Introduction to Art History
Spring 2011, Voorhees Hall, Room 105,
College Avenue Campus
Museum Paper Assignment
A museum paper, from three to five (not to exceed five!) typed pages, double spaced, will
be due in recitation the week of February 21
. No extensions will be permitted. For each
day the paper is late, your grade will be lowered by one grade step. In order for your
assignment to be considered complete, you must upload your paper to turnitin.com (see
Listed below are twelve works of art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
and four at Princeton University. You should write a careful description and analysis of
one of them, based on your direct experience of the work at the museum. The only
outside sources you should use are your textbook and class notes. This is not a research
paper, so do not consult other sources. You are expected to make your own analysis
derived from what you see and what you have learned in this course. WARNING: Do not
quote from your textbook, the wall text in the museum, or any other book or website
without acknowledging your source.
You must write a thoughtful, formal essay with carefully constructed paragraphs.
organize your paper as follows:
At the top of the first page, put your name, recitation section number, and name of
the recitation teacher. Then identify the work by artist, title, country of origin,
stylistic period, and medium. Use five lines or fewer.
Write a stimulating introduction which focuses on the work you have chosen and
explain what you intend to prove.
Briefly describe the subject of the work. If you do not know the subject, consult
the Bible or any standard dictionary of mythology, history, or religion. If you
consult an outside text for this purpose, you must acknowledge your source.
Analyze the work in regard to its expressive content. What statement do you think
the artist wanted to make? What techniques did the artist use to make this
statement? Discuss, for example, the composition; the treatment of figures; the
use of color; light/shade; scale; the treatment of space; the handling of paint or
technique of carving or modeling.
If choosing an object that relates to a period already covered in class, does this
work appear to be typical of the period in which it was produced? Explain your
reasoning by briefly comparing the work to one you have studied in the course.
Briefly discuss the museum setting in which the work was displayed. Why is the
work located in this area of the museum? Does it engage visually or thematically
with its surroundings and other art objects? Does the way in which it is installed
affect you perception or understanding of it?