Final Exam, historical essay (OPTIONAL)


*Peter Burke, The Fabrication of Louis XIV (1992), ch. 2, 15-37

*Honour, Neo-Classicism, Intro., Chap. 1, 13-42

*J.-L. David, "The Painting of the Sabines," in E. G. Holt, ed., A Documentary History of Art, vol. 3, 4-14;

Prompt for final historical essay, OPTIONAL

1-2 page paper, worth approximately 10% of final exam grade.

Having looked at these articles/chapters/sources, please write 3 good paragraphs (in 1- 2 double-spaced pages) examining some differences between what patrons, artists and art critics in different cultures expected from art.

You may take this paper to the Writing Center. Do not discuss your essay with classmates, however, as this is an exam that requires your reflection alone on this material. Due by Friday, Dec. 21, 4:00 in the box outside my office. No exceptions.

Second formal analysis


This assignment is based on a single work of art that you looked at in a museum for this paper. For the first formal analysis, find a work of European art dating anywhere from around 1600 to 1800. Unless you plan a swift trip abroad, architecture is unfortunately off limits.

Your readings and the lectures have shown that there are a number of ways to think about a work of art within the context of its time. 15th-century merchants might have measured the accuracy of the space depicted or added up the cost of the precious material on an altarpiece; 17th-century nuns might have remembered an important sermon on the subject represented; a 20th-century man might have thought that a woman portrayed in a portrait looked a great deal like his mother except much more seductive, and unexpectedly felt strong Oedipal urges come over him. Discovering the specific conditions of the cultural, social, religious, or psychological context alluded to in a work of art or the precise reactions it might have stimulated in its time would involve research, however, and you do not need to do any research for this assignment.

---Your task, instead, is to focus on another way of understanding art – through its forms. You should analyze how the variety of forms present in a single piece are interrelated for a purpose. Considering the subject, you should hypothesize how they create meaning for this particular work. In the final draft, you will have found an idea that you will be tracing throughout. Use the visual properties of the work of art to provide evidence for your hypothesis.---


-Follow the instructions and "Seven Commandments" for the other formal analysis.

-If you have questions about where to do, make an appointment to talk to me and bring an illustration.

-Don't forget to send your paper to the Writing Center, give them some time to read it, and write a second draft.

3 pp., typed and stapled, appended with an illustration of your work of art, due on Thursday, Nov. 30, by 5:00 in a box outside my office door.