stimulate you to look more critically at art, English homework help


One of the main objectives of this assignment is to stimulate you to look more critically at art. Visit a museum listed on the next page and choose a two-dimensional artwork that you will write about. This will be a visual/formal analysis paper. A formal analysis paper includes not only a description of the work, but also more importantly an evaluation and assessment of the formal elements and design principles utilized by an artist in creating the art. Make sure to select an artwork that has enough substance for you to write about.


Your essay must be a minimum of 3 typed, double-spaced pages (1100-1200 words). Format: Font should be 12 pt. Times New Roman. Margins: No more than 1? on each side. Write your full name, title of the course and due date on the upper left corner of your paper. Center your essay?s title on the next line. Do not use a cover sheet. Include your museum receipt and also a picture of the piece of art and museum label you will be writing about. The picture can be in the form of a photo (if allowed by the museum) or a postcard from the museum. Please staple them together with your museum paper. Please remember that using outside sources without citing them is considered plagiarism, which is a violation of the rules concerning academic honesty, and will get an automatic F.

Your essay should contain the following sections:


? Title of the work (NOTE: Make sure to italicize title of the work) ? Artist
? Date when the art was created
? Medium of the work

? Name and location of museum
State your thesis statement here as a single sentence at the end of your

introductory paragraph. Body of the Paper (60 points)

Start with the subject matter of the artwork you?ve chosen. Discuss and analyze how the artist use formal elements to influence the work?s overall impact on the viewers. You need to include a minimum of 3 elements of art in your paper. Each element should have its own paragraph. Include and discuss principles of art that the artist use to organize the elements. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that identifies and describes the element that the paragraph will analyze. Try not to just list the elements, but rather explain how they support your analysis.

Elements of Art

  • Line
  • Shape
  • Form
  • V olume
  • Mass
  • Texture
  • V alue
  • Space
  • Color
  • Time and Motion Conclusion (20 points)

Principles of Art

? Unity
? V ariety
? Balance
? Scale
? Proportion ? Emphasis ? Focal Point ? Pattern
? Rhythm


Reinstate your main points to reinforce your thesis statement. Describe your museum experience. Include some closing comment about the work, perhaps an insight and your personal interpretation of the artwork. Questions to consider ? What do you like about the work? What attracted you to the piece you chose? What effects did the work have on you? Does the work leave you with questions? If so, what are they?

Paper (hard copy and digital copy) is due when class begins on Wednesday, May 24. An electronic copy must be submitted on Canvas. Grading will be based on how well you follow the directions.


Norton Simon Museum (FREE for students with I.D.) Bowers Museum (Students: $10 weekdays, $12 weekends)

The Broad Museum (FREE General Admission. Advance ticket reservations highly suggested.)


The Fullerton College Writing Center, located in the Library/Learning Resource Center, Room 808, is available in case you need any further assistance writing your museum paper.

Visual Analysis: Asking Questions to Get Answers


Questions about Formal Elements:

  • Are there lines in the image and how do they look? How does the artist use line to define shape or volume?
  • What is effect of the light in the picture? What is the value or amount of light and dark?
  • What are the colors the artist used? Is the color imitative of reality or is it expressive?
  • Is there texture? How does the object appeal to the tactile as well as the visual sense?
  • How is space conveyed? Does there appear to be depth? How are figures or objects placed relative to each other in the space of the picture?
  • Has the artist used perspective, overlapping, foreshortening?
  • How does the artist invoke time and or motion? Questions about Principles of Design:
  • What is the composition? How do the parts of the art work together to create the whole?
  • What are the unifying features in the composition and what creates variety?
  • How does the artist balance visual elements within the composition?
  • How are the scale and proportion of objects represented in relation to other objects?
  • How does the artist direct your gaze or create movement within the composition?

Questions are adapted from: Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing about Art and Amy Tucker, Visual Literacy, Writing About Art.

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