Artwork Comparison Paper For ARTH 102 / Survey Of Western Art II


Nicolas Poussin, Abduction of the Sabine Women, 1636, oil on canvas [Met., 46.160 / gallery 634]
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Triumph of Marius, 1725, oil on canvas [Met., 65.183.1 / gallery 600]

As for the artwork comparison paper, you should focus on the visual and stylistic aspects of the 2 works and their subjects. Explain in brief their stylistic context but do not explore the lives and other works of the artists. Your textbook and the museum web site will give you enough information to work with.

Your papers should be double-spaced typed and about 3 and a half pages / no more than 4 pages.

Look at the artworks carefully in person. Discuss how line, shape, form, light / shadow, color, texture, and depth and space have been used in them. Also discuss their design / composition (how have the parts of the images / objects been arranged). Discuss what materials and techniques were used to make them (oil paints, tempera paints, marble, bronze, etc.). Relate the artworks to their art historical styles, including their time and place of creation (are they Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, Cubist, etc.) and to the artists who made them (how are they typical or not of the artists? works, how do they fit into their careers). It is usually advisable to discuss each work separately first for approximately half of the paper and then compare them in the second half.

Some advice on how to write successfully about art and avoid plagiarism:

  • If you do research, include a list of sources. However, remember that the primary purpose of this assignment is your own analysis, so research is secondary.
  • Avoid quoting from any sources; this paper is primarily your own analysis and you should explain things in your own words.
  • If you incorporate specialized information into your paper that is not commonly known, you should explain it in your own words (paraphrase it) and cite the sources. However, since this is an assignment for introductory-level students, you probably do not need such specialized, uncommon information.
  • If you do not understand some written, researched material you are using to help write your paper, you should find out more about it so that you do understand it. If you still do not understand it, do not use it. You probably do not need to use anything that complicated.
  • Design elements, media, technique, style, historical context, subjects and themes are all important, but some are more important and relevant than others depending on the artwork. For example, if you are analyzing an ancient sculpture with no painting left on it, then you will not have as much to say about color as you would if you are discussing a painting. For another example, if you are discussing a Renaissance artwork, there is probably less information about the life of the artist than if you are discussing a modem artwork.

Writing skills including spelling, punctuation, grammar and more advanced skills of usage and descriptive vocabulary are important and affect ones grade. If you have problems with your writing skills, speak to me and the writing support and help offices at Queens College. The papers that do not follow the basic instructions will automatically receive a grade of F.

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