Ancient Art History Museum Observation Process
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Ancient Art History
Egyptian Art : https://collections.lacma.org/search/site/?front=1&f=bm_field_has_image%3Atrue&f=im_field_curatorial_area%3A40
Greek, Roman and Etruscan Art
Museum Observation Paper Requirements
The object of the paper is to take the skills and information you have been acquiring during the course (visual and contextual analysis) and apply them to viewing ONE work of art from the time-period and topic of this class: Ancient Art. The paper should be no less than 1200 words (three-four pages) following MLA formatting. Papers less than 1200 words will not be accepted for a passing grade.
Suggested Issues to Address (although not all issues will be significant or relevant)
What is the subject matter (iconography) depicted?
Is it a devotional or a secular work?
Why would the artist, patron, or viewer be interested in a depiction of this subject?
Have we studied any versions of the same subject in class? How does this work compare?
How did the artwork function?
How has the artist used the formal elements of painting or sculpture to render the subject?
What was the political, religious, or social context in which this work was created?
How does the work affect you as a twenty-first century viewer?
Is it a pleasing composition?
Does the artist demonstrate skill or does the work seem provincial?
Is it an effective and persuasive rendering of the subject?
What is the medium, i.e., oil on canvas, and is it unusual? Consider whether or not the medium is significant to the interpretation of the work, i.e., was it expensive or unusually expressive?
What is the format and scale of the work?
Can you deduce the original location of the work from its iconography and format?
Who were the patron, artist, and/or viewer?
Do you think it was intended for public or private consumption?
Who might the audience have been?
Can you interpret the meaning that the art once held for its original intended audience?
This is not intended to be a research paper. You may include information from the label of the painting if you wish, though you must state that this is where you found the information in question. Information added from the label will not count toward the 1200-word requirement. If the iconography is unfamiliar to you, you may research it a little, either in a bible, or in an iconography book. (See for example: Hall, James. Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, 1974.) Plagiarism is conduct that will result in a failing grade and possible dismissal from the class.
Checklist before submitting ONE document
Picture of the artwork
Minimum 1200-word original text
A receipt from your in-person visit or in lieu of a receipt (due to a virtual visit) write an extra paragraph, not included in the 1200-word requirement, that explains your choice of museum and artwork choice, and your experience visiting the museum
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