Museum Visit and Formal Analysis Instructions

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First: Emotion and Meaning Through Color

Overview

You will explore the role of color in creating meaning, emotion, and spirituality in Modern Western art.

Instructions

In the Modern West, artists began to take new and varied approaches to the use of color in art. Discuss the role of color in creating emotion and spirituality in the art of the Modern period (late 18th century to 20th century). Please respond to all parts of the following questions:


What are some different artistic approaches to the use of color?

In what ways can color contribute to the meaning of a work of art?

Are there cases where color can hinder the message of the art?

Do you think modern art movements such as Post-Impressionism, de Stijl, Fauvism, and Expressionism were able to use color effectively to express meaning, emotion, or spirituality? Why or why not?

Finally, do you personally prefer a more modern, color aesthetic, or a more traditional local color approach? Why? In your response, refer to at least one specific work of art by a modern artist.

Reply to other students who might differ from your thoughts on artistic use of color. Considering the artworks featured in the discussion, are your conclusions about color and meaning the same as others?


Requirements

To receive full credit students must do the following:


Write 1 substantive original response* to all parts of the question before the initial posting deadline.**

* Responses should be a minimum of 200 words. 

Include an image that refers to your post, properly cited references and resources in MLA format.

Photographic references should be labeled to include artist name, title, date, and media (when available).

Downsize all images to 500 px or less before embedding them into your post.

Refer to the Discussion Rubric for more specifics on how the content of your posts will be evaluated to determine your discussion grade.

Resource Links

Second: Museum Visit and Formal Analysis Instructions

Overview

To help you learn to analyze and respond to art, and to apply the terminology learned in class, you will write a formal analysis of one painting at a museum or gallery close to you. You must visit the museum or gallery in person to see the painting. Review the Rubric.

Instructions

We cannot overlook the role photography has played in the development of the field of art history and arts education as we know it today. While it was once traditional for European painters to copy the great works of the "masters" in museums, photographs provided another option. Now, many American artists study and may copy photos of original works in their own homes and studios and rarely see "masterworks" in person. Photography is a fine art in its own right, and photographic imagery is often appropriated "as is" for modern creations. Pablo Picasso's collages ushered in a new era when he chose to incorporate printed newspapers and advertisements into some of his major works. We cannot deny, however, that photographs separate us from what's real. Photographs are not always good substitutes for the "real thing." Why visit a museum when there are hundreds of "virtual galleries" available with the click of a button? Is art simply visual imagery, or is seeing or participating in art an essential human experience?

Step 1: Research

To begin to address these questions, you will visit a museum close to you and choose one painting to focus on (it can be from any time period and any style, but must be a painting). Spend 30-45 minutes examining your chosen artwork, paying special attention to the formal elements and principles of design. Also think about how these elements and principles may manifest themselves differently depending on whether you are viewing the original painting or an image of the painting (print or online). For example, are elements such as color, texture, light, and canvas size understood the same way in both cases? Or if not, how do they differ?

You can use museum information on the painting (wall labels or website) as one of your three research sources. Use the Art Research Guide to find other sources about formal analysis and the pros and cons of viewing artwork in person, or about the specific artwork you chose.

If you are having difficulties visiting a museum or you require ADA Accommodations, please contact your instructor for alternate arrangements.

Step 2: Writing

In your written essay, be sure to include the visual elements and the principles of design discussed in the course and the textbook. You should not just write a description of these elements, but rather an analysis of them. This means describing what the elements are and also explaining how they work to create a particular effect, mood, or meaning. Remember, this type of analysis requires you to stay objective. You should not make critiques or judgments about the quality or beauty of the work (for example, do not use words like “great,” “brilliant,” or “bad”), but simply describe and analyze the formal elements.

For your reference, here is a list of the visual elements and principles of design. Your paper should address each one of these as it relates to your chosen painting:

Visual Elements: Line, Shape, Light, Color, Texture, Space

Principles of Design: Unity and Variety, Balance, Emphasis and Subordination, Scale and Proportion, Rhythm and Movement

You must include at least one relevant, properly captioned (artist, title, date) image file in your document.

Basic Information for All Essay Submissions:

Create a "Works Cited" section that lists your 3+ scholarly sources in MLA Style format at the end of your paper. Be sure you have properly cited any direct quotes you use in support of your own writing. For help with MLA Style citations, visit the suggested links in the Art Research Guide or look here in this course under Content > Syllabus > Research.

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