Why is it relevant to you (your personal interests and/or your career path)?

Essay Prompt.
Choose a work of 2-dimensional art/ design (painting, illustration, photography, graphics, cinematography, web, animation, etc… )

The work can be contemporary or historical and from any part of the world.

It doesn’t matter if the subject is considered fine/high art by a “famous” artist or something created by a friend so long as the analysis is thorough and well-considered.

You may use visuals along with your essay BUT you must write as if we cannot see them; be as descriptive and clear as possible without relying on visual aids.

Part 1: Introduction

Set up the premies of the type of work that you will be analyzing.

Answer This: Why did you choose this type of work:

Why is it relevant to you (your personal interests and/or your career path)?

Why is it relevant to “ME” i.e. this class (how is it relevant to the concepts we have discussed in class)?

Why is it relevant to “US” i.e. culture (Why should we the readers care about the subject you are about to discuss)?

Part 2: Context & Identification
In this section, you should provide the context under which the image was created and how this informs our analysis.

2a. Identification
Identify as completely as possible:

Name of the work
Attribute work to artist/designer(s)
Date the work
Place the country/ region of origin.
Identify the medium

2b. Context
Provide context to the creation of the work as relevant:

Major historical events
Experience of the artist
New technologies or techniques
Other major (related) works or artists
Answer This: Is this work typical for its time/place/artist? Is it new and groundbreaking; creating a new aesthetic? Is it referential to the past/ and established style?

Part 3: Elements of Design
In this section, you should discuss how the image is fundamentally created. How does the artist build/create the image?

3a. Construction & Gestalt
Identify as completely as possible:

What is the primary formal element that defines the look of the work (point, line, plane/shape, volume/form)
How is this element used in terms of style?
What gestalt principles are used to organize the elements and create the image? (Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Closure)

3b. Value, Color & Texture
Identify as completely as possible:

What is the dominant color?
What are Supporting/Accent colors?
What is the color relationship at work? (Complement, Analogous, Triad, Split-Complement…)
Discuss the Value/Contrast/gradation of the work.
What textures are used? Separate the physical texture (the inherent texture from the physical medium of the work) with the visual texture (the illusion of texture created by the artist).

What is the overall tone/mood, set by the value and color

Part 4: Principles of Design
(Composition, balance & emphasis)
In this section, you should discuss how the image has been composed to create a cohesive work of art while enabling communication & meaning.

4a. Composition, Balance & Emphasis

Identify as completely as possible:

What is the focal point?
What are the major balancing elements of the composition?
What are the abstract shapes that are at work to define the image?
What compositional techniques are used ( Rule of thirds, Golden: ratio, rectangle, spiral)?
How do these properties help to communicate meaning and direct the viewer’s eye?

4b. Rhythm, Harmony, Unity
How does the composition, and the elements and principles at work, unify into a completely formed stylistic work. What brings the image together in a recognizable way?


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