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Washington Allston, Moonlight, 1819, via Digital Image Database
This guide provides recommended research tools and skills for your ARTH 205 research assignment.
Brainstorm Your Topic
Locating books and articles on your chosen artist may be difficult, so broaden your scope - think in terms of genre or theme. An article on 19th century portraiture or history paintings by other artists can still help you analyze your chosen piece. The attached brainstorming worksheet may give you some ideas.
Analyze a Work Of Art
When analyzing a work of art, it's helpful to develop and apply a list of relevant questions. Consider:
- Subject matter - What is being depicted? (May require researching a related place, figure or event - e.g. from religion or mythology)
- Material and form - What is the size, shape, line, texture, color, etc.? How do these affect the way you "see" the subject?
- Social and historical contexts - When, where, and why was the work made?
- What were the artist's intentions (if known)?
Barnet's A Short Guide to Writing About Art provides many useful examples of analytical questions and is a required/recommended text for most ARTH 100/102 courses.