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LACC Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus and Lorenzo Ghiberti Gates of Paradise Analysis

Step 1
Choose two artworks (a building or work of street art may count as an artwork). One work MUST be currently on display at a major museum and the other work must be from an art gallery or a work of public art (building may be substituted for the art gallery or public art). Works selected can be anything considered art as discussed in class and/or your textbook. However, I do not want you to write about an image that is in your book. It can be similar, but not the same.  Google Arts and Culture has links to  museums located all over the world.

Step 2
Write a four-page analysis centered on your chosen objects. Using formal methods of analysis compare and contrast the works. How are they similar? How are they different and why? How does the context in which the work is displayed impact your appreciation of the work?

In addition to the formal analysis, your project must analyze the method of encounter and the context in which the work is shown. Because you cannot physically visit some of the spaces in which these works are on display, try and imagine what it would be like to visit the space. If it’s at the Louvre, for example, how might that space impact your experience? If you are analyzing a building, consider the surrounding area and/or pre-existing structures, parks, etc. How do the works you chose engage with the themes addressed and examined in this course?

For example, do the artists, through their work, address issues of identity, or make work in support of a political cause. Is their work used in a ritual or procession and what does that communicate about their culture?

Some helpful guidance:
A formal analysis includes an analysis of the forms appearing in the works you have chosen. These forms give the works their expression, message, or meaning. A formal analysis assumes a work of art is (1) a constructed object (2) that has been created with a stable meaning (even though it might not be clear to the viewer)  (3) that can be ascertained by studying the relationships between the elements of the work. To aid in writing a formal analysis, you should think as if you were describing the works of art to someone who has never seen them before.

How to do visual (formal) analysis by DR. BETH HARRIS and DR. STEVEN ZUCKER

Introduction to art historical analysis by DR. ROBERT GLASS

FORMAT: your paper should be 4 pages long (EXCLUDING title page and images), double spaced, using Times New Roman font (12 pt) only and 1″ (inch) margins. Your paper must include images (photographs) of the main works you have selected, with full image captions underneath them (artist, title, date, medium etc). In addition, make sure your paper includes a thesis statement. Your grade will reflect your ability to follow these guidelines.

In the first paragraph, called the introduction, you will include:

the name of the artists (if known), titles (which is underlined or italicized every time you use the title in your paper), date, and medium.
what you think is the subject of each work
a very brief description of the works
thesis statement – usually the last line or so of your first paragraph.
From that point, the rest of the formal analysis should include not only a description of the pieces, but especially those details of the works that have led you to come to your thesis. Yet, your paper should not be a random flow of ideas about the works (i.e. stream of consciousness writing). Rather, your paper should have a sense of order, moving purposefully through your description with regard to specific elements (ex: one paragraph may deal with composition, another with a description of the figures, another with the background, another about line, etc.). Finally, in your conclusion (the final paragraph) you should end your paper with a restatement of your thesis.


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