For this assignment, I’d like you to visit an art museum in person and write an essay analyzing two works of art in the collection.

I already went to the museum at Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art UC Davis.

1. For this assignment, please choose two works of art ….

  • Featuring the same basic subject (landscape, portrait, etc.) or same feeling or mood.
  • Having a different style–one should be more abstract than the other.

These works can have a different medium–for example, one could be a sculpture, the other a photograph.

2. In your first paragraph, identify the museum by name and identify the two works of art completely (give the artist’s name, the title, the date, and the medium). In a sentence or two, describe the concept of the first work (what it’s about specifically, or what the artist’s work is generally about), according to the artist and/or the museum. At the end of the sentence, be sure to note where the information about the concept came from. Then, in another sentence or two, describe the concept of the second work, and again provide information about your source at the end of the paragraph.

3. Sketch both works of art (a little thumbnail sketch is fine–don’t worry if you’re not an artist! Just make your best attempt, and use color, where appropriate).

4. In a paragraph, compare the style of the two works. How does the style affect the artwork’s feeling and message? Be sure to use Ch. 3, “Approaches to Abstraction,” and Ch. 4, “Beyond Pictures,” to help you identify and discuss the artist’s approach to abstract and nonobjective art styles. Then, review Ch. 7 to determine how idealized or veristic each work appears. Note that some works of art can have a mixture of styles–some parts can be more abstract, or more idealized, than others.

5. In another paragraph, compare the artists’ use of line (Ch. 5). Be sure to address how the use of line direction, line shape, and line texture impact the artworks’ meaning. Which is more analytical in line, and which is more expressive? Be sure to point out specifics to support your argument.

6. In another paragraph, compare the artists’ use of light and space (Ch. 6). Which is more analytical in light and space, and which is more expressive? Be sure to point out specifics to support your argument.

7. In another paragraph, compare the artists’ use of color (Ch. 10). Which is more analytical in color, and which is more expressive? Be sure to point out specifics to support your argument, using proper color terminology.

8. In your conclusion, summarize how the line, light, space, color, and style of each work relates to the artists’ concepts. Then, state whether overall these works share a similar message, or if they have very different messages for the viewer.

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