The purpose of this assignment is to choose a museum to visit in person and analyze/critique one work of art on display, limit your choice to painting, or sculpture. Select and analyze an artwork from within the historic time frame of the course material, approx. 15th century through c. 1945. The idea behind this project is to have you write about an artwork in-person and as the artist intended the work to be seen and experienced.
Text and online images just cannot compare to the real thing! To see an artist’s brushstrokes, capture nuances of materials and visual sensations: remember great art is in the subtleties. The experience will offer a very personal connection with the artist/artwork and time period. And, perhaps you will become acutely aware of your own place in the continuum of history. Reproductions will never provide this sense of connection. When a writer can reference his/her personal reactions or discoveries, the writing becomes much more compelling, and authentic. Only your first-hand observations are relevant.
Step 1: Go to a Museum (find out what’s on display before you go).
When you go to the museum find all the information you can while there. Determine whether photography is allowed before you take pictures. Many museums allow photography without flash, but it is important to ask. Obviously, not everyone will have the time or opportunity in to go to a museum in NYC. But, consider where you may have the chance to see original art before the due date. If you are unable locate an artwork appropriate to the assignment, let your instructor know.
Art Museums in our area:
Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany
The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass.
Empire State Plaza, Rockeffeler Art Collection, Albany NY Mass MoCA, North Adams, Mass.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Metropolitan Museum of Art The Guggenheim Museum
Step 2: At the Museum.
Your instructor may have ideas for how you may complete your first-hand analysis in terms of translating your experience into a conventional or unique analysis, use of vocabulary, writing style, etc. Remember: your approach is pretty wide-open, for example try to mirror the same quality of style, visual features, or imagination you see, sense, or feel in the piece you view. Be poetic!
• An identification (artist, title, date, medium, and museum)
• Your own first-hand, written observations (300 word minimum) • An image of your artwork (preferably your own photo)
Step 3: Submit completed assignment (do not email to me), minimum one page (300 words), typed, double-spaced, follow correct APA format, but remember you only need to cite any information provided by the museum you used in your analysis, including image(s).
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