Comparative Analysis

The purpose of this paper is to write a thoughtful, insightful comparative analysis. Below, I have listed the following possible comparisons. You must choose from one of these pairs for the paper.Each possible comparison includes a work of art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art which we have not discussed together in this class, to be paired with a piece of your choosing from our class from the specifications below. This exercise is to see if you can take what you have learned in class and apply it to a piece that you have never seen before. You are expected to carefully describe and critically analyze the work of art through comparison with the other piece. This assignment will involve both formal analyses as well as historical/cultural context. Please follow the outline listed at the end of this document and answer each of the questions posed. Make sure to also include an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement and a brief concluding paragraph. The only sources you may use are the lecture videos, your textbook, and your class notes. This is NOT a research paper. You are expected to present your own analysis derived from what you see and from what you have learned in this course. Other than the basic facts concerning the museum object (name, date, title, material/medium, dimensions, artist’s name) and its subject from the museum website, do not refer to any other outside sources of information) no other websites, books, etc.). Your analysis of that piece needs to be completely based on your own observations. You may use your textbook and pictures to provide information about the comparison piece, the stylistic periods, and artistic movements, but make sure to cite when necessary. Paraphrase if needed but avoid direct quotes. Your work needs to be original! Be sure that you still provide insightful analysis and are not just repeating the textbook and lecture. Requirements: Your paper should be 3 pages long. You may write more, but you may not write less. Your paper should use Times New Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and double-space the text – DO NOT use half of the first page for your heading & title. If you do, it won’t count towards the 3-page minimum anyway.Your paper must be a .doc or .docx file.Your paper should include each of the sections listed at the end of this document (an introduction, comparative formal analysis for both pieces, historical context, and conclusion)Everything from the essay etiquette document is necessary here as well. (No contractions, no personal pronouns, no personal opinions, etc.)No late assignments will be accepted! No extensions will be permitted. You must write your paper on one of the comparison sets included on the approved list. Essays on other objects will not be accepted. Choose one comparison from the following works of art: The Adoration of the Magi, Giotto di Bondone, Late Medieval Italian, c. 1320, tempera on wood, gold ground. Dimensions: 17 ¾ x 17 ¼ images: 1Compare the above work of art to a piece from the late Medieval Italian lecture or chapter.Cupid, Michelangelo Buonarroti, c. 1490, Italian Renaissance, Marble, Dimensions: 37 x W. 13 1/4 x D. 14 in.Images: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9Compare the above work of art to sculpture from the Renaissance lectures (any location).Christ Healing the Blind, El Greco, Spanish Renaissance, Oil on Canvas. Dimensions: 47 x 57 1/2 in.Images: 1Compare the above work of art to a painting from the Renaissance lectures (any location).Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1662, Dutch Baroque, Oil on Canvas. Dimensions: 18 x 16 in.Images: 1Compare the above work of art to a painting from the Northern European Baroque lectureRoom with Boiserie from the Hôtel de Cabris, Grasse, France, c. 1774 with later additions, Neoclassical, (Boiserie medium: carved, painted, and gilded oak): Dimensions: 11 ft. 8-1/2 in. x W. 22 ft. 10-1/2 in. x L. 25 ft. 6 inImages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8Compare the above to an interior of a room from either the Rococo or Neoclassical periods from the lectures or textbook.Self-Portrait with a Harp, Rose Adélaïde Ducreux, 1791, French (note: coincides with “Natural” Art), Oil on Canvas. Dimensions: 76 x 50 3/4 in.Images: 1Compare the above work of art to any self-portrait created by a female painter from our lectures. (Any artistic style is welcome, as long as it is a female painter self-portrait.)You should not use works previously used in the comparison exercise for one of your examples format of the Comparison Paper: IntroductionYour paper should include an introductory paragraph that identifies the works of art (title, artist, date, medium) as well as a clearly-stated thesis.

Your thesis should address the most important formal qualities which the artist exercised in the work of art. Your thesis/paper should not contain any judgment terms, such as “beautiful,” “ugly,” or “interesting.”Example of an unsuccessful thesis: The sculpture is realistic and dramatic. (Too unspecific!)Example of an unsuccessful thesis: These two works have many similarities and differences based on the period in which they were created. (Too general! It’s obvious that they will have similarities and differences.)Example of a successful thesis: The sculptor uses rough texture, plays of light and shadow, and naturalistic proportions in order to communicate realism and drama in his depiction of the old man.ContentsThis body of the paper requires that you complete analysis of the formal, visual, and technical components of a work of art compared to the formal, visual, and technical components of another work of art. This section should not include an extended contextual analysis of the subject or event depicted. (ie. Outside research, in-depth discussion of the subject matter, etc.)Remember that visual analysis is not a description of the subject or content. Any time you discuss the subject matter beyond simple identification, it must be related to the tools of visual analysis. Analyze, don’t describe!Example: “The sculptor’s deep cuts into the stone amplify the dramatic anguish felt by Laocoon and his sons,” is fine, but a description of the story of Laocoon and his sons is not.It needs to be analytical, not descriptive!Discuss as many of the following formal characteristics as possible, but do not respond to them as a “lists”. (The line is this…The composition is this….The color is this…. as that is very poor-quality writing.)How do these formal qualities influence the way that you, as a viewer, experience the work of art? Do these qualities unite to present a placid or a dramatic scene? How do these formal elements construct a specific viewing experience? How do the answers to these questions compare from one piece to the next?Make sure to connect your formal observations to your thesis statement.Some things to consider when conducting your formal analysis:(Please remember that these prompts will not apply to all objects, and your object may raise questions that are not listed here. However, you should consider as many of these as possible as applicable to your piece.)Composition: How many figures make up the composition? How is the figure arranged? Is the composition balanced or unbalanced? Is the scene heavy on one side, even on both sides, or does it have a diagonal orientation?Color: What is the color palette? Is it subdued, vibrant, dark, etc.? How does it impact the way the scene is perceived? How do the materials used contribute to the color palette? Be specific.Line: Are the compositional lines fluid or broken? Subtle or apparent? Diagonal, horizontal, or vertical? Do they prompt drama? Serenity?Texture: What are the textures and how is the sense of texture created? How do the materials and techniques contribute to the sense of texture? (Remember, texture can be smooth or rough)Light and shadow: Does the artist use light and shadow to create the appearance of depth and physical mass/volume? In a sculpture: is the carving deep or shallow?Proportion: Is the scene/are the figures proportional in scale? What is the scale of the object to the viewer – life-size? Larger? Smaller? Do any of the figures have unproportionate body parts?

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Are figures and objects/buildings in scale with each other? Space: Is three-dimensional space rendered in this two-dimensional painting? If so, how is it depicted? Is there perspective? If it is a three-dimensional object, is it frontal or must you walk around the object to get the full experience? You must also discuss artistic style/historical context/cultural context in relation to both pieces. Think about questions such as the following: To which culture(s) do/do these works belong? During which stylistic period were your works of art created? Do your selected works of art reflect and/or deviate from the formal characteristics and style typical of this culture and historical period? Be specific. Which characteristics do the two pieces share, and how do these qualities relate to the stylistic period? How do they differ? And so on. Be specific. For example, don’t just say something is Modern, but specify its specific artistic movement. If you neglect to incorporate historical context, cultural context, and artistic style in your analysis of both pieces, it will hurt your overall grade! Remember: The two pieces must be tied together! This is a comparison so you need to actually compare them. You can choose to do this in many ways, either by discussing both pieces in conjunction with each other throughout the body of your paper or by analyzing each in separate paragraphs followed by other paragraphs where you discuss the pieces together. If you do not discuss the pieces together, there will be a penalty if you only discuss the pieces together in the intro and conclusion and not in the body of your paper, there will be a penalty It is a comparison, so you need to actually compare them! Both visual differences and historical/cultural context as well.ConclusioMake sure to include a brief conclusion that reiterates your thesis statement and summarizes the main points of your argument. The conclusion should be used only as a brief summary or wrap-up to your essay; do not introduce new information here! Final Thoughts: Make sure that you select a comparison that you can write at least 3 pages about.  Get more assignment assistance here.

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