McNay Art Museum

This is a formal analysis essay on an artist’s work from the San Antonio Art Museum or McNay Art Museum.
The focus is is not a report on the artist, but rather an analysis of the visual elements and principles of design in the work of art that are outlined in chapters and lectures 4-8.  However, there are 5 major learning objectives with specific criteria that must be met, with the visual analysis being one of those 5.  You are required to view the posted rubric and paper guidelines for more information.

Museum Paper Due Date: Monday, July 18th, by 11pm.  Papers over one day late will not be accepted or graded, as you are given much time to prepare for this assignment. Allow plenty of time for revisions to your paper. Early submissions will not be accepted more than one week before the final deadline, but you can email me a rough draft via email for feedback ahead of the final deadline, if desired.

Students – Do not attempt to begin this assignment until we have covered Chapters 4-8!  Plan ahead and review sample papers and the posted museum paper guidelines.   It is very important that you review the learning outcomes that you are graded upon for this assignment, so carefully review the rubric that is posted here and on the home page under, “Rubrics”.

View and select an original two-dimensional artwork, in person, from a local museum collection.  Only the San Antonio Art Museum or the McNay are allowed as museum choices, if you are local.  If you are out-of-town or state, you must contact me ahead of time to discuss your museum visit options. We will visit the San Antonio Museum of Art  on Tuesday, June 28th at 6pm in order to get oriented and begin this assignment.  Those that cannot make the class museum visit are strongly encouraged to visit the museum on their own, in person and must provide proof of museum attendance. Students that live outside San Antonio can discuss alternative museum visits with the instructor. Those that wish to utilize the SAMA or McNay museum website to select a work of art will not receive any bonus points added to their score.

Following the attached museum paper guidelines and the assignment rubric (see course home page), write a 3 page minimum, doubled-spaced type-written essay analyzing the form and content of a two-dimensional work of art (painting, drawing, print, mixed-media…). Utilize specific vocabulary from your textbook chapters (4-8) and glossary; the visual elements and principles of art (types of line, shape, texture, value, color, space, time & motion, and unity & variety, balance, rhythm/repetition, emphasis, and scale & proportion). Have the goal of identifying and analyzing at least three of the major elements and three of the major principles of design in the selected museum work.  You may decide to focus on two works rather than on one in a comparison/contrast essay, but you are only required to write a detailed formal analysis of one work of art.   Review all other guidelines and requirements for the assignment that are posted, such as title page info and works cited, media/materials, technique & style, original interpretation of the form/content of the work, and the cultural context and relevant biographical info on the artist and the impact of the art/artist.

The paper must include a works cited list and parenthetical citations (in-text) for research sources utilized. Use proper MLA style (see home page) for the citation of research to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and Turnitin will catch any sentences or phrases that aren’t properly quoted, paraphrased, and cited. The SAC library guide on the home page is a good place to begin your research on the artist.  You are required to cite a minimum of three research sources: at least one library source (periodical, art journal, book, etc.), one from a museum or gallery, and one from the artist’s official website, if available. Newspaper articles are also welcome as research sources.  Wikipedia is only a starting point to find additional web resources and should not be included as one of your cited research sources – search only for reliable, academic sources.  You must never use unethical sites that sell academic papers, or cites that are limited an not academic, like “brainy quotes””, “info please”, etc.  Begin by doing a search through the SAC library guide provided in this course (home page).

You must attach from this assignment area the paper as a word, pdf, or rft document from the assignment box.  Proof-reading is required before submission.  Students that do not follow the assignment instructions, rubric outcomes, museum paper guidelines, or paper length risk not passing this assignment. 

When viewing the attached sample papers below please note that you cannot select any works that are covered in those papers.

Associated Files for Viewing:

  • Museum Paper_Guidelines.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window
  • Museum_Paper.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window
  • Bierstadt_analysis.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window

Assignment Rubric: (Please click on the course home page to view the longer descriptions of each learning outcome for this rubric).