Museum Compare and Contrast Essay
Some key points to be included in the Museum Compare and Contrast Essay paper:
• Who is the artist? • What period or style is it?
• What is the name of the artwork? • To what culture does it belong?
• Of what material/medium is it made? • What is its subject matter?
• How big is it? Does its medium affect the quality? • What are its formal elements (line, color, composition, etc.)?
• Is it abstract, naturalistic, idealistic, realistic, or a combination? • How is the subject being depicted?
• What is the origin of the style? Is it a combination of cultural styles?
Function/Symbolism(Often relates to cultural context)
• What was it used for? Why was it made? • It is sacred or secular?
• Does it communicate a message? Is it asking for something? • Does it contain symbolism? What does it mean?
What was happening historically, politically, socially, religiously, intellectually, and/or economically at the time it was made?
What were qualities of life at the time and place the piece was made that may have affected its function and style? Do historical events or overall aesthetic tastes relate to the image/story depicted?
Compare and Contrast/Be Concise and to the Point
• Explore the differences and similarities of the two works being compared using the four topic areas discussed above
• Begin your essay with an opening paragraph stating the main point of the comparison? (Remember to add the basics such as identification.) Ask yourself what is similar and different about each work, this can lead you to a thesis.
• Each paragraph should discuss what is the same and what is different about the works in regards to each topic listed above. (e.g. One paragraph will discuss what is similar and different regarding style.)
• Start with main concepts and then move to relevant details. (Remember to state the obvious.)
• Use complete sentences. Each paragraph should focus on one main concept/topic.
• Conclude with a paragraph which sums up your main ideas.
Suggested Organization of Paper-
Include the artists to be discussed and present your thesis. Discussion of Image #1:
Include the identity elements of the artist. The Style, Function and any Symbolism. Discuss the cultural context of the work and artist. Discussion of Image #2:
Include the identity elements of the artist. The Style, Function and any Symbolism. Discuss the cultural context of the work and artist. Discuss the Similarities between the images.
- Discuss the Differences between the images.
A summary of the differences and similarities concluding with your own ideas about the work. Refer to the key points to include.
This is just a suggested way to organize your paper. Please use your best judgment when organizing the content. Ensure the paper has an easy to follow train of thought about the artist’s identity, style, functions-cultural context, and the compare and contrast points.
Include two images of the work at the end of the paper, after the Works Cited page. Refer to MLA format on how to structure your paper.
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