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Visual & Performing Arts
English (U.S.)
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Formal Analysis. Visual & Performing Arts Assignment. (Essay Sample)


The assignment will be made available in Canvas, Assignments tab, on 11/17 at 9am and willbe due on 11/23 at 9am. It is worth 20% of your final grade. See the Grading Rubric under theFiles tab in Canvas, Assignments folder, for how grading will be assessed.The assignment is to write a formal analysis of one of the works listed below.A formal analysis addresses the “formal” or visual elements in a work of art.The purpose of this paper is to write a careful description and analysis of one of the workslisted below on the basis of study of the digital image of an object at the MetropolitanMuseum of Art in New York.
The ONLY printed sources you may use are your textbook and your class notes, which youshould cite when referring to any material therein. Any quotations from the Gardner textbookshould be in quotation marks and should be very limited and very brief.
• This is NOT a research paper.
• You are expected to develop your own visual analysis derived from what you see and whatyou have learned in this course. DO NOT refer to any outside sources of informationbeyond the textbook and class notes, except for the dictionary.For useful tips on writing a formal analysis, see Sylvan Barnet’s A Short Guide to Writing aboutArt --see the excerpt, “Formal Analysis” on our Canvas site Files, Folder, Formal AnalysisAssignment. This video offers an example of the formal analysis of a Renaissance painting:
As in any SAS Humanities course, this is a writing as well as looking assignment.To improve your writing, you can also take advantage of the services offered
by:Rutgers Learning Centers Writing Centers as needed: Guide to Grammar andStyle: 2020, Formal Analysis Assignment--2ACADEMIC INTEGRITYAll students are required to abide the Rutgers University Academic Integrity Policy (re. cheating,fabrication, plagiarism, denying access, etc.). Please review the information online at: note the definitions of:Cheating - the use or possession of inappropriate or prohibited materials, information,sources, or aids in any academic exercise. Cheating also includes submitting papers,research results or reports, analyses, and other textual or visual material and media asone’s own work when others prepared them.Plagiarism - the use of another person’s words, ideas, images, or results, no matterthe form or media, without giving that person appropriate credit.
• Your paper must be a well-written formal essay with carefully constructed paragraphs.
• Presentation counts
oEdit your work. Read it aloud to yourself to ensure that it makes sense. Proofread ittwice! Be thoughtful and creative.
oWrite a stimulating introduction and a persuasive conclusion, summing up the mainpoints of your analysis and the overall relationship of the object to its stylistic period.o An academic paper is an argument. You must have a well-thought-out thesis or point ofview, and you must persuade your reader (who is also your grader) that you are right.PLEASE PREPARE AND ORGANIZE YOUR PAPER AS FOLLOWS:Format• 12 point double spaced Times New Roman font• 1-inch margins• Page number in the top right-hand corner of the header• Single-spaced header should include: Your name, the course title, Professor’s name, anddate of submission• At the end of your paper, you must include this statement with your initials typed after it:“On my honor, I have neither received nor given any unauthorized assistance on thisassignment.”•Length: a minimum of three typed and double-spaced FULL pages (maximum is 5 pages).Overall StructurePage 1:Identify the work in list form• Artist (may be Anonymous)• Title• Museum Accession number• Place of origin, approximate dateFall 2020, Formal Analysis Assignment--3• MediumUse five single-space lines or fewer. Do NOT use a separate title page.(Don’t forget to start your header on this page.)Continuing on page 1, begin the text of your paper.• Introduction and thesis statement• A thorough description of the work, written as though your reader has never seen theobject. This description sets the stage for your analysis.• Analysis of the subject matter and style of the work, as we have done throughout thecourse. Some issues to consider, if relevant:Regarding subject matter:o Who or what is represented?o What is/are the figure(s) doing?o What is/are the figure(s) wearing? What objects are associated with the figure(s)?How do the clothing and objects help to identify or characterize the figure(s)and/or the activities portrayed?Regarding style:o Composition. How would you characterize the composition (arrangement offigures and objects in the given framework)?o Figure style. Is/are the figure(s) rendered realistically (and if so, life-like,idealized, naturalistically?) What is/are the body proportions (lean or stocky, forexample)?o Action. Is/are the figure(s) dynamic or static? If dynamic, how would youcharacterize the sense of motion (rapid or slow, wild or controlled, for example)?o Color. What is the color? How does the color(s) affect the viewer’s perception ofthe work?o Space. If the work is two-dimensional, does the artist create an illusion of space,and if so, how? If the work is three-dimensional, how might the sculpture interact or notwith real space?o Light and shade. If the work is a painting or mosaic, does the artist create theillusion of light and shade, and if so, how? Does the artist use shading to convey thevolume and mass of figures and objects? If the work is a relief or a freestanding sculpture,does the artist exploit natural light to create contrasts between light and dark or othereffects, and if so, how?Fall 2020, Formal Analysis Assignment--4o Texture. How would you characterize the surface (rough or polished, plain ordecorative, for example), and how does this affect the viewer’s perception of the work?How is a sense of texture (in the hair or drapery, for example) conveyed?o Proportion. Do the different parts of the composition conform to the same scale?If not, why did the artist create this disproportionality?o Technique. If the work is a sculpture, was it carved in a subtractive process ormodeled into shape? How does the technique affect the viewer’s perception of the work?o Medium. How does the choice of medium affect the representation of the figureor story? How does the medium have an impact on the viewer?ALWAYS USE SPECIFIC VISUAL EVIDENCE FROM THE WORK OF ART TO SUPPORTYOUR ANALYSIS!Good example: “The wide stride of the figure and the forward inclination of her torsoand head suggest that she is moving rapidly.”Bad example: “The figure appears to be moving rapidly.”Good example: “The wrinkles in the neck, the asymmetry of the facial features, andthe disproportionately large nose lend a strong sense of realism to the portrait.”Bad example: “The portrait is realistic.”Is the monument, in subject matter and style, typical of the stylistic period in which the artistworked?Compare the object to at least one specific, fully identified work of art from the same stylisticperiod that we have covered in class or that was mentioned in Gardner’s History of Art.• What are the main similarities and differences?Given what you know about this period, what may have been the original context and function ofthis work of art?• Do any aspects of the subject matter or style relate to this context or function?• What statement do you think the artist wanted to make?Submission: papers must be submitted as a word document. Submit your document to theAssignments tab in Canvas by 9am on November 23. Remember to hit send. You shouldreceive an email confirmation if you have successfully submitted. 


Your Name
Subject and Section
Professor's Name
November 23, 2020
Art Analysis
Art piece:
Anon., Shrine of the Virgin, 17.190.185a, b, ca. 1300, Oak, linen covering, polychromy, gilding, gesso
Classical artworks have always placed a primacy on the medium, form, and figure of the art piece. A closer analysis of most classical art pieces would show that artists placed a lot of details into how they create and present a piece in relation to the thematic background of the overall artwork. Accordingly, this analysis would focus on the artwork entitled Shrine of the Virgin. An initial description of the art would provide a vivid representation of what it is, followed by an analysis of the various styles and methodologies used in piecing together its different elements. All in all, I believe that the combination of the different styles and art forms show a more intimate relationship between the virgin and child, which represents the story of the immaculate conception.
The art piece in this analysis is an image of the Virgin Mary kissing her baby Jesus Christ. The image is portrayed as a sculpture, and the sculpture opens up to show Jesus Christ and his life. Together, the characters form a triangular and elongated figure with their heads toward each other while their bodies are posed in a parallel. The color palette is minimal, and the only vivid color was the red robe that could be seen when the sculpture is opened up, free-flowing, and stands out across the whole sculpture.

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