there a story? If so, what is it? How is the story told visually?

10)  What is the emotional expression of the work? How does it feel? Its mood? The emotions of individual figures? What does the work “mean” to you?


PART 3: Your Response

Why did you choose this work? What about it appealed to you? Do you like it better now that you’ve learned about the artist/time period and you’ve systematically analyzed the work? How did your research and analysis inform your view of the work?

Length and inclusions:  4 pagesof text minimum, 5 pages maximum; plusone additional page as a cover page (not counted as part of the required number of pages). Also, please include a reproduction of the work. The paper is to be typed, double-spaced, with no larger than 12 pt. font and 1-inch margins.

No footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, or list of sources consulted are needed.

Due date: Monday, Nov. 25. Late papers will be graded down 5 points.





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