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Art Museum Critical Review and Worksheet

When is this due?

You will turn this assignment in as a Word file by uploading it to eCampus. Please see your course calendar in the syllabus for the exact due date and time.

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What is this assignment?

The purpose of this assignment is to critically interpret and evaluate art by virtually visiting an art museum. Please note that there are two parts to this assignment. Part I is a critical review paper on one work of art. Part II is a worksheet completed over three works of art.

What do I do on my virtual art museum visit, and which art museums are recommended?

You will virtually visit any art museum’s website for this assignment. You can choose to visit one art museum or multiple museums. Be sure to get the name of the art museum you visit and download pictures of your chosen works of art. Make sure the site you visit is an art museum and not an art gallery or any other type of museum. Take good notes about your pieces. Make sure to choose an art museum that has all the required information you need to write about your chosen pieces. After your virtual visit, complete both Parts I and II. Here are some ideas to get you started:

•The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

•The Louvre in Paris

•The Uffizi In Florence

• The British Museum in London

•The Dallas Museum of Art

•The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth

• Art Institute in Chicago

• Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York

• Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

•The Centre Pompidou in Paris

How will I submit this assignment?

You will submit the critical review paper for Part I, the art museum worksheet for Part II, and a page with your four images as one Word file. Submit your file with only .doc or.docx file extensions to the dropbox by the due date and time.

What do I do for Parts I and II?

Part I – Critical Review Paper

Select one work of art at the museum to perform a critical review. Select any work of art you like from any culture, any time or period, or in any medium. Use this outline to structure your critical review paper that should be 750 words minimum.

I. Identification/Description Paragraph: Identify your chosen artwork by providing the artist’s name (or anonymous if no artist name is provided), the title in italics, the year the piece was completed, the medium used, the dimensions of the piece if available, and the art museum where the piece is located. Then, describe your chosen work of art to your reader. Provide a description about your piece by creating a visual image with words. In other words, explain the subject matter. Be as descriptive as possible without adding any meaning or interpretation just yet. You will be doing that later in the interpretation paragraph.

II. Visual Analysis Paragraph: Here is where you will perform a visual analysis. Identify and discuss at least three visual elements and two principles of design that the artist utilized within your chosen work. Use the vocabulary terms provided in these instructions. Make sure to identify the vocabulary term by name and fully describe how the artist utilized each visual element and principle of design.

III. Interpretation Paragraph: Using the evidence of the subject matter and the visual analysis, provide your interpretation of your chosen piece. Explain the meaning and interpretation that you come up with – not what the museum, the internet, or even the artist has to say about the piece. What do you think the artist is communicating? What are your reasons for your response? Think about why you chose this piece. What does the piece mean to you? How is it relevant to you? What are you taking way from having experienced this piece? Use this paragraph as the opportunity to share your reaction to this piece and its relevance to you.

IV. Conclusion: This is the paragraph to wrap up your concluding thoughts, insights, and to summarize what has already been shared. This is not the time to introduce any additional information.

V. Works Cited: If you performed any research whatsoever for this paper, be sure to cite your sources on a works cited page. Please use the MLA citation style.

Formatting requirements for Part I – Critical Review paper:

· Your paper for Part I of this assignment should be 750 words minimum . I will take off for anything less.

· Typed, double-spaced, 12-point font using Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman

· Include standard formatting for a college paper that includes: your name as the header, a title, and page numbers

VISUAL ELEMENTSThe visual elements are the visual tools an artist uses to make a work of art.
Line:  Lines can show outline, imply a third dimension, show direction or movement
Shape, Volume, & Mass:  Shape refers to 2 dimensions, for instance, a square.  Mass refers to a sense of bulkiness and/or 3 dimensions, for instance, a cube. Volume refers to containing height, weight, and depth.
Light & Value:  Light reveals form.  Where is the light source?  What is the range of values, from light to dark, in the art you are reviewing?
Color:  How does the artist use color in the art object you are reviewing?  Is it the primary colors only?  Secondary? Tertiary? Is it emotionally soothing or jarring?
Texture and Pattern:  Does the art object you are viewing have actual texture, could you feel it? Or does it have implied texture, suggesting that it is smooth or rough?  Does it have an overall pattern on the surface?
Space:  If your object is architectural or sculptural, it has three-dimensional space.  Try to describe the space.  If your object is two-dimensional, how does the artist imply space, for example, through linear perspective, overlapping of objects, smaller or larger objects, or atmospheric perspective?
Time and Motion:  Does the art object imply time or a succession of events, for instance, a sunset, or motion, for instance, a sculpture that moves?
PRINCIPLES OF DESIGNThe principles of design are the organization of the composition or design of the artwork.
Unity and Variety:  Unity is a sense of oneness in the art.  Variety maintains interest or diversity in art
Balance:  Symmetrical balance occurs when both sides of the art object are similar in size or shape.  Asymmetrical balance occurs when the two sides are quite different in the appearance of the objects in the art.
Emphasis and Subordination:  How does the artist draw your eye to the center of attention of the art object?  Is there a focal point? How does the artist make the rest of the artwork subordinate to the center of interest?
Scale and Proportion:  Scale means size in relation to a standard or “normal” size.  Proportion refers to size relationships between parts of a whole, or between two or more items perceived as a unit.  Sometimes these are deliberately incorrect, as in Hierarchal Scale in the art of antiquity.
Rhythm or Repetition:  The repeated use of a color, shape, or line to create expression.

Part II – Museum worksheet

Select three works of art at the museum based on the criteria below. Please note that the three you choose should be different from the piece you chose for Part I. Then, fill in the required information for each piece. Write your responses in paragraph form using complete sentences. Each question’s response should be 300-words minimum. You may go over 300 words. Be sure to look at the student example provided for Part II. You should also use the student example for how long the paragraphs should be for each question.

1. Find an art object dated from the Prehistoric period to the 14th century. The date for this

piece is anywhere between 30,000 BC to 1399 AD.

· Title in italics

· Artist’s name, use “Anonymous” if unknown

· Date of the piece, medium, size of the piece if available

· Provide a detailed description of the piece including the subject matter

· Discuss the Visual Elements and Principles of Design

· Discuss the innovation and expression of ideas

· Identify major artistic developments

· Discuss what you think the artist communicates in this work

· Discuss your personal response to this piece

2. Find an art object dated from the 15th century to the present. The date for this piece is

anywhere between 1400 to present time.

· Title in italics

· Artist’s name, use “Anonymous” if unknown

· Date of the piece, medium, size of the piece if available

· Provide a detailed description of the piece including the subject matter

· Discuss the Visual Elements and Principles of Design

· Discuss the innovation and expression of ideas

· Identify major artistic developments

· Discuss what you think the artist communicates in this work

· Discuss your personal response to this piece

3. Analyze the relationship of art to history by comparing the pieces in questions one and two. Consider each piece’s cultural, historical, and chronological contexts in your analysis.

· Write a paragraph comparing the two pieces from questions 1 and 2.

4. Find an art object that makes a social impact from any time between the Prehistoric era until the 20th century. The date for this piece is anywhere between 30,000 BC to 2000 AD. You will write a critical analysis with a personal reflection that demonstrates comprehension of the social impact the work of art had on the community or the viewer. Consider if the impact of the imagery might be considered as social responsibility regarding political, religious or community ideals or values.

· Title in italics

· Artist’s name, use “Anonymous” if unknown

· Date of the piece, medium, size of the piece if available

· Provide a detailed description of the piece including the subject matter

· Discuss the Visual Elements and Principles of Design

· Discuss the innovation and expression of ideas

· Identify major artistic developments

· Discuss what you think the artist communicates in this work

· Discuss your personal response to this piece

· Provide a critical analysis that demonstrates comprehension of the social impact the work of art had on the community

How will I be graded for both parts of the assignment?

Part I – Critical Review Paper

· Grammar and Formatting

– Followed instructions for page length and formatting – header, typed, spacing,


– Capitalization, spelling, punctuation, grammar, writing mechanics, etc.

· Identification/Description Paragraph

– Identified the title, the artist’s name, the date the piece was completed, the medium,

the size, and the location of the piece

– Provided a description by creating a visual image with words and identified the piece’s



· Visual Analysis Paragraph

– Identified and discussed at least three visual elements

– Identified and discussed at least two principles of design

– Explained how the artist used the visual elements and the principles of design

· Interpretation Paragraph

– Provided your interpretation of the content within the piece

– Discussed if there was a narrative or any social issues within the piece

– Offered a reason as to why it was created and its relevance to you

– Summarized your reaction to this art object

· Conclusion Paragraph

– Summarized the paper

– Did not introduce any additional content or new information

Part II – Museum Worksheet

– Addressed all the questions and provided comprehensive responses for each of the


Doe, Jane

ARTS 1301

April 15, 2016

Museum Worksheet – Part II

1. Work of art from the Prehistoric to the 14th century

The Figure of a Young Man from a Funerary Relief is from the city state of Athens, Greece. It was created around 330 B.C. It is a sculpture in the round made of marble. It stands 63 1/8 x 30 ¾ x 18 ¾ inches. The sculpture is located on the second floor of the Ancient Mediterranean department.

This figure of a young man comes from an elaborate grave memorial. Originally, the figure of the youth would have been framed by an architectural shrine that also included other figures, such as the boy’s aged father. His nude body has the radiant purity of an athlete in his prime, although implicit in the work is a sense of tragedy, as the young man has died in the flower of youth and beauty. (DMA)

Ancient Greeks carved their art to look like themselves, extremely lifelike. The art depicted the human body in rounded, smoothed out marble that mirrored the Greeks directly. No other civilization had ever depicted this in their art quite in the same manner thus far, which makes the Greeks’ art so unique. The Greek Archaic period of art came first, and they had not achieved the naturalism that was achieved during the Classical period of Greek art.

The contrapposto position can be observed in the sculpture. This is where the disposition of the human figure in which one part is turned in opposition to another part creates a counter-positioning of the body about its central axis. This is also called “weight shift” because the weight of the body tends to be thrown to one foot, creating tension on one side and relaxation on the other. (Dasllas Museum of Art) This piece reflects the values of Greek art in that it was created to display the strength and perfection of the Greek man.

Works Cited

“Figure of a Young Man from a Funerary Relief.” Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov.

2. Work of art from the 15th century to the present

The Takenouchi no Sukune Mets the Dragon King of the Sea from Japan was created around 1875 – 1879. It is a sculpture in the round made of bronze and glass which stands 54 x 40 x 26 inches. The sculpture is located on the third floor concourse overlooking the south in the Asian art department.

This Meiji period sculpture recounts a popular scene from a dream had by the famous warrior-statesman, Takenouchi no Sukune, where the Dragon King of the Sea presents him with the Jewel of the Tides. Takenouchi, seen on the right, wears elaborate armor and carries various weapons, such as a dagger, sword, and bow and arrow. The Dragon King, holding out the jewel, wears a fantastical headdress that includes a dragon and heavy ornamentation. The attendant on the left carries a large fan of palm leaves and wears a fish-form mask, lobster girdle, and seaweed skirt. This extraordinary group is a tour-de-force of bronze casting and a great tribute to the artistry of Japanese metal craftsmen. (Dallas Museum of Art)

This piece embodies a great deal of movement and action. In addition, there is variety and asymmetrical balance. The glass ball is centralized in the middle of the sculpture and is obviously the focal point. The artist guides the viewer’s eye from the focal point to the subject presenting the glass ball, the Dragon King, to his attendant, and then finally the recipient of the jewel, Takenouchi. The flow in the hair and clothing of the two figures on the left in stark contrast to the figure on the right, give way that the subjects are from different worlds. The two figures on the left are from the sea, supported by sea creatures and coral. Although, very subtle, the figure on the right, Takenouchi, is slightly taller than the other subjects as he stands upright and armed and the others appear submissive and smaller. This gives way to the idea of hierarchy and the importance of Takenouchi in the composition. The use of hierarchical scale distinguishes the most important and largest figure from those of lesser rank in this piece.

Works Cited

“Takenouchi No Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea”. DMA CONNECT. N.p., n.d.

Web. 07 Nov. 2014.

3. Analyze the relationship of art to history by comparing the piece you selected from Prehistoric art to the 14th century to the piece you selected from the 15th century to the present. Consider each piece’s cultural, historical, and chronological contexts in your analysis.

When examining the sculpture from the Greek culture, several of this culture’s ideas, philosophies, and values are being expressed. First, this is a representational and naturalistic work of art depicting a person. The subject matter itself indicates their emphasis on the individual and their beliefs in demos, people themselves. There is a connection between that and the fact that this is the root of their political beliefs and democracy. This culture developed the lost wax method, which was used to make the original bronze sculpture of this piece. This indicates their resources available as well as their technical capabilities and skill sets. Clearly the Greek culture focused on the individual. This connection can be presumed for a couple of reasons. Only one person is depicted in this piece of sculpture. This demonstrates that the Greek artist clearly believed that the human form was a worthy subject matter in and of itself. This piece emphasizes the perfection of the human body, which is known as idealization. The perfect proportions and the fact that there are no flaws the Greeks’ search for harmony and beauty, which is rendered in the perfectly proportioned sculpted male nude.

When compared to Takenouchi no Sukune Mets the Dragon King of the Sea, it is evident thatboth were originally made from bronze using a cast technique. However, the subject matter of this piece is distinctively different from the Greek piece as it has themes and references to defense, war, and battle. Rather than the focus being entirely on the nude human form like we saw in the Greek piece, there is an emphasis on the weaponry, which speaks to their purpose and their function in Japanese culture. Rather than being completely nude with the Greek emphasis on the sculptural form of the human body, the Japanese figure is fully clothed and heavily ornamented. Also, this piece is referencing a dream and a specific scene, so something outside of what is being presented to the viewer. There is somewhat of a narrative. In contrast, the Greek sculpture does not reference anything outside of itself, allowing the viewer to focus entirely on the human form. If there is a specific individual referenced in the Greek piece, it is unknown because Greek artists showed an idealized, or imagined, human body rather than a specific, identifiable individual. In the Japanese sculpture, the specific character being depicted is known by name.

4. Work of art that that reflects intercultural values and social ideas

The Cylindrical Vessel with Ball Game Scene from the Pre-Columbian Maya culture. It dates from 682 – 701 ce. It stands 8 1/16” and has a diameter of 6 1/4”. It is a three-dimensional ceramic piece and is located in the Ancient Arts of the Americas section on the fourth floor of the DMA.

The vase or vessel shows a scene from on the most important rituals in Maya culture, the ball game. A figure is dressed and adorned in the appropriate gear with padding that would actually be worn while playing this game. In addition, one of the largest objects on the vase is a large, black circle. This references the black rubber ball that would be used to play the ball game. However, the artist who created this piece has made the ball much larger in size and scale than it actually would have been in real life. The actual ball used during the game would have been 8 to 11 lbs.

The ball game was played as a sport, sometimes for gambling, and sometimes as a gladiatorial contest. It went beyond a game though, as it used to settle political disagreements. Instead of wars and battles, political disputes were often settled on the court.

This piece references a key socially responsible idea in regards to war and defense. Instead of having major warfare, battles, and the loss of many, innocent lives, two warring tribes or nations would select several players to represent their cultures. These representatives would comprise the players of the ball game. These teams would battle it out on the field. While this may still sound barbaric as the game was violent and the losers were decapitated, I think this practice is socially responsible as it cuts down on the loss of lives. In addition, innocent people (civilians) are not hurt or killed as their villages are attacked by opposing tribes.

Although there is not just one specific historical event being depicted on the Maya vessel, this piece is representative of the practice and the purpose of the ball game in Mesoamerican culture. This game was played for several centuries. It was practiced throughout the Maya region as there are several ball courts in Mesoamerica.

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