Each essay must adhere to the following guidelines and standards.
Each 500-word essay must begin with a title page that includes the following information:
name of the course
Thesis Statement Please type the words “Thesis Statement” followed by a semicolon: and then type your thesis statement. Put this on the title page. For help please read Thesis Statement Help, the tab under Announcements.
This is a concise statement that tells the reader what the essay is about and what your main point or points are. It should offer a well-thought-out central idea that you are proving. It is not an overview or general topic.
The evidence (primary and secondary sources) you provide for your thesis will include your interpretation, analysis, and description of the characteristics of works of art and texts, and must at all times relate to your thesis.
You must discuss at least two images in each essay that serve as support for your thesis and analysis. For each image discussed, write a caption stating what it depicts. Images should be placed at the end of your text. Use the Chicago-Turabian style to label your images.
At the center of the art historical method is a thorough visual analysis. Carefully explain the work(s) chosen to the reader to serve as the basis for your analysis. Visual analysis can include thinking of line, shape, form, space, texture, value, light, color, time, repetition, variety, rhythm, balance, compositional unity, emphasis, economy, and proportion. Develop visual analysis by looking carefully at a work of art to determine what is important about its form and parts.
Historical and Cultural Context
Research the historical and cultural issues related to the era and region of your topic. Why was the piece made, and how was it used? Who owned it, and who could see it? Compare and contrast similar pieces or artists of the time. What was the content, meaning, or message of the piece or pieces you are looking at, as understood by the people of that time and place?
Please pay special attention to this!
Select two or more scholarly sources relevant to your topic. Document your sources using footnotes set in the Chicago-Turabian style. Do not use endnotes or parenthetical citations. Refer to this course’s Survey of Western Art Library Guide for further guidance on proper references as well as additional library resources that are available. See the helpful tabs in the content section.
The purpose of the assignment is to use scholarly sources, such as books and articles.
Sources that are unacceptable include any encyclopedia, textbooks, reference works such as the Grove Dictionary of Art, and various Internet sources. Do not use Wikipedia because it is too often not accurate.
Primary sources refer to the original materials (not what another author says about them) created usually at the time under study. In the case of art, primary sources will most likely be the art (paintings, sculptures, installations) itself, interviews with artists, manifestos, contemporary criticism, some theoretical writings, and personal and public correspondence.
Secondary sources are made up of interpretations and commentary on primary sources, especially works of art. Secondary sources include books (monographs, anthologies, and exhibition catalogs) and articles in scholarly journals.
Barnett, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art, 11th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2014.
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 8th ed. University of Chicago Press.
Babylonian deed of sale. ca. 1750 BCE. This deed graphically shows the impressions made by the stylus in the soft clay. Department of Western Asiatic Antiques, No. 33236. The British Museum, London
Priest-king Feeding Sacraed Sheep, from vicinity of Uruk (Warka), Irap. ca. 3300 BCE. Cylinder sealing, height 2 1/8” (5.4cm). diameter 1 3/4” (4.5cm). Staatliche Museum zu Berlin, Preussoscher Kulturbesitz, Vorderasiatisches Museum