+1 (218) 451-4151

Artwork Response Essay

Artwork Response Essay



Students will write a persuasive 1000 word essay interpreting a work of art.  Preferably one they can see in person in a gallery or museum. A work from the internet is acceptable, at the discretion of the instructor, if no other options are available.

CLO 1: Use the specialized vocabulary of art and design to describe, both orally and in writing, their responses to art they have directly experienced.

CLO 3: Critically respond to works of art.

Organization of the Paper


The Introduction. (Not necessarily in order.)

Write a Short Description of the Work You Have Chosen. Include identifying subject matter or forms, setting or space, color, and medium, artist and current location.

State Your Main Argument. A thesis statement related to the overall effect or meaning of the object.  (i.e. What does this work mean?)

State (Briefly) the Ways in Which You Will Prove It. (Forecast your main points.)

The Main Body:  You will describe three or four pieces of evidence from the work you’re looking at to support your thesis statement.  This evidence can be from any of the following areas. You don’t need to use them all.

The medium (the material the work is made with), the medium’s traits, and the artist’s use of the medium.

The relevant visual elements (i.e.: line, shape and space, composition and relative scale, light and color, style)

The composition (i.e.: unity/variety, balance, emphasis, focal point)

The subject matter, if the work is representational.  (What does it picture. If there are people, how do they react to each other or the viewer.)

The relationship the formal elements and composition have to the subject’s meaning (or overall effect).

The Conclusion.

Restate the Main Argument.

Place this work of art into the big picture. Relate it to a larger issue, art-historical movement, etc.

Attach an image of the object