Formal Analysis

If you already did the assignment and saw an artwork in person, that is fine (great!). There are no changes to the assignment or requirements for you.

If you were not able to visit an artwork in person, complete the assignment by selecting a work posted on The Google Art Project.

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1. Go to this site: (Links to an external site.)

(Links to an external site.)2. Select a museum that interests you from the list and select one work for your analysis. You can keep clicking on the image to get a closer view.

3. You do not need to turn in a photo of yourself because you were not there.

4. You still need to turn in an image – not a link – of your work with all identifying info (Artist, Title, Date, Location, medium, size). The image MUST BE INSERTED into the document and submitted as a single file to Canvas.

Everything else about the assignment remains the same, as per the instructions below. Let me know if you have questions.


For this assignment, the student MUST visit an original artwork in person during the Spring 2019 semester. No previous visits or digital viewings will qualify.


1) Print off these instructions and the GALLERY GUIDE before you go.

2) Conduct a detailed formal analysis of a single work of art. (There are two example of this in your book; Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (p. 44-44) and Las Meninas (190-191).)

a) This is an exercise in looking. Therefore, any discussion of the artist’s biography, historical context, or your personal experience will not be counted towards the word count. It’s best to leave it out.

b) Your essay should include a discussion of all 21 of the Elements and Principles found on page 47 in your textbook.Time and Motion are counted separately. All Elements & Principles should be spoken to in the analysis, even if you don’t find them or think they are present. (They are probably there, but you need to take a second look or ask your instructor! This will help you to receive full credit!)

c) Your introduction paragraph should present the artwork itself (Title, Artist Name, Date or Cultural Period, and Media. Student MUST state the actual creative medium used by the artist. Saying that it is a painting or a sculpture is not enough. You must denote what kind of painting or sculpture that it is. For example: Is it an Oil on Canvas painting, such as you see in a museum ~or~ a Molded Fiberglass sculpture, such as the Maverick horse sculptures on campus.) Student should Look at Labels or Signage of artwork for information. If not available, ask a docent, guide, or your instructor for help.

If there is a need to reference the artist’s personal style of creation it should be done in the introduction. (EG: Jackson Pollock created this oil on canvas painting by working in the form of gestural abstraction.)

d) To organize your essay, your overall argument and conclusion should address how the artists used the principle of emphasis. This is your THESIS statement for the essay and what you are trying to prove in your analysis. For Example: This artist used the focal point of the young girl seen in the center of the painting as his point of emphasis. This is supported by his use of the bold, red color for her coat as an identifier.

e) Your essay should be 1000-1500 words. No more, no less. The heading and title of your assignment do not count for the word count, so be careful to double-check your total count before submission. The Word Count is counted strongly and if not met, deductions are made. Not only for lacking the Word Count, but also for lacking appropriate content and not following instructions.

3) A clear, focused image of the artwork you have chosen to write over at the location you have chosen to visit (gallery, museum, park, etc…)

4) A clear, focused picture of yourself with the artwork you have chosen to write over. Alternate pictures of you with other artworks or only standing out in front of the museum will NOT qualify. Pictures of your hands or the back of you do not count. This image is used to verify your work as the student registered for this course.


For the purposes of this assignment please chose your artwork carefully.

No copies or reproductions allowed for this assignment! It MUST be an original work of art. Do NOT use an artwork from the internet, a museum catalogue, or a textbook. All works chosen are checked against Google images for verification.

It must be a work that is publicly exhibited and the main purpose of the object is to be art. No artworks from your home, your friends home, or your family’s home will qualify.

These types of artworks often are the most easily analyzed and written over:

Sculptures or Saintings on the UT Arlington campus
Art found at a Museum of Art or an Art Gallery
Fountains on Campus or in the Local Community
Murals on the sides of Public Buildings such as Government Structures, Schools, or Restaurants

Items whose main purpose has some other function are excluded and do NOT qualify, such as:

A car
Holiday decorations
Historical exhibits at a history museum
Scientific exhibits at a science museum
Any other exhibit at a non-art museum or non art-related institution (such as NASA.)
Ballet or other dance performance
Music/ Musical concerts

Some DFW Area museums and galleries are listed below. Always check out the website before you leave for hours, fees, and parking. Some places offer discounts for students.

Fort Worth Modern (Contemporary Art)
Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, variety of art)
Dallas Museum of Art (variety of art)
Meadows Museum (Spanish art and modern sculpture on SMU campus)
Nasher Sculpture Garden (modern sculpture)
Amon Carter Museum (American Art – Fort Worth)
The Gallery at UTA (Modern/ Contemporary Art and BFA/MFA Shows)
Visual Resource Commons & Gallery (UT Arlington Fine Art & Artifact Collections)

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