Write an essay in which you make an argument (something you want to prove to your reader) about a work of art that you find compelling. All essays can be considered “persuasive” since the author is atMake sure that your essay has a thesis statement. The thesis statement tells your reader what you plan to prove to your reader in your essay. The thesis statement—usually the last sentence of your first (introductory) paragraph—is like a map of the main argument that you will make in your essay. It has to be something more complex than that which can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” It should be specific enough that you can answer the question or address the ideas in the length of your paper: 1200 words. What you choose to argue about the artist, the artwork, and the historical and cultural context in which they worked is up to you. However, you must present your own original ideas about the artist and artwork instead of only presenting others’ ideas.

Take a look at the assigned readings for the course and identify the authors’ thesis statements to get ideas about how you might begin to formulate your own original thesis statement on the artist that you’ve chosen.

Do research on the artist, their artwork, and the time and place in which they worked. Contextualize the work of the artist in your essay. To contextualize their artwork, you can ask for example: what is the historical, cultural, political and/or religious context in which they worked? How did the context in which they worked affect their artwork and/or how did their artwork affect the society in which they worked? Artists aren’t merely products of their time; their work can change society.

Remember: this is an art history course. Do not write a biography of the artist’s life. Focus on your analysis of the artwork. Everyone’s life experiences inform, but do not necessarily define or determine, their work in any field.

Be sure to describe and analyze one work of art by the artist and give your interpretation of it. To analyze a work of art, focus on how it is made (what Elements of Art and/or Principles of Design are the most prominent and to what effect?) Be sure to give the title, medium, and date of the artwork and describe it for someone who may be unfamiliar with the work. Give your interpretation of the artwork. One way to think about your interpretation is to ask: What do you think the artist is trying to say or convey to the viewer? Include (an) image(s) of artwork that you mention in your essay.

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