Artwork essay

Artwork Chosen: Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln . Salvador Dali,1976 . Salvador Dali Museum, St. Pete Florida.

The Museum Report is a process paper, to be completed in two (2) stages. These are instructions :


• Part One of the Museum Report should be at least 4 full pages in length, no less than 1200 words .

Include a word count at the bottom of your essay .

• Although I am calling this essay a “part” or a “stage” of a writing process, do NOT submit a draft. You are expected to submit a fully complete essay for both Part One and Part Two , with clearly developed introduction and conclusion paragraphs for each stage.

• Use MLA guidelines when composing your paper. Use 12-point font, Times New Roman, one inch margins and indent the first line of each new paragraph. Double-space your paper. Italicize all artwork titles. Writing in first person is acceptable.

•  Since this paper will be submitted via TurnitIn , for privacy reasons, do NOT include your name or student ID within the paper. Replace your name with “Student.” Do not include a title page.

•  Submit in a Word document (.doc, . docx ) or convert to .pdf. Any other formats are NOT accepted and will result in a zero (0) grade. Corrupt files or incorrect documents will also result in a zero (0).

•  Proofread your paper before submission. You must use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


A work of art is the product of the dynamic interrelationships between the various art elements and principles. As you analyze the artwork, ask yourself why the artist made such choices. By considering the formal elements and principles of design involved, you can make yourself look more closely at the work of art, and thus understand more fully the artist’s intended vision, as well as noticing how the work reflects the time and place from whence it came.

You must address ALL the prompts below within your essay, but your response need not be organized in the exact order given. Your paper must include proper introductory and concluding paragraphs.

I. Formal Analysis (this section should be the “meat” of your paper): Find any work of art in the museum that interests you. You will engage in a thorough visual analysis of that work. Follow the guidelines below.

• · Identify the work fully (artist name if known, title if available, time period or date, medium, dimensions or approximate dimensions).

• · Provide a brief description of the subject matter of the work.

• · Analyze, describe, and discuss the work in terms of three (3) formal elements of art.

• · Analyze, describe, and discuss the works’ composition using three (3) principles of design .

• **IMPORTANT: It is expected that the analysis of the work’s formal elements and principles of design be the most in-depth and therefore most time should be spent on this section. You must demonstrate your understanding of the concepts learned in the course by utilizing appropriate course vocabulary within your analysis. Please use precise terminology associated with the elements and principles chosen. Failure to do so will result in a reduced grade.

• o Spend a good amount of time looking at the work and taking notes. It is helpful to provide the reader with an overall picture of the work you are describing. You may find it useful to pretend you are describing the work to someone who cannot see, but must create an impression of the work based solely on your words. Clearly and articulately analyze and describe the formal elements and principles of design that you see in the work. There may be many, but be selective and try to determine the most significant elements of composition. Remember to utilize key terms from the textbook associated with the specific elements/principles chosen.

• Is the work non-objective, representational, figurative, or abstract? Note that a work of art can fall into more than one of these categories. Please explain fully and in a way that demonstrates you have a correct understanding of the term(s) as it relates to our course content.

II. Discussion of Medium: Examine your artwork further by discussing the medium used and the artist’s technique and application of materials. Is the object two- or three-dimensional? What limitations, if any, might the chosen medium create for the artist? Below are some further questions to consider, depending on the type of medium employed. See Part Two of your textbook (Media & Processes) for further information on art materials and media.

• · Painting: How did the type of paint affect the strokes the artist could make? Was it fresco, oil, tempera, or watercolor? Was it a fast-drying paint that allowed little time to make changes? What kind of textures and lines was the artist able to create with this medium? Does it lend a shiny or flat look? How durable was the medium? Does the work look the same today as when the artist painted it?

• III. Interpretation: This is the part of the paper where you go beyond description and offer a conclusion and your own informed opinion about the work.

o · Consider how the formal aspects of the work and the subject matter work together to produce significant meaning.

o · How did the artist’s choice of materials and medium affect its message and reception?

o · What questions does the work raise or leave you with, if any? Is it possible to make a reasoned?

statement about the artist’s aim?

o · Describe your personal reaction to the work. Did a visual analysis change your first reaction and interpretation of the work?


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