Read chapter 16, “The Renaissance” to use as the foundation of your paper. Next,
select an example of Renaissance art that is not in the book. Include an image of the
chosen artwork in your paper. Write a four part 1000-word formal analysis on this
selected artwork. The paper should be in MLA Format and all research should be
sighted. Guidelines for a Formal Analysis of Art
Use this sheet as a guide when writing your formal analysis paper. Consider the
following when analyzing a work of art. Not everything applies to every work of art,
nor is it always useful to consider things in the order given. In any analysis, keep in
mind the following: How and Why is this a significant work of art?
Part I – General Information
1. Subject Matter (Who or What is Represented?)
2. Artist or Architect (What person or group made it? Often this is not known. If
there is a name, refer to this person as the artist or architect, not “author.”
Refer to this person by their last name, not familiarly by their first name.)
3. Date (When was it made? Is it a copy of something older? Was it made before
4. Provenance (Where was it made? For whom? Is it typical of the art of a
5. Location (Where is the work of art now? Where was it originally located? Does
the viewer look up at it, or down at it? If it is not in its original location, does
the viewer see it as the artist intended? Can it be seen on all sides, or just on
6. Technique and Medium (What materials is it made of? How was it executed?
How big or small is it?)
Part II – Description and Form
This is the key part of your paper. It should be the longest section of the paper. Be
sure and think about whether the work of art selected is a two-dimensional or
What does it look like? Is it a representation of something? Tell what is shown. Is it
an abstraction of something? Tell what the subject is and what aspects are
emphasized. Is it a non-objective work? Tell what elements and Principles are
1. Line (straight, curved, angular, flowing, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, contour,
thick, thin, implied etc.)
2. Shape (what shapes are created and how)
3. Light and Value (source, flat, strong, contrasting, even, values, emphasis,
4. Color (primary, secondary, mixed, complimentary, warm, cool, decorative,
5. Texture and Pattern (real, implied, repeating)
6. Space (depth, overlapping, kinds of perspective)
7. Time and Motion
Principles of Design
1. Unity and Variety
2. Balance (symmetry, asymmetry)
3. Emphasis and Subordination
4. Scale and Proportion (weight, how objects or figures relate to each other and
5. Mass/Volume (three-dimensional art)
7. Function/Setting (architecture)
8. Interior/Exterior Relationship (architecture)
Part III – Opinions and Conclusions
This is the part of the paper where you go beyond description and offer a conclusion
and your own informed opinion about the work. Any statements you make about
the work should be based on the analysis in Part III above.
1. In this section, discuss how and why the key elements and principles of art
used by the artist create meaning.
2. Support your discussion of content with facts about the work.
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