Sample #1/Art history

Art History

(comparison/contrast & answer to a series of questions)

This is an example of a freshman Art History paper. Note that it is a series of questions and includes a comparison contrast section.

-- In the 19th Century galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, find these two paintings:

Gustave Courbet, Woman with a Parrot

Alexandre Cabanal, Birth of Venus

-- Can you describe the similarities and differences in the way these two artists have depicted the female nude? (Think about the subjects of each of the works when you answer this question.)

-- When it was shown at the Salon, Courbet's painting ignited quite a scandal; Cabanal's, on the other hand, was a favorite with the critics. How might these facts be related to your answer to the above question?

As you can see, in order to write an essay in response to this assignment, you must undertake several steps. The assignment is broken into two basic question segments, and you are asked to find the similarities and differences between the paintings and then to discuss the second question in relation to your findings. Take the cue from the question - follow this order - find your response, but then consider it with the ideas put forward in the second part. You can then choose to write these answers in a combined form in the final essay, or as a comparison contrast leading to discussion of the second question. You could also discuss the second part of the question as your main response, using your answers to the first part as your support and back up to your overall answer. Look at how the parts relate. What did you find about the paintings? What, overall, do you want to show?