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DEFINING VISUAL ANALYSIS ESSAY: TIPS AND EXAMPLES

❶By doing so, some thoughts will naturally come to the mind, like the overall theme or message that the artist is trying to portray through his or her artwork, the background, the underlying themes, motifs or symbols, etc.

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Visual Analysis Essays

Texture is how rough or smooth something is, or the pattern it has. Texture can be real on 3 dimensional art, or represented on 2 dimensional art. Where is texture in the image and how does this texture create an expectation in the audience of a particular touch sensation?

The way in which the artist uses circles, squares, rectangles, ovals and other shapes in the art. How are shapes used in the art? Where does shape, or relationships between shapes help your eye to focus?

Our eyes tend to focus on familiar shapes and see shapes in two dimentional art through shading and use of light. Where has the artist used shading or light to highlight some aspect of the image?

Does some part of the image stand out as having 3 dimensions? Form can contribute to making an image seem more real, and also to add importance to a part of the picture. How are light and dark used in this picture? Is there a symbolic use of light and dark? Does the artist use light or dark to highlight the focal point? Value can be used along with color. Extreme changes in value createst contrast which often is used to provide meaning. Size can refer to the overall size of the image and also the relative size of items in the image.

Why did the artist choose this size for the piece? What is the meaning of the difference between sizes of elements in the image? Specific parts of the design which have symbolic or historical meaning such as a cross for Christianity, or triangles for the Trinity. Are any of the aspects of this piece symbolic? Does the artist intend to use the symbolism directly or to invert it?

For a simple introduction of the principles of design see the website of artist John. Principles of Design Principle. Symmetrical balance means things on both sides are even, asymmetrical balance means that the design is weighted on one side, radical balance means things are organized around a center point.

The artist usually uses size, texture, shape, color or some other element to make one part of the image stand out as the focal point.

How your eye moves in a path through the picture, sometimes stopping to focus on certain parts. Where do your eyes go, and what makes your eyes move through the picture in a certain way. If it is repeated, it is probably important to the meaning. You might want to find out what that image means. The relationship of sizes inside the piece of art, for example the size of one building to another, or a head to the body. Variety is the use of several elements of design to make the audience see the image as dynamic and in an active rhythm.

Taken from Getty Education Materials: Analyzing Meaning of Visual Images Although Visual Analysis Essays often focus a lot on the details of describing the image, you will also need a thesis which tells what the images mean. Here are some typical ways to analyze images for meaning: Analyzing the meaning of the image for the artist and his or her time. Analyzing the meaning of the image for you and your time.

Analyzing the changes in the meaning of an image over the course of time. Analyze the audience reaction to the image. Analyze your own reaction and evaluate the effectiveness of the image. What claims does the image make? What type of claim is it? What does it mean?

What is the Cause? What are the effects? How are these related? How important is this? How should we evaluate it? What is the solution? What should we do about it? How visual lines draw your attention to or away from the focal point. Is the focal point centered or offset?

How does this contribute to meaning? What do these mean? How does any text or caption work to provide meaning to the visual? Examine Context and History.

Analyzing Historical Photos This historical photo is a good example of an image with a specific purpose. Pre-Writing for Visual Analysis Essay of Historical Context Answer the following questions to get ready to write an analysis of the image and the audience response. Who is the artist? What is the purpose of this piece?

Why did the artist create it? Who did the artist create the image for? What was going on at that time in art or in the culture that the artist was either reacting against or reflecting?

How did the audience in that historical moment view this work? Where was it published? How would the image appeal to that audience? What was the reaction to this piece of art when it first appeared? Did the audience understand what the artist was trying to say with the image? How did the artist feel about the reaction of the audience? You will also need to make sure that in the first paragraph you include all of the information your reader needs to know, such as: Using these assumptions, here are some possible thesis ideas: Hello Virginia Kearney, Thank you so much for your article.

In addition, here is why: I probably need to add a link to my ariticle about organizing essays: For a full list of all of my Essay Writing Articles see: This website uses cookies As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things.

The different aspects the artist can use to put together the image. Where your attention is drawn to in the picture. Understanding the focal point helps you understand the meaning of the picture.

Artists use lines to draw your attention to the focal point. Texture links images to real objects and the use of senses other than sight. How light and shading techniques make a 2 dimensional object look like it has 3 dimensions.

Degree of light and dark in different parts of the picture. Variation in the size of shapes and lines indicates relative significance. Symbols draw on cultural meanings which can work differently for different audiences. How the different visual elements are distributed so that they seem stable or unstable. What catches your attention when you look at the image. Is there an object or a symbol that repeats in the design?

Are the proportions realistic or distorted? See how the different elements of design work together to produce a mood or meaning. This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.

The thesis is the first and foremost thing that should be kept in the mind while writing the essay, as it relates to the main idea s of the visual analysis essay. Another important thing that should be kept in mind while writing the essay is that the paragraphs should both be assertive as well as creative in nature.

You should think and reflect on the artwork in a creative way in the initial few paragraphs of the essay. But the later paragraphs should solidify into a concrete statement, by becoming assertive and authoritative in nature.

By following the above-mentioned steps, you will find writing a visual analysis essay an easier task to do. The first step in writing a visual analysis paper is to review the piece of visual art carefully for a long period of time, ensuring you make note of all notable aspects such as the tone, characters, objects and setting. Record all your thoughts as this will be your guide to creating your visual analysis essay, as they will be the main points discussed.

Next, you will want to write your essay starting with an introduction that explains your thesis statement for the art piece. This will be followed by the body of the essay, which explains your main points. The visual analysis paper can be concluded by summarizing the main points and giving your final opinion on the piece.

The thesis statement explains what the visual means to you. This involves explaining aspects such as:. When writing a visual analysis of an artwork, you will need to describe elements such as the lines, shapes, colors and forms in the piece.

Before the age of the internet and the rapid spread of information, political leaders would often rely on the commission of official paintings or photographs Maybe this is a good value to instill during a young ages, as yougrow, it becomes less and less relevant. If a book sports a cover A Visual Analysis of the Goddess Astarte Sculpture words, 3 pages Formal Analysis of the Goddess AstarteI chose my piece of the Goddess Astarte because I knew from the instant I saw it that writing a paper on it would put me out of my comfort zone.

Previously, whenever Ive written papers on Art History Ive concerned myself with pieces that A Visual Analysis of Station by Gerhard Richter words, 7 pages Upon arriving at the North Carolina Museum of Art in preparation for my Formal Analysis paper, I knew that I wanted to select a piece for analysis that would put me out of my comfort zone.

I selected the abstract expressionist work, Station , by Gerhard Richter because abstraction Visual Analysis of Mountains by Arthur B. Davies words, 4 pages MountainsArthur B. Davies is the artist who created Mountains.

I found this piece in a collection from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Davies used watercolor, gouache and charcoal to make this image on a light tan laid paper. Gouache is a type of paint that has pigment as The gold and white colors catch my eye first, and then I look at the figures on the wall.

At first glance, the human figure just It was produced from as a painting. Raphael painted this composition on wood with oil and is 1.

He was born on July in Paris, France to a moderately wealthyfamily. His father, Auguste was born into a family of wealthy workers inNaples, Two male figures appear in the portrait, Jean de Dintville on the right and his fellow countryman Georges de Selve the Bishop of the You may also like. Cause and Effect Essay Topics. Compare and Contrast Essay Topics.

So, what is a visual analysis essay? Putting it briefly, it is exactly what one may think just reading the term: Such essays are usually assigned in English, History, or Art History classes.

You discuss the visual piece, as well as the tools and technique s that the author used to create it. You also have to try and reveal the message that the author put into this work at the time of creation, how well it worked then, and how well it holds up today.

Visual analysis essays can be quite diverse in terms of their purpose and focus of interest. Sometimes, this meaning is rather subtle, and one must make an effort to have it revealed — as in most works of art. In other instances, this meaning is straightforward because the author intends to get a particular message through to the audience without requiring too much effort from the latter — for example, an advertisement.

So, how exactly does one analyze a visual object. There are several key elements to consider here: The introduction here has the same purpose as in any other type of essay — to present your subject to your reader and to get them interested. There are several most common ways to achieve this: To describe the visual piece in question in such an expressive language that your reader has a vivid picture of it To give a brief historical overview of the creation of the visual piece in question To talk about the motivation that drove the author into creating such a piece To mention some exciting trivia about the piece To make a claim that this particular work was or still is misunderstood and promise to explain to your reader the true meaning behind the visual piece in question Mind that these methods are not mutually exclusive.

Your visual analysis essay will be your original piece of work, you are the author, and you are welcome to combine two or more of these methods in the introduction to your essay. The introduction also has to include the thesis statement which presents the main idea of your essay. Here, your thesis statement will be the claim you make regarding the meaning of the visual piece under analysis. The introduction is always followed by the main body paragraphs.

Each of the main body paragraphs is devoted to a particular point of discussion. In this case, the points of discussion may be the key elements of visual analysis that we have discussed earlier in this article. Usually, the sufficient number of main body paragraphs in an essay is three, but you may want to specify it with your instructor to be perfectly sure.

Concluding your visual analysis essay, you can always stay on the safe side and use framing technique — just restate your introduction. If you have written many essays throughout your years as a student, you know that this is the safest and most obvious way to conclude pretty much any essay you write. In this case, you will also probably think that this approach is boring. With visual analysis essays, there are several ways to make your conclusion more creative and exciting both to read and to write.

Here is what you can do: Compare your first reaction to the visual piece in question to the one that its original audience had Try to imagine what the author would have to say about how the piece is perceived today Put the piece in the context of the variety of other similar artworks and define its place in this context Focus on the elements that reveal this piece as one belonging to this particular author DESCRIBING A VISUAL PIECE One may think that a proper education in art is necessary for putting together a visual analysis essay worth reading and that one cannot possibly analyze a visual piece properly without such an education.

This is not entirely true. The truth is that, unless you are blind, you are surrounded by visual pieces all the time throughout your life — so, you should have a thing or two to say about how they look and why.

Moreover — once again — you are the writer here, and this is your writing. So, if you were assigned to write a visual analysis essay, it means that your instructor is particularly interested in what you have to say about a visual object, how you perceive it through the lens of your experience, skills, traits, etc.

So, it is wrong to feel unfit or unprepared to write a visual analysis essay just because you are not entirely familiar with all the "artsy" terminology. Even if you are, there are surely some tricks that you have noticed creators of visual pieces artists, advertisers, designers, etc. For instance, how they make the objects that they want you to notice first bigger and lighter, and how they minimize and fade out the rest of the picture.

You are also sure to have some ideas about what colors can symbolize what objects or emotions — for example, how red color is associated with blood and symbolizes danger, how blue associates with the sea and symbolizes peace and tranquility, how green associates with nature, etc. If you want to create a winning description of a visual piece, you need to make it as vivid as possible. To achieve this, you need to mention some details that one does not pay too much attention to at a glance, but yet they are so meaningful that you can claim that they create the meaning of the piece.

To notice these details, you need to take a scrupulous look at the visual piece that you are analyzing and look for them specifically. It is your visual analysis essay, so your perception of the visual piece should be the focus of your writing. In other words, you should trust your eyes about what you have to write in your essay, rather than anything that other people may have to say on the subject.

One needs to know where to look for them. So, here are some prompts and brief descriptions of the design elements of any visual piece that one needs to consider when analyzing it: Just as one may guess, it is how the author has put the visual piece together. It has to do with the placement of the things in relation to one another.

In other words, when looking at the composition of a visual piece, you pay attention to the central figure in the picture, to its relation to other figures, as well as to what might have been on the picture but was deliberately left out by the author. This helps you understand what the author wanted you to see on the picture, thus installing a particular meaning, as well as mood and tone, in it.

The visual piece under your analysis may be monochromatic using only one color. If it is not, then you will have to keep the color wheel in mind if you are not familiar with what it is, it is crucial for your visual analysis essay that you look it up. If the colors used or dominating on the picture are placed opposite on the color wheel, then you know that this is complementary coloring.

Generally, you have to pay close attention and notice all the colors that you can see in the given visual piece, including black and white. You should also ponder about how the used colors contribute to the mood and tone of the visual piece. If you think long enough, you may also notice whether or not the colors and the associations they give you are obvious and predictable. An example of how a particular color can be used in a picture is the highlighting or outlining a particular object in a particular mood.

You may have encountered this term quite frequently, but never wondered about its definition. Basically, it means the degree of smoothness or roughness of something, as well as the way this degree changes throughout in our case the visual piece. Also, with visual objects, a texture can be real 3-d or projected 2-d. When analyzing your visual image in terms of texture, you pay attention to whether or not the texture changes on various sections of the picture, in which sections it varies, and what tactile expectations it inspires.

Here, you look at the shapes that the author chose to use in this piece — circles, squares, triangles, etc. Importantly, the shapes do not necessarily have to be drawn with distinct lines - they may as well be suggested by the variations of shades and colors. One should not confuse shapes with forms. We have already discussed shapes, and the difference between them and forms lie in the fact that forms are more complex.

For example, they can make a two-dimensional image look like a three-dimensional object. Often, they are also used to underline a particular section of the picture. When we talk about visual objects under analysis, the term "value" is quite specific and refers to the variation of light and dark that the author chose to use in different parts of the image. The variation of value may create contrast, which can be meaningful itself, as well as its lack.

The author may use values for highlighting a particular part of the picture or even put some deeper symbolism into them. Here, you inspect everything in the visual piece that can be measured in inches or centimeters. You mention the size of the picture itself and the objects in it and try to answer why the author chose to have them this way. Sometimes, it may seem to you that the answers to such questions are self-explanatory, but nevertheless, these questions deserve attention and answers.

Here, you look at particular objects on the picture that may hint at a different or broader meaning than the one you see at first glance which is, arguably, the definition of a symbol. For instance, a cross often refers to Christ figure or Christianity, a triangle may refer to Trinity, etc. It may be insightful to discuss how the same symbols may have different meaning for viewers from different cultural backgrounds. Combination of various elements. Throughout your scrutinizing process, you need to remember that what you are looking at is a whole piece, even if you are grasping only its particular element s at a time.

None of these elements are independent and self-sufficient here, they all only exist in relation with one another.

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