Contextual Studies Essay Brief

Assignment 1: Visual Analysis To be submitted 4th January 2016

Write a report of approximately 600 words about an image/object of your own choice. It can be a painting, drawing, photograph, or a designed object of some kind. You may choose an artwork you have seen during the course, but not one which has been analysed in depth during seminars.

The aim is to show your ability to look at a piece of visual culture in an analytical way. You will need to consider:

a. The physical characteristics of the object such as composition, size, materials, colour, method of making.

b. The historical, cultural context of the object. How does it relate to the time when it was made? What are the influences?

Is it associated with a particular style or movement?

c. The significance of the piece. What were the artist’s intentions? (You may need to refer to texts by the artist or interviews) Do you think the aims are valid? What is the artwork about? What does it communicate? This will also involve your own interpretation.

This piece of work is an opportunity to bring together what you have learned so far in lectures and seminars. The lectures should provide you with the facts and background needed to discuss artwork in an informed way. The seminars should provide you with examples of visual analysis, and the study skills you will need to fulfil the learning outcomes.

Your analysis should be critical rather than descriptive – something which considers the questions behind the facts rather than just the facts themselves eg. Why Matisse decided to use a certain technique not just that he did; and why this was significant at the time he was working.

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