Comparison of two works of art from 1400 to the present on view at a museum in New York


1. Paper Topic

Please select a comparison of two works of art from 1400 to the present on view at a museum in New York. (This includes works of art from the Early Renaissance, Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary periods)

Choose two works that you think will make an interesting and meaningful comparison. Choose specific objects and look for both similarities and differences in approach and treatment of subject matter.

There are many options, but some examples are a comparison of 2 self-portraits by different artists, 2 landscapes in different styles, 2 still-lifes from different time periods, or 2 works of similar subject matter from the same artist or period.

You will write a full description of each work, compare and contrast the two works, and research the historical and stylistic context of the two works.

2. Research, Bibliography, and Outline

Once you have your topic, look for literature related to your selected term paper topic. Go to the library and look up books and articles to select at least 4 or 5 published sources. While you may use the web for locating sources, you may not use web-sites as your source material. Compile these sources into a bibliography and use Sylvan Barnet s book (A Short Guide to Writing About Art) to find the correct style for your citations.
3. Final Paper
Your final paper must be proofread, typed, double-spaced (5-7 pages) with a standard 1 in margin and a max 12 pt font. Include your name and Art 100 section number on the first page.

Your first paragraph should introduce your topic, the artists names, titles of artworks, and where they are on display. Describe briefly the location inside the museum and which works are on display next to them. Attach a receipt from the museum. The first time you mention an artist s name always list the first and last name. Following that, you should mention the artist by his/her last name only. The first time you mention a piece of art, always list the date in parenthesis right after the title. All titles must be either in italics or underlined.

The second part of your paper should be a visual analysis of the two works. Walk us through the composition in an organized manner and try to write it in so much detail that a blind person could imagine the works. Use vocabulary where applicable and analyze the work in depth.

From here, analyze the two works for content and incorporate information from your readings and research. Explain how the specific ideas are represented in the two works and explain the importance of these ideas to the specific culture and/ or artists whose work you are analyzing. Quote only when the exact words are necessary for your text. If necessary, place a short quote within the text in quotation marks followed by a footnote. If longer than 5 lines, place the quotation without quotation marks, but single-spaced and cite the information you use with a footnote directing the reader to the correct source. All information that you use that can not be considered general knowledge must be cited with a footnote See Barnet s A Short Guide to Writing about Art for correct style.

Finish up your paper with a conclusion. This last paragraph will summarize what you have discussed in the body of the paper.

An art history paper has an argument that needs to be supported with elements from the image being analyzed. Develop a strong interpretive thesis about what you think is the overall effect or meaning of the image. Why are you comparing these two works of art? Create an introduction that sets the stage for your paper by briefly describing the works that you are comparing and by stating your thesis. Do the works have a similar subject matter? Are they from the same art historical period?

Ground your argument in direct and specific references to the work of art itself. Describe the image in specific terms and with the criteria that you used for the analysis. For example, a stray diagonal from the upper left corner leads the eye to...

Explain how the elements work together to create an overall effect. Try not to just list the elements, but rather explain how they lead to or support your analysis.

Contextualize the image within a historical and cultural framework

Avoid making grand claims. For example, saying The artist different from The warm palette evokes...The first phrasing necessitates proof of the artists intent, as opposed to the effect of the image.

Remember not to rely on secondary sources for formal analysis. The goal is to see what in the image led to your analysis. Be certain to show how each detail supports your argument.

Make sure that your paper isnt just description. You should choose details that illustrate your central ideas and further the purpose of your paper.


Use footnotes to identify the sources you have drawn upon for the ideas and information
in your paper. This means not only the sources of quotations but also the sources of all
opinions or interpretations that are not your own, whether quoted, paraphrased, or
summarized. The footnote number should come at the end of the sentence for which a
citation is needed. If all the material in a paragraph is derived from a single source, put
your footnote at the end of the paragraph. If a single sentence or paragraph contains
material from a number of sources, they may all be cited in the same footnote, separated
by semicolons. Footnotes should be numbered consecutively throughout the paper.
A footnote should give the reader the information he or she needs to locate the source you
are citing. This information will normally include the authors name; the title of the book
or article; the publisher, date and place of publication; and the page numbers you are
referring to. For books, it is important to include the edition (if later than the first). For
articles, the name of the journal and the volume number should be given. Titles of books
and journals should be italicized; titles of articles should be placed in quotation marks.
If you refer to the same source more than once, citations after the first should be
abbreviated to the author s last name, followed by the page reference. If you are using
more than one text by a single author, then you will have to give the author s name and
title in subsequent references.

After the bibliography, include a  List of Illustrations followed by the images themselves. Cite the images in the text (fig. 1), (fig. 2), etc. and mark each of the illustrations with the responding number. Describe them fully (artist, title, date) on a separate page labeled,  List of Illustrations placed after your bibliography and before the illustrations. Titles of artworks must be underlined or italicized. Illustrations should be separate from your text and added at the very back of your paper.