Museum Research paper and Stylistic Analysis

Students are required to write a 4-6pp. comparison and contrast paper on two artworks they have viewed and analyzed at one of the Houston art museums.
Choose from among the following topics:

Menil Collection 1) compare and contrast a Byzantine icon painting with an African/Oceanic tribal sculpture

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 2) compare and contrast naturalistic renderings of the human figure in an Italian Renaissance/Baroque painting with a Greek vase painting or Greco-Roman sculpture.

Menil Collection, or MFAH 3) compare and contrast an abstract early 20th century modern work (i.e. Picasso; Matisse)with a contemporary nonrepresentational artwork (i.e. Barnet Newman; Mark Rothko; Jackson Pollock; David Smith (sculpture or painting).

Research each artist and stylistic movement or civilization. Apply the visual elements in a comparison and contrast pattern of development.

Use the following outline in organizing your paper: Introduction: Explain why you chose the comparison and why it appealed to you. Cultural context: Place the artworks within a cultural context. Discuss the social hierarchy, religious beliefs, and other distinguishing features of each civilization/society. Identify iconography and patronage. Explain the purpose of the artwork within the society that produced it. Discuss the artist’s biography and the founding and ideology of the stylistic movement. Modes of Analysis. Iconography, Biographical, Contextual, Feminist and Psychoanalysis. Choose the modes which best apply.

III. Visual Analysis: Analyze the object in visual terms. Begin by describing the works in terms of naturalism and realism or abstraction and stylization. Then analyze the object in terms of style using the following vocabulary terms: 1) form; 2) composition; 3) materials and technique; 4) line; 5) color; 6) texture; 7) space; 8) mass; 9) volume; 10) perspective and foreshortening; 11) proportion and scale, etc. See your Sayre, A World of Art textbook Part I for definitions of terms. Be sure to explain exactly how the visual elements contribute to the style the artist uses. Use appropriate vocabulary introduced in each chapter, i.e. Ideal Canon of Human Proportions, contrapposto pose. Define and discuss the media and technique, and its impact on the visual elements and style.

Conclusion: What value or meaning do the artworks hold for us today? Is it aesthetic, philosophical, historical?

Begin your research in the library and museum catalogs:

Suggested Bibliography:

Carr, Annemarie Weyl, Bertrand Davezac, and Clare Elliott. Imprinting The Divine : Byzantine And Russian Icons From The Menil Collection. n.p.: 2011..The Menil Collection: A Selection from the Paleolithic to the Modern Era. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997. Print.

Newman, Barnett, et al. Barnett Newman : The Late Work, 1965-1970. n.p.: Houston : The Menil Collection, [2015], 2015.

Van Dyke, Kristina. African Art From The Menil Collection. n.p.: 2008.

Wilson, Carolyn C. Italian Paintings Xiv-Xvi Centuries in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Houston, Tex: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in association with Rice University Press and Merrell Holberton Publishers, London, 1996. Print.

Briefly research the artists’ biography and define the stylistic movement, and place the artwork within a cultural context (two-three paragraphs).

Then apply the concepts and vocabulary listed on the Museum Assignment Worksheet (Do not submit the worksheet here.) Write a stylistic analysis of three-five paragraphs. Develop paragraphs of three-five sentences in length, each of which begins with a topic sentence for each applicable visual element or principle of design! Be sure to clearly define and illustrate the use of each term by describing specific areas of the artwork’s composition.

Provide at least two research references for each artwork, in addition to the textbook.

Papers must be typed double-spaced with one inch margins and black 12pt Times Roman font. Use formal English composition format and organization. Use MLA source citation method (Author, page) in body text to document your research, and attach a separate Works Cited page. Use a minimum of two research sources other than your textbook. Use the MLA Handbook as a reference guide to style, formatting and documentation, and the Writing Center for assistance. [Fully document web sources according to the MLA style:

Author. “Title”. Journal/Sponsor. date. web. In-text: (shorten“title” paragraph).]


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