Complete an analysis of a single work of art

Complete an analysis of a single work of art

Paper Assignment

Topic: Visit a museum or gallery in Southern California and complete an analysis of a single work of art. The work is recommended to be 2-D, but can be 3-D. Do not use an image from a book. You must visit the work in person. You must include a photo of yourself in front of the work or gallery/museum when photography of the work is not permitted (often no flash is allowed).


– (6 pages minimum, 8 pages maximum) Note that photographs, title pages, citations, and bibliographies do not count as a page of writing.
-Typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman, 1″ margins
-Stapled at top left corner BEFORE CLASS!- Please, no folders or tape
-Full name as a header on each page.
-Title Page: Title, your name, class number, and class meeting days and times centered on page.
-Following the title page: An image of the work (if available), receipt or show card, and the photo of you with the work or in front of the museum/gallery
-Body of the Paper: -Formal analysis
-Contextual Analysis
-Bibliography or Works Cited Page

Final Draft

Part 1: FORMAL ANALYSIS (about 3 pages)

-Identify the title of a single work, the artist and the collection/gallery/museum housing the work. This is the only information that will come from anywhere but you. NO RESEARCH SHOULD BE COMPLETED FOR THE FORMAL ANALYSIS.

-Complete formal analysis: These are suggested concepts, but you may have other things to say or some of these terms may not be applicable to your work. Also, you may see fit to organize the information differently for the flow of your paper.

-Content: What is it about? Representational, non-Representational, abstract, naturalistic, figurative, still-life, landscape, historical, contemporary, narrative, symbolic, process-oriented

-Composition: how is it composed? Organization of space, illusion, foreground, middle ground, background, focal point/s, flat space, atmospheric perspective, linear perspective, scale reductions, overlap, static or dynamic, symmetry, asymmetry, spiral, the direction of visual interest, interaction with the viewer, size of the work

-Materials: paper, canvas, glass, etc., rough, smooth, flat, sculptural, condition of work such as peeling/chipping/cracking, color choices

Start general and work towards specific. Incorporate terminology from art vocabulary. The reader should understand what you are looking at and describing without looking at a picture. Stick to descriptive words and avoid opinion. This is not a critique.

Part 2: CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS (about 3 pages)

-Research: For this portion of the paper, find at least three scholarly sources in addition to your text book. (No non-scholarly internet sources, though you may use articles printed in scholarly journals accessed online through databases like JSTOR or google scholar).

-Complete Contextual Analysis: Write about the same work from the formal analysis portion, only now you will place the piece that you viewed into a context. If it is contemporary, explain how it relates to the present day art culture based on outside, but scholarly research. Magazines, newspapers, gallery websites, and artist websites can be useful sources. This portion should be distinctly separate from the formal analysis of the report.

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