Students are asked to chose one artwork from the approved list below, from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and
write a evaluative essay of approximately 1500- 2000 words (double spaced, 12 point type) examining the artwork in question.
Please note you must physically visit the artworks in person before starting this essay. You cannot write about artworks that are not on
display. If you do not follow this requirement it may influence your mark for this assignment.
This is essentially an analysis in which the student writes critically about the art in question by evaluating the formal elements used in
its construction. These elements can be things such as line, shape, colour, texture, mass, pattern, and space. You should comment on
several of these characteristics and how they come together in the composition to give an artwork a sense of expression. Artistic
principles such as balance, contrast, order, proportion, rhythm, harmony, and unity, should also be addressed. The analysis should also
comment on the medium chosen by the artists and how this affects the work. The subject itself, and the context of creation, should also be
considered in your response if they are significant.
Since the focus of the essay is primarily analytic, historical background information is unnecessary, and no printed sources on the
specific artworks should be referenced in writing this paper. Anyone who does consult secondary sources on the artworks in question when
writing this paper may have their work penalized. You might however find the books by Barnett and Sayre listed on the front page useful in
approaching this assignment in terms of stylistic guidance and essay structure, in particular the chapter on ‘Formal Analysis’. If for any
reason a book is consulted it should be properly footnoted.
The purpose of this assignment is to evidence knowledge of material covered in class and to develop the ability to think critically and
demonstrate self-reflection. It is also designed to help students develop the vocabulary required for critical analysis within the
creative environment. Work will be evaluated on the basis of the articulation and originality of your thinking, as well as on both the
factual and grammatical accuracy of your analysis.
Chose your artworks carefully with these thoughts in mind, and remember this is an analysis of how the formal elements function and not a
mere description of them.