Paint to write the report:

  Author: Michiel Daniel

  Name of the Paint: Four Gods Dispossessed

  Year of the Paint: 1985

  Watercolor on Paper

This report is not a research paper.  You are to put your own observations and thoughts in your own words to evaluate a work of art.  If you do use statements or ideas from any other source, including the museum’s notes about the work, you MUST tell (document) where the information is from in a properly-formatted MLA citation.

In the first paragraph, provide, in sentence form, the facts:  the name of the work, the artist, the date (or period if date is not specific), the medium in which it is done, and approximate size.  What style is it?

The second paragraph is to be a detailed description of the work.  Present in words  exactly what you see.  Include significant aspects of the painting.  What is the subject?  How is it composed (arranged)?  Describe characters, setting (surroundings, location, background, etc.), objects, colors, light/shadow.  All these contribute to meaning.

Here is where the material from the text’s Introduction will be useful.  In the third paragraph, go into the content (meaning).  That is, what is the artist saying?  Determine the theme.  Look for iconography and symbolism.  What is the mood (feeling) it projects?  Are there social, political, moral, and/or religious implications?  (All of these may not be present in the work.)  What might be its relation to the time and place of its making?  What do you believe was the purpose of the work?  These are very important points because they are the reason for the painting’s creation.  Think carefully.

The fourth paragraph will be comparative in nature.  Choose a work in your textbook (from any chapter) which you see as sharing similarities with the one you have been analyzing.  Again, provide the name of it and the artist, its date, and the page number it is on so the reader can find it easily.  Apply the same evaluation criteria here.  (There is no need to go into a lengthy description of it since it is available to the reader.)  Tell how they are alike.  What reminds you of the museum work?  There may be several things: the subject, the theme, the period from which it comes, the artistic style, how the work is composed (arranged), iconography, symbolism, meanings, purposes, and so on.  Whatever the relationships you see, explain them in detail.

The fifth paragraph is your personal response to the museum work.  Art engages not only the eye, but feelings and emotions and intellect as well.  Your task here is to show in words how this piece affected you.  Why did you choose it in the first place?  What did you like about it?  What was your aesthetic response to it?  (Look up the term aesthetics so you know exactly what you are describing.)  What specifically stimulated your feelings about it?  Maybe the story it tells, or artistic style, or symbolic images, or meaning, just to suggest a few possibilities.  Perhaps your own life experiences or associations brought memories that made you relate to it.  Or does it speak to your life now, or does it take you out of the here and now to another time and place?  Whatever motivated your selection, now is the chance to be subjective in your appraisal of the work.

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