“Art Students and Copyists in the Louvre Gallery, Paris”
wood engraving, Harper’s Weekly
January 11, 1868; p. 25
If you have never written a substantial art history paper, read Henry Sayre’s WRITING ABOUT ART, pp. 64-73, to get an overview of how to be smart, efficient, and thorough.
General Character of Paper:
1. Create a bibliography of key sources of information about this artist, whether you eventually use all of them or not (know the sources). This list should include books, key journal articles, online sources.
2. Write 3 pages about this artist in which you discuss his training and formative experiences
3. Write 3 pages about one or two key works
4. Relate these works to the artist’s career as a whole (3 pages) early? late? best-known? most accomplished? praised? representative? influential?
5. Final page:
Describe the virtues of the best source used for your paper
Describe the benefit of this assignment/investigation to your knowledge of 19th-century art.
Rely on Henry Sayre’s WRITING ABOUT ART.
Observe these basic practices:
- Start your paper with a sentence that states your main point.
- Use past tense to describe all actions of a deceased painter.
- Use descriptive, animated verbs, specific nouns wherever possible; e.g., “completed a sketch”, not “did a piece.”
- As much as possible, separate discussions of subject and style for clarity.
- Observe chronological order as much as possible, include dates of all works mentioned.
- Cite all sources, using consistent form, thoroughly enough for the reader to find the passage you’ve cited.
- Express ideas in your own words, but acknowledge material which has been paraphrased.
- Start early.
- Produce a rough draft, get some distance from your work (a few days) and feedback.
- Commit yourself to transforming the rough draft into a terrific paper!