How to Cope with Art History Term Paper Topics
As art historians differ in their approaches to analyzing art, many students may feel at a loss not knowing what exactly they are supposed to do to complete art history papers.
How to write an art term paper? Let’s discuss the main approaches.
Writing an art history term paper is similar to analytical papers that are based on research and that are usually written in English literature or history courses. But in spite of the fact that research and writing in art history include the analysis of the written documents, it differs greatly from writing in other disciplines, because its primary documents are works of art. When writing an art history paper, we must use observation skills and employ a visual vocabulary to translate our visual impressions from works of art into concrete verbal expressions. The main goal of any art history paper is to explain the relationship between a certain work of art and its impression on the viewer. We need to explain how certain visual elements work together to convey some message and make an overall effect.
There are several ways to write about art:
- Formal analysis requires a detailed description of the form of the artwork. You should analyze the individual design elements: composition, line, color, scale, texture, contrast, balance, proportion, and rhythm. Your primary goal is to explain how the author uses these elements to create a work of art.
- Stylistic analysis can be described as an attempt to explain how a work of art fits into a particular stylistic category, – for example, Renaissance or Impressionism. You will still have to focus on the formal elements of the objects. The point of stylistic approach is to see all the commonalities in the person’s works.
- Compare and contrast essay is a common assignment in introductory art history classes when students are asked to compare and contrast two pieces of art, for example, a medieval and a renaissance paintings.
- Iconography explains what the image means. The iconographic analysis defines the meaning of a work of art at the time it was created.
- Theory/criticism is a common assignment in Modern Art courses when the students are asked to explain how the formal qualities of a certain object reflect the time when it was created.
- Research paper combines a formal and contextual analysis. You may write a paper about a specific work of art, about the history of a specific institution or about an art historian.
How to write a term paper on art history? Follow these easy tips.
- Before you start writing, should make art history term paper outline. It will help you organize your thoughts and make sure that your art term paper structure is logical.
- Every term paper in art history should include a close visual analysis of some works of arts (at least one). The analysis may be the basis for writing your paper or be used as support to contextualize the argument.
- You should begin with a visual observation that will help you develop an interpretive thesis statement/argument.
- Any paper should follow the basic structure and include the introduction, the body, and finally, the conclusion.
- The introductory paragraphs should have a clear thesis statement. You should define your main idea, the scope of the problem you are going to examine, outline your methodology, and explain your reasons for the project.
- In the body, you should develop your ideas and prove your thesis presenting your argument and providing convincing evidence – examples, and quotes.
- In the conclusion, you should summarize your findings.
- When you describe works of art and do a formal analysis, you should always write in the present tense. But when you describe the life of the artist or the historical period when the work of art was created, you should use the past tense.
- Papers in art history require reference illustrations so you should include a photocopied image of any work of art that you discuss in your art class term paper.
- There is no established documentation style for art history but, generally, Chicago style predominates.
How to Write ‘The Trouble with the (Term) Art’ Response Paper
Students who study art history are often assigned to write a response paper discussing Carolyn Dean’s article ‘The trouble with the (term) art’. This controversial article revealed Carolyn’s opinion about the situation concerning the long-standing debate among art historians who argue on what to call art if we speak about primitive societies in Americas, Oceania, and Africa. She claims that we call art many objects that were not made as art.
Writing a response paper is a common assignment when students are supposed to summarize the material they have read and provide details of their reaction to it. You must read the text, analyze its content and ideas and develop a commentary on it. So this report should include two parts – a summary of the content and a response to it.
Writing art history papers might be tricky as it requires different approaches than those used for writing papers in other college subjects. Students are challenged to put what they see into words. So if you are still not sure how to write an art term paper, you cannot do without professional writing help. Hire a qualified writer on our custom paper writing service and you will get a well-written model paper on your topic that will help you feel more confident and get a high grade.