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Writing an Art Essay: Winning Guidelines from Experts

Writing an essay is not an easy task for most students. Especially, an essay on art can be a real challenge as it requires both in-depth research and creativity. Many students get stuck at the very beginning of writing even if they have a true passion for the topic. To avoid difficulties with writing, you should learn some essential rules of it that are described in this article. 

But first, let’s find out the purpose of writing essays on art. Through writing, Art students can learn to carry out a critical analysis of works and understand compositional devices which help in creating their own artworks. So this is one of the most efficient ways for students to learn.

Making your essay excellent

To write a high-quality essay, you should always support your opinions with explanation, justification, or evidence. If you want to get a high grade for your essay you should move beyond the ‘description of the artwork’ and stating the obvious. A good paper must include your personal insights that demonstrate higher-order thinking. It means that you need to demonstrate the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information. As a student, you should think of the artwork as a complex of decisions made by an artist. Your goal is to find out, describe, and interpret those decisions and explain why the artist may have made them. You should contextualize the descriptions of the artwork elements to make it understandable for the reader how each element influences the work’s overall effect on the viewer. Also, you should ensure that you cover a wide range of art elements and design principles addressing their context and meaning. 

To make your art essay excellent, support it with visuals such as composition sketches, drawings overlaid with arrows showing leading lines, and diagrams reflecting the primary structure of an artwork. Good art essays should demonstrate subject-specific knowledge and include correct terminology. 

To communicate the meaning of an artwork, you should explain the relationship between such visual elements as lines, forms, shapes, color, textures, and how they interact to form design principles like harmony, balance, contrast, rhythm, unity, proportion, and pattern. 

Check good examples 

The quality of your writing depends a lot on how much you read. You can find essay examples and topic ideas on WritingBros to get insights on how to make your paper better. Also, you can find materials for your essay on art online to make the writing process easier. Free essays on Art can be a helpful tool for generating ideas for your own papers. 

Preparation strategies 

There are different strategies that can be applied prior to writing an art essay. 

    • Examine the rationale of the artist for choosing a certain art medium. Describe its advantages and limitations. 
    • Analyze the use of lines. Think of the type of lines used by an artist. Are they heavy or light, straight or curved, vertical or horizontal? Did the author achieve a specific goal or outcome by using these lines?
    • Think about coloration. Consider if the artist used realistic or more expressive colors? What feelings and the overall effect does the color give you? 
    • Pay attention to the light. Are there any shadows? Did the artist use a play or interaction of light and shadows? Is there any message communicated with the help of these two? 
    • Look if there is any sense of space in a certain artwork. How does it affect an artist’s work and influence your response to it?
    • Analyze if there are any elements that identify the specific style of an artist and whether they are common to a certain period.
    • Examine a composition. Find out if there are any elements that interact with each other and make your eye travel in a consistent manner across the artwork. Does the composition reflect the theme or idea?
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Questions to answer in your art essay 

    • Does the artwork belong to an established genre, such as religious, portraiture, landscape, historical, architectural, mythical, and so on?
    • Are there any recognizable objects, places, or scenes presented in the picture? If any, describe whether they are realistic, idealized, distorted, exaggerated, primitive, or simplified.
    • Are there any people included in the artwork? Tell about their identity, age, attire, look, pose, and expression. 
  • What are the important details and how do they support the primary subject? Describe architectural elements, costumes, emblems, and so on. Do these elements form a visual unity or direct attention? Are there connections between different parts of the artwork?
  • Does the artwork express a story, an action, or a narrative? 
  • Is there any movement created by the parts of an artwork? Dou you have the sense that they are about to fall, change or topple? Are there any motion captures? 
  • What kind of abstract elements can you see? Are there any shapes, bars, lines, or splashes? Do you think they are derived from realistic forms or inspired by them? Do you assume that those abstract elements were created spontaneously or deliberately arranged?
  • Does the artwork have symbolic meaning? How does it convey deeper, conceptual themes (for instance, with the help of allegory, metaphor, or irony).
  • What tone of voice does a piece of art have? For example, it can be subtle, confronting, honest, direct, satirical, obvious, propagandistic, or confronting. 
  • How could you describe your emotional response to it? What is the overall mood of the artwork? It may be energetic, positive, serious, calm, tense, or melancholic. How is this mood communicated (i.e. with the help of color, lighting, or weather)? 
  • How does the title influence the way you interpret the artwork?
  • Are there any thematic connections with your own art projects if you have any? What can you learn from the artist’s approach?

You don’t have necessarily to answer each question as it may sound repetitious or formulaic. You should rather focus on areas that are the most relevant for the artwork. Besides, college paper examples may help with appropriate vocabulary to use when analyzing artwork in your essays. The complex words provided in examples may offer you needed definitions for your topic.

Author’s Bio 

Robert Everett works as an academic writer at one of the best online essay services for students. Robert is passionate about his occupation and always does his best to create high-quality content. As he is also into art, Robert tries to combine his hobby with work by writing art-related assignments.


About the author

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