Essay on Art

500 words essay on art.

Each morning we see the sunshine outside and relax while some draw it to feel relaxed. Thus, you see that art is everywhere and anywhere if we look closely. In other words, everything in life is artwork. The essay on art will help us go through the importance of art and its meaning for a better understanding.

essay on art

What is Art?

For as long as humanity has existed, art has been part of our lives. For many years, people have been creating and enjoying art.  It expresses emotions or expression of life. It is one such creation that enables interpretation of any kind.

It is a skill that applies to music, painting, poetry, dance and more. Moreover, nature is no less than art. For instance, if nature creates something unique, it is also art. Artists use their artwork for passing along their feelings.

Thus, art and artists bring value to society and have been doing so throughout history. Art gives us an innovative way to view the world or society around us. Most important thing is that it lets us interpret it on our own individual experiences and associations.

Art is similar to live which has many definitions and examples. What is constant is that art is not perfect or does not revolve around perfection. It is something that continues growing and developing to express emotions, thoughts and human capacities.

Importance of Art

Art comes in many different forms which include audios, visuals and more. Audios comprise songs, music, poems and more whereas visuals include painting, photography, movies and more.

You will notice that we consume a lot of audio art in the form of music, songs and more. It is because they help us to relax our mind. Moreover, it also has the ability to change our mood and brighten it up.

After that, it also motivates us and strengthens our emotions. Poetries are audio arts that help the author express their feelings in writings. We also have music that requires musical instruments to create a piece of art.

Other than that, visual arts help artists communicate with the viewer. It also allows the viewer to interpret the art in their own way. Thus, it invokes a variety of emotions among us. Thus, you see how essential art is for humankind.

Without art, the world would be a dull place. Take the recent pandemic, for example, it was not the sports or news which kept us entertained but the artists. Their work of arts in the form of shows, songs, music and more added meaning to our boring lives.

Therefore, art adds happiness and colours to our lives and save us from the boring monotony of daily life.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Conclusion of the Essay on Art

All in all, art is universal and can be found everywhere. It is not only for people who exercise work art but for those who consume it. If there were no art, we wouldn’t have been able to see the beauty in things. In other words, art helps us feel relaxed and forget about our problems.

FAQ of Essay on Art

Question 1: How can art help us?

Answer 1: Art can help us in a lot of ways. It can stimulate the release of dopamine in your bodies. This will in turn lower the feelings of depression and increase the feeling of confidence. Moreover, it makes us feel better about ourselves.

Question 2: What is the importance of art?

Answer 2: Art is essential as it covers all the developmental domains in child development. Moreover, it helps in physical development and enhancing gross and motor skills. For example, playing with dough can fine-tune your muscle control in your fingers.

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Essays About Art: Top 5 Examples and 9 Prompts

Essays about art inspire beauty and creativity; see our top essay picks and prompts to aid you.

Art is an umbrella term for various activities that use human imagination and talents. 

The products from these activities incite powerful feelings as artists convey their ideas, expertise, and experience through art. Examples of art include painting, sculpture, photography, literature, installations, dance, and music.

Art is also a significant part of human history. We learn a lot from the arts regarding what living in a period is like, what events influenced the elements in the artwork, and what led to art’s progress to today.

To help you create an excellent essay about art, we prepared five examples that you can look at:

1. Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? by Linda Nochlin

2. what is art by writer faith, 3. my art taught me… by christine nishiyama, 4. animals and art by ron padgett, 5. the value of art by anonymous on arthistoryproject.com, 1. art that i won’t forget, 2. unconventional arts, 3. art: past and present, 4. my life as an artist, 5. art histories of different cultures, 6. comparing two art pieces, 7. create a reflection essay on a work of art, 8. conduct a visual analysis of an artwork, 9. art period or artist history.

“But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class, and above all, male. The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education–education understood to include everything that happens to us from the moment we enter this world…”

Nochlin goes in-depth to point out women’s part in art history. She focuses on unjust opportunities presented to women compared to their male peers, labeling it the “Woman Problem.” This problem demands a reinterpretation of the situation’s nature and the need for radical change. She persuades women to see themselves as equal subjects deserving of comparable achievements men receive.

Throughout her essay, she delves into the institutional barriers that prevented women from reaching the heights of famous male art icons.

“Art is the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects that can be shared with others. It involves the arranging of elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions and acts as a means of communication with the viewer as it represents the thoughts of the artist.”

The author defines art as a medium to connect with others and an action. She focuses on Jamaican art and the feelings it invokes. She introduces Osmond Watson, whose philosophy includes uplifting the masses and making people aware of their beauty – he explains one of his works, “Peace and Love.” 

“But I’ve felt this way before, especially with my art. And my experience with artmaking has taught me how to get through periods of struggle. My art has taught me to accept where I am today… My art has taught me that whatever marks I make on the page are good enough… My art has taught me that the way through struggle is to acknowledge, accept and share my struggle.”

Nishiyama starts her essay by describing how writing makes her feel. She feels pressured to create something “great” after her maternity leave, causing her to struggle. She says she pens essays to process her experiences as an artist and human, learning alongside the reader. She ends her piece by acknowledging her feelings and using her art to accept them.

“I was saying that sometimes I feel sorry for wild animals, out there in the dark, looking for something to eat while in fear of being eaten. And they have no ballet companies or art museums. Animals of course are not aware of their lack of cultural activities, and therefore do not regret their absence.”

Padgett recounts telling his wife how he thinks it’s unfortunate for animals not to have cultural activities, therefore, can’t appreciate art. He shares the genetic mapping of humans being 99% chimpanzees and is curious about the 1% that makes him human and lets him treasure art. His essay piques readers’ minds, making them interested in how art elevates human life through summoning admiration from lines and colors.

“One of the first questions raised when talking about art is simple — why should we care? Art, especially in the contemporary era, is easy to dismiss as a selfish pastime for people who have too much time on their hands. Creating art doesn’t cure disease, build roads, or feed the poor.”

Because art can easily be dismissed as a pastime, the author lists why it’s precious. It includes exercising creativity, materials used, historical connection, and religious value. 

Check out our best essay checkers to ensure you have a top-notch essay.

9 Prompts on Essays About Art

After knowing more about art, below are easy prompts you can use for your art essay:

Essays About Art: Art that I won't forget

Is there an art piece that caught your attention because of its origin? First, talk about it and briefly summarize its backstory in your essay. Then, explain why it’s something that made an impact on you. For example, you can write about the Mona Lisa and her mysterious smile – or is she smiling? You can also put theories on what could have happened while Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.

Rather than focusing on mainstream arts like ballet and painting, focus your essay on unconventional art or something that defies usual pieces, such as avant-garde art. Then, share what you think of this type of art and measure it against other mediums.

How did art change over the centuries? Explain the differences between ancient and modern art and include the factors that resulted in these changes.

Are you an artist? Share your creative process and objectives if you draw, sing, dance, etc. How do you plan to be better at your craft? What is your ultimate goal?

To do this prompt, pick two countries or cultures with contrasting art styles. A great example is Chinese versus European arts. Center your essay on a category, such as landscape paintings. Tell your readers the different elements these cultures consider. What is the basis of their art? What influences their art during that specific period?

Like the previous prompt, write an essay about similar pieces, such as books, folktales, or paintings. You can also compare original and remake versions of movies, broadway musicals, etc.

Pick a piece you want to know more about, then share what you learned through your essay. What did the art make you feel? If you followed creating art, like pottery, write about the step-by-step process, from clay to glazing.

Visual analysis is a way to understand art centered around what the eyes can process. It includes elements like texture, color, line, and scale. For this prompt, find a painting or statue and describe what you see in your essay.

Since art is a broad topic, you can narrow your research by choosing only the most significant moments in art history. For instance, if you pick English art, you can divide each art period by century or by a king’s ruling time. You can also select an artist and discuss their pieces, their art’s backstory, and how it relates to their life at the time.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

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Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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Art Essay Examples

Cathy A.

Art Essay Examples to Get You Inspired - Top 10 Samples

Published on: May 4, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

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Are you struggling to come up with ideas for your art essay? Or are you looking for examples to help guide you in the right direction? 

Look no further, as we have got you covered!

In this blog, we provide a range of art writing examples that cover different art forms, time periods, and themes. Whether you're interested in the classics or contemporary art, we have something for everyone. These examples offer insight into how to structure your essay, analyze art pieces, and write compelling arguments.

So, let's explore our collection of art essay examples and take the first step toward becoming a better art writer!

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Good Art Essay Examples

In the following section, we will examine a selection of art essay examples that are inspiring for various academic levels.

College Art Essay Examples

Let’s take a look at college art essay examples below:  

The Intersection of Art and Politics: An Analysis of Picasso's Guernica

The Role of Nature in American Art: A Comparative Study

University Art Essay Examples

University-level art essay assignments often differ in length and complexity. Here are two examples:

Gender and Identity in Contemporary Art: A Comparative Study

Art and Activism: The Role of Street Art in Political Movements

A Level Art Essay Examples

Below are some art paper examples A level. Check out: 

The Use Of Color In Wassily Kandinsky's Composition Viii

The Influence of African Art on Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'avignon

A Level Fine Art Essay Examples

If you're a student of fine arts, these A-level fine arts examples can serve as inspiration for your own work.

The Use Of Texture In Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night

Exploring Identity Through Portraiture: A Comparative Study

Art Essay Examples IELTS 

The Impact of Art on Mental Health

The Effects of Technology on Art And Creativity

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AP Art Essay Examples

A Comparison of Neoclassical and Romantic Art

An Examination Of The Effects Of Globalization On Contemporary Art

Types of Art Essay with Examples

Art essays can be categorized into different types. Let's take a brief look at these types with examples:

Art Criticism Essay : A critical essay analyzing and evaluating an artwork, its elements, and its meaning.

The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali: A Critical Analysis

Art History Essay: A comprehensive essay that examines the historical context, development, and significance of an artwork or art movement.

The Renaissance: A Rebirth of Artistic Expression

Exhibition Review: A review of an art exhibition that evaluates the quality and significance of the artwork on display.

A Review of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Exhibition

Contemporary Art Essay: An essay that explores and analyzes contemporary art and its cultural and social context.

The Intersection of Technology and Art in Contemporary Society

Modern Art Essay: An essay that examines modern art and its significance in the development of modernism.

Cubism and its Influence on Modern Art [insert pdf]

Art Theory Essay: An essay that analyzes and critiques various theories and approaches to art.

Feminist Art Theory: A Critical Analysis of its Impact on Contemporary Art [insert pdf]

Additional Art Essay Example

Let’s take a brief look at some added art essay samples:

Artwork Essay Example

Artist Essay Example

Advanced Higher Art Essay Example

Common Art Essay Prompts

Here are some common art essay topics that you may encounter during your coursework:

  • Describe a piece of artwork that has inspired you.
  • A comparative analysis of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's David.
  • Analyze the cultural significance of a particular art movement.
  • Discuss the relationship between art and politics.
  • Compare and contrast two works of art from different time periods or cultures.
  • The representation of identity in art
  • The Evolution of Artists' Paintings:
  • From Traditional to Contemporary Art
  • The representation of identity in Frida Kahlo's self-portraits.
  • The significance of oil on canvas in the history of art.
  • The significance of the Mona Lisa in the Italian Renaissance

Art Essay Topics IELTS

Here are some art essay topics for IELTS students. Take a look: 

  • The value of art education.
  • The role of museums in preserving art and culture.
  • The impact of globalization on contemporary art.
  • The influence of technology on art and artists.
  • The significance of public art in urban environments.

Tips For Writing a Successful Art Essay

Here are some tips for writing a stand-out art essay:

  • Develop a clear thesis statement that guides your essay: Your thesis statement should clearly and concisely state the main argument of your essay.
  • Conduct thorough research and analysis of the artwork you are writing about : This includes examining the visual elements of the artwork, researching the artist, and considering the historical significance.
  • Use formal and precise language to discuss the artwork: Avoid using colloquial language and instead focus on using formal language to describe the artwork.
  • Include specific examples from the artwork to support your arguments: Use specific details from the artwork to back up your analysis.
  • Avoid personal bias and subjective language: Your essay should be objective and avoid using personal opinions or subjective language.
  • Consider the historical and cultural context of the artwork: Analyze the artwork in the context of the time period and cultural context in which they were created.
  • Edit and proofread your essay carefully before submitting it: Ensure your essay is well-organized, coherent, and free of grammatical errors and typos.
  • Use proper citation format when referencing sources: Follow the appropriate citation style guidelines and give credit to all sources used in your essay.
  • Be concise and focused in your writing: Stick to your main thesis statement and avoid going off-topic or including irrelevant information.
  • Read your essay aloud to ensure clarity and coherence: Reading your essay out loud can help you identify inconsistencies or any other mistakes.

The Bottom Line!

We hope that the art essay examples we've explored have provided you with inspiration for your own essay. Art offers endless possibilities for analysis, and your essay is a chance to showcase your unique opinions.

Use these examples as a guide to craft an essay that reflects your personality while demonstrating your knowledge of the subject.

Short on time? Let CollegeEssay.org help you! All you have to do is to ask our experts, " write college essay for me " and they'll help you secure top grades in college.

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Essay Samples on Art

While it may seem easy to compose essays about art, it’s not really so because you have to offer background information in your introduction part and explain why some exhibition or a school of thought is important. This should go to your first paragraph because your purpose is to inspire your readers and provide enough background information. When you already have a prompt that must be followed, determine what kind of essay must be written. It can be a descriptive essay, which is great for a description of the works of art or photography. Some other cases may require working with an explanatory tone where you have to explain why an artist has chosen certain palettes or what has been an inspiration. See various free art essay examples below for inspiration. It also helps to learn how to structure your writing and implement quotes or footnotes that are used to highlight the images. Remember to focus on the ways how to cite images and multimedia elements, depending on the chosen style. Your writing should address every image that you have by checking twice with the grading rubric to ensure that you use the sources that may have already been specified.

What Does Creativity Mean to You

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Censorship of Art and Artists: The Complex Discourse

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The Impact of Technology on Art: A Modern Renaissance

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Exploring Feminist Literary Criticism: Unveiling Mona Lisa Smile

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Frida Kahlo: Exploring Her Biography Through the Film 'Frida'

In the 2002 film “Frida” directed by Julie Taymor, illustrates the life of Frida Kahlo based on the book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. Who is Frida Kahlo? Her biography in this essay is explored with the help of the film...

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Debate Surrounding Graphic Novel and Relation to Literature

Introduction In the past years, the noise about graphic novels has been constantly increasing. A graphic novel is basically a novel in comic-strip format, a book made up of comics’ content. However, they are not the same as comics. Unlike comic books, graphic novels are...

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Depicting Trauma: Symbolism in Graphic Novels

Introduction I must confess that I never read a graphic novel prior to this course. I think I’ve developed and expressed my opinion of graphic novels frequently over the course of the semester, and I think I would be remiss if I did not close...

Understanding Graphic Novels: Context and Analysis for Reading

Introduction Graphic novels are stories illustrated in comic form but have the length of a novel. “The term graphic novel was invented in 1970 however, the time of its origin is not concluded yet” (“Levitz”). Graphic novels have been debated for decades since some readers...

Jhene Aiko: Exploring the Artistry and Emotions in her Music

The artist I have chosen to write about is Jhene Aiko who is categorized in the R&B and Hip-Hop genre. Jhene Aiko is a popular singer who writes her music under the influence of cannibis, under the influence of therapeutic instruments and while having a...

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The Joy of Painting: Exploring the Life and Legacy of Bob Ross

Who is Bob Ross, or rather, who was he? During the 80s and 90s, he was an artist who specialized in painting, hosting an instructional painting show on PBS called The Joy of Painting. Though Bob Ross has long since passed on, one will find...

The Uniqueness of Australian Artwork: Exploring Artists' Perceptions

Australian artists provide a unique way of displaying the Australian landscape. John Olsen is one of these artists, who uses symbolism to create a sense of movement. This is conveyed through his spontaneous linear line work as seen in Onkaparinga Hill, blue wren and fox...

Artistic World of Peter Doig: an Insight Into His Life and Work

Peter Doig is a contemporary Scottish artist I found that peaked my interest from his art work to his personal life. I’d like to start off by giving a brief background of the artist seeing that a lot of his work is landscapes from where...

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Being an Artist: My Passion, Place of Freedom and Courage

I remember constantly wondering if there was a way that I could make my life meaningful or if it even had meaning. I was just a thirteen year old starting to figure out her own self. My life revolved around wanting to please the people...

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Sculpture From Dura Europas: the Head of a Bearded God

One of the artworks in the Yale art gallery is the Head of a Bearded God. This sculpture of bearded man that looks old and wise. This piece has curly hair, bushy eyebrows, and very wide/big eyes. The piece is is classified as a sculpture,...

Kashimiri Papier Mache Art: a Unique Dying Art Form

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The Art of the Meddah: Exploring Turkish Forms of Storytelling

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The Way Technologies Transform Already Existing Art Forms

Compelling games are not the consequences of accidents, any more than are riveting novels, movies, or music. Creators for all these medias draw on well-established set of strategies and techniques to create a particular emotional experience. Musicians, for example, may create tension through reiteration and...

How Shemistry Influenced the History and Presentation of Art

Chemistry is everywhere in our life. Of course, chemistry is also closely related to art. There are many forms of art, such as oil painting, gouache, watercolor and so on. These painting forms are inseparable from products such as pigments and watercolors, which are based...

Critical Understanding of the Sculptural Art of Alexander Calder

Calder was an American sculptor from Pennsylvania. His father, Alexander Stirling Calder was a sculptor and his mother a painter. Him and his family were constantly on the move around the country throughout Calder’s childhood due to his dads work. And through this Calder was...

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The relationship between intelligence and creativity has been subjected to research for many years. Unfortunately, there is yet no consensus on how these constructs are related. The connection between intelligence and creativity is that they are functions of the brain that handle data to determine...

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Do Schools Kill Creativity: the Issues of Music Education

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Creative and Critical Thinking: Combining the Achievements of Thought

Creative, one word that can be interpreted in many ways whether in thoughts which is include ways of thinking and actions and also in verbal form. Critical, on the other side refers to the ability to analyse information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It...

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Culture, Art and Creativity: the Way They Are Related

Art is a reflection of your thinking, your ideas, and your surroundings, the artist adopts his or her surroundings and then by using their imagination, outside thinking and their perspective they present a new face of it in front of the world. Art and creativity...

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Accessing the World of Theatre: Musicals and Music Theatre

Goodwin (2019) states music theatre is a type of stage performance using music from various forms such as ballets, operas, cabarets, and contemporary music. Musical theatre uses different techniques (e.g. music, dance, songs, acting as well as spoken dialogue) to tell a story to the...

Drawing for Architecture: A Key to Understanding Complex Designs

Architecture the word from Latin is called “architectura” originally from the Greek “arkhitekton”. Architectural drawing has never been taken for granted. All things we design and sketch are from our thinking to our hands. Therefore, drawings are the main development to architectural projects. When designing,...

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Architecture can be defined in various ways, but if I were to define it, I would simply use these following words, ‘Architecture is an abstract language that bridges a vision into reality.’ I think everyone would agree that architecture is best paired with great effort...

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Introduction From the 1880s, “nationalism” and “regionalism” had been started to be two of the keywords on the Australian development of architecture. These two words point toward the nation’s sake of rejecting foreign architectural approaches and seeking of the local architectural characteristics in Australia. During...

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Architecture: A Means to Improve People's Quality of Life

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I will be focusing on romanticism that is based on emotions and sublimity. I will be displaying the features of romantic art by analysing two paintings from the 19th century. These are The Raft of Medusa by Theodore Gericault (1819; Louvre Museum, Paris), oil on...

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The Ideas Behind The Persistence of Memory and Pillars of Society

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The Persistence of Memory, Starry Night and Analysis of Other Paintings

Dreams are something that everyone is or was able to have at one point in their life. Dreams are defined as, 'a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.' Many artists create their artworks from their dreams or other...

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The System Of Education: If I Could Change The World

If I could change the world, I would completely change the system of education. It hasn't changed for hundreds of years, and the current system was designed in the Industrial Age. This means, that children in school have to obey every order and do only...

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Expressive Art: Is Graffiti Art Or Vandalism

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Art is not a necessary part of survival. So why does it matter? Oftentimes art is overlooked and viewed as an unimportant skill or ability to have. However, art has many qualities that one can benefit from. It is a stress reliever that allows people...

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Why Is Graffiti Are Not Vandalism

Why is graffiti art not vandalism? According to the Mural Arts Philadelphia website, the village’s first legitimate effort to eradicate graffiti started with the form of the Anti-Graffiti Network in the 1980s. Some people assay that its vandalism, and some assay that its artifice. Park...

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Attitudes Towards Consumerism in Contemporary Art

In this essay I will be using information gathered from my own personal research, studio research and relevant topics discussed throughout the lectures. Whilst also, considering social, economic, and cultural factors. I will be discussing and analyzing attitudes towards consumerism in Contemporary Art. Built from...

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One of the Most Common Forms of Theatre

Throughout this essay the focus of various practitioners will be explored thoroughly from the paths of life they took and how they became so successful, to the impact that their work had on other practitioners and in general the industry itself. The industry of theatre...

The Practice of Art Forgery and Monet's Aesthetic Flaws

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Visual Verbal Essay on Wilfred Owen and Franz Marc

This essay explores two artists, Franz Marc, Brett Whitely and two of their artworks depicting animal scenes. Franz Marc’s ‘Tiger’, ‘Blue Horse 1’ and Brett Whitley’s Giraffe and Hyena. These four artworks will be compared and contrasted using the structural and the subjective frame. In...

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The Role of Creative Industries in the United Kingdom

In this essay I will go over and talk about the creative industries and the role they play in the United Kingdom, I will look at the history and the development of the Creative Industries and their sectors. I will then look at the wider...

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African Art: West African Sculpting 

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Typography: From Billboards to Street Signs

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Rebellious Aspect to Monet’s Personality

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Edgar Degas and His Way of Critics

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The Principles of Art: Movement, Unity, Harmony, Variety

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The Book Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Calico

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Black Swan is About Destructive Nature of Ballet

Nina Portman is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica who exerts a suffocating control over her life. When artistic director...

The Development of Islamic Art

Islamic art is created not only for the Muslim faith, but it consists of artworks such as textiles, architecture, paintings and drawings that were produced in the regions that were once ruled by Muslim empires. Artists from various disciplines take part in collaborative projects and...

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Role of Cultural and Religious Pluralism

Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their own unique cultural identities. Migration is a key process that makes significant contribution to the growth of urbanism. Often immigrants belonging to particular region, language, religion ,tribe etc tend to...

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John Berger: Understanding His Artwork

John Berger is a remarkable man who enlighten us with his knowledge using one of his brilliant essays “Ways of Seeing.” Berger has concurred the ability to fully understand any artwork and to recognize what is visible before him. He clarifies that there is a...

  • John Berger

America’s Contemporary Multimedia Artist Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons is one of America’s most popular contemporary multimedia artists, who believes that art can change lives, give vastness and expand your parameters. Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the...

  • American Culture

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling (Italian: Volta Della Cappella Sistina), painted by Michelangelo somewhere in the range of 1508 and 1512, is a foundation work of High Renaissance craftsmanship. The Creation of Adam' is one of the nine ceiling boards in the Sistine Chapel portraying scenes...

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History of Medieval And Byzantine Art Movements

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The Power Of Photography: Capturing Emotions With Camera

Photographs help people preserve memories with its technology, but what is actually happening is much more interesting when thought about in more depth. A moment in time is captured forever, so long as the photograph is kept in good shape. It is the closest people...

Jackson Pollock as an Influential America Artist

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The Girl Who Loved Caravaggio by Belle Ami

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The Portrayal of the Culture of Death and Afterlife in Art

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Art Nouveau and Modernist Movements in Art

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The Famous Michelangelo Merisi Da Caravaggio

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Art of Theatre and French Figure Joan of Arc

Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) is an irish playwright, critic, and political activist. His influence on Western theatre started from the 1880s till after his death. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1925 becoming the leading dramatist of his generation. Shaw's first play to bring...

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The Beauty and Skill of Ansel Adams’ Photography

Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco, California on February 20, 1902. As a child, Adams had many freedoms and lots of energy. He was an unattractive child, with big dark circles under his eyes, a crooked nose, and large ears. He was often teased...

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Holi Festival and Vibrant Celebration of Colors

Holi is a very vibrant celebration of colors. We have to wait for a whole year. So we can enjoy the festival of color. Although, Holi is fun and joyous. It's also immensely damaging to your skin. The colors are not extracted from flowers but...

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The Struggle of the Graphic Designers and Social Media

Graphic designers relied heavily on word-of-mouth for their works to become popular and to be seen by the public, it was close to impossible to grow an organic dedicated fanbase to follow your work, nowadays with the rise of the internet and social media, you...

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Some Interesting Facts About Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was one of the most, if not the most celebrated artist of the 20th century. His art is iconic, his personality, eccentric, his fashion sense, interesting, his style, unique, his showmanship, unforgettable. All these combined to make him an interesting human and a...

Salvador Dali's Biography: Main Topics

 Salvador Dali was born on May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. His father was an atheist lawyer who was very strict in Dali’s upbringing. Dali’s mother, on the other hand, was loving and encouraged him to be artistic. He has an older brother named...

Caravaggio’s Artwork Judith Beheading Holofernes

For this essay, you needed to decide on a painting, Sculpture and other selected types of art work by which ever artist that created them before the 1900’s.Select a topic out of the selection given to do research about the topic and art work to...

William Morris: Arts and Crafts Movement

William Morris was a famous artists who mainly focused on his wallpaper and fabric designs. While he was mainly known for his art, even today, he had many other notable careers and accomplishments, One of them being that he founded the Arts and crafts movement....

Breaking The Parametr In Red Wheelbarrow: Analysis

The most conspicuous element of modernist poetry is the invention and experimentation of new forms of representation. It featured movements such as imagism and symbolism and moved consciously away from naturalism and realism. Ezra Pound was one of the first to delve into this new...

The Importance Of Paying Attention To Detail In Architecture

The architectural detailing process of a project is a long process that includes a lot of steps and patterns to consider. The designing issue is not consecutive for making a theoretical plan for the entire structure, the detailing, and construction of a building. It is...

Depiction Of Revolution In Les Miserables And Musical Theatre

This essay will deliberate the framework of genre, and investigate Musical Theatre, a genre within performing arts. What is Genre? Genre has been around for centuries, it commenced with the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, they created a classification system that would separate literature into...

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The Concepts Of Love And Hate With Loyalty In "Romeo And Juliet"

Loyalty is a virtue that most people strive for as seen in the play, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, which is about two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo, a Montague and Juliet, a Capulet fall in love. Throughout...

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Romeo And Juliet: The Decision Between Choice And Fate

“God gave us free will, and we may choose to exercise it in ways that end up hurting other people”-Francis Collins. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic play written by Shakespeare, that follows the lives of two star-crossed lovers. The setting of Romeo and Juliet...

Societal Views On Graffiti: Street Art Or Vandalism

When you think of graffiti what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Vandalism or street art? Most would say vandalism, but what makes the distinction between the two? The intention of the piece. There’s a difference between defiling the back of a building and...

Portrayal Of Love And Hate In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

Shakespeare’s exploration of themes through tragic conventions make the play, Romeo and Juliet, of enduring relevance to modern audiences. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1595) captures audiences through the thrill of lovers from feuding families racing together to their tragic demises. This play explores themes understood...

Graffiti And Street Art As An Act Of Vandalism

It is difficult to apply a single definition to what is considered Art. Whether it can or should be defined has been constantly debated. “The definition of art is controversial in contemporary philosophy. Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy....

Passionate Pursuit: Being Passionate About Art

Different pieces of artwork inspire people all around the world. Artists use a wide variety of techniques to make their work unique. While creating new pieces of art, it is common to look at other artists' work for inspiration. While evaluating their artwork you can...

Andy Warhol's Album Artwork: Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

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The Role Of Other Characters In Death Of Romeo And Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is such a tragic love story. It is sad that their lives ended, but that doesn’t mean their love for eachother did; their love may still live on with them in the after life. There are many characters who had a role...

The Presentation Of Love In Romeo And Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a play written by Shakespeare in the 1500’s. It tells us the tragedy of two young lovers named Romeo and Juliet who fall in love at first sight but can never be together due to their two families conflict which ends...

The Importance Of Different Types Of Love In Romeo And Juliet

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The Use Of Hyperbole And Symbolism In "The Doll's House"

A Doll's House delves into the lives of a young couple living in Victorian era Norway. The play follows Nora through her journey, from her previously unexamined life of domestic, wifely comfort, to questioning the very foundation of everything she used to believe in. Having...

Realism In A Doll's House Play

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20th Century Art: Representational Abstract Art

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The Opposite Concepts Of Realism Versus Idealism

 Introduction When comparing realism and idealism, the concepts must be understood historically, theoretically and practically. In this essay, a number of steps will be taken to present a thorough overview of the two schools of thought. Firstly, the epistemological and metaphysical questions of philosophy will...

The Abstract Art And Pop Art Artists And Movements

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Romanticism & Realism: Changing Landscapes 

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The Abstract Art And Expressionism In World War 2

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Coriolanus: Plutarch's And William Shakespeare's Versions

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The Definition Of Fate And Free Will In Macbeth

Throughout time, it has been believed that fate has the power to forge one’s destiny. On the other hand though, I believe these choices can defy fate and that fate only manipulates one's mind into choosing their own path. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare messes...

Reality Of Romanticism And Realism Under The Umbrella Of Gothic Genre

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  • Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis

Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.

A formal analysis is just what it sounds like – you need to analyze the form of the artwork. This includes the individual design elements – composition, color, line, texture, scale, contrast, etc. Questions to consider in a formal analysis is how do all these elements come together to create this work of art? Think of formal analysis in relation to literature – authors give descriptions of characters or places through the written word. How does an artist convey this same information?

Organize your information and focus on each feature before moving onto the text – it is not ideal to discuss color and jump from line to then in the conclusion discuss color again. First summarize the overall appearance of the work of art – is this a painting? Does the artist use only dark colors? Why heavy brushstrokes? etc and then discuss details of the object – this specific animal is gray, the sky is missing a moon, etc. Again, it is best to be organized and focused in your writing – if you discuss the animals and then the individuals and go back to the animals you run the risk of making your writing unorganized and hard to read. It is also ideal to discuss the focal of the piece – what is in the center? What stands out the most in the piece or takes up most of the composition?

A stylistic approach can be described as an indicator of unique characteristics that analyzes and uses the formal elements (2-D: Line, color, value, shape and 3-D all of those and mass).The point of style is to see all the commonalities in a person’s works, such as the use of paint and brush strokes in Van Gogh’s work. Style can distinguish an artist’s work from others and within their own timeline, geographical regions, etc.

Methods & Theories To Consider:

Expressionism

Instructuralism

Postmodernism

Social Art History

Biographical Approach

Poststructuralism

Museum Studies

Visual Cultural Studies

Stylistic Analysis Example:

The following is a brief stylistic analysis of two Greek statues, an example of how style has changed because of the “essence of the age.” Over the years, sculptures of women started off as being plain and fully clothed with no distinct features, to the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite figures most people recognize today. In the mid-seventh century to the early fifth, life-sized standing marble statues of young women, often elaborately dress in gaily painted garments were created known as korai. The earliest korai is a Naxian women to Artemis. The statue wears a tight-fitted, belted peplos, giving the body a very plain look. The earliest korai wore the simpler Dorian peplos, which was a heavy woolen garment. From about 530, most wear a thinner, more elaborate, and brightly painted Ionic linen and himation. A largely contrasting Greek statue to the korai is the Venus de Milo. The Venus from head to toe is six feet seven inches tall. Her hips suggest that she has had several children. Though her body shows to be heavy, she still seems to almost be weightless. Viewing the Venus de Milo, she changes from side to side. From her right side she seems almost like a pillar and her leg bears most of the weight. She seems be firmly planted into the earth, and since she is looking at the left, her big features such as her waist define her. The Venus de Milo had a band around her right bicep. She had earrings that were brutally stolen, ripping her ears away. Venus was noted for loving necklaces, so it is very possibly she would have had one. It is also possible she had a tiara and bracelets. Venus was normally defined as “golden,” so her hair would have been painted. Two statues in the same region, have throughout history, changed in their style.

Compare and Contrast Essay

Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.

Compare and Contrast Example:

Stele of Hammurabi from Susa (modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792 – 1750 BCE, Basalt, height of stele approx. 7’ height of relief 28’

Stele, relief sculpture, Art as propaganda – Hammurabi shows that his law code is approved by the gods, depiction of land in background, Hammurabi on the same place of importance as the god, etc.

Top of this stele shows the relief image of Hammurabi receiving the law code from Shamash, god of justice, Code of Babylonian social law, only two figures shown, different area and time period, etc.

Stele of Naram-sin , Sippar Found at Susa c. 2220 - 2184 bce. Limestone, height 6'6"

Stele, relief sculpture, Example of propaganda because the ruler (like the Stele of Hammurabi) shows his power through divine authority, Naramsin is the main character due to his large size, depiction of land in background, etc.

Akkadian art, made of limestone, the stele commemorates a victory of Naramsin, multiple figures are shown specifically soldiers, different area and time period, etc.

Iconography

Regardless of what essay approach you take in class it is absolutely necessary to understand how to analyze the iconography of a work of art and to incorporate into your paper. Iconography is defined as subject matter, what the image means. For example, why do things such as a small dog in a painting in early Northern Renaissance paintings represent sexuality? Additionally, how can an individual perhaps identify these motifs that keep coming up?

The following is a list of symbols and their meaning in Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth (1743) that is a series of six paintings that show the story of marriage in Hogarth’s eyes.

  • Man has pockets turned out symbolizing he has lost money and was recently in a fight by the state of his clothes.
  • Lap dog shows loyalty but sniffs at woman’s hat in the husband’s pocket showing sexual exploits.
  • Black dot on husband’s neck believed to be symbol of syphilis.
  • Mantel full of ugly Chinese porcelain statues symbolizing that the couple has no class.
  • Butler had to go pay bills, you can tell this by the distasteful look on his face and that his pockets are stuffed with bills and papers.
  • Card game just finished up, women has directions to game under foot, shows her easily cheating nature.
  • Paintings of saints line a wall of the background room, isolated from the living, shows the couple’s complete disregard to faith and religion.
  • The dangers of sexual excess are underscored in the Hograth by placing Cupid among ruins, foreshadowing the inevitable ruin of the marriage.
  • Eventually the series (other five paintings) shows that the woman has an affair, the men duel and die, the woman hangs herself and the father takes her ring off her finger symbolizing the one thing he could salvage from the marriage.

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Visual Analysis: How to Analyze a Painting and Write an Essay

write essay about art

A visual analysis essay is an entry-level essay sometimes taught in high school and early university courses. Both communications and art history students use visual analysis to understand art and other visual messages. In our article, we will define the term and give an in-depth guide on how to look at a piece of art and write a visual analysis essay. Stay tuned until the end for a handy visual analysis essay example from our graduate paper writing service .

What Is Visual Analysis?

Visual analysis is the process of looking at a piece of visual art (painting, photography, film, etc.) and dissecting it for the artist’s intended meaning and means of execution. In some cases, works are also analyzed for historical significance and their impact on culture, art, politics, and the social consciousness of the time. This article will teach you how to perform a formal analysis of art.

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A visual analysis essay is a type of essay written mostly by students majoring in Art History and Communications. The process of visual analysis can be applied to painting, visual art, journalism, photo-journalism, photography, film, and writing. Works in these mediums are often meant to be consumed for entertainment or informative purposes. Visual analysis goes beyond that, focusing on form, themes, execution, and the compositional elements that make up the work.

Classical paintings are a common topic for a visual analysis essay because of their depth and historical significance. Take the famous Raphael painting Transfiguration. At first glance, it is an attractive image showing a famous scene from the Bible. But a more in-depth look reveals practical painting techniques, relationships between figures, heavy symbolism, and a remarkable choice of colors by the talented Raphael. This deeper look at a painting, a photograph, visual or written art is the process of visual analysis.

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Formal Analysis of Art: Who Does It?

Most people who face visual analysis essays are Communication, English, and Art History students. Communications students explore mediums such as theater, print media, news, films, photos — basically anything. Comm is basically a giant, all-encompassing major where visual analysis is synonymous with Tuesday.

Art History students study the world of art to understand how it developed. They do visual analysis with every painting they look it at and discuss it in class.

English Literature students perform visual analysis too. Every writer paints an image in the head of their reader. This image, like a painting, can be clear, or purposefully unclear. It can be factual, to the point, or emotional and abstract like Ulysses, challenging you to search your emotions rather than facts and realities.

How to Conduct Visual Analysis: What to Look For

Whether you study journalism or art, writing a visual analysis essay will be a frequent challenge on your academic journey. The primary principles can be learned and applied to any medium, regardless of whether it’s photography or painting.

For the sake of clarity, we’ve chosen to talk about painting, the most common medium for the formal analysis of art.

Visual Analysis

In analyzing a painting, there are a few essential points that the writer must know.

  • Who is the painter, and what era of art did they belong to? Classical painters depict scenes from the Bible, literature, or historical events (like the burning of Rome or the death of Socrates). Modernists, on the other hand, tend to subvert classical themes and offer a different approach to art. Modernism was born as a reaction to classical painting, therefore analyzing modernist art by the standards of classical art would not work.
  • What was the painter’s purpose? Classical painters like Michelangelo were usually hired by the Vatican or by noble families. Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel just for fun; he was paid to do it.
  • Who is the audience? Artists like Andy Warhol tried to appeal to the masses. Others like Marcel Duchamp made art for art people, aiming to evolve the art form.
  • What is the historical context? Research your artist/painting thoroughly before you write. The points of analysis that can be applied to a Renaissance painter cannot be applied to a Surrealist painter. Surrealism is an artistic movement, and understanding its essence is the key to analyzing any surrealist painting.

Familiarizing yourself with these essential points will give you all the information and context, you need to write a good visual analysis essay.

But visual analysis can go deeper than that — especially when dealing with historic pieces of visual art. Students explore different angles of interpretation, the interplay of colors and themes, how the piece was made and various reactions, and critiques of it. Let’s dig deeper.

A Detailed Process of Analyzing Visual Art

Performing a formal analysis of art is a fundamental skill taught at entry-level art history classes. Students who study art or communications further develop this skill through the years. Not all types of analysis apply to every work of art; every art piece is unique. When performing visual analysis, it’s essential to keep in mind why this particular work of art is important in its own way.

Visual Analysis

Step 1: General Info

To begin, identify the following necessary information on the work of art and the artist.

  • Subject — who or what does this work represent?
  • Artist — who is the author of this piece? Refer to them by their last name.
  • Date and Provenance — when and where this work of art was made. Is it typical to its historical period or geographical location?
  • Past and Current Locations — where was this work was displayed initially, and where is it now?
  • Medium and Creation Techniques — what medium was this piece made for and why is it important to that medium? Note which materials were used in its execution and its size.

Step 2: Describe the Painting

Next, describe what the painting depicts or represents. This section will be like an abstract, summarizing all the visible aspects of the piece, painting the image in the reader’s mind. Here are the dominant features to look for in a painting:

  • Characters or Figures: who they are and what they represent.
  • If this is a classical painting, identify the story or theme depicted.
  • If this is an abstract painting, pay attention to shapes and colors.
  • Lighting and overall mood of the painting.
  • Identify the setting.

Step 3: Detailed Analysis

The largest chunk of your paper will focus on a detailed visual analysis of the work. This is where you go past the basics and look at the art elements and the principles of design of the work.

Art elements deal mostly with the artist’s intricate painting techniques and basics of composition.

  • Lines — painters use a variety of lines ranging from straight and horizontal to thick, curved, even implied lines.
  • Shapes — shapes can be distinct or hidden in plain sight; note all the geometrical patterns of the painting.
  • Use of Light — identify the source of light, or whether the lighting is flat; see whether the painter chooses contrasting or even colors and explain the significance of their choice in relation to the painting.
  • Colors — identify how the painter uses color; which colors are primary, which are secondary; what is the tone of the painting (warm or cool?)
  • Patterns — are there repeating patterns in the painting? These could be figures as well as hidden textural patterns.
  • Use of Space — what kind of perspective is used in the painting; how does the artist show depth (if they do).
  • Passage of Time and Motion

Design principles look at the painting from a broader perspective; how the art elements are used to create a rounded experience from an artistic and a thematic perspective.

  • Variety and Unity - explore how rich and varied the artists’ techniques are and whether they create a sense of unity or chaos.
  • Symmetry or Asymmetry - identify points of balance in the painting, whether it’s patterns, shapes, or use of colors.
  • Emphasis - identify the points of focus, both from a thematic and artistic perspective. Does the painter emphasize a particular color or element of architecture?
  • Proportions - explain how objects and figures work together to provide a sense of scale, mass, and volume to the overall painting.
  • Use of Rhythm - identify how the artist implies a particular rhythm through their techniques and figures.

Seeing as each work of art is unique, be thoughtful in which art elements and design principles you wish to discuss in your essay. Visual analysis does not limit itself to painting and can also be applied to mediums like photography.

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The Structure: How to Write a Visual Analysis Paper

It’s safe to use the five-paragraph essay structure for your visual analysis essay. If you are looking at a painting, take the most important aspects of it that stand out to you and discuss them in relation to your thesis. Structure it with the simple essay structure:

Introduction: An introduction to a visual analysis essay serves to give basic information on the work of art and briefly summarize the points of discussion.

  • Give a brief description of the painting: name of artist, year, artistic movement (if necessary), and the artist’s purpose in creating this work.
  • Briefly describe what is in the painting.
  • Add interesting facts about the artist, painting, or historical period to give your reader some context.
  • As in all introductions, don’t forget to include an attention-grabber to get your audience interested in reading your work.

Thesis: In your thesis, state the points of analysis on this work of art which you will discuss in your essay.

Body: Explore the work of art and all of its aspects in detail. Refer to the section above titled “A Detailed Process of Analyzing Visual Art,” which will comprise most of your essay’s body.

Conclusion: After you’ve thoroughly analyzed the painting and the artist’s techniques, give your thoughts and opinions on the work. Your observations should be based on the points of analysis in your essay. Discuss how the art elements and design principles of the artist give the painting meaning and support your observations with facts from your essay.

Citation: Standard citation rules apply to these essays. Use in-text citations when quoting a book, website, journal, or a movie, and include a sources cited page listing your sources. And there’s no need to worry about how to cite a piece of art throughout the text. Explain thoroughly what work of art you’re analyzing in your introduction, and refer to it by name in the body of your essay like this — Transfiguration by Raphael.

If you want a more in-depth look at the classic essay structure, feel free to visit our 5 PARAGRAPH ESSAY blog

Learn From a Visual Analysis Example

Many YouTube videos are analyzing famous paintings like the Death of Socrates, which can be a great art analysis example to go by. But the best way to understand the format and presentation is by looking at a painting analysis essay example done by a scholarly writer. One of our writers has penned an outstanding piece on Leonardo Da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière, which you may find below. Use it as a reference point for your visual analysis essay, and you can’t go wrong!

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian artist born in April 1452 and died in May 1519who lived in the Renaissance era. His fame and popularity were based on his painting sand contribution to the Italian artwork. Leonardo was also an active inventor, a vibrant musician, writer, and scientist as well as a talented sculptor amongst other fields. His various career fields proved that he wanted to know everything about nature. In the book “Leonardo Da Vinci: The Mind of the Renaissance” by Alessandro Vezzosi, it is argued that Leonardo was one of the most successful and versatile artists and anatomists of the Italian renaissance based on his unique artwork and paintings (Vezzosi, p1454). Some of his groundbreaking research in medicine, metal-casting, natural science, architecture, and weaponry amongst other fields have been explored in the book. He was doing all these in the renaissance period in Italy from the 1470s till his death.

Visual analysis essays will appear early in your communications and art history degrees. Learning how to formally analyze art is an essential skill, whether you intend to pursue a career in art or communications.

Before diving into analysis, get a solid historical background on the painter and their life. Analyzing a painting isn’t mere entertainment; one must pay attention to intricate details which the painter might have hidden from plain sight.

We live in an environment saturated by digital media. By gaining the skill of visual analysis, you will not only heighten your appreciation of the arts but be able to thoroughly analyze the media messages you face in your daily life.

Also, don't forget to read summary of Lord of the Flies , and the article about Beowulf characters .

Need Someone to Write Your Paper?

If you read the whole article and still have no idea how to start your visual analysis essay, let a professional writer do this job for you. Contact us, and we’ll write your work for a higher grade you deserve. All ' college essay service ' requests are processed fast.

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How to Write an Analytical Essay

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ARTS - Herzberg: Writing Essays About Art

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

What is a compare / contrast essay.

In Art History and Appreciation, contrast / compare essays allow us to examine the features of two or more artworks.

  • Comparison -- points out similarities in the two artworks
  • Contrast -- points out the differences in the two artworks

Why would you want to write this type of essay?

  • To inform your reader about characteristics of each art piece.
  • To show a relationship between different works of art.
  • To give your reader an insight into the process of artistic invention.
  • Use your assignment sheet from your class to find specific characteristics that your professor wants you to compare.

How is Writing a Compare / Contrast Essay in Art History Different from Other Subjects?

You should use art vocabulary to describe your subjects..

  • Find art terms in your textbook or an art glossary or dictionary

You should have an image of the works you are writing about in front of you while you are writing your essay.

  • The images should be of  high enough quality that you can see the small details of the works. 
  • You will use them when describing visual details of each art work.

Works of art are highly influenced by the culture, historical time period and movement in which they were created.

  • You should gather information about these BEFORE you start writing your essay.

If you describe a characteristic of one piece of art, you must describe how the OTHER piece of art treats that characteristic.

Example:  You are comparing a Greek amphora with a sculpture from the Tang Dynasty in China.

Greek amphora

If you point out that the color palette of the amphora is limited to black, white and red, you must also write about the colors used in the horse sculpture.

Organizing Your Essay

Thesis statement.

The thesis for a comparison/contrast essay will present the subjects under consideration and indicate whether the focus will be on their similarities, on their differences, or both.

Thesis example using the amphora and horse sculpture -- Differences:

While they are both made from clay, the Greek amphora and the Tang Dynasty horse served completely different functions in their respective cultures.

Thesis example -- Similarities:

Ancient Greek and Tang Dynasty ceramics have more in common than most people realize.

Thesis example -- Both:

The Greek amphora and the Tang Dynasty horse were used in different ways in different parts of the world, but they have similarities that may  not be apparent to the casual viewer.

Visualizing a Compare & Contrast Essay: 

Introduction (1-2 paragraphs) .

  • Creates interest in your essay
  • Introduces the two art works that you will be comparing.
  • States your thesis, which mentions the art works you are considering and may indicate whether the focus will be on similarities, differences, or both. 

Body paragraphs 

  • Make and explain a point about the first subject and then about the second subject 
  • Example: While both superheroes fight crime, their motivation is vastly different. Superman is an idealist, who fights for justice …… while Batman is out for vengeance. 

Conclusion (1-2 paragraphs) 

  • Provides a satisfying finish 
  • Leaves your reader with a strong final impression. 

Downloadable Essay Guide

  • How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay in Art History Downloadable version of the description on this LibGuide.

Questions to Ask Yourself After You Have Finished Your Essay

  • Are all the important points of comparison or contrast included and explained in enough detail?
  • Have you addressed all points that your professor specified in your assignment?
  • Do you use transitions to connect your arguments so that your essay flows into a coherent whole, rather than just a random collection of statements?
  • Do your arguments support your thesis statement?

Art Terminology

  • British National Gallery: Art Glossary Includes entries on artists, art movements, techniques, etc.

Lee College Writing Center

Writing Center tutors can help you with any writing assignment for any class from the time you receive the assignment instructions until you turn it in, including:

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  • Second set of eyes before turning in

Contact a tutor:

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Other Compare / Contrast Writing Resources

  • Southwestern University Guide for Writing About Art This easy to follow guide explains the basic of writing an art history paper.
  • Purdue Online Writing Center: writing essays in art history Describes how to write an art history Compare and Contrast paper.
  • Stanford University: a brief guide to writing in art history See page 24 of this document for an explanation of how to write a compare and contrast essay in art history.
  • Duke University: writing about paintings Downloadable handout provides an overview of areas you should cover when you write about paintings, including a list of questions your essay should answer.
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How to write an art essay best ideas for students.

April 10, 2020

art essay

Do you need to write an art essay? Perhaps this is the first time you have been tasked by your professor with such an assignment. Don’t worry though; writing an art essay is not as difficult as you may think. Even though many students don’t know much about art, they still manage to write excellent papers. How do they do it? Simple: they read guides and learn the best tips and tricks from industry experts. Alternatively, they get some help from qualified assignment writers . If you want to write the paper all by yourself, we have all the tips and tricks you need right here. Read on!

The Importance of Art Education Essay Samples

So, what is art essay writing? Why is it important? Truth be told, writing about art can be fun and captivating. However, we realize art is not something everyone is fond of writing about. The main reason why art essay writing is important is because your professor wants to get an interesting, original essay from you. Your final grade depends on your ability to write an excellent paper. What is more important is the art history essay example. Here is why:

By reading some art essay examples, you get an idea of how the final version of your paper should look like. Reading works written by seasoned writers can teach you a thing or two about writing in academic format. You can “steal” some ideas from the samples. However, make sure you don’t copy and paste any content from samples you find online.

An excellent way to get an art analysis essay example that is 100% original (i.e. you can’t find it anywhere on the Internet) is to have an academic writer compose it from scratch for you.

Finding Some Great Art Essay Topics

Do you need to write an essay about art? Or perhaps your professor asked you to write an art analysis essay. In any case, the topic you choose for your paper is very important. As long as you manage to find an intriguing topic, you stand a very good chance of getting bonus points. Let’s face it: professors want original, interesting papers. They are most certainly bored of reading the same art history essay written on the same old topics time and time again. You can even write a “compare and contrast two works of art essay” and stand out from the rest of your class. Here are the three best ways to get some topics for a college essay about art:

Search online but don’t pick the obvious topics. Dig deeper and try to find something none of your classmates thought of. Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas on art blogs and forums. There are plenty of experts who will gladly give you some topic ideas for free. Simply contact an academic writing company and ask them to send you a list of original topics. It won’t take them long to send you a comprehensive list of exceptional ideas.

Quick Guide on How to Write an Art Essay

Do you need to write an “is graffiti art essay” (or an “is graffiti art or vandalism essay”)? Regardless of the topic you choose, there are just a couple of steps you need to follow to write a great essay on art. Let’s show you how to write an art analysis essay in just 5 easy steps:

  • Find a couple of interesting art essay topics and pick the most interesting one. Then, come up with the best thesis statement possible. What does your short essay about art aim to demonstrate?
  • Write the introduction. You need to learn how to write a good intro if you want to learn how to write an art essay. In the intro, you need to present the thesis statement and a bit of background information about the topic.
  • Write three body paragraphs, each one dealing with just one important idea. This works for anything from an art comparison essay to an art appreciation essay. Make sure you use each body paragraph to present just one idea that supports your thesis statement.
  • Craft a catchy conclusion. You need to summarize everything you’re discussed and – optionally – write a call to action. This is the way to end every essay from a compare and contrast art essay to an art critique example essay.
  • Edit everything and proofread it twice. Make sure your paper is well organized and your writing flows well. Also, there should be no typos in the text.

That’s it! Follow the guide above and create college essay art that will earn you a top grade every time. As a tip, you should consider writing an importance of art education essay. Your professor will be flattered for sure. But of course, you can write anything including an art critique essay and still get a top grade. You just need to be careful about which topic you choose and how you support your thesis statement. Very few professors expect works of art from students. However, they want to see that you’ve really invested some time and effort into writing the best paper possible. Finally, we advise you to steer clear of the renaissance art essay. Writing one is usually more difficult than you think.

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write essay about art

How to Write an Essay on Art: Topic Ideas and Best Art Centers In Africa

write essay about art

As we’ve stated before, we will provide you with all the information you might need to master crafting a good art essay, but before we can dive into what are the most interesting art topics you can use for your paper, it’s important to review the basics.

This is why we’ll cover the definition of what an art essay is, how to write it, and some examples you can use as reference.

What Is Art Essay 

Art essays are essays that essentially analyze bodies of artwork, be it a painting, a musical piece, a book, Japanese calligraphy, or even a work of architecture. It’s an essay about art, and what makes the whole of this work of art. Interpretation, keen observation, and research are all needed to produce a decent essay about art.

Analysis can range from the visuals to the aesthetics, to the time period it was created in. But how do all of these elements work? That’s what the analysis will convey in words. Later on in this guide, we’re going to go through all the potential topics which could arise. 

How To Write An Art Essay?

Most essays fall into a certain category and have a standard outline of how they’re written, this includes art essays. When it comes to writing an art essay, it’s important to remember that no matter what the topic is, the outline of how the essay will be written normally stays the same. 

No need to worry. In the following paragraphs, we will be showing you art essay introduction examples, examples in general, and many valuable tips. Use this information to craft an excellent essay on art, whether it’s a short essay on art or a long one. 

Let’s start with the outline, then we’ll be moving on to the different types of art essays, and we’ll be looking over tips on how to improve your writing.

Art Essay Outline

The standard outline for this type of essay is: 

  • Introduction: Strong art essay examples have an introduction that clearly conveys the position of the writer. It should have a hook that grabs the reader’s attention, declare what the essay will convey as a whole, and have a thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction. Some students place the thesis statement in the first line of the main body, which is appropriate as well. 
  • Main Body: The paragraphs in the main body should support and convey what has already been stated in the introduction. The points should be analyzed extensively in the paragraphs, and they should be organized in a coherent fashion. Don’t go off-topic.
  • Conclusion: This part should repeat the claim in the thesis statement and back it up with some final supporting arguments. It should be concise and short, and it shouldn’t present any new ideas. It should help the reader rethink and review what he just read. It is the final front to convince the reader why your point should be taken seriously.

This is simple and common enough to follow, and if you’ve written an essay before, this outline should be familiar to you already.

Essay On Art Types

Art essays analyze works of art, but the way in which the topics will be handled have certain differences. It’s not really dependent on the topic of your essay. It can be primitive art, horror art, political cartoon, European art, Asian art, Mayan art, Middle-Age art, a dive into the renaissance era or the lives of influential artists, comparison of various art movements; you name it. But it’s more about how you talk about it than what you’re talking about. Here are the most common types: 

Argumentative: Proving a point by backing up with credible arguments. Example: “Are video games a modern form of art?”.

Cause and Effect: An essay that highlights a cause and then extensively analyzes and highlights its effects. Example: “What sparked the era of the Renaissance in the art world?”.

Compare and Contrast: This one is pretty self-explanatory. An essay on art which is a compare and contrast type, will draw comparisons on two elements. Example: “Compare contemporary architecture to ancient architecture”. 

Example Of Art Critique Essay

Here is an example from specialists.

write essay about art

Tips On How To Write Art Essay

You don’t necessarily have to be a college student with a design major or go to art school to be able to write about world art. Lacking an art education is in no way a disqualifying factor from talking about, say, art's influence on academic writing, ancient Egyptian art, Muslim art, or even Chinese circus art. An essay about art does not simply describe the artwork in question. It needs to analyze in-depth and satisfy the requirements of the writing task. It’s also important to be sure that the sources you’re using are credible. Don’t forget to reference and cite them throughout your essay when it’s needed. 

Lastly, when stuck on a topic, it helps to ask questions to yourself. Consider the following: 

  • In your perspective, what did the creator want to convey through his work?
  • What impression does it leave on you personally? 
  • Does the creator use certain symbols and images that provoke certain emotions or is the artwork vague? 
  • What is the mood of the piece? 
  • When was it created, and what possible external factors might have influenced its creation? 

Asking yourself relevant questions like the ones above will definitely provide a sense of clarity.

Art Essay Example

Here is a template for you on "Art Analysis of Mona Lisa":

Quotes On Art To Write Essay

write essay about art

What is a good quote about art? Well, there are actually many of them lingering on the internet from artists and prodigies from the past and the present. They touch on virtually every art style and can help you define art topics better if you build them around those. For those who feel uninspired, perhaps refreshing your perspective by reading these quotes will spark the fire once more. 

On that note, if you’re a fan of the arts and want to have more time indulging yourself in that world, then you might want help with your homework.

Here are some quotes that will make you think twice: 

  • “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better” (André Gide)
  • “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time” (Thomas Merton) 
  • “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” (Banksy)

Art Essay Topics To Write On

If you are looking for options and ideas on what you should write about in your essay, then keep reading because we’re going to be looking at the plethora of topics you can choose from in the following paragraphs. We’re giving you plenty of options. This will help you find a topic that is ideal and won’t be too boring or uninteresting to work with.

Topics On Different Epochs

The epochs, or "Epoque" in french, speak of the different eras of art’s timeline. From the Renaissance up till now, there are numerous epochs with different trends. That’s why you won’t run out of topic ideas if you choose to write about one of the epochs. Here are some easy-to-get-into topics on the different art epochs for your essay: 

  • Compare Baroque to Renaissance
  • The Beauty of Rococo
  • The Emergence of Art Nouveau 
  • Compare Contemporary Art to Abstract Expressionism 
  • The Lasting Influence of Futurism 
  • The Era of Symbolism 

And if you want to look at more options simply type in "art timeline" on your search engine, since there are many remaining epochs that are intriguing and worthwhile.

Art: Compare And Contrast Topics

write essay about art

Compare and contrast essays are pretty straightforward, but perhaps you’re still conflicted as to what topic you should be using. Here are some solid topic ideas for compare and contrast essays: 

  • Compare Realism and Naturalism 
  • Compare Gothic and Romanesque 
  • What are the differences and similarities between the Dada movement and the postmodern movement? 
  • Compare Art Deco and Art Nouveau 
  • Compare Pop art and Pop Surrealism
  • Compare Roman Mythology and Greek Mythology 
  • Compare the artwork of Ancient India and China
  • What are the differences between the Renaissance and the Neoclassicism works of art?
  • Romanticism vs. Impressionism 
  • Cubism vs. Dadaism 
  • Surrealism vs. Abstract Expressionism 
  • Minimalism vs. Contemporary Art 

The goal of the essay is to find the differences in both elements, but it is also important to include the similarities between the two since this adds more depth to your analysis than only including the differences. 

Art Therapy Topics Ideas

Art therapy is the merging of the fields of psychotherapy and art and is used to help individuals improve their cognitive brain functions. It is also used to help self-awareness and self-esteem and to decrease stress levels. Art therapy is quite an interesting topic to write about, but if you’re feeling stuck, then here are some fresh ideas on what you can write about: 

  • The Art Therapy Industry
  • Art Therapy for Trauma Survivors
  • Art Therapy for Children and Families
  • The Positive Impact of Art Therapy
  • The Benefits of Art Therapy For Your Psyche
  • Art Therapy and The Elderly
  • Art Therapy to Reduce Stress Levels And Find Inner Peace
  • Techniques Used in Art Therapy 

Consider the options stated above and choose one for your essay topics about art. This particular field should be quite interesting for students who are intrigued by human psychology and the art world and might prove fulfilling to research.

Art History Topics

Art history is the study of visual culture, from paintings to sculptures, and architecture. Additionally, art history provides us with the complex story of human history and civilization through the study of these artworks and designs. Art history covers everything, starting from prehistoric art all the way to contemporary.

If you’re going to write an art essay, chances are that you’re already enrolled in an art history class. Here are some interesting art history topics to consider: 

  • The Secrets of The Mona Lisa 
  • Leonardo Da Vinci’s Works
  • Occult Art In Ancient Religion
  • Hermetic Art 
  • Medieval Art 
  • Megalithic Sites 
  • The Ancient Pyramids of Egypt 
  • Easter Island’s Heads
  • The Techniques Used in Renaissance Art 
  • The Emergence of Realism 
  • Christian Art 

Choose one of the topics above if you’ve found an ideal subject to cover and if you haven’t you can still use one of our ideas to make a practice essay. Practicing your writing before handing in the essay will surely help your grades. Look at our art essay example for more clarity.

Argumentative Essay Topics On Art

If you want to prove an argument and your point through sharp analysis and by showing credible proof of your claims, then write an argumentative essay on art. There is a lot to be said and covered but for those who have no ideas on what topic they should write about in their argumentative essay, then let’s look at some:

  • Money Laundering Through Art
  • Why Contemporary Art Feels Soulless compared to earlier epochs
  • Is the art world too rigid?
  • Do art schools kill individuality? 
  • The importance of the existence of art 
  • How art reflects society’s current conditions 

Choose what to do with our art argumentative topics, and keep on reading since we will present an example of an art analysis essay at the end of this guide. 

Cause And Effect Topics: Art

Cause and effect essays are exactly what they sound like. It’s an art essay about an event. Students will write extensively about the cause of the event, and its long-term and short-term effects. There are many major happenings in art history that can be referenced for a cause-and-effect essay. However, for those who are struggling to come up with ideas, let’s take a look at some of ours: 

  • Why were the world fairs destroyed right after being built? 
  • What sparked the Renaissance movement? 
  • What sparked the period of Romanticism?
  • How did WWI affect artists and their artwork?
  • How did WWII affect artists and their artwork? 
  • How has religious doctrine affected the artwork of its culture? 
  • How has art evolved in modern times? 
  • Why is there such a stark difference between ancient architecture to modern architecture? 
  • What caused the emergence of pop art? 

Artists’ Bio Topics

Writing about artists’ bios is essential to having a complete understanding of the artwork and the artist. Their motives and life story will always have a great impact on their work, therefore it can be interesting to write an essay about their lives. Here are some ideas:

  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardic
  • Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
  • Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
  • Francois Boucher
  • Jean-Antoine Watteau
  • Jean-Honoré Fragonard
  • Kazimir Malevich 
  • Pablo Picasso 
  • Piet Mondrian 
  • Frida Kahlo 
  • Jackson Pollock 
  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Salvador Dali 
  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • Isabel Allende
  • Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez
  • Cindy Sherman 
  • Liu Xiaodong 
  • Cecily Brown 
  • Miquel Barcelo 
  • Takashi Murakami 
  • Günther Förg
  • Luo Zhongli 
  • Pierre Albert-Birot 
  • Guillaume Apollinaire 
  • Louis Aragon 
  • Alice Bailly 
  • Johannes Baader 
  • Johannes Theodor Baargeld
  • Claude Monet
  • Berthe Morisot
  • Camille Pissarro
  • Alfred Sisley
  • Auguste Renoir
  • Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas

Explore Diverse and Rich East African Art

The diversity of East African art history is mirrored in the people and cultures that make up the continent. Examining the richness and vibrancy of East African culture art will provide you with countless ideas for your next art essay. African art contains an incredible range of items, mediums, and subjects, from the complex cave art of South Africa's Cederberg Mountains to the abstract masks of several ethnic groups. 

For Western observers, one startling feature of African art may be how unlike it is to historical paintings created in the European Renaissance style, which strongly focuses on vanishing-point vision and a certain kind of naturalistic portrayal.

In the same way, traditional African art center East should be studied independently for the themes and motifs that run across much of it, such as creating objects and costumes for ceremonial and religious use.

To give you some ideas, you can consider the following topic ideas on East African arts and crafts from our essay writer :

  • The Development and History of Traditional Crafts in East Africa Over Time
  • Natural Materials Used in East African Arts and Crafts
  • The Contribution of Art and Craft to East African Cultural Traditions
  • The Impact of East African Art and Craft on Modern Fashion and Interior Design
  • The Effect of Tourism on the Arts and Crafts Sector in East Africa

And if you'd rather have a PRO craft you an uncontested paper, then ask us - ' write my essay for me ,' and we'll take care of it right away.

4 Best East African Art Gallery Centers

You could now be driven to research the history of East African art making and base your essay on this fascinating culture. However, we have yet to supply you with additional information that you will find beneficial in furthering your understanding of African art and craft. Let's now explore a few of the most noteworthy East African art centers, such as museums and galleries, that have a major role in advancing this field in the region.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

In 2017, Cape Town welcomed the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA). It is the largest museum in the world devoted to modern African art and its diaspora, created by the highly regarded London-based Heatherwick Studio.

What's important is that Zeitz MOCAA supports and advances the careers of African artists by giving them a venue to display their work and interact with viewers. The museum also sponsors initiatives that allow artists to expand their networks and gain new skills.

The museum has also significantly boosted the local economy by luring visitors and generating employment in the cultural sector. The Zeitz MOCAA Foundation also supports cultural organizations and initiatives across Africa, which furthers the growth not only of South African art but the overall continent's cultural sector.

Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya

Established in 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya, Circle promotes modern East African art. They want to develop a robust and long-lasting art market for East African artists by assisting and promoting the most cutting-edge and fascinating artists working in the area. 

This East African art gallery has enhanced exposure for renowned and young artists, both abroad and domestically, through group and solo exhibits as well as involvement with international art events. 

They are creating a solid and persistent market for East African artists by collaborating closely with local, nationwide, and foreign investors and curators. They are constantly modifying their programming and improving existing web platforms to keep showcasing insightful and tough contemporary art from East Africa.

Zoma Museum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Zoma Museum, a distinctive establishment honoring famous East African art, architecture, and culture, is situated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Utilizing green building methods and materials, the museum's design itself places a strong emphasis on sustainability. The structure has solar power and rainwater collection elements that decrease energy use and carbon impact. The museum is an example of environmentally friendly building techniques and encourages environmental awareness.

This African art center East also strives to promote and conserve Ethiopia's rich cultural legacy while giving up-and-coming artists a place to display their creations. Additionally, the Zoma Museum Foundation contributes to local development initiatives, providing clean water and healthcare services.

The museum is a gathering place for intellectuals, artists, and fans of the arts, allowing them to interact and share knowledge. The museum's activities and displays foster intercultural awareness and understanding while highlighting Ethiopia's rich creative legacy worldwide.

Murumbi African Heritage Collection, Nairobi, Kenya

African art pieces, antiquities, and publications that make up the Murumbi African Heritage Collection were put together by Joseph and Sheila Murumbi, two influential figures in Kenya's political and cultural history. 

The significance of this collection lies in the fact that it safeguards African cultural heritage. Many of the items in the collection are rare and priceless representations of significant times in history and cultural customs. In order to prevent their loss or destruction, the collection acts as a depository for these priceless items.

For academics, students, and the general public, the Murumbi Collection also offers priceless educational materials. The collection consists of books, images, and other items that shed light on Kenyan history and politics, as well as the art and culture of Africa as a whole.

If you've discovered a whole new passion for researching vibrant East African art making and wishing - 'I prefer to ask someone to write my essay on this amazing culture,' contact us for immediate assistance.

Art Analysis Essay Example

Here is an example of an art analysis essay from our professional writers. Check the one on "The Critique of Dali’s The Persistence of Memory":

Dali's use of color for everything else besides the three clocks and the ghostly figure is dark and heavy. On the other hand, the colors he uses for the central figures are very light. This naturally leads our eye to them, and it could be conveying that these figures are the dream-like elements that always appear in surrealist works of art.

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Art Essay Writing Guide

Table of Contents

What is the purpose of an art essay?

Generally, an art essay is an essay that talks about art in sculpture, paintings, architecture, music and portraits.

These kinds of essays are used for:

  • Painting visual pictures: an art essay is an essay that showcases visual arts and creative ideas that people have come up with.
  • Improving creativity: the whole purpose of art essays is to provide a platform for students to tap into their creative side and vividly paint a picture of a certain image using words.

art essay writing

Art essay topic choice

Like every other essay, there are general tips that should be considered when coming up with an art essay writing topic.

  • The type of art: this may include a painting, a sculpture or just a simple hand diagram. The type of art is important as it sets out what you are supposed to write about.
  • What intrigues you about the art: this is the most important part of the essay. The whole art essay is based on what you want others to know about the piece of art.
  • Personal interests: what you, as a writer, love is very important as it narrows down the topic. It is easier to write on topics that are well-known to you.

There are a number of art essay writing topics to choose from.

Below is a list of topics for an art essay

  • Differences between Picasso’s concepts and Matisse’s
  • The history of art in the Netherlands
  • Differences between Bernini and Borromini
  • The inspiration behind famous painting
  • The Mona Lisa
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Ancient Roman structures
  • The sculptures of nude women
  • Impressionism era of art in Netherlands
  • The graphics of modern day art
  • Insinuations behind ‘The Thinker’
  • The Pieta of Michelangelo
  • The contribution of Vincent Van Gogh and Piet Mondrian
  • Flemish Baroque in the 17th century.

The above are some of the good topics for an art essay.

Structure of an art essay

The art essay topics determine the kind of structure to build on. However, most have a standard art essay structure.

Sample of art essay outline

Introduction.

The Mona Lisa is one of the most known paintings in the world. This is the painting of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco Del Giocondo, believed to have been painted in the 16th century. It is the work of Leonardo da Vinci and it was purchased by King Francis I. The Mona Lisa is currently under the ownership of the French government.

Thesis statement

The Mona Lisa has had a great impact towards the contribution of art in France:

(i)    It is one of the most famous paintings in the world. The Mona Lisa is the painting that everyone wants to see. It is so precious that only a copy of it is actually showcased in the museum.

(ii)    It has led to the growth of art. The Mona Lisa has inspired artists all over France. There has been a rise of many artists including Camille Pissarro, a painter, and Etienne-Jules Marey, a photographer.

It is clear that the Mona Lisa is the soft spot in France. The French take pride in it and have used it to improve their lives. Besides its contribution to art, it has also placed France among the leading countries that celebrate art. This has therefore created a culture of being drawn to art and it is reflected in their way of life.

The above is a sample of outline for an art essay.

art essay tips

Arts essay tips on writing the introduction

An art essay introduction identifies the art and the artist. Art is diverse, as it could be sculptures, architecture, performing arts or paintings in it. This is where you state why you chose that topic.  It also contains a history of the said art and brief details, like who the artist is, the year, the location, etc.

The introduction for an art essay states the thesis. It may be a general statement about the art or a specific aspect of it.

Tips on thesis writing

The thesis statement should be simple and easy to write about. Too complex statements tend to be confusing.

  • Pick a statement that is closer to your understanding.
  • Ensure it is as simple as possible.
  • To avoid irrelevancy, one can have an art essay draft that they can build on.

Tips on the body (transitions, paragraphs, and length)

This is the main part of the essay where you derive analysis based on your point of view.  Describe why the art is so appealing to you. Ensure that your defense covers an angle that has not already been covered for uniqueness. For example, one can focus only on the strokes of a portrait. However, ensure that what you describe is relevant to the thesis of your art essay topics.

The essay should not be too long. The sentence construction should also be well done. For this reason, it is advisable to have your points arranged into paragraphs. Ensure that each paragraph is independent and speaks volumes. This ensures that the art essay hooks the reader.

The transition from one paragraph to the next should also be smooth. Using cliché transitions makes the essay boring; therefore, you need to be creative.

Tips on conclusion writing

In an art essay conclusion, one needs to state their opinion. What you think the artists` feelings were and why they decided to paint it the way they did. At this point, you can state the events that contributed to the artist coming up with that art. The conclusion for an art essay requires a lot of research into the background of both the art and the artist(s). For this reason, the references and sources of the information should be cited.

Advice for writers

In art essay writing it is important to first do your research. Art is so diverse and this can be sometimes confusing. The topic to write on should be related to your interests, for example, as a musician, you would find it easier to write about performing arts and music. Besides this, do not plagiarize any work done. Cite and state all sources, making sure that you observe all rules of patent and copyrights.

For you to be a good writer, these art essay tips will be very helpful.  The best writer is the one who admits to being in a need of help. The art essay writing guide can also be used to find more about art essay writing steps. Different sources could give different art essay outlines so you need to be careful.

Finalizing the essay

After writing the art essay, it is important to have a clean essay. This calls for proofreading and editing. Proofreading ensures that you do not have any grammatical errors, the art essay outlining is as required, your sentence construction is good and the language used is the required one. Some sites offer art essay writing guide for use when one gets stuck.  Proofreading also ensures that the art essay structure is followed. After this is done, ensure that the format used is correct whether APA, MLA or Chicago.

write essay about art

165 Artists Essay Topics & Examples

In case you’re writing about contemporary artists or art history, we have a whole lot of interesting ideas for you! Our experts have collected visual art essay topics and examples right below.

🏆 Best Art Essay Topics & Examples

⭐ interesting art topics to write about, 📑 good research topics about art, 📌 simple visual art essay topics, 👍 good artists & art essay topics, ❓ art essay questions.

  • Artist’s Role in Society: Cultures, Traditions, Ideas, and Moral Responsibilities These artists support the best national ideas and traditions in order to make every society successful. Artists can “encourage their followers to support the best activities and decisions in the society”.
  • Art and Society: Goals and Duties of Artists Therefore, it can be asserted that one of the roles of art is to preserve the cultural trait and heritage of a community or society. This is both to the user of the artistic material […]
  • Revolutionary Art in America: Society and Artists This paper will highlight the purpose of revolutionary art in the society and at the same time discuss how revolutionary art has affected art and artists in America.
  • The Challenges Emerging Artists Are Facing in Emerging Art Scenes The Flemish art period between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries involved significant and dynamic events in the historical mark in the field of artistry.
  • Responsibility of Artists to Address Social Problems in Their Work In light of the significant power that art and by extension artists hold, there arises the question of whether artists have a responsibility to address social problems through their works.
  • “The Eco Artists Turning Trash Into Treasure” by Webster It is interesting to see how artists can convey the message and bring awareness to the environmental impact of the modern human lifestyle, which generates large amounts of waste and pollution.
  • How and Why Do Advertisers Use Specific Works of Art or Artists to Sell Their Products? The role of the art in the adverts is to give an image to the company and its products. In all the artistic values, the most comprehensive is space as it is a combination of […]
  • Leonardo da Vinci – Artist, Scientist, Inventor The painting “The Amo Valley” also portrayed some of the best artistic styles. This talent made it easier for Leonardo da Vinci to produce the best paintings.
  • Photography: An Artist Statement In the first image, I arranged the details in the composition to guide the observer through the place I captured by the camera. With the help of the play of the light and shadow, I […]
  • Early Childhood Memories Impact on Artists’ Journey The reason for childhood memories to have such profound importance for the development of one’s artistic style and attributes can be explained by the acquisition of the executive function that occurs during early childhood.
  • Art History: A Close Study of a Chinese Artist Cai Guo-Qiang His unique skills in artwork have led to the advancement of his signature in most events. His inspiration has ensured that he remains in the limelight in most of his solo works.
  • The Job of the Artist Is to Always Deepen the Mystery Among a variety of definitions of art, it is possible to say that it is one of the forms of education, and artists become the best educators who use their skills and experience.
  • Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock: The Revolutionary Modern Artists The essay addresses the contribution of these famous artists to their particular art movements and in general, the world of art.
  • Social Media and Female Artist Representation Such a project has been facilitated by the emergence of new media, characterized by the emergence of both the internet and social media.
  • Principles of Design in Female Artists’ Works Displayed in the Louvre In Peace Bringing Back Abundance, the level of precision while showing the figures is less intense than in the other painting, which creates a sense of lightness and sanctity.
  • Optical Illusion: Technique to Artist and Designer The main aim of this paper is to reveal how optical illusion fascinates and deceives as influenced by art and design spearheaded by artists and designers of the modern day.
  • The Rise of Virtuoso Artists in the 18th Century While it is true that ornamentation played a very important role in the early baroque music performance and that it was instrumental to the early sociento style of music, there is no denying fact that […]
  • Women Writers and Artists About Social Problems The uniqueness of Mary Cassatt’s style is that she depicts the natural desires and values of women, women, and their hopes.
  • Great Women Artists in the World History The first overreaching cause of the absence of great female artist throughout history was the subjugated position of women as a gender in the majority of societies.
  • Modernist Art: Pablo Picasso and Umberto Boccioni Early 20th-century European culture, which was characterized by a growing interest in the avant-garde and a rejection of conventional art forms, fostered the success of both artists, due to the fact that their experimentation and […]
  • Jiro Takamatsu, a Japanese Artist In “The Temperature of the Sculpture,” Takamatsu may have used the materials and tools available to him to express this change in Japanese society.
  • The Determinants of Self-Employment for Artists Working in the free art market has advantages: diversity is encouraged, and the artist is not limited to just painting and sketching.
  • The Discussion of Women Artists For the situation to change, it is important to talk more about artists the heroines of the past, their contemporaries, and their heritage.
  • Salvador Dali: Artist in the Area of Surrealism Art Salvador Dali was among the most prominent artists in the area of surrealism art. It “balances a rational vision of life with one that asserts the power of the unconscious and dreams”.
  • Artists Peter Paul Rubens and Katharina Grosse Exemplified by the works of Peter Paul Rubens and Katharina Grosse, artworks have transitioned from the Flemish Baroque to the Gagosian style, where an artist enjoys the interplay of architecture, sculpture, and painting.
  • Primavera 2021: Young Australian Artists Exhibition It identifies itself with the goals of the Aboriginal population of the country and engages in activities to support their cultural heritage. The institution is also on the frontline to showcase a number of activities […]
  • Ron English: The Famous Graffiti Artist This paper explores and analyses the aspects of graffiti – a form of painting and the work of one of the most famous and talented graffiti artists.
  • The Appearance of an Artist The musician’s wardrobe also influences the perception of performance, and it is important for performers not only of popular music, but also of classical music.
  • Ai Weiwei as a Contemporary Art Artist The meaning of human rights and the destiny of the Chinese people are of primary significance for the artist, so many of his works reflect the issues that Weiwei recognizes and wants to eliminate.
  • Jean Michel Basquiat and Zainul Abedin as Outstanding Artists The artist’s imagination gives the paintings a magical realism that reflects the actual situations in the world and the spirit of the time the master lived.
  • Paul Benny’s Work: Artist Presentation Paul Benney’s artwork mainly deals with painting of people’s portraits. The themes of his work touch on issues embraced daily.
  • An Analysis of Two Works by Digital Artists: Smith and Cutts This artwork is summoned to stress the peaceful nature of the protests and to show the inadequate response on the part of the authorities.
  • David Hockney: The Pop Artist and His Works The “Day Pool with 3 Blues” is a picture of extreme simplicity, and it is necessary to mention, that the advantage of this particular canvass is the feelings, that arise when the picture is viewed.
  • An Artist-Entrepreneur’s Lean Startup Therefore, in the case of Sikander, the first key factor in ensuring the success of her project’s business model is having a stable customer base.
  • DaWangGang Artist: Exploring Music Interculturalism This paper discusses the role and the place of the Chinese musical band Dawanggang in the world that is still defined by the tension between the Occident and Orient.
  • The Legacy of Artemisia Gentileschi: One of the Greatest Female Artists of the 16th-17th Centuries During her active years, Gentileschi had to face a great deal of adversity and social resistance, which was not unusual for driven and ambitious women of her era.
  • “The Smoking Plant” Project: Artist Statement It is the case when the art is used to pass the important message to the observer. The live cigarette may symbolize the smokers while the plant is used to denote those who do not […]
  • Romanticism. Artists Associated With the Movement Art dealt mostly with issues of motive and realism while other forms of art dealt with the darkness of the community on one hand and its magnificence on the other.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci – The Greatest Artist of Renaissance In the modern day, Leonardo da Vinci is considered by many to be the greatest artist and possibly even the greatest person of all time. The greatness of Leonardo is evidenced by the description of […]
  • Juan Luis Guerra a Dominican Artist Also, he is predominantly linked with the popular Dominican music genre known as bachata, though partly true, he exploits the elementals of bachata tempo with elements of bolero in his works. The impact of his […]
  • Artist Willem de Kooning and Critic Harold Rosenberg the Language and Concepts The kind of art the artists in this movement did put America on the international stage and dimmed the light for Paris, which had been the center of art in the world.
  • Marcelle Ferron and Celine Dion: Canadian Artists Moreso she learnt to be strong and fought for the rights of women and was straight forward in her approaches about life.
  • Crossover Artists in the 1970s However, if analyze the peculiarities of each style, it is quite easy to find out the difference and be amazed of how rich and wonderful the world of music is.
  • Colonialism in the Work of Some Artists In the second half of the past century, the American art world shattered the traditional views on the tradition to passively depict the objects.
  • The Usefulness of Social Art History: Artists and Periods in History In trying to understand the role or relevance of social art in art and design analysis, a particular artist that has been the subject of this debate was Andy Warhol.
  • Artist-Promotion Relation: Commercialization and Art Through Orlean’s article, the artist-promotion relation, in addition to being a commercially successful marketing move, it could be sensed that the author views this relationship as a step of closing the gap between the art […]
  • Origin and History of Salsa Music, Greatest Artists It is important to note that the youth loves and have interest in music than adults and this is why salsa was heavily affected.
  • Tetsumi Kudo Artist and His Artwork “Your Portrait” Artists express their feelings and emotions, their points of view on different events in the past, their views of the future with the help of art.
  • Andy Warhol: An American Pop-Artist In the process of describing the creative process of Andy Warhol it is evident how closely the word ‘Genius’ is intertwined with their creativity.
  • European Baroque: Artists, Features, Ideas The style of Baroque was spread all over the European continent in different expressions of art from 1590 and until the beginning of the eighteenth century. Many outstanding artists are representing the style and epoch […]
  • Angony Rising: Melbourne Native Artist His art is popular because of the way that he is able to reveal his experience through the bold figures and forms of primitive art.
  • Analysis of Creative Process of Notable Artists In addition, Parody was a fundamental constituent of Bach’s creative process, and the Lutheran Masses are excellent illustrations of that process.
  • Canadian Artists: Emily Carr and Jack Bush My opponents may argue that this is a way of self-expression but in this case, the expressive means are very limited and narrow.
  • Studies in Contemporary Art and Artists The paper is claimed to review some of the most known contemporary artists, and define the particularities, that may be regarded as mnemonic traces of their arts.
  • The Origins of Poetry of Famous Americans Artists Realizing this is the origin of his own poems, Whitman may have extrapolated this concept to all poets in the above statement, suggesting that the origin of all poems is in the lives of the […]
  • Artist Bibliography on Elizabeth Catlett Although she went to the university to study printing she has stated in her earlier interviews that she changed to painting because of the influence of James A Porter.
  • Illustrators Artists and Designers They have indeed been a great influence in my interest to art and design and have greatly contributed to the economic growth, political and social enhancement of their nations.
  • Tracey Moffatt: Australian Artist Her photography masterpieces are permanently included in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
  • Langston Hughes: Artist Impact Analysis Once this is allowed to happen, Hughes is sure that the brilliance, creativity and spirit of his people will be recognized for the beautiful substance it has as will the contributions the black race has […]
  • Frida: The Biography of The Legendary Mexican Artist The plot revolves around two prominent events in Frida’s life – the trolley car accident in 1929 that breaks her back and dooms her to a life of excruciating pain, and her marriage to Diego […]
  • Jenny Holzer as a Contemporary Artist Although she lives and works in New York, her work is known throughout the country for its biting reflections on political issues of the day, coupled with her blatant attempt to involve the average consumer […]
  • Artists’ Legal Advice Services Definition ALAS has shown to foster collaboration with artists through holding events during which artists share their experiences and ask for the advice of the organization’s team.
  • Gustave Courbet: Revolutionary Artist of Romanticism While the clergy is visible from the background of the work, the decision by the painter to focus on the dog in the foreground was even more appalling.
  • Artists in Jazz Music and Dance Development The core areas in this study will include; the presentation, the ensemble, the musical instruments, and the memories of the events.
  • Artist as a Genius: Johann Sebastian Bach Bach’s talent was evident from his mastery of the organ and the violin, as well as the great pieces that he composed.
  • Collaborating With Artists in the Luxury Brand Industry As the conventional approaches to product development fail to support the concept of exclusivity in the present-day environment, the collaboration of luxury brands with artists comes to the rescue of the very essence of luxury […]
  • Robert Smithson: Extraordinary Artist The works on the website made me realize that Smithson was a person who paid much attention to the environment and the way it influences and is influenced by the population of the Earth.
  • Contemporary Female Artists in Turkey The secrecy associated with Islam and gender roles in some parts of Asia has further compounded this mystery because few people know what to make of the place of women in traditional Islamic societies and […]
  • Decoloniality in Art and Artist as Ethnographer The review is divided into three main sections including the identification of the main arguments and the explanation of their worth, the evaluation of the supportive material and the clarification of methodological framework, and, finally, […]
  • Arabic Calligraphy and Contemporary Artists Arabic calligraphy is a form of art involving the use of the Arabic language and alphabet. In the old town of Jeddah, for instance, artists have blended Arabic calligraphy with graffiti to create calligraffiti.
  • Pollaiuolo vs. Titian: Two Renaissance Artists Comparison For instance, in the fourteen century and at the beginning of the fifteenth century, “the profile form of a portrait head, largely inspired by antique coins,” was widespread.
  • Robert Wilson: Artist and His Beliefs It is possible to say that by examining these qualities, one can better appreciate the achievements of Robert Wilson. This is one of the challenges Robert Wilson is ready to face.
  • Artist Marcel Duchamp and His Works Duchamp claimed that the main purpose of art was intellectual satisfaction; he shared that he was tired from the expression “stupid as a painter,” and that attitude had to be changed.
  • Edward Ruscha, an American Artist Ruscha was born in 1937 in Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, and is currently based in Culver City, California. In 1969, Ruscha also worked as a guest professor of art at the University of […]
  • Gibran Khalil Gibran-Lebanon Writer and Artist Gibran’s mother settled in Boston together with a young Gibran, his two younger sisters, and his half brother. Holland was a member of the European avant-garde-movement and he acted as a tutor and mentor to […]
  • Pre-Raphaelite Artists The Pre-Raphaelites artists opted to go back to the aspects of art that involved copious details, complex compositions of Italian and Flemish art, in addition to the use of intense colors.
  • A.A. Bronson’s Through the Looking Glass: His Personal Identity as a Canadian Artist Thus, his work Through the Looking Glass is the one of the best works that reflect the author’s vision of reality and the one that reflects the author’s sense of Canadian identity.
  • Living as a Non-Speaking English Artist in English Speaking Country The efficient performance of a non-English speaking artist as well as his or her participation in the growth of the economy of a host English speaking nation is to a larger extent, influenced by cultural […]
  • Popular Street Artists In an effort to discredit the Bank of England, Banksy satirically replaced the words ‘Bank of England’ with ‘Banksy of England.’ During the Notting Hill Carnival, a certain individual dished out the fake money to […]
  • A Written Analysis of Other Artists’ Works The composition of the painting The composition of the picture seems to be of a particular importance, as numerous elements of the painting, including texture, forms, lines, etc.show the depth or perspective of the author’s […]
  • The Life of an Artist: “Just Kids” by Patti Smith Patti never thought of disclosing to anybody the change that had occurred in her relationship with Robert but she discovered that it was important for her to find something different.
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce The most unique aspect of the book is the author’s innovative use of sense to describe the thoughts and feelings of the character.
  • Melancholy Caused by Fasting: An Artist in the Modernist Period In the personality of the hunger artist, we may notice the generalized character of a modernist artist, and in the actions of fasting, we may recognize the characteristics of modernism as an epoch in history […]
  • Post-Colonial and Contemporary British Muslim Artists The art presented by these Muslims bears the attitude portrayed by the British society towards them and the Islamic religion as a whole and the artists’ own views on Islam.
  • How Director is Able to Yield Higher Productivity of the Artists? Through the above analysis it could be said that through effective thought-process, observation and thorough planning, a director is able to yield higher productivity of the directors.
  • Arts and Artists Being Affected by Today’s Realities Arts and artists have inevitably been affected and influenced by advancement in technologies, changes in global communication, and an accelerated tempo of globalization in various ways.
  • The Artist’s State of Mind: Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” The painting also has a tree that also stretches to the sky; it is the tallest feature in the village. The choice of color in the painting is also an indication of the painter’s mood.
  • Fu Baoshi as One of the Most Famous Chinese Artists Fu Baoshi is one of the most famous Chinese artists who contributed greatly into the development of the national art. One of his works reveals aspirations of Chinese people who lived in the middle of […]
  • Artists in Exile: How Refugees From Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts, by Joseph Horowitz Knowledge of the type of music in that era is will help in the understanding of the book especially the German way of expressing inner motion.
  • One Holy Image By Two Great Artists One of the most important themes in the western art is religion, and one of the most inspiring images for may be each of the greatest artists has been the Virgin Mary.
  • The Contemporary Artists and Their Contributions Since childhood, she admired the work of Mexican and Southwest artists and this drove her to apply their employment of warm colors in her individual paintings.
  • The Role of an Artist: Anne Deavere Smith and Tod Hackett In comparison to one literary character, Tod Hackett from The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West, Anna Deavere Smith does not want to lose her mind and be guided by the current events; she […]
  • Artist Report: Antonio Puleo The postures of the children during the photography add strength to the morality theme, which is a major focus in the whole documentary. The process of growing up and sexuality is one of the key […]
  • Chinese Art (Zhang Hongth: Studio Visit and Artist Talk) In a wide-ranging discussion, he touched on humor, the cathartic value of defacing the iconic image of a dictator, China’s imperiled environment, the dangers of political art in that country, and his feelings as a […]
  • Madness and Art: Is The Artist a Holy Madman? The members of the movement known as l’Art Brut, and others, drew a connection between art and madness, art and mysticism, and art and outsider status for whatever reason.
  • To What Extent Do Artists Using Collaborative Strategies Influence Society?
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Bibliography

IvyPanda . "165 Artists Essay Topics & Examples." February 22, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/artists-essay-topics/.

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How to analyze an artwork: a step-by-step guide

Last Updated on August 16, 2023

This article has been written for high school art students who are working upon a critical study of art, sketchbook annotation or an essay-based artist study. It contains a list of questions to guide students through the process of analyzing visual material of any kind, including drawing, painting, mixed media, graphic design, sculpture, printmaking, architecture, photography, textiles, fashion and so on (the word ‘artwork’ in this article is all-encompassing). The questions include a wide range of specialist art terms, prompting students to use subject-specific vocabulary in their responses. It combines advice from art analysis textbooks as well as from high school art teachers who have first-hand experience teaching these concepts to students.

COPYRIGHT NOTE: This material is available as a printable art analysis PDF handout . This may be used free of charge in a classroom situation. To share this material with others, please use the social media buttons at the bottom of this page. Copying, sharing, uploading or distributing this article (or the PDF) in any other way is not permitted.

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How to analyse a piece of art

Why do we study art?

Almost all high school art students carry out critical analysis of artist work, in conjunction with creating practical work. Looking critically at the work of others allows students to understand compositional devices and then explore these in their own art. This is one of the best ways for students to learn.

Instructors who assign formal analyses want you to look—and look carefully. Think of the object as a series of decisions that an artist made. Your job is to figure out and describe, explain, and interpret those decisions and why the artist may have made them. – The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 10

Art analysis tips

  • ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this’ without any further explanation or justification is not analysis . Personal opinions must be supported with explanation, evidence or justification.
  • ‘Analysis of artwork’ does not mean ‘description of artwork’ . To gain high marks, students must move beyond stating the obvious and add perceptive, personal insight. Students should demonstrate higher order thinking – the ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesize information and ideas. For example, if color has been used to create strong contrasts in certain areas of an artwork, students might follow this observation with a thoughtful assumption about why this is the case – perhaps a deliberate attempt by the artist to draw attention to a focal point, helping to convey thematic ideas.
Although description is an important part of a formal analysis, description is not enough on its own. You must introduce and contextualize your descriptions of the formal elements of the work so the reader understands how each element influences the work’s overall effect on the viewer.  – Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art 2
  • Cover a range of different visual elements and design principles . It is common for students to become experts at writing about one or two elements of composition, while neglecting everything else – for example, only focusing upon the use of color in every artwork studied. This results in a narrow, repetitive and incomplete analysis of the artwork. Students should ensure that they cover a wide range of art elements and design principles, as well as address context and meaning, where required. The questions below are designed to ensure that students cover a broad range of relevant topics within their analysis.
  • Write alongside the artwork discussed . In almost all cases, written analysis should be presented alongside the work discussed, so that it is clear which artwork comments refer to. This makes it easier for examiners to follow and evaluate the writing.
  • Support writing with visual analysis . It is almost always helpful for high school students to support written material with sketches, drawings and diagrams that help the student understand and analyse the piece of art. This might include composition sketches; diagrams showing the primary structure of an artwork; detailed enlargements of small sections; experiments imitating use of media or technique; or illustrations overlaid with arrows showing leading lines and so on. Visual investigation of this sort plays an important role in many artist studies.
Making sketches or drawings from works of art is the traditional, centuries-old way that artists have learned from each other. In doing this, you will engage with a work and an artist’s approach even if you previously knew nothing about it. If possible do this whenever you can, not from a postcard, the internet or a picture in a book, but from the actual work itself. This is useful because it forces you to look closely at the work and to consider elements you might not have noticed before. – Susie Hodge, How to Look at Art 7

Finally, when writing about art, students should communicate with clarity; demonstrate subject-specific knowledge; use correct terminology; generate personal responses; and reference all content and ideas sourced from others. This is explained in more detail in our article about high school sketchbooks .

What should students write about?

Although each aspect of composition is treated separately in the questions below, students should consider the relationship between visual elements (line, shape, form, value/tone, color/hue, texture/surface, space) and how these interact to form design principles (such as unity, variety, emphasis, dominance, balance, symmetry, harmony, movement, contrast, rhythm, pattern, scale, proportion) to communicate meaning.

As complex as works of art typically are, there are really only three general categories of statements one can make about them. A statement addresses form, content or context (or their various interrelations). – Dr. Robert J. Belton, Art History: A Preliminary Handbook, The University of British Columbia 5
…a formal analysis – the result of looking closely – is an analysis of the form that the artist produces; that is, an analysis of the work of art, which is made up of such things as line, shape, color, texture, mass, composition. These things give the stone or canvas its form, its expression, its content, its meaning. – Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art 2

This video by Dr. Beth Harris, Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Naraelle Hohensee provides an excellent example of how to analyse a piece of art (it is important to note that this video is an example of ‘formal analysis’ and doesn’t include contextual analysis, which is also required by many high school art examination boards, in addition to the formal analysis illustrated here):

Composition analysis: a list of questions

The questions below are designed to facilitate direct engagement with an artwork and to encourage a breadth and depth of understanding of the artwork studied. They are intended to prompt higher order thinking and to help students arrive at well-reasoned analysis.

It is not expected that students answer every question (doing so would result in responses that are excessively long, repetitious or formulaic); rather, students should focus upon areas that are most helpful and relevant for the artwork studied (for example, some questions are appropriate for analyzing a painting, but not a sculpture). The words provided as examples are intended to help students think about appropriate vocabulary to use when discussing a particular topic. Definitions of more complex words have been provided.

Students should not attempt to copy out questions and then answer them; rather the questions should be considered a starting point for writing bullet pointed annotation or sentences in paragraph form.

How to write art analysis

CONTENT, CONTEXT AND MEANING

Subject matter / themes / issues / narratives / stories / ideas.

There can be different, competing, and contradictory interpretations of the same artwork. An artwork is not necessarily about what the artist wanted it to be about. – Terry Barrett, Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary 6
Our interest in the painting grows only when we forget its title and take an interest in the things that it does not mention…” – Françoise Barbe-Gall, How to Look at a Painting 8
  • Does the artwork fall within an established genre (i.e. historical; mythical; religious; portraiture; landscape; still life; fantasy; architectural)?
  • Are there any recognisable objects, places or scenes ? How are these presented (i.e. idealized; realistic; indistinct; hidden; distorted; exaggerated; stylized; reflected; reduced to simplified/minimalist form; primitive; abstracted; concealed; suggested; blurred or focused)?
  • Have people been included? What can we tell about them (i.e. identity; age; attire; profession; cultural connections; health; family relationships; wealth; mood/expression)? What can we learn from their pose (i.e. frontal; profile; partly turned; body language)? Where are they looking (i.e. direct eye contact with viewer; downcast; interested in other subjects within the artwork)? Can we work out relationships between figures from the way they are posed?
What do the clothing, furnishings, accessories (horses, swords, dogs, clocks, business ledgers and so forth), background, angle of the head or posture of the head and body, direction of the gaze, and facial expression contribute to our sense of the figure’s social identity (monarch, clergyman, trophy wife) and personality (intense, cool, inviting)? – Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art 2
  • What props and important details are included (drapery; costumes; adornment; architectural elements; emblems; logos; motifs)? How do aspects of setting support the primary subject? What is the effect of including these items within the arrangement (visual unity; connections between different parts of the artwork; directs attention; surprise; variety and visual interest; separates / divides / borders; transformation from one object to another; unexpected juxtaposition)?
If a waiter served you a whole fish and a scoop of chocolate ice cream on the same plate, your surprise might be caused by the juxtaposition , or the side-by-side contrast, of the two foods. – Vocabulary.com
A motif is an element in a composition or design that can be used repeatedly for decorative, structural, or iconographic purposes. A motif can be representational or abstract, and it can be endowed with symbolic meaning. Motifs can be repeated in multiple artworks and often recur throughout the life’s work of an individual artist. – John A. Parks, Universal Principles of Art 11
  • Does the artwork communicate an action, narrative or story (i.e. historical event or illustrate a scene from a story)? Has the arrangement been embellished, set up or contrived?
  • Does the artwork explore movement ? Do you gain a sense that parts of the artwork are about to change, topple or fall (i.e. tension; suspense)? Does the artwork capture objects in motion (i.e. multiple or sequential images; blurred edges; scene frozen mid-action; live performance art; video art; kinetic art)?
  • What kind of abstract elements are shown (i.e. bars; shapes; splashes; lines)? Have these been derived from or inspired by realistic forms? Are they the result of spontaneous, accidental creation or careful, deliberate arrangement?
  • Does the work include the appropriation of work by other artists, such as within a parody or pop art? What effect does this have (i.e. copyright concerns)?
Parody: mimicking the appearance and/or manner of something or someone, but with a twist for comic effect or critical comment, as in Saturday Night Live’s political satires – Dr. Robert J. Belton, Art History: A Preliminary Handbook, The University of British Columbia 5
  • Does the subject captivate an instinctual response , such as items that are informative, shocking or threatening for humans (i.e. dangerous places; abnormally positioned items; human faces; the gaze of people; motion; text)? Heap map tracking has demonstrated that these elements catch our attention, regardless of where they are positioned –  James Gurney writes more about this fascinating topic .
  • What kind of text has been used (i.e. font size; font weight; font family; stenciled; hand-drawn; computer-generated; printed)? What has influenced this choice of text?
  • Do key objects or images have symbolic value or provide a cue to meaning ? How does the artwork convey deeper, conceptual themes (i.e. allegory; iconographic elements; signs; metaphor; irony)?
Allegory is a device whereby abstract ideas can be communicated using images of the concrete world. Elements, whether figures or objects, in a painting or sculpture are endowed with symbolic meaning. Their relationships and interactions combine to create more complex meanings. – John A. Parks, Universal Principles of Art 11
An iconography is a particular range or system of types of image used by an artist or artists to convey particular meanings. For example in Christian religious painting there is an iconography of images such as the lamb which represents Christ, or the dove which represents the Holy Spirit. – Tate.org.uk
  • What tone of voice does the artwork have (i.e. deliberate; honest; autobiographical; obvious; direct; unflinching; confronting; subtle; ambiguous; uncertain; satirical; propagandistic)?
  • What is your emotional response to the artwork? What is the overall mood (i.e positive; energetic; excitement; serious; sedate; peaceful; calm; melancholic; tense; uneasy; uplifting; foreboding; calm; turbulent)? Which subject matter choices help to communicate this mood (i.e. weather and lighting conditions; color of objects and scenes)?
  • Does the title change the way you interpret the work?
  • Were there any design constraints relating to the subject matter or theme/s (i.e. a sculpture commissioned to represent a specific subject, place or idea)?
  • Are there thematic connections with your own project? What can you learn from the way the artist has approached this subject?

Wider contexts

All art is in part about the world in which it emerged. – Terry Barrett, Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary 6
  • Supported by research, can you identify when, where and why the work was created and its original intention or purpose (i.e. private sale; commissioned for a specific owner; commemorative; educational; promotional; illustrative; decorative; confrontational; useful or practical utility; communication; created in response to a design brief; private viewing; public viewing)? In what way has this background influenced the outcome (i.e. availability of tools, materials or time; expectations of the patron / audience)?
  • Where is the place of construction or design site and how does this influence the artwork (i.e. reflects local traditions, craftsmanship, or customs; complements surrounding designs; designed to accommodate weather conditions / climate; built on historic site)? Was the artwork originally located somewhere different?
  • Which events and surrounding environments have influenced this work (i.e. natural events; social movements such as feminism; political events, economic situations, historic events, religious settings, cultural events)? What effect did these have?
  • Is the work characteristic of an artistic style, movement or time period ? Has it been influenced by trends, fashions or ideologies ? How can you tell?
  • Can you make any relevant connections or comparisons with other artworks ? Have other artists explored a similar subject in a similar way? Did this occur before or after this artwork was created?
  • Can you make any relevant connections to other fields of study or expression (i.e. geography, mathematics, literature, film, music, history or science)?
  • Which key biographical details about the artist are relevant in understanding this artwork (upbringing and personal situation; family and relationships; psychological state; health and fitness; socioeconomic status; employment; ethnicity; culture; gender; education, religion; interests, attitudes, values and beliefs)?
  • Is this artwork part of a larger body of work ? Is this typical of the work the artist is known for?
  • How might your own upbringing, beliefs and biases distort your interpretation of the artwork? Does your own response differ from the public response, that of the original audience and/or  interpretation by critics ?
  • How do these wider contexts compare to the contexts surrounding your own work?

COMPOSITION AND FORMAT

  • What is the overall size, shape and orientation of the artwork (i.e. vertical, horizontal, portrait, landscape or square)? Has this format been influenced by practical considerations (i.e. availability of materials; display constraints ; design brief restrictions; screen sizes; common aspect ratios in film or photography such as 4:3 or 2:3; or paper sizes such as A4, A3, A2, A1)?
  • How do images fit within the frame (cropped; truncated; shown in full)? Why is this format appropriate for the subject matter?
  • Are different parts of the artwork physically separate, such as within a diptych or triptych ?
  • Where are the boundaries of the artwork (i.e. is the artwork self-contained; compact; intersecting; sprawling)?
  • Is the artwork site-specific or designed to be displayed across multiple locations or environments?
  • Does the artwork have a fixed, permanent format, or was it  modified, moved or adjusted over time ? What causes such changes (i.e. weather and exposure to the elements – melting, erosion, discoloration, decaying, wind movement, surface abrasion; structural failure – cracking, breaking; damage caused by unpredictable events, such as fire or vandalism; intentional movement, such as rotation or sensor response; intentional impermanence, such as an installation assembled for an exhibition and removed afterwards; viewer interaction; additions, renovations and restoration by subsequent artists or users; a project so expansive it takes years to construct)? How does this change affect the artwork? Are there stylistic variances between parts?
  • Is the artwork viewed from one angle or position, or are dynamic viewpoints and serial vision involved? (Read more about Gordon Cullen’s concept of serial vision here ).
  • How does the scale and format of the artwork relate to the environment where it is positioned, used, installed or hung (i.e. harmonious with landscape typography; sensitive to adjacent structures; imposing or dwarfed by surroundings; human scale)? Is the artwork designed to be viewed from one vantage point (i.e. front facing; viewed from below; approached from a main entrance; set at human eye level) or many? Are images taken from the best angle?
  • Would a similar format benefit your own project? Why / why not?

Structure / layout

  • Has the artwork been organised using a formal system of arrangement or mathematical proportion (i.e. rule of thirds; golden ratio or spiral; grid format; geometric; dominant triangle; or circular composition) or is the arrangement less predictable (i.e. chaotic, random, accidental, fragmented, meandering, scattered; irregular or spontaneous)? How does this system of arrangement help with the communication of ideas? Can you draw a diagram to show the basic structure of the artwork?
  • Can you see a clear intention with alignment and positioning of parts within the artwork (i.e. edges aligned; items spaced equally; simple or complex arrangement; overlapping, clustered or concentrated objects; dispersed, separate items; repetition of forms; items extending beyond the frame; frames within frames; bordered perimeter or patterned edging; broken borders)? What effect do these visual devices have (i.e. imply hierarchy; help the viewer understand relationships between parts of artwork; create rhythm)?
  • Does the artwork have a primary axis of symmetry (vertical, diagonal, horizontal)? Can you locate a center of balance? Is the artwork symmetrical, asymmetrical (i.e. stable), radial, or intentionally unbalanced (i.e. to create tension or unease)?
  • Can you draw a diagram to illustrate emphasis and dominance (i.e. ‘blocking in’ mass, where the ‘heavier’ dominant forms appear in the composition)? Where are dominant items located within the frame?
  • How do your eyes move through the composition?
  • Could your own artwork use a similar organisational structure?
  • What types of linear mark-making are shown (thick; thin; short; long; soft; bold; delicate; feathery; indistinct; faint; irregular; intermittent; freehand; ruled; mechanical; expressive; loose; blurred; dashing; cross-hatching; meandering; gestural, fluid; flowing; jagged; spiky; sharp)? What atmosphere, moods, emotions or ideas do these evoke?
  • Are there any interrupted, suggested or implied lines (i.e. lines that can’t literally be seen, but the viewer’s brain connects the dots between separate elements)?
  • Repeating lines : may simulate material qualities, texture, pattern or rhythm;
  • Boundary lines : may segment, divide or separate different areas;
  • Leading lines : may manipulate the viewer’s gaze, directing vision or lead the eye to focal points ( eye tracking studies indicate that our eyes leap from one point of interest to another, rather than move smoothly or predictably along leading lines 9 . Lines may nonetheless help to establish emphasis by ‘pointing’ towards certain items );
  • Parallel lines : may create a sense of depth or movement through space within a landscape;
  • Horizontal lines : may create a sense of stability and permanence;
  • Vertical lines : may suggest height, reaching upwards or falling;
  • Intersecting perpendicular lines : may suggest rigidity, strength;
  • Abstract lines : may balance the composition, create contrast or emphasis;
  • Angular / diagonal lines : may suggest tension or unease;
  • Chaotic lines : may suggest a sense of agitation or panic;
  • Underdrawing, construction lines or contour lines : describe form ( learn more about contour lines in our article about line drawing );
  • Curving / organic lines : may suggest nature, peace, movement or energy.
  • What is the relationship between line and three-dimensional form? Are  outlines used to define form and edges?
  • Would it be appropriate to use line in a similar way within your own artwork?

leading lines - composition

Shape and form

  • Can you identify a dominant visual language within the shapes and forms shown (i.e. geometric; angular; rectilinear; curvilinear; organic; natural; fragmented; distorted; free-flowing; varied; irregular; complex; minimal)? Why is this visual language appropriate?
  • How are the edges of forms treated (i.e. do they fade away or blur at the edges, as if melting into the page; ripped or torn; distinct and hard-edged; or, in the words of James Gurney, 9 do they ‘dissolve into sketchy lines, paint strokes or drips’)?
  • Are there any three-dimensional forms or relief elements within the artwork, such as carved pieces, protruding or sculptural elements? How does this affect the viewing of the work from different angles?
  • Is there a variety or repetition of shapes/forms? What effect does this have (i.e. repetition may reinforce ideas, balance composition and/or create harmony / visual unity; variety may create visual interest or overwhelm the viewer with chaos)?
  • How are shapes organised in relation to each other, or with the frame of the artwork (i.e. grouped; overlapping; repeated; echoed; fused edges; touching at tangents; contrasts in scale or size; distracting or awkward junctions)?
  • Are silhouettes (external edges of objects) considered?
All shapes have silhouettes, and vision research has shown that one of the first tasks of perception is to be able to sort out the silhouette shapes of each of the elements in a scene. – James Gurney, Imaginative Realism 9
  • Are forms designed with ergonomics and human scale in mind?
Ergonomics: an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely – Merriam-webster.com
  • Can you identify which forms are functional or structural , versus ornamental or decorative ?
  • Have any forms been disassembled, ‘cut away’ or exposed , such as a sectional drawing? What is the purpose of this (i.e. to explain construction methods; communicate information; dramatic effect)?
  • Would it be appropriate to use shape and form in a similar way within your own artwork?

Value / tone / light

  • Has a wide tonal range been used in the artwork (i.e. a broad range of darks, highlights and mid-tones) or is the tonal range limited (i.e. pale and faint; subdued; dull; brooding and dark overall; strong highlights and shadows, with little mid-tone values)? What is the effect of this?
  • Where are the light sources within the artwork or scene? Is there a single consistent light source or multiple sources of light (sunshine; light bulbs; torches; lamps; luminous surfaces)? What is the effect of these choices (i.e. mimics natural lighting conditions at a certain time of day or night; figures lit from the side to clarify form; contrasting background or spot-lighting used to accentuate a focal area; soft and diffused lighting used to mute contrasts and minimize harsh shadows; dappled lighting to signal sunshine broken by surrounding leaves; chiaroscuro used to exaggerate theatrical drama and impact; areas cloaked in darkness to minimize visual complexity; to enhance our understanding of narrative, mood or meaning)?
One of the most important ways in which artists can use light to achieve particular effects is in making strong contrasts between light and dark. This contrast is often described as chiaroscuro . – Matthew Treherne, Analysing Paintings, University of Leeds 3
  • Are representations of three-dimensional objects and figures flat or tonally  modeled ? How do different tonal values change from one to the next (i.e. gentle, smooth gradations; abrupt tonal bands)?
  • Are there any unusual, reflective or transparent surfaces, mediums or materials which reflect or transmit light in a special way?
  • Has tone been used to help communicate atmospheric perspective (i.e. paler and bluer as objects get further away)?
  • Are gallery or environmental light sources where the artwork is displayed fixed or fluctuating? Does the work appear different when viewed at different times of day? How does this affect your interpretation of the work?
  • Are shadows depicted within the artwork? What is the effect of these shadows (i.e. anchors objects to the page; creates the illusion of depth and space; creates dramatic contrasts)?
  • Do sculptural protrusions or relief elements catch the light and/or create cast shadows or pockets of shadow upon the artwork? How does this influence the viewer’s experience?
  • How has tone been used to help direct the viewer’s attention to focal areas?
  • Would it be appropriate to use value / tone in a similar way within your own artwork? Why / why not?

Color / hue

  • Can you view the true color of the artwork (i.e. are you viewing a low-quality reproduction or examining the artwork in poor lighting)?
  • Which  color schemes have been used within the artwork (i.e. harmonious; complementary; primary; monochrome; earthy; warm; cool/cold)? Has the artist used a broad or limited color palette (i.e. variety or unity)? Which colors dominate?
  • How would you describe the intensity of the colors (vibrant; bright; vivid; glowing; pure; saturated; strong; dull; muted; pale; subdued; bleached; diluted)?
  • Are colors transparent or opaque ? Can you see reflected color?
  • Has color contrast been used within the artwork (i.e. extreme contrasts; juxtaposition of complementary colors; garish / clashing / jarring)? Are there any abrupt color changes or unexpected uses of color?
  • What is the effect of these color choices (i.e. expressing symbolic or thematic ideas; descriptive or realistic depiction of local color; emphasizing focal areas; creating the illusion of aerial perspective; relationships with colors in surrounding environment; creating balance; creating rhythm/pattern/repetition; unity and variety within the artwork; lack of color places emphasis upon shape, detail and form)? What kind of atmosphere do these colors create?
It is often said that warm colors (red, orange, yellow) come forward and produce a sense of excitement (yellow is said to suggest warmth and happiness, as in the smiley face), whereas cool colors (blue, green) recede and have a calming effect. Experiments, however, have proved inconclusive; the response to color – despite clichés about seeing red or feeling blue – is highly personal, highly cultural, highly varied. – Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art 2
  • Would it be appropriate to use color in a similar way within your own artwork?

Texture / surface / pattern

  • Are there any interesting textural, tactile or surface qualities within the artwork (i.e. bumpy; grooved; indented; scratched; stressed; rough; smooth; shiny; varnished; glassy; glossy; polished; matte; sandy; grainy; gritted; leathery; spiky; silky)? How are these created (i.e. inherent qualities of materials; impasto mediums; sculptural materials; illusions or implied texture , such as cross-hatching; finely detailed and intricate areas; organic patterns such as foliage or small stones; repeating patterns ; ornamentation)?
  • How are textural or patterned elements positioned and what effect does this have (i.e. used intermittently to provide variety; repeating pattern creates rhythm ; patterns broken create focal points ; textured areas create visual links and unity between separate areas of the artwork; balance between detailed/textured areas and simpler areas; glossy surface creates a sense of luxury; imitation of texture conveys information about a subject, i.e. softness of fur or strands of hair)?
  • Would it be appropriate to use texture / surface in a similar way within your own artwork?
Industrial and architectural landscapes are particularly concerned with the arrangement of geometries and form in space… Dr. Ben Guy, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment using CGI Digital Twins, Urban CGI 12
  • Is the pictorial space shallow or deep? How does the artwork create the illusion of depth (i.e. layering of foreground, middle-ground, background ; overlapping of objects; use of shadows to anchor objects; positioning of items in relationship to the horizon line; linear perspective ( learn more about one point perspective here ); tonal modeling; relationships with adjacent objects and those in close proximity – including the human form – to create a sense of scale ; spatial distortions or optical illusions; manipulating scale of objects to create ‘surrealist’ spaces where true scale is unknown)?
  • Has an unusual viewpoint been used (i.e. worm’s view; aerial view, looking out a window or through a doorway; a scene reflected in a mirror or shiny surface; looking through leaves; multiple viewpoints combined)? What is the effect of this viewpoint (i.e. allows certain parts of the scene to be dominant and overpowering or squashed, condensed and foreshortened ; or suggests a narrative between two separate spaces ; provides more information about a space than would normally be seen)?
  • Is the emphasis upon mass or void ? How densely arranged are components within the artwork or picture plane? What is the relationship between object and surrounding space (i.e. compact / crowded / busy / densely populated, with little surrounding space; spacious; careful interplay between positive and negative space; objects clustered to create areas of visual interest)? What is the effect of this (i.e. creates a sense of emptiness or isolation; business / visual clutter creates a feeling of chaos or claustrophobia)?
  • How does the artwork engage with real space – in and around the artwork (i.e. self-contained; closed off; eye contact with viewer; reaching outwards)? Is the viewer expected to move through the artwork? What is the relationship between interior and exterior space ? What connections or contrasts occur between inside and out? Is it comprised of a series of separate or linked spaces?
  • Would it be appropriate to use space in a similar way within your own artwork?

Use of media / materials

  • What materials and mediums has the artwork been constructed from? Have materials been concealed or presented deceptively (i.e. is there an authenticity / honesty of materials; are materials celebrated; is the structure visible or exposed )? Why were these mediums selected (weight; color; texture; size; strength; flexibility; pliability; fragility; ease of use; cost; cultural significance; durability; availability; accessibility)? Would other mediums have been appropriate?
  • Which skills, techniques, methods and processes were used (i.e. traditional; conventional; industrial; contemporary; innovative)? It is important to note that the examiners do not want the regurgitation of long, technical processes, but rather to see personal observations about how processes effect and influence the artwork in question. Would replicating part of the artwork help you gain a better understanding of the processes used?
  • Painting: gesso ground > textured mediums > underdrawing > blocking in colors > defining form > final details;
  • Architecture: brief > concepts > development > working drawings > foundations > structure > cladding > finishes;
  • Graphic design: brief > concepts > development > Photoshop > proofing > printing.
  • How does the use of media help the artist to communicate ideas?
  • Are these methods useful for your own project?

Finally, remember that these questions are a guide only and are intended to make you start to think critically about the art you are studying and creating.

How to analyse your own artwork

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this article you may also like our article about high school sketchbooks (which includes a section about sketchbook annotation). If you are looking for more assistance with how to write an art analysis essay you may like our series about writing an artist study .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[1] A guide for Analyzing Works of Art; Sculpture and Painting, Durantas

[2] A Short Guide to Writing About Art , Sylvan Barnet (2014) (Amazon affiliate link)

[3] Analysing Paintings , Matthew Treherne, University of Leeds

[4] Writing in Art and Art History , The University of Vermont

[5] Art History: A Preliminary Handbook , Dr. Robert J. Belton, The University of British Columbia (1996)

[6] Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary , Terry Barrett (2011) (Amazon affiliate link)

[7] How to Look at Art , Susie Hodge (2015) (Amazon affiliate link)

[8] How to Look at a Painting , Françoise Barbe-Gall (2011) (Amazon affiliate link)

[9] Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist James Gurney (2009) (Amazon affiliate link)

[10] Art History , The Writing Centre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

[11] Universal Principles of Art: 100 Key Concepts for Understanding, Analyzing and Practicing Art , John A. Parks (2014) (Amazon affiliate link)

[12] Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment using CGI Digital Twins , Dr. Ben Guy, Urban CGI (2023)

Amiria Gale

Amiria has been an Art & Design teacher and a Curriculum Co-ordinator for seven years, responsible for the course design and assessment of student work in two high-achieving Auckland schools. She has a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Amiria is a CIE Accredited Art & Design Coursework Assessor.

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High school sketchbooks publication

Anne Buckwalter tells us about her new edition

By Will Fenstermaker

June 14, 2017

The 10 Essays That Changed Art Criticism Forever

There has never been a time when art critics held more power than during the second half of the twentieth century. Following the Second World War, with the relocation of the world’s artistic epicenter from Paris to New York, a different kind of war was waged in the pages of magazines across the country. As part of the larger “culture wars” of the mid-century, art critics began to take on greater influence than they’d ever held before. For a time, two critics in particular—who began as friends, and remained in the same social circles for much of their lives—set the stakes of the debates surrounding the maturation of American art that would continue for decades. The ideas about art outlined by Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg are still debated today, and the extent to which they were debated in the past has shaped entire movements of the arts. Below are ten works of criticism through which one can trace the mainstreaming of Clement Greenberg’s formalist theory, and how its dismantling led us into institutional critique and conceptual art today.

The American Action Painters

Harold Rosenberg

One: Number 31

Harold Rosenberg, a poet who came to art through his involvement with the Artist’s Union and the WPA, was introduced to Jean-Paul Sartre as the “first American existentialist.” Soon, Rosenberg became a contributor to Sartre’s publication in France, for which he first drafted his influential essay. However, when Sartre supported Soviet aggression against Korea, Rosenberg brought his essay to Elaine de Kooning , then the editor of ARTnews , who ran “The American Action Painters” in December, 1952.

RELATED: What Did Harold Rosenberg Do? An Introduction to the Champion of “Action Painting”

Rosenberg’s essay on the emerging school of American Painters omitted particular names—because they’d have been unfamiliar to its original French audience—but it was nonetheless extraordinarily influential for the burgeoning scene of post-WWII American artists. Jackson Pollock claimed to be the influence of “action painting,” despite Rosenberg’s rumored lack of respect for the artist because Pollock wasn’t particularly well-read. Influenced by Marxist theory and French existentialism, Rosenberg conceives of a painting as an “arena,” in which the artist acts upon, wrestles, or otherwise engages with the canvas, in what ultimately amounts to an expressive record of a struggle. “What was to go on the canvas,” Rosenberg wrote, “was not a picture but an event.”

Notable Quote

Weak mysticism, the “Christian Science” side of the new movement, tends … toward easy painting—never so many unearned masterpieces! Works of this sort lack the dialectical tension of a genuine act, associated with risk and will. When a tube of paint is squeezed by the Absolute, the result can only be a Success. The painter need keep himself on hand solely to collect the benefits of an endless series of strokes of luck. His gesture completes itself without arousing either an opposing movement within itself nor the desire in the artist to make the act more fully his own. Satisfied with wonders that remain safely inside the canvas, the artist accepts the permanence of the commonplace and decorates it with his own daily annihilation. The result is an apocalyptic wallpaper.

‘American-Type’ Painting

Clement Greenberg

Frank Stella

Throughout the preceding decade, Clement Greenberg, also a former poet, had established a reputation as a leftist critic through his writings with The Partisan Review —a publication run by the John Reed Club, a New York City-centered organization affiliated with the American Communist Party—and his time as an art critic with The Nation . In 1955, The Partisan Review published Greenberg’s “‘American-Type’ Painting,” in which the critic defined the now-ubiquitous term “abstract expressionism.”

RELATED: What Did Clement Greenberg Do? A Primer on the Powerful AbEx Theorist’s Key Ideas

In contrast to Rosenberg’s conception of painting as a performative act, Greenberg’s theory, influenced by Clive Bell and T. S. Eliot, was essentially a formal one—in fact, it eventually evolved into what would be called “formalism.” Greenberg argued that the evolution of painting was one of historical determinacy—that ever since the Renaissance, pictures moved toward flatness, and the painted line moved away from representation. Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso were two of the landmarks of this view. Pollock, who exhibited his drip paintings in 1951, freeing the line from figuration, was for Greenberg the pinnacle of American Modernism, the most important artist since Picasso. (Pollock’s paintings exhibited in 1954, with which he returned to semi-representational form, were regarded by Greenberg as a regression. This lead him to adopt Barnett Newman as his new poster-boy, despite the artist’s possessing vastly different ideas on the nature of painting. For one, Greenberg mostly ignored the Biblical titles of Newman’s paintings.)

Greenberg’s formalist theories were immensely influential over the subsequent decades. Artforum in particular grew into a locus for formalist discourse, which had the early effect of providing an aesthetic toolkit divorced from politic. Certain curators of the Museum of Modern Art, particularly William Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and to an extent Alfred Barr are credited for steering the museum in an essentially formalist direction. Some painters, such as Frank Stella , Helen Frankenthaler , and Kenneth Noland, had even been accused of illustrating Greenberg’s theories (and those of Michael Fried, a prominent Greenbergian disciple) in attempt to embody the theory, which was restrictive in its failure to account for narrative content, figuration, identity, politics, and more. In addition, Greenberg’s theories proved well-suited for a burgeoning art market, which found connoisseurship an easy sell. (As the writer Mary McCarthy said, “You can’t hang an event on your wall.”) In fact, the dominance of the term “abstract expressionism” over “action painting,” which seemed more applicable to Pollock and Willem de Kooning than any other members of the New York School, is emblematic of the influence of formalist discourse.

The justification for the term, “abstract expressionist,” lies in the fact that most of the painters covered by it took their lead from German, Russian, or Jewish expressionism in breaking away from late Cubist abstract art. But they all started from French painting, for their fundamental sense of style from it, and still maintain some sort of continuity with it. Not least of all, they got from it their most vivid notion of an ambitious, major art, and of the general direction in which it had to go in their time.

Barbara Rose

Galvanized Iron

Like many critics in the 1950s and 60s, Barbara Rose had clearly staked her allegiance to one camp or the other. She was, firmly, a formalist, and along with Fried and Rosalind Krauss is largely credited with expanding the theory beyond abstract expressionist painting. By 1965, however, Rose recognized a limitation of the theory as outlined by Greenberg—that it was reductionist and only capable of account for a certain style of painting, and not much at all in other mediums.

RELATED: The Intellectual Origins Of Minimalism

In “ABC Art,” published in Art in America where Rose was a contributing editor, Rose opens up formalism to encompass sculpture, which Greenberg was largely unable to account for. The simple idea that art moves toward flatness and abstraction leads, for Rose, into Minimalism, and “ABC Art” is often considered the first landmark essay on Minimalist art. By linking the Minimalist sculptures of artists like Donald Judd to the Russian supremacist paintings of Kasimir Malevich and readymades of Duchamp, she extends the determinist history that formalism relies on into sculpture and movements beyond abstract expressionism.

I do not agree with critic Michael Fried’s view that Duchamp, at any rate, was a failed Cubist. Rather, the inevitability of a logical evolution toward a reductive art was obvious to them already. For Malevich, the poetic Slav, this realization forced a turning inward toward an inspirational mysticism, whereas for Duchamp, the rational Frenchman, it meant a fatigue so enervating that finally the wish to paint at all was killed. Both the yearnings of Malevich’s Slavic soul and the deductions of Duchamp’s rationalist mind led both men ultimately to reject and exclude from their work many of the most cherished premises of Western art in favor of an art stripped to its bare, irreducible minimum.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Philip Leider

Double Negative

Despite the rhetorical tendency to suggest the social upheaval of the '60s ended with the actual decade, 1970 remained a year of unrest. And Artforum was still the locus of formalist criticism, which was proving increasingly unable to account for art that contributed to larger cultural movements, like Civil Rights, women’s liberation, anti-war protests, and more. (Tellingly, The Partisan Review , which birthed formalism, had by then distanced itself from its communist associations and, as an editorial body, was supportive of American Interventionism in Vietnam. Greenberg was a vocal hawk.) Subtitled “Art and Politics in Nevada, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Utah,” the editor’s note to the September 1970 issue of Artforum , written by Philip Leider, ostensibly recounts a road trip undertaken with Richard Serra and Abbie Hoffman to see Michael Heizer’s Double Negative in the Nevada desert.

RELATED: A City of Art in the Desert: Behind Michael Heizer’s Monumental Visions for Nevada

However, the essay is also an account of an onsetting disillusion with formalism, which Leider found left him woefully unequipped to process the protests that had erupted surrounding an exhibition of prints by Paul Wunderlich at the Phoenix Gallery in Berkeley. Wunderlich’s depictions of nude women were shown concurrently to an exhibition of drawings sold to raise money for Vietnamese orphans. The juxtaposition of a canonical, patriarchal form of representation and liberal posturing, to which the protestors objected, showcased the limitations of a methodology that placed the aesthetic elements of a picture plane far above the actual world in which it existed. Less than a year later, Leider stepped down as editor-in-chief and Artforum began to lose its emphasis on late Modernism.

I thought the women were probably with me—if they were, I was with them. I thought the women were picketing the show because it was reactionary art. To the women, [Piet] Mondrian must be a great revolutionary artist. Abstract art broke all of those chains thirty years ago! What is a Movement gallery showing dumb stuff like this for? But if it were just a matter of reactionary art , why would the women picket it? Why not? Women care as much about art as men do—maybe more. The question is, why weren’t the men right there with them?

Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

Linda Nochlin

Linda Nochlin

While Artforum , in its early history, had established a reputation as a generator for formalist theory, ARTnews had followed a decidedly more Rosenberg-ian course, emphasizing art as a practice for investigating the world. The January 1971 issue of the magazine was dedicated to “Women’s Liberation, Woman Artists, and Art History” and included an iconoclastic essay by Linda Nochlin titled “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

RELATED: An Introduction to Feminist Art

Nochlin notes that it’s tempting to answer the question “why have there been no great women artists?” by listing examples of those overlooked by critical and institutional organizations (a labor that Nochlin admits has great merit). However, she notes, “by attempting to answer it, they tacitly reinforce its negative implications,” namely that women are intrinsically less capable of achieving artistic merit than men. Instead, Nochlin’s essay functions as a critique of art institutions, beginning with European salons, which were structured in such a way as to deter women from rising to the highest echelons. Nochlin’s essay is considered the beginning of modern feminist art history and a textbook example of institutional critique.

There are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol, any more than there are black American equivalents for the same. If there actually were large numbers of “hidden” great women artists, or if there really should be different standards for women’s art as opposed to men’s—and one can’t have it both ways—then what are feminists fighting for? If women have in fact achieved the same status as men in the arts, then the status quo is fine as it is. But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and above all, male. The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education.

Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

Thomas McEvilley

Tribal Modern

One of the many extrapolations of Nochlin’s essay is that contemporary museum institutions continue to reflect the gendered and racist biases of preceding centuries by reinforcing the supremacy of specific master artists. In a 1984 Artforum review, Thomas McEvilley, a classicist new to the world of contemporary art, made the case that the Museum of Modern Art in New York served as an exclusionary temple to certain high-minded Modernists—namely, Picasso, Matisse, and Pollock—who, in fact, took many of their innovations from native cultures.

RELATED: MoMA Curator Laura Hoptman on How to Tell a Good Painting From a “Bogus” Painting

In 1984, MoMA organized a blockbuster exhibition. Curated by William Rubin and Kirk Varnedoe, both of whom were avowed formalists, “‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern” collected works by European painters like Paul Gaugin and Picasso with cultural artifacts from Zaire, arctic communities, and elsewhere. McEvilley takes aim at the “the absolutist view of formalist Modernism” in which MoMA is rooted. He argues that the removal tribal artifacts from their contexts (for example, many were ritual items intended for ceremonies, not display) and placement of them, unattributed, near works by European artists, censors the cultural contributions of non-Western civilizations in deference to an idealized European genius.

The fact that the primitive “looks like” the Modern is interpreted as validating the Modern by showing that its values are universal, while at the same time projecting it—and with it MoMA—into the future as a permanent canon. A counter view is possible: that primitivism on the contrary invalidates Modernism by showing it to be derivative and subject to external causation. At one level this show undertakes precisely to coopt that question by answering it before it has really been asked, and by burying it under a mass of information.

Please Wait By the Coatroom

The Jungle

Not content to let MoMA and the last vestiges of formalism off the hook yet, John Yau wrote in 1988 an essay on Wifredo Lam, a Cuban painter who lived and worked in Paris among Picasso, Matisse, Georges Braque, and others. Noting Lam’s many influences—his Afro-Cuban mother, Chinese father, and Yoruba godmother—Yau laments the placement of Lam’s The Jungle near the coatroom in the Museum of Modern Art, as opposed to within the Modernist galleries several floors above. The painting was accompanied by a brief entry written by former curator William Rubin, who, Yau argues, adopted Greenberg’s theories because they endowed him with “a connoisseur’s lens with which one can scan all art.”

RELATED: From Cuba With Love: Artist Bill Claps on the Island’s DIY Art Scene

Here, as with with McEvilley’s essay, Yau illustrates how formalism, as adapted by museum institutions, became a (perhaps unintentional) method for reinforcing the exclusionary framework that Nochlin argued excluded women and black artists for centuries.

Rubin sees in Lam only what is in his own eyes: colorless or white artists. For Lam to have achieved the status of unique individual, he would have had to successfully adapt to the conditions of imprisonment (the aesthetic standards of a fixed tradition) Rubin and others both construct and watch over. To enter this prison, which takes the alluring form of museums, art history textbooks, galleries, and magazines, an individual must suppress his cultural differences and become a colorless ghost. The bind every hybrid American artist finds themselves in is this: should they try and deal with the constantly changing polymorphous conditions effecting identity, tradition, and reality? Or should they assimilate into the mainstream art world by focusing on approved-of aesthetic issues? Lam’s response to this bind sets an important precedent. Instead of assimilating, Lam infiltrates the syntactical rules of “the exploiters” with his own specific language. He becomes, as he says, “a Trojan horse.”

Black Culture and Postmodernism

Cornel West

Cornel West

The opening up of cultural discourse did not mean that it immediately made room for voices of all dimensions. Cornel West notes as much in his 1989 essay “Black Culture and Postmodernism,” in which he argues that postmodernism, much like Modernism before it, remains primarily ahistorical, which makes it difficult for “oppressed peoples to exercise their opposition to hierarchies of power.” West’s position is that the proliferation of theory and criticism that accompanied the rise of postmodernism provided mechanisms by which black culture could “be conversant with and, to a degree, participants in the debate.” Without their voices, postmodernism would remain yet another exclusionary movements.

RELATED: Kerry James Marshall on Painting Blackness as a Noun Vs. Verb

As the consumption cycle of advanced multinational corporate capitalism was sped up in order to sustain the production of luxury goods, cultural production became more and more mass-commodity production. The stress here is not simply on the new and fashionable but also on the exotic and primitive. Black cultural products have historically served as a major source for European and Euro-American exotic interests—interests that issue from a healthy critique of the mechanistic, puritanical, utilitarian, and productivity aspects of modern life.

Minimalism and the Rhetoric of Power

Anna C. Chave

Tilted Arc

In recent years, formalist analysis has been deployed as a single tool within a more varied approach to art. Its methodology—that of analyzing a picture as an isolated phenomena—remains prevalent, and has its uses. Yet, many of the works and movements that rose to prominence under formalist critics and curators, in no small part because of their institutional acceptance, have since become part of the rearguard rather than the vanguard.

In a 1990 essay for Arts Magazine , Anna Chave analyzes how Minimalist sculpture possesses a “domineering, sometimes brutal rhetoric” that was aligned with “both the American military in Vietnam, and the police at home in the streets and on university campuses across the country.” In particular, Chave is concerned with the way Minimalist sculptures define themselves through a process of negation. Of particular relevance to Chave’s argument are the massive steel sculptures by Minimalist artist Richard Serra.

Tilted Arc was installed in Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan in 1981. Chave describes the work as a “mammoth, perilously tilted steel arc [that] formed a divisive barrier too tall to see over, and a protracted trip to walk around.” She writes, “it is more often the case with Serra that his work doesn’t simply exemplify aggression or domination, but acts it out.” Tilted Arc was so controversial upon its erecting that the General Services Administration, which commissioned the work, held hearings in response to petitions demanding the work be removed. Worth quoting at length, Chave writes:

A predictable defense of Serra’s work was mounted by critics, curators, dealers, collectors, and some fellow artists…. The principle arguments mustered on Serra’s behalf were old ones concerning the nature and function of the avant-garde…. What Rubin and Serra’s other supporters declined to ask is whether the sculptor really is, in the most meaningful sense of the term, an avant-garde artist. Being avant-garde implies being ahead of, outside, or against the dominant culture; proffering a vision that implicitly stands (at least when it is conceived) as a critique of entrenched forms and structures…. But Serra’s work is securely embedded within the system: when the brouhaha over Arc was at its height, he was enjoying a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art…. [The defense’s] arguments locate Serra not with the vanguard but with the standing army or “status quo.” … More thoughtful, sensible, and eloquent testimony at the hearing came instead from some of the uncouth:
My name is Danny Katz and I work in this building as a clerk. My friend Vito told me this morning that I am a philistine. Despite that I am getting up to speak…. I don’t think this issue should be elevated into a dispute between the forces of ignorance and art, or art versus government. I really blame government less because it has long ago outgrown its human dimension. But from the artists I expected a lot more. I didn’t expect to hear them rely on the tired and dangerous reasoning that the government has made a deal, so let the rabble live with the steel because it’s a deal. That kind of mentality leads to wars. We had a deal with Vietnam. I didn’t expect to hear the arrogant position that art justifies interference with the simple joys of human activity in a plaza. It’s not a great plaza by international standards, but it is a small refuge and place of revival for people who ride to work in steel containers, work in sealed rooms, and breathe recirculated air all day. Is the purpose of art in public places to seal off a route of escape, to stress the absence of joy and hope? I can’t believe this was the artistic intention, yet to my sadness this for me has become the dominant effect of the work, and it’s all the fault of its position and location. I can accept anything in art, but I can’t accept physical assault and complete destruction of pathetic human activity. No work of art created with a contempt for ordinary humanity and without respect for the common element of human experience can be great. It will always lack dimension.
The terms Katz associated with Serra’s project include arrogance and contempt, assault, and destruction; he saw the Minimalist idiom, in other words, as continuous with the master discourse of our imperious and violent technocracy.

The End of Art

Arthur Danto

Brillo

Like Greenberg, Arthur Danto was an art critic for The Nation . However, Danto was overtly critical of Greenberg’s ideology and the influence he wielded over Modern and contemporary art. Nor was he a follower of Harold Rosenberg, though they shared influences, among them the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Danto’s chief contribution to contemporary art was his advancing of Pop Artists, particularly Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein .

In “The End of Art” Danto argues that society at large determines and accepts art, which no longer progresses linearly, categorized by movements. Instead, viewers each possess a theory or two, which they use to interpret works, and art institutions are largely tasked with developing, testing, and modifying various interpretive methods. In this way, art differs little from philosophy. After decades of infighting regarding the proper way to interpret works of art, Danto essentially sanctioned each approach and the institutions that gave rise to them. He came to call this “pluralism.”

RELATED: What Was the Pictures Generation?

Similarly, in “Painting, Politics, and Post-Historical Art,” Danto makes the case for an armistice between formalism and the various theories that arose in opposition, noting that postmodern critics like Douglas Crimp in the 1980s, who positioned themselves against formalism, nonetheless adopted the same constrictive air, minus the revolutionary beginnings.

Modernist critical practice was out of phase with what was happening in the art world itself in the late 60s and through the 1970s. It remained the basis for most critical practice, especially on the part of the curatoriat, and the art-history professoriat as well, to the degree that it descended to criticism. It became the language of the museum panel, the catalog essay, the article in the art periodical. It was a daunting paradigm, and it was the counterpart in discourse to the “broadening of taste” which reduced art of all cultures and times to its formalist skeleton, and thus, as I phrased it, transformed every museum into a Museum of Modern Art, whatever that museum’s contents. It was the stable of the docent’s gallery talk and the art appreciation course—and it was replaced, not totally but massively, by the postmodernist discourse that was imported from Paris in the late 70s, in the texts of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jacques Lacan, and of the French feminists Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray. That is the discourse [Douglas] Crimp internalizes, and it came to be lingua artspeak everywhere. Like modernist discourse, it applied to everything, so that there was room for deconstructive and “archeological” discussion of art of every period.

Editor’s Note: This list was drawn in part from a 2014 seminar taught by Debra Bricker Balken in the MFA program in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts titled Critical Strategies: Late Modernism/Postmodernism. Additional sources can be found here , here , here (paywall), and here . Also relevant are reviews of the 2008 exhibition at the Jewish Museum, “Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940–1976,” notably those by Roberta Smith , Peter Schjeldahl , and Martha Schwendener .

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Write on Art

Write on Art is an annual national writing competition sponsored by Art UK and the  Paul Mellon Centre  to encourage an interest in art history and art writing among young people. Find out more about the prize and how to enter.

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Introduction

Art is the expression of one’s views and feelings, which may take many forms like dance, music, painting , literature or theatre. By seeing the art of a particular country, we can easily understand its inherent culture. Thus, it is right to say that art and culture play a great role in the growth of a country. When people share common beliefs, attitudes and values, it becomes the culture of that nation, which artists try to capture and manifest through their art.

India is a country that is rich in diverse culture and art. With many communities coexisting with each other, one can witness the diversity in languages and beliefs of the country. The essay on Indian art and culture will be useful for students to familiarise themselves with the distinct features of India’s unique culture and art.

India’s Art and Culture

Just like there are many beautiful flowers in different shapes and colours in a garden , India also has such variety in art and culture. Although people in India follow different cultures, all of them live together in harmony, and this is what sets India apart from other countries. Each state in the country has a distinct culture or tradition, which is passed down to them by their ancestors. We will go through the diversity of India in this art and culture essay.

Interestingly, the language also varies from state to state. Despite these differences, the people of India live in unity and peace as they respect and love each other.

Indian clothing is another important factor that defines the country’s culture. The style of clothing differs according to the geographical place they live in, and yet, they contribute to the culture of the country.

Art is closely related to the culture of a country as they speak about the rich heritage of the nation. Indian art has many forms to which many notable personalities have contributed. If we are familiar with the works of Raja Ravi Varma or Rabindranath Tagore, it reveals that they have been successful in portraying Indian culture through their art. Being one of the oldest cultures, India’s culture reminds us of the virtues of unity and integrity in this essay on Indian art and culture. Let us also teach our children more about our nation through these interesting sets of GK questions .

Importance of Art and Culture

Art and culture are the identity of a nation, which helps us to understand the world around us better. As it brings people together, it offers us the opportunity to learn from each other and understand how there is unity even in diversity. Moreover, art and culture help in building the country as they preserve our heritage and creativity. Indian art and culture are what keep us binding together, and we are proud of it.

You can find more essays similar to the art essay on BYJU’S website. Also, you can explore a range of kid-friendly learning resources, such as short stories, poems, worksheets, etc., for little learners on the website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is india rich in art and culture.

India is a multicultural country that practises different art forms like dance, music, theatre, sculpting, painting, etc. Many notable names are associated with Indian art as they have contributed immensely to their fields. In addition, India’s culture is ingrained in its different religious practices and festivals celebrated by all.

What are the different languages spoken in India?

Since India is a diverse country, many languages are spoken in the country. Some languages spoken in India include Bengali, Hindi, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Urdu and Konkani, among many others.

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Essay Papers Writing Online

Tips and tricks for crafting engaging and effective essays.

Writing essays

Writing essays can be a challenging task, but with the right approach and strategies, you can create compelling and impactful pieces that captivate your audience. Whether you’re a student working on an academic paper or a professional honing your writing skills, these tips will help you craft essays that stand out.

Effective essays are not just about conveying information; they are about persuading, engaging, and inspiring readers. To achieve this, it’s essential to pay attention to various elements of the essay-writing process, from brainstorming ideas to polishing your final draft. By following these tips, you can elevate your writing and produce essays that leave a lasting impression.

Understanding the Essay Prompt

Before you start writing your essay, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the essay prompt or question provided by your instructor. The essay prompt serves as a roadmap for your essay and outlines the specific requirements or expectations.

Here are a few key things to consider when analyzing the essay prompt:

  • Read the prompt carefully and identify the main topic or question being asked.
  • Pay attention to any specific instructions or guidelines provided, such as word count, formatting requirements, or sources to be used.
  • Identify key terms or phrases in the prompt that can help you determine the focus of your essay.

By understanding the essay prompt thoroughly, you can ensure that your essay addresses the topic effectively and meets the requirements set forth by your instructor.

Researching Your Topic Thoroughly

Researching Your Topic Thoroughly

One of the key elements of writing an effective essay is conducting thorough research on your chosen topic. Research helps you gather the necessary information, facts, and examples to support your arguments and make your essay more convincing.

Here are some tips for researching your topic thoroughly:

By following these tips and conducting thorough research on your topic, you will be able to write a well-informed and persuasive essay that effectively communicates your ideas and arguments.

Creating a Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a crucial element of any well-crafted essay. It serves as the main point or idea that you will be discussing and supporting throughout your paper. A strong thesis statement should be clear, specific, and arguable.

To create a strong thesis statement, follow these tips:

  • Be specific: Your thesis statement should clearly state the main idea of your essay. Avoid vague or general statements.
  • Be concise: Keep your thesis statement concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary details or lengthy explanations.
  • Be argumentative: Your thesis statement should present an argument or perspective that can be debated or discussed in your essay.
  • Be relevant: Make sure your thesis statement is relevant to the topic of your essay and reflects the main point you want to make.
  • Revise as needed: Don’t be afraid to revise your thesis statement as you work on your essay. It may change as you develop your ideas.

Remember, a strong thesis statement sets the tone for your entire essay and provides a roadmap for your readers to follow. Put time and effort into crafting a clear and compelling thesis statement to ensure your essay is effective and persuasive.

Developing a Clear Essay Structure

One of the key elements of writing an effective essay is developing a clear and logical structure. A well-structured essay helps the reader follow your argument and enhances the overall readability of your work. Here are some tips to help you develop a clear essay structure:

1. Start with a strong introduction: Begin your essay with an engaging introduction that introduces the topic and clearly states your thesis or main argument.

2. Organize your ideas: Before you start writing, outline the main points you want to cover in your essay. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure a logical flow of ideas.

3. Use topic sentences: Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. This helps the reader understand the purpose of each paragraph.

4. Provide evidence and analysis: Support your arguments with evidence and analysis to back up your main points. Make sure your evidence is relevant and directly supports your thesis.

5. Transition between paragraphs: Use transitional words and phrases to create flow between paragraphs and help the reader move smoothly from one idea to the next.

6. Conclude effectively: End your essay with a strong conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces your thesis. Avoid introducing new ideas in the conclusion.

By following these tips, you can develop a clear essay structure that will help you effectively communicate your ideas and engage your reader from start to finish.

Using Relevant Examples and Evidence

When writing an essay, it’s crucial to support your arguments and assertions with relevant examples and evidence. This not only adds credibility to your writing but also helps your readers better understand your points. Here are some tips on how to effectively use examples and evidence in your essays:

  • Choose examples that are specific and relevant to the topic you’re discussing. Avoid using generic examples that may not directly support your argument.
  • Provide concrete evidence to back up your claims. This could include statistics, research findings, or quotes from reliable sources.
  • Interpret the examples and evidence you provide, explaining how they support your thesis or main argument. Don’t assume that the connection is obvious to your readers.
  • Use a variety of examples to make your points more persuasive. Mixing personal anecdotes with scholarly evidence can make your essay more engaging and convincing.
  • Cite your sources properly to give credit to the original authors and avoid plagiarism. Follow the citation style required by your instructor or the publication you’re submitting to.

By integrating relevant examples and evidence into your essays, you can craft a more convincing and well-rounded piece of writing that resonates with your audience.

Editing and Proofreading Your Essay Carefully

Once you have finished writing your essay, the next crucial step is to edit and proofread it carefully. Editing and proofreading are essential parts of the writing process that help ensure your essay is polished and error-free. Here are some tips to help you effectively edit and proofread your essay:

1. Take a Break: Before you start editing, take a short break from your essay. This will help you approach the editing process with a fresh perspective.

2. Read Aloud: Reading your essay aloud can help you catch any awkward phrasing or grammatical errors that you may have missed while writing. It also helps you check the flow of your essay.

3. Check for Consistency: Make sure that your essay has a consistent style, tone, and voice throughout. Check for inconsistencies in formatting, punctuation, and language usage.

4. Remove Unnecessary Words: Look for any unnecessary words or phrases in your essay and remove them to make your writing more concise and clear.

5. Proofread for Errors: Carefully proofread your essay for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Pay attention to commonly misused words and homophones.

6. Get Feedback: It’s always a good idea to get feedback from someone else. Ask a friend, classmate, or teacher to review your essay and provide constructive feedback.

By following these tips and taking the time to edit and proofread your essay carefully, you can improve the overall quality of your writing and make sure your ideas are effectively communicated to your readers.

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How to master the art of writing expository essays and captivate your audience, convenient and reliable source to purchase college essays online, step-by-step guide to crafting a powerful literary analysis essay, tips and techniques for crafting compelling narrative essays.

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Guest Essay

Art Isn’t Supposed to Make You Comfortable

An illustration of the statue David wearing a pair of tighty-whities, against a plain purple background.

By Jen Silverman

Mx. Silverman is a playwright and the author, most recently, of the novel “There’s Going to Be Trouble.”

When I was in college, I came across “The Sea and Poison,” a 1950s novel by Shusaku Endo. It tells the story of a doctor in postwar Japan who, as an intern years earlier, participated in a vivisection experiment on an American prisoner. Endo’s lens on the story is not the easiest one, ethically speaking; he doesn’t dwell on the suffering of the victim. Instead, he chooses to explore a more unsettling element: the humanity of the perpetrators.

When I say “humanity” I mean their confusion, self-justifications and willingness to lie to themselves. Atrocity doesn’t just come out of evil, Endo was saying, it emerges from self-interest, timidity, apathy and the desire for status. His novel showed me how, in the right crucible of social pressures, I, too, might delude myself into making a choice from which an atrocity results. Perhaps this is why the book has haunted me for nearly two decades, such that I’ve read it multiple times.

I was reminded of that novel at 2 o’clock in the morning recently as I scrolled through a social media account dedicated to collecting angry reader reviews. My attention was caught by someone named Nathan, whose take on “Paradise Lost” was: “Milton was a fascist turd.” But it was another reader, Ryan, who reeled me in with his response to John Updike’s “Rabbit, Run”: “This book made me oppose free speech.” From there, I hit the bank of “Lolita” reviews: Readers were appalled, frustrated, infuriated. What a disgusting man! How could Vladimir Nabokov have been permitted to write this book? Who let authors write such immoral, perverse characters anyway?

I was cackling as I scrolled but soon a realization struck me. Here on my screen was the distillation of a peculiar American illness: namely, that we have a profound and dangerous inclination to confuse art with moral instruction, and vice versa.

As someone who was born in the States but partially raised in a series of other countries, I’ve always found the sheer uncompromising force of American morality to be mesmerizing and terrifying. Despite our plurality of influences and beliefs, our national character seems inescapably informed by an Old Testament relationship to the notions of good and evil. This powerful construct infuses everything from our advertising campaigns to our political ones — and has now filtered into, and shifted, the function of our artistic works.

Maybe it’s because our political discourse swings between deranged and abhorrent on a daily basis and we would like to combat our feelings of powerlessness by insisting on moral simplicity in the stories we tell and receive. Or maybe it’s because many of the transgressions that flew under the radar in previous generations — acts of misogyny, racism and homophobia; abuses of power both macro and micro — are now being called out directly. We’re so intoxicated by openly naming these ills that we have begun operating under the misconception that to acknowledge each other’s complexity, in our communities as well as in our art, is to condone each other’s cruelties.

When I work with younger writers, I am frequently amazed by how quickly peer feedback sessions turn into a process of identifying which characters did or said insensitive things. Sometimes the writers rush to defend the character, but often they apologize shamefacedly for their own blind spot, and the discussion swerves into how to fix the morals of the piece. The suggestion that the values of a character can be neither the values of the writer nor the entire point of the piece seems more and more surprising — and apt to trigger discomfort.

While I typically share the progressive political views of my students, I’m troubled by their concern for righteousness over complexity. They do not want to be seen representing any values they do not personally hold. The result is that, in a moment in which our world has never felt so fast-changing and bewildering, our stories are getting simpler, less nuanced and less able to engage with the realities through which we’re living.

I can’t blame younger writers for believing that it is their job to convey a strenuously correct public morality. This same expectation filters into all the modes in which I work: novels, theater, TV and film. The demands of Internet Nathan and Internet Ryan — and the anxieties of my mentees — are not so different from those of the industry gatekeepers who work in the no-man’s land between art and money and whose job it is to strip stories of anything that could be ethically murky.

I have worked in TV writers’ rooms where “likability notes” came from on high as soon as a complex character was on the page — particularly when the character was female. Concern about her likability was most often a concern about her morals: Could she be perceived as promiscuous? Selfish? Aggressive? Was she a bad girlfriend or a bad wife? How quickly could she be rehabilitated into a model citizen for the viewers?

TV is not alone in this. A director I’m working with recently pitched our screenplay to a studio. When the executives passed, they told our team it was because the characters were too morally ambiguous and they’d been tasked with seeking material wherein the lesson was clear, so as not to unsettle their customer base. What they did not say, but did not need to, is that in the absence of adequate federal arts funding, American art is tied to the marketplace. Money is tight, and many corporations do not want to pay for stories that viewers might object to if they can buy something that plays blandly in the background of our lives.

But what art offers us is crucial precisely because it is not a bland backdrop or a platform for simple directives. Our books, plays, films and TV shows can do the most for us when they don’t serve as moral instruction manuals but allow us to glimpse our own hidden capacities, the slippery social contracts inside which we function, and the contradictions we all contain.

We need more narratives that tell us the truth about how complex our world is. We need stories that help us name and accept paradoxes, not ones that erase or ignore them. After all, our experience of living in communities with one another is often much more fluid and changeable than it is rigidly black and white. We have the audiences that we cultivate, and the more we cultivate audiences who believe that the job of art is to instruct instead of investigate, to judge instead of question, to seek easy clarity instead of holding multiple uncertainties, the more we will find ourselves inside a culture defined by rigidity, knee-jerk judgments and incuriosity. In our hair-trigger world of condemnation, division and isolation, art — not moralizing — has never been more crucial.

Jen Silverman is a playwright and the author of the novels “We Play Ourselves” and “There’s Going to Be Trouble.”

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ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form .

How to write better ChatGPT prompts in 5 steps

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ChatGPT is the generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool that's taken the world by storm. While there's always the possibility it will simply make stuff up , there's a lot you can do when crafting prompts to ensure the best possible outcome. That's what we'll be exploring in this how-to.

In this article, we'll show you how to write prompts that encourage the large language model (LLM) that powers  ChatGPT to provide the best possible answers. 

Also: Have 10 hours? IBM will train you in AI fundamentals - for free

Writing effective prompts, known as prompt engineering, has even become its own highly-paid discipline . Who knows? These tips could help you build the skills to become one of those highly paid prompt engineers. Apparently, these gigs can pay from $175,000 to $335,000 per year.  

How to write effective ChatGPT prompts

1. talk to the ai like you would a person.

One of the more interesting things I had to get used to when working with ChatGPT is that you don't program it, you talk to it. As a formally trained programmer, I've had to leave a lot of habits by the wayside when engaging with AI. Talking to it (and with it) requires a mindset shift.

When I say talk to it like a person, I mean talk to it like you would a co-worker or team member. If that's hard to do, give it a name. Alexa is taken, so maybe think of it as "Bob". This naming helps because when you talk to Bob, you might include conversational details, little anecdotes that give your story texture.

Also:   How to use ChatGPT to write code

When talking to a person, it would be natural for them to miss your point initially and require clarification, or veer away from the topic at hand and need to be wrangled back. You might need to fill in the backstory for them, or restate complex questions based on the answers they give you. 

This is called interactive prompting. Don't be afraid to ask multi-step questions: ask, get a response, and based on that response, ask another question. I've done this myself, sometimes 10 or 20 times in a row, and gotten very powerful results. Think of this as having a conversation with ChatGPT.

2. Set the stage and provide context

Writing a ChatGPT prompt is more than just asking a one-sentence question. It often involves providing relevant background information to set the context of the query.

Let's say that you want to prepare for a marathon (for the record, I do not run, dance, or jump -- this is merely an example). You could ask ChatGPT:

How can I prepare for a marathon?

However, you'll get a far more nuanced answer if you add that you're training for your first marathon. Try this instead: 

I am a beginner runner and have never run a marathon before, but I want to complete one in six months. How can I prepare for a marathon?

By giving the AI more information, you're helping it return a more focused answer. Even with ChatGPT's help, there's no way I'm going to run a marathon (unless I'm doing it with a V-Twin motor under my seat). Here are two more examples of questions that provide context:

I am planning to travel to Spain in a few months and would like to learn some basic Spanish to help me communicate with local residents. I am looking for online resources that are suitable for beginners and provide a structured and comprehensive approach to learning the language. Can you recommend some online resources for learning Spanish as a beginner?

In this case, rather than just asking about learning resources, the context helps focus the AI on learning how to communicate on the ground with local residents. Here's another example: 

I am a business owner interested in exploring how blockchain technology can be used to improve supply chain efficiency and transparency. I am looking for a clear and concise explanation of the technology and examples of how it has been used in the context of supply chain management. Can you explain the concept of blockchain technology and its potential applications in supply chain management?

In this example, rather than just asking for information on blockchain and how it works, the focus is specifically on blockchain for supply chain efficiency and how it might be used in a real-world scenario. 

Also:  How to use Image Creator from Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) Lastly, let's get into how to construct a detailed prompt. 

One note: I limit the answer to 500 words because ChatGPT seems to break when asked to produce somewhere between 500 and 700 words, leaving stories mid-sentence and not resuming properly when asked to continue. I hope future versions provide longer answers, because premises like this can generate fun story beginnings: 

Write a short story for me, no more than 500 words. The story takes place in 2339, in Boston. The entire story takes place inside a Victorian-style bookstore that wouldn't be out of place in Diagon Alley. Inside the store are the following characters, all human: The proprietor: make this person interesting and a bit unusual, give them a name and at least one skill or characteristic that influences their backstory and possibly influences the entire short story. The helper: this is a clerk in the store. His name is Todd. The customer and his friend: Two customers came into the store together, Jackson and Ophelia. Jackson is dressed as if he's going to a Steampunk convention, while Ophelia is clearly coming home from her day working in a professional office. Another customer is Evangeline, a regular customer in the store, in her mid-40s. Yet another customer is Archibald, a man who could be anywhere from 40 to 70 years old. He has a mysterious air about himself and seems both somewhat grandiose and secretive. There is something about Archibald that makes the others uncomfortable. A typical concept in retail sales is that there's always more inventory "in the back," where there's a storeroom for additional goods that might not be shown on the shelves where customers browse. The premise of this story is that there is something very unusual about this store's "in the back." Put it all together and tell something compelling and fun.

You can see how the detail provides more for the AI to work with. First, feed "Write me a story about a bookstore" into ChatGPT and see what it gives you. Then feed in the above prompt and you'll see the difference.

3. Tell the AI to assume an identity or profession

One of ChatGPT's coolest features is that it can write from the point of view of a specific person or profession. In a previous article, I showed how you can make ChatGPT write like a pirate or Shakespeare , but you can also have it write like a teacher, a marketing executive, a fiction writer -- anyone you want. 

Also: How ChatGPT can rewrite and improve your existing code  

For example, I can ask ChatGPT to describe the Amazon Echo smart home device, but to do so from the point of view of a product manager, a caregiver, and a journalist in three separate prompts: 

From the point of view of its product manager, describe the Amazon Echo Alexa device. From the point of view of an adult child caring for an elderly parent, describe the Amazon Echo Alexa device. From the point of view of a journalist, describe the Amazon Echo Alexa device.

Try dropping these three prompts into ChatGPT to see its complete response. 

I've pulled a few lines from ChatGPT's responses, so you can see how it interprets different perspectives.  From the product manager identity:  I can confidently say that this is one of the most innovative and revolutionary products in the smart home industry.

From the caregiver identity:  The device's ability to set reminders and alarms can be particularly helpful for elderly individuals who may have trouble remembering to take their medication or attend appointments.

Also:   5 ways to explore the use of generative AI at work

And from the journalist identity:  From a journalistic perspective, the Echo has made headlines due to privacy concerns surrounding the collection and storage of user data.

You can see how different identities allow the AI to provide different perspectives as part of its response. To expand this, you can let the AI do a thought experiment. Let's look at some of the issues that went into the creation of something like Alexa:

The year is 2012. Siri has been out for the iPhone for about a year, but nothing like an Alexa smart home device has been released. The scene is an Amazon board meeting where the Echo smart assistant based on Alexa has just been proposed.  Provide the arguments, pro and con, that board members at that meeting would have been likely to discuss as part of their process of deciding whether or not to approve spending to invest in developing the device.  Feel free to also include participation by engineering design experts and product champions, if that provides more comprehensive perspective.

It's also good to know that making minor changes to your prompts can significantly change ChatGPT's response. For example, when I changed the phrase, "Provide the arguments, pro and con, that..." to "Provide the pro and con arguments as dialogue, that...," ChatGPT rewrote its answer, switching from a list of enumerated pros and cons to an actual dialogue between participants.

4. Keep ChatGPT on track

As mentioned above, ChatGPT has a tendency to go off the rails, lose track of the discussion, or completely fabricate answers. 

There are a few techniques you can use to help keep it on track and honest.

One of my favorite things to do is ask ChatGPT to justify its responses. I'll use phrases like "Why do you think that?" or "What evidence supports your answer?" Often, the AI will simply apologize for making stuff up and come back with a new answer. Other times, it might give you some useful information about its reasoning path. In any case, don't forget to apply the tips I provide for having ChatGPT cite sources .

Also:  My two favorite ChatGPT Plus features and the remarkable things I can do with them

If you have a fairly long conversation with ChatGPT, you'll start to notice that the AI loses the thread. Not that that's unique to AIs -- even in extended conversations with humans, someone is bound to get lost. That said, you can gently guide the AI back on track by reminding it what the topic is, as well as what you're trying to explore.

5. Don't be afraid to play and experiment

One of the best ways to up your skill at this craft is to play around with what the chatbot can do.

Try feeding ChatGPT a variety of interesting prompts to see what it will do with them. Then change them up and see what happens. Here are five to get you started:

  • Imagine you are a raindrop falling from the sky during a thunderstorm. Describe your journey from the moment you form in the cloud to the moment you hit the ground. What do you see, feel, and experience?
  • You are a toy that has been left behind in an attic for decades. Narrate your feelings, memories of playtimes past, and your hopes of being rediscovered.
  • Write the final diary entry of a time traveler who has decided to settle down in a specific era, explaining why they chose that time and what they've learned from their travels.
  • Imagine a dialogue between two unlikely objects, like a teacup and a wristwatch, discussing the daily routines and challenges they face.
  • Describe a day in an ant colony from the perspective of an ant. Dive deep into the politics, challenges, and social structures of the ant world.

Pay attention not only to what the AI generates, but how it generates what it does, what mistakes it makes, and where it seems to run into limits. All of that detail will help you expand your prompting horizons.

More prompt-writing tips 

  • Feel free to re-ask the question. ChatGPT will often change its answer with each ask.
  • Make small changes to your prompts to guide it into giving you a better answer.
  • ChatGPT will retain its awareness of previous conversations as long as the current page is open. If you leave that page, it will lose awareness. To be clear, ChatGPT will also sometimes lose the thread of the conversation without reason, so be aware you may need to start over from time to time.
  • Similarly, opening a new page will start the discussion with fresh responses.
  • Be sure to specify the length of the response you want. Answers over about 500 words sometimes break down. 
  • You can correct and clarify prompts based on how the AI answered previously. If it's misinterpreting you, you may be able to just tell it what it missed and continue.
  • Rephrase questions if ChatGPT doesn't want to answer what you're asking. Use personas to elicit answers that it might not otherwise want to give.
  • If you want sources cited , tell it to support or justify its answers.
  • ChatGPT custom instructions are now available to free users. You can  give ChatGPT a set of prompts that are always available , so you don't have to retype them.
  • Keep experimenting.
  • Consider getting the ChatGPT Plus subscription . You can then use your own data for powerful analytics . You can also pull data from the Web . 
  • Try asking the same question of Gemini  (formerly Bard) or Copilot (formerly Bing Chat). Both will interpret your prompts differently and answer differently. This is effectively getting a second opinion on your prompt, and can give you alternate perspectives.
  • Ask for examples. If you want to see how well ChatGPT understands what you're asking for, ask it "Can you give me three examples of how that works?" or similar questions.
  • Ask it to repeat parts of your original requests back to you. For example, if you feed it an article to analyze, you can tell it something like, "Just to be sure you understand, please echo back the first three headlines," or "I want to be sure you understand what I mean, so summarize the main conflict discussed in this article." 
  • Sometimes ChatGPT just fails. Keep trying, but also be willing to give up and move on to other tools. It's not perfect...yet.

What type of prompts work best with ChatGPT? 

Part of what makes ChatGPT so compelling is you can ask it almost anything. That said, keep in mind that it's designed to provide written answers. If you want a list of websites, you're better off talking to Google. 

Also:  How to use DALL-E 3 in ChatGPT

If you want some form of computation, talk to Wolfram Alpha . Give ChatGPT open-ended prompts, encourage creativity, and don't be afraid to share personal experiences or emotions. Plus, keep in mind that the AI's knowledge ends in 2021  for ChatGPT 3.5 and December 2023 for ChatGPT 4 in ChatGPT Plus.

How can I adjust the complexity of ChatGPT responses?

You can directly specify the complexity level by including it in your prompt. Add "... at a high school level" or "... at a level intended for a Ph.D. to understand" to the end of your question. You can also increase complexity of output by increasing the richness of your input. The more you provide in your prompt, the more detailed and nuanced ChatGPT's response will be. You can also include other specific instructions, like "Give me a summary," "Explain in detail," or "Provide a technical description."

Also:  How does ChatGPT actually work?

You can also pre-define profiles. For example, you could say "When evaluating something for a manager, assume an individual with a four-year business college education, a lack of detailed technical understanding, and a fairly limited attention span, who likes to get answers that are clear and concise. When evaluating something for a programmer, assume considerable technical knowledge, an enjoyment of geek and science fiction references, and a desire for a complete answer. Accuracy is deeply important to programmers, so double-check your work."

If you ask ChatGPT to "explain C++ to a manager" and "explain C++ to a programmer," you'll see how the responses differ.

What do I do if ChatGPT refuses to answer or I don't like its answer? 

There are some guardrails built into ChatGPT. It tends to shut down if you ask it political questions, for example. That's what's built into the system. While you might be able to tease out an answer, it's probably not going to provide great value. That said, feel free to keep trying with different phrasing or perspectives. 

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter on Substack , and follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz , on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz , on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz , and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV .

More on AI tools

Google releases two new free resources to help you optimize your ai prompts, how to use chatgpt, how to get started with meta ai in facebook, instagram, and more.

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    The products from these activities incite powerful feelings as artists convey their ideas, expertise, and experience through art. Examples of art include painting, sculpture, photography, literature, installations, dance, and music. Art is also a significant part of human history. We learn a lot from the arts regarding what living in a period ...

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    Art Essay Topics IELTS. Here are some art essay topics for IELTS students. Take a look: The value of art education. The role of museums in preserving art and culture. The impact of globalization on contemporary art. The influence of technology on art and artists. The significance of public art in urban environments.

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    Visual Verbal Essay on Wilfred Owen and Franz Marc. This essay explores two artists, Franz Marc, Brett Whitely and two of their artworks depicting animal scenes. Franz Marc's 'Tiger', 'Blue Horse 1' and Brett Whitley's Giraffe and Hyena.

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    A visual analysis essay is a type of essay written mostly by students majoring in Art History and Communications. The process of visual analysis can be applied to painting, visual art, journalism, photo-journalism, photography, film, and writing. Works in these mediums are often meant to be consumed for entertainment or informative purposes.

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    An art essay is a literary composition that analyzes different aspects of artwork, including paintings, sculpture, poems, architecture, and music. These essays look at the visual elements of different artworks. An art essay, for example, might look at the optical elements and creative approaches utilized in particular works of art.

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    Find art terms in your textbook or an art glossary or dictionary; You should have an image of the works you are writing about in front of you while you are writing your essay. The images should be of high enough quality that you can see the small details of the works. You will use them when describing visual details of each art work.

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    Craft a catchy conclusion. You need to summarize everything you're discussed and - optionally - write a call to action. This is the way to end every essay from a compare and contrast art essay to an art critique example essay. Edit everything and proofread it twice. Make sure your paper is well organized and your writing flows well.

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    Salvador Dali: Artist in the Area of Surrealism Art. Salvador Dali was among the most prominent artists in the area of surrealism art. It "balances a rational vision of life with one that asserts the power of the unconscious and dreams". Artists Peter Paul Rubens and Katharina Grosse.

  16. Writing the A2 Art Personal Study: examples, help and guidance

    Last Updated on April 2, 2023. This article has been written for CIE A Level Art students who are working on their A2 Art Personal Study.It focuses purely on how to write the text of the Study; a previous article outlines how to come up with a good topic; a future article will address the illustrations and presentation methods.. The Personal Study is an area of uncertainty for many A Level Art ...

  17. How to analyze an artwork: a step-by-step guide

    If you are looking for more assistance with how to write an art analysis essay you may like our series about writing an artist study. BIBLIOGRAPHY [1] A guide for Analyzing Works of Art; Sculpture and Painting, Durantas [2] A Short Guide to Writing About Art, Sylvan Barnet (2014) (Amazon affiliate link)

  18. The 10 Essays That Changed Art Criticism Forever

    The 10 Essays That Changed Art Criticism Forever. By Will Fenstermaker. June 14, 2017. Dr. Cornel West. There has never been a time when art critics held more power than during the second half of the twentieth century. Following the Second World War, with the relocation of the world's artistic epicenter from Paris to New York, a different ...

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    How to write about art, and how to enter the Write on Art competition. Why art history matters: five arts professionals have their say. Write on Art: the winners 2020. Art History for Everyone: free taught EPQ/A Level courses. Write on Art: the winners 2019.

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    Step 1: Reiterate the first idea you signposted. Restate the idea from your last paragraph but this time focus on how it links to your second artist. You may want to throw in some simple comparative language as well to begin the contrasting between your two artists, such as "on the other hand", "in contrast to", etc.

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    Mx. Silverman is a playwright and the author, most recently, of the novel "There's Going to Be Trouble." When I was in college, I came across "The Sea and Poison," a 1950s novel by ...

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    Write a short story for me, no more than 500 words. The story takes place in 2339, in Boston. The entire story takes place inside a Victorian-style bookstore that wouldn't be out of place in ...