Nineteenth Century Art

Assignment and Research Guide for AH 201

Term Paper

raft_of_the_medusaWrite a 6 to 8 page paper on a specific work or works by an artist(s) whose career falls within the study of the nineteenth century.  In choosing your topic, consider the fact that this is a paper that should incorporate both research and critical thinking.  In other words, choose a topic that can be productively researched and have a focus that is narrow enough to be adequately covered in 6-8 pages.

Examples of paper topics 

  • Comparative, two artists, different movements; Ingres vs. Delacroix
  • Comparative, two artists, same movement: Gericault vs. Delacroix
  • Same subject matter, same medium, different artists: Odalisques by Delacroix and Ingres
  • Same theme, different artists: death in Gericault, Courbet, and Manet
  • Same artistic strategy, different artists: visual quotation in Manet and Cezanne

 These are only some of the types of paper topics you can do.  In other words, don’t just think that it has to be a work of art that is the focus of the paper.  It can be a subject matter, theme, technique, etc.

Some dos and don’ts

Do choose a topic, artist, and/or work of art that is of interest to you and that you feel will help you come to a better understanding of your process of making art, your identity as an artist, your relation to art history, etc.

  • Don’t choose a work of art by an artist we’ve focused on in class, just because I’ve talked about it.  You are welcome to choose an artist that we have covered, but only do so if you have a real interest in exploring her or his work further.
  • Do seek help for this project.  We will meet individually at least once to see how this project is going.  If you have questions you can ask others or me.  You are not alone on this project.

Length of paper:

6-8 pages, double spaced, typed or word processed, using a normal font and size (e.g. Times, 12), and normal spaces for the margins (e.g. the margins used in this handout).

While this term paper is your project, it should demonstrate all of the following: 

  • Ability to visually analyze a work of art and relate that image to other works of art on the basis of visual analysis
  • Ability to relate works of art to other works of art by same artist and/or different artists in terms of ideas
  • Ability to carry out secondary research (i.e. look up articles on relevant work(s) of art and artist(s)
  • Ability to comprehend and communicate an understanding of secondary literature
  • Ability to footnote and create a bibliography.
  • Ability to place works of art within either/and/or a larger artistic, social, historical, political, theoretical, etc., context.
  • Most of all, an ability to communicate your ideas, clearly, and in a well-organized way.

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