A visual analysis is uses as the main unit in art historical writing. It is used to express how you understand the visual choices that the artist made in regards to their piece. These are the types -of papers that are used in art magazines, journals, and books. You will observe the different parts of the artwork and then write about them.
When the artist creates a piece, they make specific decisions on how they will present the various components. You will want to look at each of these pieces individually to get an idea of how they work together to create the piece. It can help you understand the piece as a whole and the message or story that the artist was aiming to present.
The visual analysis addresses the formal elements of the artwork. This includes the color, texture, line, and size. It can be used to interpret the meaning of the piece. Look for things that are disproportional to the piece. What colors were used and why were those colors chosen. Why did they choose to use the various medium?
Start by observing the piece and jotting down your observations. Be very specific when you are looking at the piece. Generalizations in this type of writing are not good. Look at how the artist used space and other material and visual attributes. Don’t just consider your first impressions of the entire work. You need to dig deeper and really absorb the piece.
Now make your claim. It will reflect the organization of the piece overall. Look at how the formal elements in the piece affect the meaning of the piece. Compare this work to other ones that you have studied.
Support your claim with details discussing the visuals. Look at the form of the piece to start. Now you will make sure to address the elements that relate to your claim. Organize the observations so that they make sense. Make sure that you tell your reader why you decided to add any quotes that the artist made about their piece. Discuss how the pieces fit together. Utilize the vocabulary that you have learned in class to explain your piece.
Make sure to pull it altogether by using transitions between your paragraphs. It will create a solid piece. Don’t forget to proofread and edit before turning your paper in.
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