Formal analysis essay
FAH287 Fall 2015 Second Written Assignment: Formal Analysis Essay — 25%
Due: Wednesday, November 25, hard copy in class and also submit to turnitin.com
Length: 4-5 pages (1100-1250 words, double-spaced, 12-point type)
__ Colour illustrations of any works you discuss (see below for formatting instructions)
__ the Academic Integrity Checklist
__ your first written assignment, so that we may refer back to this when marking the formal analysis essay – both assignments will be returned to you at the final exam
Assignment: Use the observations you made in the first written assignment – the formal analysis worksheet – as a jumping off point to write a carefully crafted and well-argued formal analysis essay about the work you selected from the AGO. Support your argument with the use of two comparative works of art, and research from at least three scholarly sources. The comparative works may be by the same artist, or other artists, and you should compare the formal elements of these works to the AGO work in order to add depth to your analysis of the AGO work. Your scholarly sources should consist of secondary sources (books by art historians, articles in scholarly journals by art historians), and/or primary sources (writing by artists and/or critics from the period of the works you discuss).
Tips for writing your formal analysis essay:
1) It is important to remember that the formal analysis essay is more than just a description of the work. It should also include a thesis statement that reflects your conclusions about the work. The thesis statement is an important element. It establishes the tone for the entire essay, and sets it apart from being a merely descriptive essay.
2) Note that you do not have to include every category from the worksheet in your essay. Rather, focus on those categories that are most relevant to the work you have chosen – that is to say, those elements of art and principles of design that the artist used most effectively in the process of giving the work its form.
3) Even though you are to do research to help support your argument, be sure that you emphasize the formal elements of the works discussed in your essay.
4) Be sure to cite your sources thoroughly in order to avoid plagiarism, a very serious academic office. You may use either the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Style Manual for your citation formatting. For tips on how to avoid plagiarism, refer to your syllabus.
5) Provide a figure number (i.e. Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.) for any image you include in the work, the first time you mention it. Put the figure number in brackets at the end of the sentence. Provide the figure number again, when you compare it to another work. At the end of the paper, include your illustrations, and identify each one with the appropriate figure number.
6) Provide a title page that includes the title of your essay. The title of the essay should relate to or signal your thesis. Also include your name, student number, and course information. Add page numbers, but do not include the title page, or the pages with the image illustrations, in your page count.
7) In the first paragraph, the introduction, include:
— the name of the artist, the title of the AGO artwork (which is underlined or italicized every time you use the title in your paper), and date of the work
— a thesis statement
— for your two comparative works, include the information above, and tie these works into your thesis statement. Introduce all of the works in the order that you intend to discuss them in the essay.
Sample title and introductory paragraph, drawn from Class 2 & 3 lectures, with a main work and two comparative works:
Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s Filial Piety (1763): An Early Attempt at a New Artistic Style
This paper will argue that Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s painting Filial Piety (1763) was an early attempt by the Rococo artist to develop the newly emerging style of Neoclassicism (Fig. 1). It will do so by analyzing several of the key art elements and design principles in the painting. The paper will begin by explaining how Greuze looked to examples of art from the classical past, such as the Ara Pacis Augustae (13 B.C.E to 9 B.C.E.), to help develop this new style (Fig. 2). Then it will then show that, despite his best efforts, Greuze’s early attempt at Neoclassicism was not entirely successful, by comparing Filial Piety to the first fully formed Neoclassical painting, The Oath of the Horatii (1784) by Jacques-Louis David (Fig. 3). The elements of art that will be considered are line, space, texture, and colour, and the design principles are balance, emphasis, movement, and unity.
8) In the second paragraph, include a brief description of your AGO work – size, medium, subject matter, setting, etc. Emphasize the art elements and design principles you have listed in the first paragraph, and that you will focus on in the rest of the essay. Each subsequent paragraph of the essay should begin with a topic sentence that will tell the reader what the paragraph will be about, and each paragraph should help to build your argument. Use your comparative works to help build your argument. Overall, the paper should have a sense of order, moving purposefully through your argument. Finally, in your conclusion (the final paragraph), you should end your paper with a statement that sums up the main points you have made throughout paper to support your thesis.