The objective of the final paper is to analyze a work of art from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and develop a thesis statement, the central argument of your paper. The thesis might analyze the development of a particular or innovative style or approach, regional influence, religious influence, political influence, cultural, symbolic meaning or use of the subject matter, technological development, or some other evidence-based topic. You must use your own visual analysis of the artwork/s and secondary research from articles and authoritative sources to support your claims.
Your paper should be a minimum of 6 pages long (double spaced, Times New Roman font, 12-point type with 1â€ margins) and incorporate at least 4 secondary (research) sources. If using the textbook, a total of five sources are needed. Your essay should be 6 pages written; images and your Works Cited are not to be counted as part of those 6 pages. Please follow MLA formatting.
Please read the following instructions carefully before beginning the project.
1. Select one artwork from the list of images below:
You may choose to research one of the corresponding image questions or come up with your own thesis statement. Remember, a thesis statement is a point of view or hypothesis that is grounded in visual evidence and is supported by the historical, cultural, and/or religious background of the work or artists. To get started, you might want to look at the time period and location of where the artwork was made and review the passage in our textbook or on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s HeilbrunnTimeline: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/.
2. You may want to find an additional work that can support your thesis and/or illuminate some aspects of your discussion or analysis. A good comparison can underline your point or create contrast. Find this comparative work from REVEL, Khan Academy, Heilbrunn Timeline, or the Web Gallery of Art.
3. Use a combination of visual (formal) analysis and secondary research to develop your thesis and the evidence that you will use to support your thesis.
4. At the end of your paper, include a labeled photographic reproduction of your chosen artwork and your Works Cited page (using MLA formatting).
Final Paper Format:
Introduction: This paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the essay by introducing the work of art you are discussing.
1. Identify basic details, such as the artist (if known) or culture, the title of the piece (in italics), the approximate date, the medium, and the dimensions.
2. Briefly explain what style, movement, region, and/ or historical period, that you are investigating. Be specific but keep this portion to a few sentences if possible.
3. State the thesis (your â€œargument”) that you will â€œproveâ€ with your visual analysis. Make your focused, narrow, and meaningful. A thesis statement is not a stated fact about your work, such as: Michelangelo is a Renaissance artist; it is an idea, insight, argument, or new way of thinking about the artwork.
Example of a poor thesis: El Greco is a painter of the Catholic spirit.
Example of a poor thesis: El Greco’s dramatic lighting captures the spiritual mood of sixteenth-century Spain.
Example of a strong thesis: In the (name of painting) El Greco employs supernatural lighting to capture the mystical fervor in Spain during the Counter-Reformation.
Example of a poor thesis: Jean-Antoine Watteau’s fÃªte-galante’s are about the French aristocracy.
Example of a strong thesis: Watteau transforms the natural backdrops of his fÃªte-galante’s into artificial scenery to reveal the empty morals and frivolous attitudes of the French aristocracy during the Rococo period.
Use research to obtain ideas and information to support the connection between the art object and your chosen thesis. Build on ideas to develop your own, well-informed observations (but not unsupported suppositions–back up your ideas with the research of others). You may look into iconography (subject matter and symbolism), functionality, content, context, and scholarly interpretations/theories about the work. Be sure to structure this information to support your thesis.
In-text citations and quotations are required.
Conclusion: Summarize your thesis and major points and leave the reader with any parting or â€œconcludingâ€ thoughts in this paragraph.
Illustrations: At the end of your paper, include labeled photographic reproductions of your chosen artworks. The caption should include: the name of the artist (if known) or culture, the title (italicized) of the piece, the approximate date, the medium, and the dimensions. This information can be found in the image caption from the museum label.
Works Cited: Your Works Cited page must include a minimum of 4 sources. They should include representation from the following information sources:
Reference sources (encyclopedias, art dictionaries, etc.)
Books (hard copy or ebooks)
Scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles
Videos or DVDs, hard copy or streaming (Films on Demand from Harper’s Library is a great resource for this assignment)
Museum websites (Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art in D.C. are good sources)
Reputable, scholarly websites only (Evaluating Websites Checklist should be used to determine appropriateness of website)
You may review the following for general background information, research ideas, or for additional sources to consult (see the footnotes or the bibliographies), but you should not use them as one of your sources:
Textbooks (including our own)
Your Works Cited page should follow proper MLA formatting, with sources alphabetized.
Website Evaluation Checklist: Follow and use a completed Evaluating Websites Checklist for any websites (as opposed to peer-reviewed journal articles) you cite. If the checklist suggests a particular website is not appropriate for college-level research, do not use it. The Checklist can be found in the Evaluating Information Sources sub-folder in the Museum Research Paper Resources folder on Blackboard.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is â€œrepresenting another personâ€™s work as your own, either intentionally or through inaccurate or incomplete documentation. It includes, but is not limited to, copying any material (written or non-written) without proper acknowledgment of its source and paraphrasing anotherâ€™s work or ideas without proper acknowledgment.â€ The written work you turn in must be yours and yours alone. All ideas taken from another source must be cited, and sentences or phrases taken word for word from another source must be both placed in quotation marks and cited. Anyone found cheating or plagiarizing will immediately fail the paper. There will be no exceptions and no excuses.
Edit your work: Be sure to proofread for errors and run a spell check. Points will be deducted on papers that have obviously not been proofread.
Additional Resources: See the Museum Research Paper Resources folder in Blackboard for helpful resources, such as links to peer-reviewed journals, MLA formatting guides, a sample outline, tips on avoiding plagiarism, and more.