In your term paper, you will analyze a work of art according to three planes of analysis:

In your term paper, you will analyse a work of art according to three planes of analysis:

  1. The first plane of analysis is the physical or formal:

= You will describe how the work of art looks and feels.

In terms of formal analysis, you will start with the basis of the formal analysis, which is

– the medium (=what the work is made out of)

– the forms or shapes (=that describe the forms in the work of art, is it geometric or not, natural looking

shapes, unnatural looking shapes, etc.)

– the lines (=which can have different kind of qualities: thick, thin, etc.)

– the colours that are being used.

– the physical texture of the work of art or the visual texture, for instance is it smooth in terms of how it

feels, etc.

– the composition (is it symmetrical or asymmetrical? Radial symmetry?)

– the proportion and scale.

– is there a creation of space with a foreground, middle ground and background?

  1. The second plane of analysis that you would talk about is the content or symbols that are being


= This plane of analysis deals with the subject matter and the symbols used in the work of art or

the building.

– What is the subject? (=the story or narrative, the scene presented, the action time and place, the people

involved, the environment and its details, the symbols).

– What symbols are being used and what do the mean?

= You will describe the subject matter and interpret the symbols that are used.

– Is it a Religious subject, a Historical subject, a Mythological subject, a Genre (daily life), a portraiture, a

Landscape or a Still life?

  1. The third plane of analysis would be the background (or context) or the history behind the work

of art:

– How old is it?

– What is it style? (Art period or art movement)

– Who made it?

– Who commissioned it?

– Where does this work of art fit in with the rest of the culture? (Religious background, political

background, etc.)

– How does it fit in the context of a particular people?

! 2!


1) Books:

Whenever you read or research material for your writing, make sure that you include in your notes, or on

any photocopied material, the full publication details of each relevant text that you read. These details

should include:

  • surname(s) and initial(s) of the author(s);
  • the date of publication;
  • the title of the text;
  • if it is a paper, the title of the journal and volume number;
  • if it is a chapter of an edited book, the book’s title and editor(s)
  • the publisher and place of publication*;
  • the first and last page numbers if it is a journal article or a chapter in an edited book.

2) Online resources:

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