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ART 1301 CUNY Lehman College The Temple Garden Art Question

  1. Length and Formatting Requirements:

    • three full pages of text (excluding heading/title) double-spaced

    • professional, 12-point font (EX: Times New Roman)

    • 1-inch margins

    • no extra spaces between paragraphs

    • italicize artworks’ titles (EX: Van Gogh’s Starry Night)
    • INTRODUCTION – In your introductory paragraph, provide the artist, title, and date of your artwork. Include a brief overview of the main subject or figures (in other words, what are we looking at?). The last line of your essay’s introductory paragraph must be your thesis statement, which answers the following question: what are the most important compositional elements in this artwork and why?
    • BODY – Your essay’s body paragraphs support your thesis statement. Since the primary focus of this essay is an interpretation of the formal elements, these paragraphs will include a combination of description and analysis. CONCLUSION – Revisit your thesis statement (although with different phrasing than when first presented in the introduction). Include a brief summary of the main points you demonstrated in your essay, and end with some final comments about how your insights help us to better understand your artwork.
    • On a separate page at the end of the essay, include an image of the artwork with an
      appropriate caption that identifies, artist, title, date, and location
      Objective: A visual analysis is the result of closely looking at the visual elements of an
      artwork (composition, line, shape, color, space, scale, texture, value contrast, etc.) and
      interpreting their effects to suggest plausible meaning.
    • This essay requires thorough
      observation and careful word choices to demonstrate how intended meanings are communicated
      through aesthetic objects.
      Students will select an artwork of their choice and determine which visual elements are most
      compelling. They must not only describe what is represented, but also analyze how these
      elements affect the artwork’s meaning.
    • Be sure to use accurate art vocabulary. For this
      assignment, discussion of historical context is unnecessary.
    • *If you need a refresher of how to conduct a visual analysis, watch the Khan Academy
      video “How to do a Visual (Formal) Analysis in Art History”
    • Space: How do form and space interact? Does the work create the illusion of space, or is
      the space flat? Can its composition be fully appreciated and understood from one
      vantage point, or does it require more? How do these points impact meaning?
    • Line and Shape: Is there linear emphasis on the surface of the object? Are the dominant
      linear elements seen in the forms themselves or are they incised in the surface of the
      forms? Describe the character of the lines: Primarily horizontal, vertical, diagonal,
      smooth and flowing? Do lines direct the way in which one “reads” the work? How does
      the artist use shapes to suggest meaning?
    • Light: Describe the lighting effects. How does light affect the work? Are the forms and
      surfaces arranged so that a particular effect of light and shade will be attained? Does
      light enhance or play against contour?
    • Color, Surface, and Texture: Consider the surface texture. Is texture implied? How
      does texture affect the expressive qualities of the work? Consider the color scheme and
      its effects.
      Remember, iconography and subject matter are not visual elements. That said, if the artwork
      contains important iconography that expresses meaning, how does the artist use specific visual
      elements to direct viewers’ attention to these symbolic objects?


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