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Pick two pieces of work from the same genre (portraits, still life, landscapes,

by | May 15, 2022 | Art | 0 comments


Pick two pieces of work from the same genre (portraits, still life, landscapes, religious works, allegories, mythological works, abstract works, etc.). Once you pick the genre, look closely at the subject matter (what is actually painted). For example, if you are comparing a couple of portraits (which you did in the Portraiture and Identity paper), think about who the subject is (identity). It would be easier to find a connection between, say, portraits of young women, than a connection between the portraits of a young woman and an elderly man. Make sure that the two pieces you pick are executed in a comparable medium: both of them are paintings, or sculptures, or prints, or textiles, or jewelry, etc. Remember the two pieces you pick must be comparable conceptually and in materials. There is no point to compare a broach to a religious painting.
The only research you need to do for this paper will happen while you are choosing your pieces. This assignment is not an art history research paper. It is not about the lives of the artists, or the styles they worked in. The limited amount of research you do is to prepare you to write your paper, but it should not be in your paper.
For example, say I see a self-portrait (the artist paints her/his/their portrait) I like. The self-portrait is by Frida Kahlo.
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Braid, Oil on Masonite, 51 x 38.7 cm, 1941
I need to pair it with something comparable. I might want to search for other self-portraits by women artists. I search on Internet and a few images catch my eye. There is a self-portrait Judith Leyster from 1630.
Judith Leyster, Self-Portrait, c. 1630, oil on canvas, 29.4 x 25.6 in, National Gallery of Art
Both Frida Kahlo and Judith Leyster were young women at the time they painted themselves. The two paintings have a striking contrast between them. They both seem realistic in execution, but one of them (Frida Kahlo) has some strange imagery. If I read some brief descriptions of it, I will be told that is surrealist. I might like this striking contrast for my paper, so I might decide I want to describe and explore it in my essay.
I might decide I do not like this weird surreal imagery and pair Judith Leyster’s self-portrait with another realistic-looking, more traditional self-portrait by a woman, Artemisia Gentileschi. Her painting is also oil on canvas and it is from the same time period, (early 17th century).
Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1638-39, oil on canvas, 38 x 29 in, Royal Collection
Or I might decide I like the strange surrealist imagery and search for self portraits by women surrealist artists. A self-portrait by Leonora Carrington catches my eye. It is from the same period (late 30s, early 40s of the 20th century) and it has strange symbolic imagery. Both Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington are doing something unusual with the hair. I might decide to stick with this pair of images and explore farther.
Leonora Carrington, Self-Portrait (Inn of the Dawn Horse), 1937-1938, 65 cm × 81.2 cm (25.5 in × 32 in)
Or, I might decide to change an image yet again. My search of surrealist women artists turns up another curious painting by Frida Kahlo. In it, she has cut hair.
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Cropped Hair, Oil on Canvas, 15 ¾ x 11 in, 1940
I am looking at the two images, considering that both women have painted themselves in full in interior spaces, both are wearing male clothes, both have depicted their hair in an unusual way. Both paintings are telling a story (they are both narrative). My final decision is to stay with this pair of paintings.
This assignment is asking you do visual art analysis of the works you have chosen. Visual art analysis is about investigating the structure of the image–meaning, you need to figure out how the artist has built the image. You need to think about the structure of the image by investigating the formal elements and principals of design, what the specific ways the artist used them are. The formal elements and principals of design are: value contrast, value range, color schemes, focal points, emphasis, directional lines, visual balance, linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, and so on. Pick at least three (3) formal elements and/or principles of design that are used in both pieces and investigate them.
In your paper, you should compare and contrast the paintings simultaneously. For example, you might have two paintings which are the same genre, but one is realistic, the other one is stylized (abstracted). Two paintings could be on the same subject matter, realistic, use the same color scheme, but have different value contrasts. Two paintings could be on the same subject matter, realistic, use the same color scheme, use the same value contrasts, and have different number of focal points. Two paintings could be on the same subject matter, realistic, use the same color scheme, use the same value contrasts, have the same number of focal points, but emphasize the focal points in different ways. And so on.
The thesis statement in a three-page paper is usually a paragraph and usually in the first paragraph. The thesis statement is your “roadmap” for the paper. The thesis statement tells your reader what your paper is going to be about.
A thesis which addresses visual art analysis should look something like this (this is a general statement about two still lifes):
Both paintings are the same genre _____. One uses ____visual balance, while the other uses ___ visual balance. Both works have ____ number of focal points; however, the first one is emphasized by _____, ______, and ______, while the second is emphasized by ____, ____, and ____. The artist uses heavy _____, which creates a sense of tangible visual texture in both still lifes. All of the above creates a very (different or similar) impact in the paintings: they are both very (lyrical or dramatic), OR, one is much more dramatic than the other.
You are expected to revise your thesis statement and repost on the discussion board prior the writing of the paper. All posts should be done by the required deadlines (please see topic outline in the syllabus).
What else might be of interest in my paper?
You may briefly mention the materials/techniques used to create the works.
For example: when artists started using oil paint, they were able to work on their pictures for extended periods of time because oil paint dries very slowly on the surface. That gave the artists the chance to blend colors to very smooth, gradual transitions. The oil paint could be used very thinly in the creation of glazes, which gave artists the possibility to create very deep, dark, translucent shadows. Oil paint could also be used very thickly in the creation of Impasto, which allowed artists to build up the light on the form. The combination of all the above gave the possibility to create very realistic-looking work.
The paper should be brief and to the point. It should be about 1000 words (about three pages). It should be in your own words. You must use the visual art terminology covered over the semester. Do not copy text written by art historians in connection to the work you have chosen. That will grade very poorly. If you must use some reference to someone’s research (that includes Wikipedia), you must cite it. Please refer to Plagiarism in the syllabus. You may format your presentation as a Power Point Presentation or as a Comparative Essay. It’s your choice: you can write an essay, or you can create a Power Point presentation.You do not need to do both. If you have difficulties with writing, in this project you can choose. You can create a power point presentation and record your voice. You still need to write what you are going to say first; it still needs to be grammatical and make sense, and be 1000 words. But it could be a great way to avoid some of the writing problems that you might have in an essay. Some of you might be taking developmental writing classes, some of you might be non-native speakers and taking ESL classes. Some people have a very difficult time writing but are good at public speaking. This opportunity is much more generous than public speaking because you can edit it.


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