History & Criticism of Art, ARH 3056-01 (Andyshak)
Electronically (before class) through www.turnitin.com on Blackboard, and hard copy (at the beginning of class) on Thursday, May 22.
Formal Analysis/Description Paper:
The technical term for a written description of a work of art is “ekphrasis.” The ability to describe a work of art in text is foundational for any writing in the field of art history, and will be a part of your second and third writing assignments.
For this first writing assignment, you must choose an object or monument that you visit in person and write a description of it. This object or monument can be a work of art that you find in the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, a sculpture on campus, or a building on campus; alternatively you may choose to write about an object, monument, or building that you find in Tallahassee. Be sure to identify the piece’s location and artist (if you can find one). In this description, consider the work’s formal elements: what is the medium (of what material is it made)? How was this piece created? Describe its size, scale, and composition. What is the intended viewpoint? Who might be the intended audience? If you describe a sculpture or building, why might it have been placed in this particular location? This is a pre-iconographic analysis, so you do NOT need to speculate about the artist’s intent, symbols used, or cultural significance.
• Paragraph 1. Identify the object – give the title (if one exists), the artist (if known), date created (if known), and its location. If you want to, you may explain why you chose this object.
• Following paragraphs- choose one aspect of the object and describe it. These will need to be very detailed: pretend that you are describing the object to someone who has never seen it, but needs to create a drawing or model of it based on your description. For example, consider:
o The materials used. Are the surfaces smooth or rough?
o Any identifiable subjects in the object.
o The size of the object. This can be relative if exact dimensions are unknown.
o The location. Where is the object placed, and how does it interact with its surroundings?
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