Formal Analysis of Art Project

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Minimum 3 pages, maximum 5 pages

You may go to such museums as ( the Getty Villa), L.A. County Museum of Art on Wilshire Blvd (LAMA), (The Bowers Museum, Santa Ana). Visit one of the suggested museums and pick one art object of interest

  *Attach the museum ticket stub and picture of the object to your paper. If there is no ticket, attach a picture of you next to the art work.  

8 pts. : Include the title of the object, production date, and artist’s name within the body of the paper. Good description of the artwork and media used (media: marble, wood, etc.…), size, color, shape(s), etc.:________

*10 pts. : A well thought out analysis and persuasive paper will get full points in this area: ________

Address the following in your paper: 

-What is the Art movement or culture (Greek, Abstract Expressionism, Chinese-Ming Dynasty)?  

– Did the choices in design enhance the visual experience?  Why was the piece successful or not in your opinion? (*Use terminology and concepts from Elements and Principles of design to create your argument. Please review the analysis tips on Titanium).

-Place artwork in proper context: political, commercial, religious, social, entertainment…  Give a history context to the object. 

-Interpretation and motivation(s) of the artwork (education, religious, self-expression, explore new artistic avenues)? 

– Personal judgment? Why did you pick this art work?

*4 pts. : Spelling, grammar, and organization of paper:_______

*3 pts. : Need at least 3 sources (e.g. reliable, reputable sources: text books, on-line source- university lib., museum website, museum literature) to research background of the object. You can either use MLA or Chicago style citation and bibliography.  (Do not cite from Wikipedia). Bibliography is on a separate page and is not included in the 3-page minimum: ___________

Excellent: original and thoughtful work that is professionally executed; no typographical or grammatical errors; strong, clear, coherent, and compelling arguments; addresses or acknowledges obvious objections to the arguments; scrupulous attention to crediting sources of ideas and facts that are not the author’s own

Good: Well done work, but not particularly original or thoughtful; a few typographical or grammatical errors are present; work lacks some clarity or coherence in thought; fails to address some seemingly obvious objections to the argumentation; some crediting of sources missing; sources of facts are weak (e.g., cursory web searches). 

Average: Average work; numerous typographical and grammatical errors present; fails to address or ignores any objections to the argumentation; few sources credited or poorly done, particularly for factual claims when clearly needed

Below Average: Careless work with no attention to detail and failure to follow assignment guidelines; few and or poorly done citation

Failure: plagiarism or other academic misconduct; zero effort expended to meet academic standards

Museum Paper Formal Analysis

Description = pure description of the object without value judgments,
analysis, or interpretation.

•It answers the question, “What do you see?”

•The various elements that constitute a description include:

•a. Form of art whether architecture, sculpture, painting or one of the minor arts

•b. Medium of work whether clay, stone, steel, paint, etc., and technique (tools used)

•c. Size and scale of work (relationship to person and/or frame and/or context)

•d. Elements or general shapes (architectural structural system) within the composition, including building of post-lintel construction or painting with several figures lined up in a row; identification of objects

•e. Description of axis whether vertical, diagonal, horizontal, etc.

•f. Description of line, including contour as soft, planar, jagged, etc.

•g. Description of how line describes shape and space (volume); distinguish between lines of objects and lines of composition, e.g., thick, thin, variable, irregular, intermittent, indistinct, etc.

•h. Relationships between shapes, e.g., large and small, overlapping, etc.

•i. Description of color and color scheme = palette

•j. Texture of surface or other comments about execution of work

•k. Context of object: original location and date

Analysis = determining what the features suggest and deciding why the artist used such features to convey specific ideas.

•· It answers the question, “How did the artist do it?”

•· The various elements that constitute analysis include:

•a. Determination of subject matter through naming iconographic elements, e.g., historical event, allegory, mythology, etc.

•b. Selection of most distinctive features or characteristics whether line, shape, color, texture, etc.

•c. Analysis of the principles of design or composition, e.g., stable,

•repetitious, rhythmic, unified, symmetrical, harmonious, geometric, varied, chaotic, horizontal or vertically oriented, etc.

•d. Discussion of how elements or structural system contribute to appearance of image or function

•e. Analysis of use of light and role of color, e.g., contrast, shadowy,

•illogical, warm, cool, symbolic, etc.

•f. Treatment of space and landscape, both real and illusionary (including use of perspective), e.g., compact, deep, shallow, naturalistic, random

•g. Portrayal of movement and how it is achieved

•h. Effect of particular medium(s) used

•i. Your perceptions of balance, proportion and scale (relationships of each part of the composition to the whole and to each other part) and your emotional

•j. Reaction to object or monument

3. Interpretation = establishing the broader context for this type of art.

•It answers the question, “Why did the artist create it and what does it mean”

•Didactics provided by museum

•The various elements that constitute interpretation include:

•a. Main idea, overall meaning of the work.

•b. Interpretive Statement: Can I express what I think the artwork is about in one sentence?

•c. Evidence: What evidence inside or outside the artwork supports my interpretation?

Judgment: Judging a piece of work means giving it rank in relation to other works and of course considering a very important aspect of the visual arts; its originality.

•Is it a good artwork? (opinion) 

• Criteria: What criteria do I think are most appropriate for judging the artwork?

•Evidence: What evidence inside or outside the artwork relates to each criterion?

•Judgment: Based on the criteria and evidence, what is my judgment about the quality of the artwork?

Elements and Principles of Design

•Line- what does it imply or suggest 

•Shapes and Form (positive space)- geometric, organic 

•Space (negative space)- blank space that directs the eye to the focal point. 

•Texture- surface quality

•Value -degree of lightness and darkness

•Color -implied mood, emotional state

Principles of Design

Repetition and Pattern: use of similar lines, shapes, etc…

•Variety and Contrast: The difference between shapes 

•Rhythm: The regular repetition of a form 

•Emphasis and Movement: Drawing attention to a portion of a composition. Movement is the visual flow through the composition. 

Economy: Using only what is

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