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Art Survey II (ART 2710)

Museum Research Paper Guidelines

I. Selection of Theme and Paintings

A. Students must go to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and select two paintings from the permanent collection currently on exhibit. Criteria for selection are:

  1. Make your selection so that your paper will (must) clearly compare and contrast two paintings, not simply report on one then the other without making connections between them.
  2. Chose a theme that is represented in the two paintings you will be writing about.
  3. The two paintings should represent two different artistic movements.
  4. The theme and specific paintings selected must be “Ok’d” by the instructor before the student begins the research paper.
  5. Examples of possible themes may include but definitely are not limited to: “Mother and Child”, “Cityscape”, “Landscape”, “Seascape”, “Religious subject”, “Still life”, “Death”, “Music”, “Entertainment”, “Sports and Leisure”.

B. Select multiple pairs in case the instructor does not approve of your first choice you have a back-up ready. Submit, via BlackBoard (“Museum Research Paper Theme” assignment) your theme and links to your chosen works for instructor approval at least one week before you plan on going to the National Gallery.

II. Outline of the paper:

A. In the paper, compare and contrast the two paintings based on the following criteria. Back up your assertions with examples from each work and from outside research.

  1. In the first paragraph, identify both works to be discussed by title, artist, date of completion, area of completion, and present location. State the purpose of the paper as a thesis statement that includes the theme chosen and the two paintings that were selected.
  2. Compare and contrast the style, iconography, and technique of the two paintings.
  3. Compare and contrast the content of each work, including how the attributes of various media influence content.
    • ​​​Remember content is not the only subject matter but also “…may derive from the criteria. Back up your assertions with examples from each work and from outside research.
    • Remember content is not the only subject matter but also “…may derive from the social, political, religious, and economic contexts in which a work was created, the intention of the artist, and the reception of the work by beholders (the audience).” (Stokstad, XXIV, course textbook)
  4. Compare and contrast the conceptual ideas underlying the artistic movements in which each painting was produced.
    • Address the conceptual idea underlying the artistic movements not only the specific paintings chosen
    • Conceptual idea is the common philosophy, goals and approach of groups of artists that together form a “movement”
  5. Evaluate then compare and contrast the influence and relevance of both painting in defining the historic, economic, social, and cultural periods in which they were produced.
  6. Conclude your paper with a brief summary of the main points of the paper, an explanation of why each work was chosen and how it is meaningful to you.

B. Paper Specifications

  1. Paper should be 7 – 10 pages in length, typed, 12pt font, 1” margins
  2. Color copies of each painting must be included in the paper and are not part of the page count
  3. MLA style documentation of sources (within the body of the paper, and Works Cited page at its end) must be used.
  4. At least 3 sources should be used for research, not including the course textbook. Wikipedia,, personal and professional blogs, and high school or college student research papers found on the internet are NOT considered valid resources.
  5. Correct grammar and punctuation required.

III. Submission Requirements

A. Submit the entire paper (including the Works Cited page, and color images) as a single file through SafeAssignment, the plagiarism checker found on the class’ Blackboard site. You may submit your paper twice so that you can check the Originality Report yourself before your final submission and make any adjustments needed. Include a photograph of yourself at the NGA as part of your Word document.

Please be aware that this is the general assignment and your professor may have altered the requirements. Always refer to your professor for the most up to date information.