art 110 visual analysis paper calder s flamingo

110 Visual Analysis Assignment

Produce a three-four page paper (three-pages is the absolute minimum and does not include a cover page) focusing on a work of art in the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Field Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, or other relevant art institution.


Formally analyze your chosen artwork based on your own observations; your thoughts and ideas will be very important to the completion of this assignment, do not use outside sources for this assignment. Answer all of the questions listed below. As this is a college-level course correct formatting, grammar and citations are expected.

Your paper must be double-spaced with one-inch margins, use 12-point Times New Roman font, and your pages must be numbered. It should not use the first-person (i.e. I/we/us) or second person (i.e. you/your) voice, but rather should present your ideas in a third-person objective voice (the artwork/the artist/etc.). A hard copy of your paper must be presented in class on the due date noted on your syllabus. Major points will be deducted for late papers.

Your paper should contain all of the following:

1. Introduction (one paragraph): What is your object? Provide the artist, title date, medium and culture or period it was created in. Present a thesis statement explaining the goal or main focus of your paper.

2. Visual Analysis (three pages): Include the following criteria:

a. Composition: To what part of the painting is your eye immediately drawn and why? Is the composition balanced or unbalanced? Does the activity of the work run outside of the frame or is it neatly contained within the borders? Is there a specific shape that the composition forms?

b. Scale: How does the size of the work affect the composition and your reaction to it? Would you classify this work as small or monumental? What size are the figures? Does the scale have any specific meaning to the overall message of the work?

c. Color: How does the artist use color? What specific areas draw your gaze because of the use of color? Be descriptive about the use of color, rather than making a list of colors. How important is color to the entire composition? Is the color natural or expressive? How does color affect the overall mood and message?

d. Line: Does the artist use a clear, well-defined line or is it hazy and undefined? Is there a lot of detail or is the detail ambiguous or non-existent? Is an outline used? Are contours hard-edged or soft? How does the use of line affect the message of the work?

e. Light: Is there a clear source of light or does it come from a variety of locations? Which areas are highlighted or in shadow? How does this affect your ability to decipher figures or space? Does the use of light direct your eye to specific areas or figures?

f. Depth (2D only): Is there a clear illusion of depth? How does the artist deal with space? How is the viewer meant to perceive space? Does the viewer’s space interact with the space of the artwork?

g. Texture (3D only): Is there physical texture to the piece? Physical texture is caused by the treatment of stone, metal, wood, etc. or caused by the layers of a mixed-media piece. Texture may also be affected by the age or preserved state of the piece.

h. Symbolism: What does the piece depict or represent? Are symbols or stereotypes present? What are they and what do they mean? Are they universal or specific? Are they apparent or hidden/difficult to decipher?

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