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ARTS 1113 - Nathaniel (Douglasville) - Spring 2018: Assignment

Critical Analysis Paper


Choose one work of art from a museum website online. Below is a list of museums to choose from.  Analyze this work of art using visual and design elements that we have discussed in class and that you have read about. Examine the artist and artwork in relation to what is/was happening historically when the piece of work was made. Was the artist/artwork influenced by the circumstances in which the artist lived and the artwork was created OR did the artist/artwork have an impact on history? What art movements were happening during the artist’s lifetime, and did they influence the artist’s work? 

Use the MLA Style guide below to assist with formatting.

To assist, try answering some the following questions in the your paper. Submit as a word document via email to Label the document with your name and project name (ex. Sarah Nathaniel_Art Work Analysis) If you do not name your file, there will be an automatic 10 points taken off of your grade.

1) What is the subject matter or content of the work chosen?

2) What is the art historical and cultural context for this work of art? When and where was the work made?

3) Describe the technique and medium. What is the scale of the work?

4) How would you describe the surface texture of the object?

5) How are the color and tone used?

6) How is the composition arranged? What part or aspect of the work captures my attention first? How does the artist lead my eye around the work?

7) How does the artist use light? Where is the light source?

8) How is line used? Are there horizontal, vertical, diagonal lines?

9) If applicable, how is the human figure presented? Is the human figure the focal point of the work? How does the figure relate to the overall composition of the work? Describe the scale of the subject – is it life sized? If more than one figure, how do they relate to each other?

10) Are there a lot of details in the work?

11) What mood or feeling do you get from the work? Is it expressive in style?

12) How is space arranged? Does the artist convey depth (a recession into space)?

13) Is the work abstract, representational or non-representational?

14) What is the title of the work? Does that give any clues into the meaning of the work?

15) Where is this work of art located? Imagine how it is displayed and describe the scene.


List of Museums

The Tate (London)
The Tate Modern (London)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC)
The MET Breuer (NYC)
The Whitney (NYC)
The New Whitney (NYC)
The Guggenheim (Any)
The National Gallery (Washington DC)
The National Gallery (London)
The Louvre (Paris)
Centre George Pompidou (Paris)

SFMOMA (San Francisco)
MOCA (Rome)
MOCA (Shanghai)
MOCA (Tokyo)
The Uffizi (Florence)
Hamburger Banhof (Berlin)
Hermitage Museum (Russia)
Reina Sofia (Madrid)
Palais de Tokyo (Paris)
Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (DC)


MLA Writing and Style Guide:


  • MLA style: This will give you the font, the spacing and info on how to format your paper.
  • 5-7 pages
  • Use the resource guide in D2L to help with specific items you should include in your papers.
  • Bibilography for artwork and for web source.
  • Address issues from instructor’s notes on handed back critical analysis.
  • Artist name, artwork title, and location of artwork must be in the first paragraph.
  • Double check art terminology and make sure you are using it properly (ex: representational, tone, abstract, one-point perspective).
  • State the obvious. Don’t over think what you’re thinking.
  • Don’t assume things about other viewers or the artist
  • If you make a subjective statement, back it up with objective evidence. WHY? WHY? WHY?
  • Avoid words like “things,” “a lot,” and “gets.”
  • If you use a quote or paraphrase you MUST cite using MLA style citations standards.
  • Submit through (I will post info for this before the paper is due)
  • Do not number and list answers to questions. It must be in the form of a written article or essay, and it must be typed.
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