What is the title, artist’s name, date, and medium of each artwork?

THE BASICS: You will write an essay that compares and contrasts two artworks/artifacts based on the elements and principles of design as well as context. How are the artworks similar? How are they different? In the process, we will uncover the connections between two different examples from two different times and places. You must include images of both artworks.
You will choose one of the possible pairs listed below (or create your own pair in consultation with the instructor):
Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, oil on wood panel, 1503-06
Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, gelatin silver print (photograph), 1936
Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt, c. 2558–2532 BCE
Kara Walker, A Subtlety, Brooklyn, New York, installation made of sugar, polystyrene, plastic, molasses, 2014
Hilma af Klint, Group IV, The Ten Largest, №7, Adulthood, tempera on paper mounted on canvas, 1907
Julie Mehretu, Retopistics: A Renegade Evacuation, ink and acrylic on canvas, 2001
You will then discuss the similarities and differences between two artifacts, based on:
Elements of Design
Principles of Design
Step-by-Step How To…
PARAGRAPH 1: Introduction
In a few sentences, introduce the two artworks that you will be comparing and contrasting, and give the reader an idea of what we can learn through this comparison.
Identification: What is the title, artist’s name, date, and medium of each artwork?
What we can learn: Will we be able to learn more about why and how two artists, in two different times and places, focused on the same subject matter? Will we learn more about the ways that abstract art has changed over time? Will we get a better understanding of how power is expressed in art? This section is primarily a few sentences to introduce the artworks and give the reader a sense of why you are comparing them.
PARAGRAPH 2: Similarities and Differences (Elements of Design)
This is the start to your analysis. In the next few paragraphs, you will analyze the similarities and differences between the two artworks based on a number of points, starting with the elements of design. How does each artist use and incorporate line? What colors did they use? Does one have geometric shapes while the other has organic shapes? How did they construct a sense of space? Consider how the elements of design might impact the artwork’s meaning. Focus on elements that are most relevant – if there’s no implied or actual sound, no need to mention it!
Elements of Design:
Line (straight, curved, angular, flowing, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, contour, thick, thin, implied etc.)
Mass and Volume, Texture (actual or implied)
Shape (what shapes are created and how)
Light and Value (what is the source of the light? is there high or low contrast? Are there visible highlights or shadows?)
Color (primary, secondary, complimentary, warm, cool, monochromatic, tints/tones/shades)
Space (foreground, middle ground, background, different kinds of perspective used)
Time and Motion (actual or implied)
Words and Sounds
PARAGRAPH 3: Similarities and Differences (Principles of Design)
Next, you’ll want to analyze the similarities and differences in terms of the principles of design. Is one symmetrical, while the other is asymmetrical? Do they both incorporate repetition in some way? Is size/scale a major factor in these artworks? Consider how the principles of design might impact the artwork’s meaning. Again, only discuss the principles that are most relevant.
Principles of Design:
Directional Force
Unity and Variety
Emphasis and Subordination
PARAGRAPH 4: Context
Finally, discuss the different types of context. How do the different viewing contexts impact the artwork? Is one artwork meant to be viewed outside, but the other is inside? If it’s inside, is it in an art museum or some other site? Again, only discuss the types of context that are most relevant and consider how the context might impact the artwork’s meaning. You may need to conduct some research here to find out about the artists and how their biography, for example, impacts the artworks. If you do find something out online you MUST cite it properly!
Types of Context:
Viewing Context
Internal Context
Biographical Context
Social and Historical Context
Art Historical Context
PARAGRAPH 5: Opinions and Conclusions
This is the part of the paper where you bring it all together and go beyond description to offer a conclusion and your own informed opinion about these two artworks. Discuss how and why the key elements and principles of design, combined with the context, were used by the artists to help create meaning. Any statements you make about the work should be based on the analysis in Paragraphs 2-4 above. Although you may need to conduct a little internet research to find out about the context, do not rely on the internet to formulate your opinions or draw your conclusions for you!

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