Compare Contrast Essay–two FULL pages

you must write the paper in essay form and the art objects must be from the time period we study in this course.  prehistory to early renaissance, 14th C.


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This paper will use basic skills that are necessary to research and develop a formal analysis of a work of art. This assignment deals with the comparison of two works of art found on the website for the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s permanent collection. You will find the website at: The final product of this research will be a two-page typewritten paper. Your formal analysis must be:

-two FULL pages


-12-point legible font (Times New Roman preferred), 

-MLA format

-must have a Works Cited page.  (use 3 sources)


Paper Research-

The first stage: 

find information about the works and their respective artists, and document that information. Use the sheet provided below to help you gather important information. Be sure to include possible artist influences and reference any special subject matter depicted in the works. After you have had a chance to research basic information about your particular works of art, try to describe it using the elements of art listed below.

Remember:  the work you choose should be from the time period we study in this class, Prehistory through Gothic.  Look under Ancient Art of the Americas and Ancient Art of the Mediterranean on the IMA website.


The second stage:

take the information you have about the works (including your analysis of the elements of art, subject matter and artistic media), and present it in essay form.  

The third stage of your analysis:

refine your writing and to make any changes necessary before turning in the paper. 


  • All sources should be cited and included in the Works Cited page. Citations should be in MLA format. 
  • Do not plagiarize.  Do not use papers from someone else found on the internet.  Plagiarism will result in a zero (0) for the assignment and the responsibility for proof regarding the originality of a paper rests with you, not the instructor.
  • Turn your paper in on time.  It is your responsibility to make sure the paper is turned in on time unless you make another arrangement with the instructor. 
  • Late papers may have penalties.
  • Include visuals if possible.

Researching a Work of Art: Gathering the Basics

Use this paper as a guide in the analysis of each of your works of art.  Make two copies of this sheet – one for each work.



Year born/year died: ____________________________________________________


Style associated with this artist:____________________________________________

Title of work:___________________________________________________________

Background info on work:________________________________________________



Critical Analysis of the Work:


Line: __________________________________________________________________


Shape/Form: ____________________________________________________________



Color: _________________________________________________________________


Value:  _________________________________________________________________


Texture: ________________________________________________________________


Space: _________________________________________________________________


Helpful Websites for Preparing the Compare/Contrast Essay


Writing a Compare/Contrast Art History Essay, from the Academy of Art University


Writing the Art History Paper, from the Dartmouth University Writing Program


Compare/Contrast Guide, from the ReadWriteThink Site



Helpful Art Links


Mark Harden’s Artchive

-click on the Mona Lisa to access a listing of artists and their work

Christopher Witcombe’s Art History Resources on the Web

Worldwide Art Resource

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