Art History 14 | StudyDaddy.com

ASSIGNMENT: Using 800–1000 words, you are to write a formal analysis

Formal analysis: 

The point of a formal analysis is to craft analytical language to account for the ways that an artistic object operates intelligibly through the material form. This means the only research required (and allowed) is close looking and careful thinking. You are not to read any additional material on the artist or the history of the particular work that you select. Do draw on class lectures and readings to the extent that we discuss ways to “read” and analyze visual objects, and I encourage you to incorporate ideas about Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, etc. that might apply to the time period of the work you select. Such factors that might be important to your discussion include composition, size, scale, materials, brushwork, surface finish, space, movement, color, sheen, and/or light. Note that the most appropriate options among these formal traits vary with respect to their depicted subjects—some are pictures/objects that show recognizable things, while others are more fully abstract. Regardless of whether your work is representational or abstract, you should not focus on any potential narrative but instead on the way the artwork has been created and how it looks. Do not write about symbolization or how a work makes you feel. This assignment concerns how visual form in and of itself can bear sophisticated and often subtle ideas. Try to seek out the intelligence of your object, and remember that it often takes time and consideration (and a rough draft or two) to really begin to bring out the material insights of an artwork.

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