INTERPRETIVE ESSAY This assignment builds on the skills you gained by doing a Formal Analysis in Paper #1, but also allows you to do your own art historical interpretation of a work of art Custom Paper

INTERPRETIVE ESSAY: This assignment builds on the skills you gained by doing a Formal Analysis in Paper #1, but also allows you to do your own art historical interpretation of a work of art. Again, you are encouraged to choose an artwork from the list below, which were all made between 1850 and 1950. Other works from the same period can be use if approved by the instructor in advance.
Your interpretation of the artwork you choose should explore the question: What makes this artwork modern? In Chapters 30 and 31 of our textbook, we read about different ways that artists reacted to the new realities brought about by industrial-scale production, growing cities, greater disparities between poverty and wealth, and new technologies including the camera and steel beams for building. This new reality of everyday life ? known as Modernity ? inspired some artists to celebrate and others to despair. Some explored new content and others explored new ways to use paint or other media. All of these reactions to the changing modern world can be called modern.
To write this essay, you should do a Formal Analysis of the artwork first. You don?t need to write it out in essay form like you did for Paper #1. But you should think about how the artist used the elements of visual expression (color, line, composition, and light). To review Formal Analysis, look back at the Assignment for Paper #1 and excerpts from Sylvan Barnet?s book on Canvas. Then, you should think about how this artist?s use of these elements makes his or her artwork modern. Your interpretation of this question will be your thesis or main argument.
To develop your interpretive thesis, you may want to do a little research. This is not primarily a research paper. But you might want to know the answer to basic questions like: When did this artist live? Where did he or she work? What were the circumstances surrounding the creation of this artwork (if known)? Did the artist write about his or her work? Can his or her writing help you interpret the artwork as modern?
Combine your research with your own observations about the elements of visual expression to back up your thesis. Based on everything you have learned about art made before this period, you should be able to ask yourself questions like: What looks new in this painting? What elements have not appeared this way in artwork before this period? Does this piece depict something new? Does the artist use his or her medium differently than previous artists? If yes, then How? ?How? is the most important question. How do the artist?s new actions respond to modern life?
Because this paper should include some outside research, YOU WILL NEED TO INCLUDE PROPER CITATIONS. Any time you get information from another source or use another person?s ideas or language you MUST give them credit with a citation. Art Historians use footnotes rather than parenthetical citations to cite their sources. You should have footnotes as well as a bibliography listing all the sources you consulted. If you are more comfortable with parenthetical citations in the text instead of footnotes, that is fine. Kate L. Turabian offers a very useful quick guide to help you format citations in both formats here:
You may use books and online resources. The MTU Library has useful books related to modern art and you can find basic information about all of the listed artworks. You can search the library?s online catalog or peruse the shelf on the 3rd Floor containing call numbers beginning with N?NX. (For instance, Liz Dawtrey, ed. Investigating Modern Art [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996] is call number N6490 .I55 1996 and can be found on that shelf.) When citing online resources, remember to include the date you accessed the website, as indicated by Kate L. Turabian above. Some websites that I find useful include:
SmartHistory at the Khan Academy:
The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Both of these websites have thematic essays and video discussions authored by experts in the subject. By contrast, Wikipedia has information that has not necessarily been written by an expert. Wikipedia can be a great place to start and you are free to use it and cite it (I use it all the time), but you should use additional sources too. If you have any questions about when to cite, formatting citations, or issues of academic integrity please do not hesitate to talk with me.
As in Paper #1, these papers will be graded on how well you convey what you see, how well you argue your main point, and the quality of the writing (limited passive voice, no sentence fragments, no overly colloquial language, etc). I will be glad to meet with you in advance about structuring your essay and argument. Please take advantage of the services in the Multiliteracies Center if you need help with language skills and editing. You do not need to provide an image of the artwork unless it is NOT on the list of approved artworks below. Suggested length is 3 pages. You can go slightly over the limit if you need to, but you should not need extra space.
Paper is DUE: Tuesday April 16 at the beginning of class at 9:35am. Please hand in your paper in hard copy not by email. Grades will be lowered by a half letter grade for each day the paper is late. See the syllabus for Late Assignment Policies. If you foresee a crunch of work and need a few extra days, talk with me ASAP.

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