Essay Assignment on Formal Analysis of an Artwork

Final Paper: Formal Analysis of an Artwork
The formal analysis paper uses form, content, iconography, style and context to describe and analyze an artwork. Form describes all of the physical attributes of an artwork including the work’s size and medium, the techniques the artist has employed and the visual composition and design implemented. Content refers to the narrative aspects of the work, such as the message or story a work contains. Iconography involves the identification and description of the symbols in an artwork. Style describes the sum of identifiable traits and aspects in an artwork such as choice of subject matter, brushwork or use of color. Context explores the web of relationships that connect a work to the surrounding culture. All of these aspects of an artwork typically complement each other in communicating the artist’s intent.
Note that it is likely that you will place more emphasis on some aspects depending on the artwork.
Students will analyze a chosen work using the structure of the formal analysis paper. Be sure to choose a work with ample information on many aspects of the work: form, content, iconography, context.

Directions
Word count requirement: 550
Students will upload a rough draft for instructor review, then revise and submit a final version.

Examples of successful essays are found under: content/writing about art.

Essay structure:
Introductory paragraph: Introduce the work. What is the title and whom is the artist? What medium? Develop a strong thesis statement which reflects the main points of the paper.
Description: Briefly describe the work. Assume the reader has not seen the piece.
Body: In the main body of the essay develop your researched ideas and analyze the work. Support your thesis. Elaborate.
Conclusion:Finally, end the essay by reinforcing the main arguments of the thesis.
EXAMPLE::::::Final Essay Example 1
Student name
The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci successfully expressed humanism as a key element of Renaissance art by depicting real individuals when he painted “The Last Supper”. Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper” in Milan, Italy during 1495 and 1498. Leonardo da Vinci’s form allowed him to express the naturalistic style of Renaissance art while painting “The Last Supper”. “The Last Supper’s” content is a conventional symbol that is associated with Christianity. Surprisingly, Leonardo da Vinci was not the first artist to paint “The Last Supper”.
Leonardo da Vinci’s form allowed him to express the naturalistic style of Renaissance art while painting “The Last Supper”. For example, Leonardo da Vinci successfully painted “The Last Supper” using linear perspective by placing Jesus Christ in the center of the composition for a vanishing point for the other people and geometric shapes in “The Last Supper”. In addition, Leonardo da Vinci successfully depicted naturalistic individuals by experimenting with a new painting technique that involved painting on dry plaster as opposed to wet plaster because a tradition fresco painting would have dried too quickly. Furthermore, Leonardo da Vinci mixed egg yolks and vinegar to form a tempera and oil paint to create “The Last Supper”. Unfortunately, the dry plaster has chipped away over the years and has needed to be repaired several times.

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is highly recognized around the world for the painting’s conventional symbolic meaning associated with Christianity. “The Last Supper” can be found in John chapter thirteen, verses twenty one through twenty six in the Holy Bible. “The Last Supper” depicts a Christian religious scene that involves the shocked facial expressions of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ when Jesus predicts one of the disciples will betray him. Jesus Christ announces to the disciples who the traitor by saying, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper” highlighting Judas as the betrayer for he is the receiver of the bread. Leonardo da Vinci’s new painting technique allowed him to apply naturalistic detail to Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples while painting “The Last Supper”. During the Renaissance, humanist believed that mankind was the greatest creation of god. Therefore, Leonardo da Vinci and other artist created art work that consisted of realistic people and religious scenes. Overall, Leonardo da Vinci painted the “The Last Supper” very different from other artists. For example, Leonardo da Vinci painted the scene as it was depicted in the bible. Leonardo da Vinci used linear perspective by making Jesus Christ the focal point of “The Last Supper”. Ironically, the twelve disciples and Jesus were all placed in groups on one side of the table allowing viewers of the painting to feel invited to dinner. In addition, Leonardo da Vinci’s experimentation with his new painting technique allowed him to spend three years painting natural characteristics of Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples during the Renaissance era.

Leonardo da Vinci successfully expressed humanism as a key element of Renaissance art by depicting real individuals when he painted “The Last Supper”. Therefore, Leonardo da Vinci’s version of “The Last Supper” is the most famous off all “The Last Supper” paintings. In addition, “The Last Supper” is recognized over the world and is associated with Christianity. Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper” for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza during 1495 A.D. and 1948 A.D. Today, people can view “The Last Supper” in the Santa Maria Della Grazie church in Milan, Italy.