For your final essay, you will visit a local art museum or gallery and choose at least one work of art to examine in your essay. You also have the option of choosing several works of art by the same artist, or from the same exhibition if it is curated around a theme. Please look at the work of art for at least 10 minutes and make notes, and take a photograph of the work to refer to if you can (though please be aware that some museums do not allow photography). If you are able to take a picture or find an image of the work online please include it so that I can better understand your essay, or offer help. Be aware that the San Diego Museum of Art does not allow photography. You may send me a rough draft if you need assistance or advice and I am always here to answer questions. Your final essay should be about 3 pages and follow standard formatting guidelines. It is due June 4 at 11:59 PM.
Once again, I have given you a list of questions that you should consider about each work of art before you begin your essay. Not all of the questions will be relevant to every work of art, and some will be more crucial to your understanding of the work than others. When you write your essay, please make an outline and then use the information you’ve gathered to create a coherent response. Don’t just list your answers to the questions! Unlike your previous essays, you should consider your own response to the work. I encourage you to write about something that you respond strongly to, and also reflect on how your feelings change as you learn more about the artist and the work.
Learn a few pertinent details about the artist. Is their work autobiographical?
What does the title tell us about the work?
What is its subject matter?
What medium or material was used to make the work?
Does the medium or materials used have special significance?
What is the scale of the work (how big is it?)
What are its formal elements (line, color, composition, etc.)?
Is it abstract? Is it stylized? Is it representational? Is it naturalistic?
How does the style affect the way we interpret the subject?
Did the work of art have a specific purpose? Why was it made?
Does it communicate a message?
Is it trying to provoke a specific response from the viewer?
Does it contain symbolism?
If so, what symbols are used? What do they mean? What is their cultural context?
Can the symbols or imagery be understood together to imply a story?
What are the artist’s influences in terms of contemporary or historical art?
Can you relate the work to other works of art (contemporary or historical)?
Is the artist influenced by anything other than art (science, history, politics, etc.)?
How does the work make you feel? Why?