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3 pages/≈825 words
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Visual & Performing Arts
English (U.S.)
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Comparative Analysis: Visual & Performing Arts In Different Centuries (Essay Sample)


Write a comparative analysis of two sculptures in a 3-5 page long, typed, and double-spaced essay.
Figure 1. Kiki Smith, Lilith, 1994. Bronze with glass eyes, 31 1/2 x 27 x 17 1/2in. (80 x 68.6 x 44.5cm). Purchase, Roy R., and Marie S. Neuberger Foundation Inc. Gift, 1996.
Figure 2. Enthroned Virgin, ca. 1175–1200. Poplar with paint, 33 15/16 x 8 x 7 in. (86.2 x 20.3 x 17.8 cm). Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan.
Formalism, Iconography
Formalism - stresses the significance of form over content. This method utilizes discussion of formal elements that include: line, shape, space, color, light, and dark; balance, order, proportion, pattern, and rhythm; the final arrangement made by the artist is called the composition.
Iconography - focuses on content (the meaning of the subject matter) rather than on form. It interprets the function and purpose of the selected pieces (such as the meanings of motifs, signs, and symbols used in the work). This method includes three stages:
1.describing the work of art using formal elements
2.identifying the described elements using sources (usually texts)
3.interpreting the symbolism of identified elements using more sources
A ‘compare and contrast' essay is not just a mechanical exercise in which you first state all the features that A and B have in common, and then state all the ways in which A and B are different. The ‘compare and contrast essay' should make a point or serve a purpose.
You should start your introductory paragraph by providing basic information about each work of art (include the full title (italicized), the name of the author, the year and place of creation, and other relevant details, such as medium and style). Then, introduce the context within which you place the two things you plan to analyze. Finish with the Thesis Statement that contains a frame of reference (claim) and a list of arguments discussed in the body of your essay.
Body Paragraphs
Each body paragraph develops only one idea! For this essay, the first two body paragraphs will be descriptive and the rest will be expository. Expository paragraphs will help you develop your arguments. An expository paragraph has the following layout:
A TOPIC SENTENCE communicates the main idea of the paragraph. EVIDENCE refers to factual information relevant to the paragraph's main idea (it must be cited). EVALUATION explains how the main idea of this paragraph relates to the main point of your essay or the frame of reference stated in your thesis. A CONCLUDING SENTENCE clearly states your point about the idea you are developing in the context of your thesis.


Comparative Analysis: Visual & Performing Arts
The paper provides a comparative analysis of two sculptures made in different centuries. The first one, Bronze with Glass Eyes, was created by Kiki Smith in 1994. It portrays an image of a man bending down on his four limbs and tilting his head sideways and upwards. It measures 31.5 inches in length, 27 in width and 17.5 in height. The sculpture is entirely made of bronze. Enthroned Virgin and Child is the second sculpture, which has its origins in Auvergne, France. It is the image of the Virgin Mary seated and holding her child firmly on her laps. It measures 27 inches in length, 11.25 in width and 11 inches in height. This beautiful piece of work was created between the years 1120 and 1200. However, the sculptor remains unknown. The two sculptures will be compared in the context of form and space, religion, posture, and style. It is the aim of every sculptor, regardless of the century, to create artwork that stands out and portrays meaning to the audience to enable an outburst of emotion and discussion about society.
Bronze with Glass Eyes is a low-lying sculpture with a volume of 0.244 meters cubed. Kiki Smith attempted to make it as symmetrical as possible since it represented the form of an adult human being. It is difficult to determine if the figure is masculine or feminine, more so, because the audience only views the back and limbs of the statue. It is stable and upright with no elements of support. Its bronze material makes it a heavy sculpture. The overall texture is very smooth since it has no numerous folds or flaps.

Figure 1. Kiki Smith. 1994. Bronze with Glass Eyes, 31

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