Ancient African civilization Metropolitan Museum of Art review


VISUAL ANALYSIS PAPER: (25% of final grade)

You will write a full visual analysispaperon the object chosen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will utilize the previous written assignments to create a comprehensive paper on content(history) and form (style). The introduction provided full identification information which you will still need here, the description trained your eyes to look for details that will help support your ideas, the dialogue was meant to generate the questions you wanted answered to provide more information on content, and this paper brings it all together. For this paper, you will need to come to an opinion on whether or not this object fits its period styleand its suggested or known function. This should be clearly stated in the final sentences of the introductory paragraph instead of stating why you chose it. Consider the following when coming to this decision: Does the way it looks add to the reason/function for which it was made? Does it fit the visual characteristics (form/formal qualities), the techniques, the materials, the subjects of the period/culture during which it was made? 

When organizing your paper, consider the following questions: What is it? From which period or culture does it come? How big is it? Why was it made (does it have a specific known function or represent a specific story, if unknown what are some of the current opinions)? For whom was it made (an individual, group, gender, leader…)? How was it made? Is their known symbolism? Is there any writing on it? How was it discovered? When did it enter the museum collection (provenance/history of collections or owners)? You will need to make connections to terms, techniques, and styles covered during lectures and about which you read in the text.You can make connections to objects from class in your paper, but make sure to concentrate on your chosen object. After considering these suggestions, you will use your research and description to provide support for your ideas throughout the paper. There will be a first draft and final draft. This paper needs to be 5-8 pages in length (the written portion).There is a minimum of 5 full pages.The final paper is a requirement: no paper, no pass.

You will need touse “scholarly” or trusted resources: books, articles, and websites (only if considered trusted, so check for trusted web addresses that end in .edu, .gov, .org). Wikipedia or any general information websites are forbidden. If you use them you will be penalized. Also, do not use other student papers as sources.

The drafts and papers are due at the beginning of the class on due dates provided in the syllabus. If you are unable to attend class due to an excusable absence, you need to email it to the professor as a Word.doc or PDF file by the beginning of class, and then a hard copy must be provided as soon as possible. I will not grade the paper until I receive the printed copy (it will be considered late if the printed copy is not received by the next class). You will be turning in a digital copy of the final draft through SafeAssign as directed by the professor to check for plagiarism issues.

Make sure it is finished, printed & stapled well in advance of class. For the final draft, if tardy, you will be penalized: 5 points will be deducted if turned in after lecture has started, 5 more will bededucted if you do not turn in the paper on the due date. You will lose another 5 points for each day following, but remember this is a requirement; if you do not turn it in by the final day of class, you will automatically fail the course. 

This paper also requires a cover sheet and image page. Do not place the image within the text. When referring to itwithin the text for the first time, use the following format: Title of artwork (fig. 1). The cover page, and image page will not be considered in the 5-8 page requirement. 

Remember,you need to cite any specific information borrowed from a book, catalogue, website, lecture, museum signage, or article. You must use the Chicago/Turabianor MLAstyle, and must use endnotes or parenthetical references (no footnotes). If you consistently fail to cite borrowed information, you will fail the assignment; this is considered academic dishonesty and could result in further penalties. 

You will be graded on grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and organization.Proofread often. Consider making an appointment with the Writing Center for help; utilize family, friends or others to help proofread. There is no excuse for papers filled with problems. Take this warning seriously.

The paper must be:

– 5-8 pages(minimum 5FULL pages)

– left-justified (text aligned with the left of the page)

– withno extra space between paragraphs needed

– typed using 12 point Times New Roman font (or equivalent)

– inone inch margins all around the text (like this handout)

– double spaced (please make sure to check this on your computer) 

– stapled at the upper left 

– written as a scholarly paper; do not use the first or second person (I, me, we, you, etc.)

Any deviation from these guidelines will result in loss of several points.

FORMAT:(organize your paper in the following order of sections)

1st – Cover page: include title of the object at center, your name below (centered); at lower right, include the class number, section number, professor’s name (do not misspell), and date. See example included and fill in the appropriate information.

2nd – Text (left justified): you will not place your name anywhere on these pages – it will only  include your written text.

1stparagraph –Identify (title, artist if known, date) the object and discuss its origins (from what period is it?) and include the size and materials from which it was made.From In which museum is it found and what is the collection/accession number? Mentionthe techniques used (is it a marble sculpture, ceramics, fresco painting, illuminated manuscript, relief sculpture…?).This will be similar to the introductory paragraph assignment but instead of including why you chose it, provide your opinion,at the end of this paragraph, as to whether or not you feel this object is a good example of the period style and if it fits its suggested function.

2nd paragraph –Discuss the known history of the object regarding collections (when and how did it enter the museum collection? Who owned it before? How & where was it found, if known). This is likely where you will need to provide the bulk of your endnotes or parenthetical references).

3rdparagraph (and maybe 4th) – Discuss what is known about the function of this object. Consider the following questions (although you may not have documented information to answer all of them, nor will you have to answer all of them most likely). Why was it made? How was it used? What story/individual(s) does it represent? Is there any symbolism in the artwork?


This is where you start discussing the details (description) of your object and the discoveries you made from the research conducted.How do they relate to one another? Why does it look the way it does? (For each question consider: what visual clues there are and what research there is). This will be a combination of providing answers to your dialogue questions based on your research and also supporting these answers with visual clues from the object that were likely first mentioned in your description papers. Use the paragraphs to organize your ideas (each paragraph should focus on one general topic).

Final paragraph – restate your opinion from the introduction with strongest support.

3rd – Endnotes or Works Cited Page: if you borrow information from any source to use in your paper, you mustuse endnotes or parenthetical references (no footnotes) to credit that source. The endnotes should immediately follow the end of your written text.See exampleat bottom of next page. If you use parenthetical references, you must instead include a works cited page after the text which should be in alphabetical order according to the authors’ last names or the titles of the sources.

4th – Image: Center the image and add the following caption underneath it: 

Author (if known), title, date, period and/or culture, medium, location, collection or accession number. To make sure your image follows the endnotes, at the end of your paper add a section break after your written text by clicking on the “insert” button at the top of the screen, select “break”, and then select “section break (next page)”.

Instructions for creating parenthetical references and endnotes:

To create a parenthetical reference in your writing, at the end of the sentence including borrowed information, place parentheses before the period with the authors’s name and page number where the information can be found, such as this (Stokstad, 213). Then, if using parenthetical references, provide a a full reference to the source on the works cited page as follows:

Stokstad, Marilyn & Michael W. Cohen.Art: A Brief History. 5th Ed. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012.

To create an endnote in Microsoft Word 2011, when you are at the end of the sentence you need to cite, you will do the following:

1. click on the “Insert”button at the top 

2. scroll down to the footnote button

3. click on “footnote”

4. when screen opens, look for the “endnote” button and click

5. make sure it says “end of section” next to it

6. fornumber format, select 1, 2, 3…

7. you should start at 1

8. numbering should be continuous

9. click “insert”

If this were your final paragraph, your endnotes would come directly after it as shown here. See these examples for formatting endnotes and the information needed when citing a book,[i] website,[ii] wall text/label,[iii] and lectures.[iv]Each time you cite a source, it will be given a new number (a successive number). Do not simply give one source a number and repeat that number every time you cite it. 

(Remember the endnotes included are examples)



Useful information for writing a paper from the suggested textbook bySylvan Barnett:

A Short Guide to Writing About Art:

Sections that will be most helpful in your assignment:

Section– Formal Analysis and Style 

– includes discussion of he terms idealism and realism

Section–Analytical Thinking

– discusses subject matter and content 

– also discusses form and content

– most important: list of questions to ask yourself when observing the object

Section– Style in Writing

– this provides information on how to organize and write your paper

– this is just another guideline, but use this handout as your main guide

Section–Writing a Research Paper

– aconcisie overview of how to conduct your research and writing

– information on conducting research on WWW

Section– Manuscript Form

– especially look at subsections on Some Conventions of Language usage

– Foreign Words and Quoations in Foreign Languages

– Avoiding Sexist Language or Eurocentric Language

– Spelling

– Italics and Underlining

– Acknowledging Sources

– Common Knowledge information

– Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism

– Documentation (Footnotes and Endnotes) 

– Chicago Manual of Style

– list of examples for how to cite a book, journal, website,   lectures, etc.


(This is an example of a cover page)

Hercules and Cacus: Visual Analysis – 1st Draft Visual Analysis


Student name

ART102 or 104, Sec. ???

Prof. Michael Morford

Date completed


This is only an example for the illustration page–each image should be identified as (fig. 1), (fig. 2), (fig. 3), and so on throughout the text and should be placed within the text when you first introduce each image. Any other figures are optional, but will need to be labeled as well. 

Anything on this page above, below(including) the lines should be omitted from your own paper.

Figure 1. Baccio Bandinelli, Hercules and Cacus, 1534, marble, Piazza della Signoria, 

Florence, Italy.


Your objects should be labelled as below – 

Figure 1. Artist (if known), Title (in italics), date, material, museum, New York, NY, collection or accession number.

*Remember that you need to provide the figure number in the text when you first 

introduce the object (first paragraph) using the following format (fig. 1).


[i]Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cohen, Art: A Brief History, 5th Ed. (New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012), include page number only.

[ii]Author’s name if known, “title of web page,” title of website, web address (accessed October 16, 2001).

[iii]Wall text, Sculpture of Hatshepsut, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY.

[iv]Michael Morford, “Greek Art,” (lecture, CUNY-BMCC, NY, NY, November 18, 2012).

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