Formal Analysis AssignmentChoose one artwork from the Gallery exhibition.Write a formal Analysis of the artwork. Use the posted list to formulate your writing.
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Formal Analysis Assignment
Choose one artwork from the Gallery exhibition.
Write a formal Analysis of the artwork. Use the posted list to formulate your writing.
Things to consider when writing a formal analysis (in no particular order):
Keep in mind that you always need to Back Up Your Statements!
1. Record your first impression(s) of the artwork. What stands out? Is there a focal point (an area to which
the artist wants your eye to be drawn)? If so, what formal elements led you to this conclusion? Your
impressions can help you reach your thesis.
2. What is the subject of the artwork?
3. Composition: How are the parts of the work arranged? Is there a stable or unstable composition? Is it
dynamic? Full of movement? Or is it static?
4. Pose: If the work has figures, are the proportions believable? Realistic? Describe the pose(s). Is the
figure active, calm, graceful, stiff, tense, or relaxed? Does the figure convey a mood? If there are several
figures, how do they relate to each other (do they interact? not?)?
5. Proportions: Does the whole or even individual parts of the figure(s) or natural objects in the work look
natural? Why did you come to this conclusion?
6. Line: Are the outlines (whether perceived or actual) smooth, fuzzy, clear? Are the main lines vertical,
horizontal, diagonal, or curved, or a combination of any of these? Are the lines jagged and full of energy?
Sketchy? Geometric? Curvilinear? Bold? Subtle?
7. Space: If the artist conveys space, what type of space is used? What is the relation of the main figure to
the space around it? Are the main figures entirely within the space (if the artwork is a painting), or are
parts of the bodies cut off by the edge of the artwork? Is the setting illusionistic, as if one could enter the
space of the painting, or is it flat and two-dimensional, a space that one could not possibly enter?
8. Texture: If a sculpture, is the surface smooth and polished or rough? Are there several textures
conveyed? Where and How? If a painting, is there any texture to the paint surface? Are the brushstrokes
invisible? Brushy? Sketchy? Loose and flowing? Or tight and controlled?
9. Light and Shadow: Are shadows visible? Where? Are there dark shadows, light shadows, or both? How
do the shadows affect the work?
10. Size: How big is the artwork? Are the figures or objects in the work life-sized, larger or smaller than
life? How does the size affect the work?
11. Color: What type of colors are used in the work? Bright? Dull? Complimentary? Does the artist use
colors to draw your attention to specific areas of the work? How? If a sculpture, examine the color(s) of the
medium and how it affects the work.
12. Mood: Do you sense an overall mood in the artwork? Perhaps several different moods? If so, describe
them. How does the mood interpret how you view the work?
Once you have spent some time analyzing your work, notice if your first impression of the work has
changed, now that you have taken a closer look? How? If you came up with a thesis statement before
doing this in-depth analysis, you may want to change it if your impression of the work has changed. Your
thesis statement should reflect your view of the object. The paper should be two and a half to three pages
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