Complete Visual Art Musuem Research Paper


This paper involves visiting online The
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with a two fold purpose: 
researching a work of art and performing a formal analysis. Word count is no less
than 800 words.
A formal analysis is an examination of the forms used to create a
work of art such as color, shape, texture, line, lighting, mass, and space,
which you learned about in chapter 3 and 4. A formal analysis moves beyond
description by linking the forms of the work to the effects they have on the
viewer. Considering this connection enables the viewer to discuss the overall
meaning of the work.
Significantly a formal analysis can be drawn from personal
observations of the work of art based on knowledge of visual elements and
principles of design. No outside research or knowledge is required.
Visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art online and research a work of
art that will enable you to  apply at least 4 of the visual elements and/
or principles of design from chapter 3 and 4;  and to write at least 200
words regarding the work of art or the artist. No credit will be earned for facts about how and when a work of art
came into the museum’s collection or about its exhibition history and ownership
about online research at The Metropolitan Museum of  Art. The
MET has an extensive online collection and you should reserve a bit of time to
familiarize yourself with the navigation and assorted links. 
best resource  is “ART” in the upper menu.  Click and a drop box
opens.  Click on Timeline of Art History to  locate information you
can use to find a work of art to write about  in your paper. The best
approach here is to click on “Essays” which provides  solid  information
about works of art as well  as examples to use for a formal
analysis.  See Helpful Resources in the Course Menu  for the museum
website. No outside research is
acceptable and will earn no credit.
As for the formal analysis, spend time looking
carefully at the work, taking notes as you go, before starting the paper. Come
back to the work a second time after taking preliminary notes; you might 
find that you missed something on first inspection.
How to organize your
1.Paragraph 1:  Include:  Introduce the work of art
 identifying the name and type of work (sculpture, architecture, painting,
suit of armor,  chair, dress etc.); the artist if known. State when and
where the work was made or what culture is involved such as Africa, Europe,
China, United States.  All this information will be provided by the art
museum, if known.
2.Paragraph 2: Introduce the subject of the work.  What does
it depict or represent? You are not expected to recognize the story behind the
image or conduct any research to determine this if the museum does not provide
the information.  Instead explain in general terms the scene as you see it
(The painting depicts a man and woman on a mountain top overlooking a forest
and lake.) If the work is abstract, describe the abstraction (The sculpture
consists of a series of rounded, organic forms whose shape suggests a reclining
female figure.)
 3.Paragraph 3: In at least 200 words present the results
of  your research regarding the artist and/or background and/or history of your work of art or related works
of art found on the Met’s website. Use your own words to restate what the
museum says.  Quotes do not count toward
length requirements and should be avoided in so short a research assignment.
Provide the proper citations.
4.Paragraph 4-7:  In 4 individual
paragraphs,  identify and examine the use of at least 4 visual elements
and/or  principles of design as presented in chapter 3 and 4. (4 in total
in any combination.)  Be specific with concrete examples from the
work of art and references from the book. In other words demonstrate an understanding of
these elements and principles
5. Paragraph 8:  Develop a thesis
(position) about the work  through an analysis of the meaning of the work
based on your formal analysis above.  This means you will interpret what
the artist is trying to communicate through the 4 formal elements you examined. 
In other words how do these 4 elements contribute to the overall meaning or
function of the object?  This is not about how the work makes you “feel.”
It concerns what you or anyone looking at the work can see.
Thus develop your thesis from the visual
language of the work of art itself, (as you identified), not your personal
Avoid: I was upset by the painting.
Instead: The sharp, heavy lines throughout 
the painting convey an ominous and disturbing feeling.
You are also not critiquing the artist’s skill.
Avoid: This artist was unable to depict  a realistic scene of nature.
Instead: The artist’s representation of the landscape suggests her intention to
provide  an abstracted or symbolic
representation of nature.
How to format your paper:
This papershould follow the above
organization of at least 8 separate paragraphs. The paper should be at least
800 words in length in your own words. Quotes do not count toward the length
requirement and do not belong in so short a research project. Include an image
of the art work.  Note: Artwork titles require italics, not
quotation marks.
The paper should be typed, double spaced, normal
margins, in a standard font such as Times New Roman, size 12. This
paper should be submitted in Microsoft
Word (.doc ).
Citations:  Use both in text citations for the paragraphs involving
information from the MET and provide a Works Cited Page in MLA citation
style.  A very useful website for citations: 
The navigation menu on the left hand side will provide info on in-text
citations and even correct preparation and formatting for the paper.  You
can also use the Global Campus Library Link under Helpful Resources for
citation guide.

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Dr. Donahue
Visual Arts 1133
Woman with a Lute
The work of art chosen for this research paper is the painting Woman with a Lute by
Johannes Vermeer dated 1662-1663. It is an oil painting on canvas completed from his
house in Delft, Dutch Republic. Johannes Vermeer is considered one of the greatest
painters in the Dutch Golden Age.
This seventeenth-century painting is a figurative work which focuses on a woman
seated slightly off center of the painting. Specifically it depicts a woman in a small room
next to the window playing a lute. The woman appears to be looking through the
window while she gingerly plays the instrument.
Woman with a Lute was created roughly in the same time period as some of Johannes
Vermeer’s most famous paintings, about a year after the Young Woman with a Water
Pitcher and about a year before Woman with a Pearl Necklace and Woman with a
Balance. This assumption is based upon the arrangement of the small room where the
subjects of most of his paintings appear. The curtains on the windows, map board on
the wall, chair in the foreground, the table arrangements, and the way the light enters
the room are all indications that the painting was created in this timeframe. A viola da
gamba is situated in the lower corner of the painting. Its presence here is meant to
convey the idea to a viewer that the woman is ready and receptive for a duet with a
dueling musician or an accompanying artist. The convention of the absent musician was
used by many other Dutch artists, yet Johannes Vermeer took an additional step by
placing songbooks on the table and along the floor. Some of these specific objects are
difficult to see now since the painting has undergone slight abrasion making it look
darker than it did originally (Here put Metropolitan Museum of Art and the exact url for
this information from the website.).
One of the first things I saw in this painting were the hard vertical and horizontal lines.
The thickness of the map borders draws attention towards the subject of the
painting.The artist uses the thickness on the border and places the subject in a position
where the borders act as a directional force. The lines of the map board would not have
worked if they were not thick. In addition to the visible lines there is an implied line
coming from the woman’s gaze heading outside the window. The line formed from the
base of the map continues to the left of the painting through the woman’s head and then
connects with the implied line from her eyes out the window.
The second element I saw when I looked at the painting was light. The use of light is
implied as a natural light peering through the window and is absorbed by the room. The
light appears to be true to life and nothing seems to be distorted. In addition to the
softness of the natural light the shadowy areas of the painting give balance and depth.
The areas of the room that don’t see the light from the window appear shaded and
proportionately larger than the subject giving them true depth. The artist’s ability to add
natural light and balance the areas with shade gives the painting a softness that cannot
be missed by any viewer. The relationship of light and shade used by the artist gives
volume to the objects in the painting. The artist used reflection as a way to show the
presence of direct light. The reflection of the metallic objects that border the chair
and the pearl earring are both examples.
The third element is balance. The artist uses light and shade to balance the four corners
of the painting but also uses the larger map board on the wall to diagonal asymmetrical
balance with the table and chair. He also uses the chair against the wall to balance
asymmetrically with the blue curtains. The painting as a whole is balanced with shade
and darker colors in all corners to help the viewer focus on the woman playing the lute
cascaded with natural light.
Finally, the last element chosen is color. Color is a very expressive and the artist chose
to have a relaxed mood and used primary hues of yellow and blue. However, the hues
have been dulled with the additions of black to the blue hue and white to the yellow
hues. The rest of the painting is not bright or intense so to not draw attention away from
the woman. Instead the use of yellow as the primary color of the subject gives an
angelic hue over her and naturally draws the main focus.
When a person looks at this piece of art titled Woman with a Lute, they would an overall
theme of passion and pleasure. The way the woman peers out of the window draped
with blue curtains suggests that she is skilled with the instrument and is at the level of
expression through her musical skill. Once a person masters a skill, they are fully
capable to feel the pleasure it brings when accomplishing the skill. The angelic hue of
the subject draped with the passionate blue color of the curtains suggests that the artist
was attracted to the subject. The soft natural lighting enhances this coloration. The
artist delicately adorned the subject with pearls and gave them beauty with his ability to
reflect light. The darker lines of the directional force highlight the woman and make her
even more of a natural beauty. The piece is evenly balanced, again to make the viewer
focus on the beauty woman play the lute. It would be hard-pressed to say that the artist
wasn’t either enamored with the subject or completely infatuated with her.
Works Cited
Here list Metropolitan Museum of Art and a url that matches the website used in
connection with research cited in this paper as in the third paragraph.

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