What is Art History Paper

Usually students begin to study art history in college, so it may be an absolutely new subject for them. History as a whole and art are closely connected, have many common points and divided into the same periods. Still, it's not the same. So before you think of your art history paper format and start working on it, we would like you to get acquainted with the meaning of this course and its main characteristics.

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This is the study of art objects within the history of humanity and stylistic contexts, such as style, genre, format and design. This discipline covers arts of painting, sculpture, architecture and also arts of ceramics, furniture and decorative objects.

Art history has different aspects. On the one hand, there is art criticism, which discusses and evaluates visual art. Its aim is to find a rational basis for art appreciation. On the other hand, there is also a philosophy of art, which deals with the fundamental nature of art. It includes such aspects as interpretation, representation, expression and form.

As you can see, art history may be very interesting for those who love beauty, want to know more about it or are artists by themselves. It is also not easy to learn because it requires knowledge of history as a separate discipline. Anyway, even if you are a beginner in learning visual arts, you certainly possess basic skills that you got from other studies which will help you with this one. If you know how to analyze literature of a certain historical period, you won't find it that hard to write as if you were a historian. Remember how you made arguments and proved your point? The same thing is going to be with art history, except here, you will use a piece of visual art (instead of a poem, for example) to develop your argumentation.

Before dealing with art history paper topics, you have to decide what assignment you need to do because these two moments depend on each other. Historians have different approaches and methods regarding art exploration, but some of them are ordinary and are used in other branches of science. Pay attention that there are many ways of doing research on art history. For this reason, you have to discuss your future paper with the instructor in order to realize what he expects from you. In any case, the way of exploration depends on the art history paper topics.

  • Formal analysis. This type provides exploration of the formal characteristics of the piece of art. To be more precise, you have to take a look at the design components like composition, shading, line, complexity, scale, contrast and others. All in all, in this task you have to describe how the artist organizes these different components and works with them.
  • Basically, you need to see the object of your research with your own eyes and note what is significant about it. This kind of analysis needs you to be logical and coherent.
  • Stylistic analysis. As you can see from the name of this kind of assignment, it refers to the style of the piece of art. Your task within this assignment may be to answer if the style of the object fits to a historical period. Here, you have to choose your side. What do you personally think about it? Does it fit? If yes, you have to prove it by means of argumentation. If not, you have to prove it, too. Remember that in order to be able to make this choice, you need to be aware of the proper historical period.
  • You may have to deal with this sort of task if the object of your research was created before the Modernity. Search for a specific component like gesture, position or an item and clarify whether this component is common for that historical period or original. In addition, find out the meaning of this component, how today's scientists explain it and what is your own opinion about this issue.
  • Here, you have to do research on the characteristic of the defined historical period and explain how it impacts the object and vice versa. In other words, provide information about connections between the object and conditions surrounding it. Also, you need to explain the significance of this piece of art as a whole.
  • As we have already said, this assignment explores formal characteristics of the object. It requires to describe, analyze interpret and to judge works of art. Probably, you think it's the easiest kind of task, but it truly isn't. You not only have to criticize the object, but first of all to find unchallengeable arguments to prove your point of view.

Now you know that this is a serious task and you have to prepare for it thoroughly. Moreover, it is important to target the needed topic. There has to be something that you are very curious about, otherwise your paper isn't going to be interesting.

If it is hard for you to find a worthy idea for your research paper, we are always ready to assist you. Our team is available for you every day at any time, so contact us and you will get support. Even if it's not art history that you puzzled with right now, but you need some other kind of assistance, ask for our help in any case and we will:

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