This text is intended to help students improve their ability to write about visual things. I explain the most common types of analysis used by art historians and a little bit about how these methods developed. This is not a history of art history, however, nor is it an introduction to the theory and methods of art history. Major scholars are not mentioned and complicated ideas have been presented only in terms relevant to their practical application. It also is not a guide to learning how to look at art. For that, Joshua Taylor’s Learning to Look remains unsurpassed. 3
Almost all of my examples come from texts written in English. Translations change exactly what is of greatest interest here: the words and concepts used by good writers about art. Furthermore, there is a history to the language used in English by art historians. Sometimes this has shaped the meaning of a term, occasionally in significant ways. A few examples will be discussed below. Even in their use of ordinary words, however, these writers can serve as models. Their vocabulary and ideas offer a wealth of contributions to the internal resources upon which we all draw when we write. The more developed these resources are, the more fluent and expressive writing based upon them will be.
Painting, sculpture, and architecture have been considered the major forms of the fine arts during much of the Western tradition. They have attracted many of the most ambitious artists and, consequently, more attention from art historians. Architecture, however, like video and electronic mediums, requires a specialized descriptive and analytical vocabulary. Just as the art historical methods I explain are the ones most commonly used, so the forms of art discussed in the passages I have selected are those most frequently covered in art history courses. For the same reason, most of the art analyzed in the text comes from the West.
I have not included any reproductions, in the hope that more attention will be given to the passages quoted. Glancing at a picture and then skimming text about it is not the same as trying to create a mental image of something from words alone. The absence of illustrations also should make it easier for each reader to decide which words seem particularly effective in communicating information about visual things. However, I have given enough information about each work so that a picture of it can be found without difficulty. Many of them will be familiar from art history surveys.
Another editorial decision I made was to cite the names of the authors quoted within my text. The normal practice of putting that information in the notes makes it easier for the reader, who is given a smoothly flowing argument instead of one constantly interrupted by names and book titles. Here, however, since my subject is writing, identifying the writer with the passage seemed useful. The most important art historians of the past have birth and death dates in parentheses after the first mention of their names.
This is a guide to writing about art, not to writing itself. It is no substitute for a book like The Elements of Style. the classic but still inspiring text by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. 4 Nonetheless, I would like to begin with a few fundamental principles. Paragraphs should be the basic organizing unit of any essay. Each one should develop a single idea, introduced at the beginning of the paragraph by a topic sentence. The paragraphs should be organized so that the ideas follow one another in a logical sequence. This means that the topic sentences should form an outline of what the writer intends to express. Sentences should be complete, and grammar and spelling must be correct. Words should convey the writer’s meaning as directly as possible.
The choice of which verb tenses to use must be consistent throughout a single piece of writing. My personal choice is to use the present tense for anything that still exists, like a work of art or a book, and the past tense for a completed action. In other words, Michelangelo sculpted David (because he did it centuries ago), but David shows Michelangelo's interest in the Classical conception of the nude male body (because it still does). This seems to me the most logical approach, although sometimes it leads to awkward phrasing. Many people use the present tense for both cases. In other words, Michelangelo uses the Classical conception of the nude male body in his sculpture David. Whatever the choice, it must be adhered to throughout any particular essay.
To be effective, a paper must be directed toward a single goal. The purpose matters to the writer and it matters to the reader, who will have expectations about what comes next based on what has been promised. Writing intended to evoke a vivid impression of a work of art has to present very different information from an interpretation of the subject that depends upon detailed historical arguments. For this reason, it is important to let the reader know as soon as possible what kind of analysis will follow. Every aspect of the paper should contribute to it.
Success is measured by how well the intended meaning has been communicated to the intended reader. There is no substitute for having someone read a draft, or for putting a paper aside and returning to revise it later. Even before that, though, a writer should try to assess the clarity and logic of the presentation. Underlining topic sentences to see if they really do outline the argument is helpful. Quickly sketching elements mentioned in a visual description is another revealing exercise. If there is no place in the drawing for a particular detail, it has been introduced at the wrong point in the essay or essential elements have been neglected. Most of all, the writer should be prepared to revise and revise and revise. Good papers never just happen.
© Marjorie Munsterberg 2008-2009
Writing a descriptive essay about an epic hero requires significant research.Related Articles
Epic heroes generally lead more adventurous lives than ordinary people and thereby provide more rhetorical ammunition for descriptive essays. The goal of the essay is simple enough: Create a clear representation, in words, of the hero. Focus on specific details and formulate a basic argument about his character to use as a thesis and thematic blueprint for structuring the piece. Make it a moving experience to read.Modes of Description
Two types of details exist, and you'll need to use both of them. Physical details are those which can be experienced by at least one of the five senses, while essential details are those which communicate abstractions like mood, personal traits or emotions. Even though physical descriptions can paint remarkably vivid images, essential details provide a more moving experience for the audience and bring them into closer emotional contact with the hero.Lead by Example
Identify the moments in the hero's life that resonate with the qualities you've chosen to illuminate. Describe those scenes so the reader can witness the hero's behavior and judge, independently, in accordance with your own judgments. For example, instead of saying that Achilles was brave, show him being brave in a scene.Be a Storyteller
Think in terms of beginning, middle and end. Think in terms of scenes, including the cinematic qualities and the significances. Does the image you use at the end convey an idea relative to the thesis at the beginning? Which scene is most important and needs to be near the end? Organize the essay logically according to the theme. Telling a meaningful story about the hero is the best strategy for manipulating the audience into feeling a specific way about him.Scour for Adverbs/Adjectives
Removing all extraneous modifiers while editing is an effective way to clean up a descriptive essay. Adjectives and adverbs draw attention to themselves and away from what the language is saying. Eradicating modifiers also will help to balance the attention given to physical and essential details. Furthermore, using stronger nouns and verbs will bolster both the presence of concrete details and the quality of prose in general.References About the Author
Christopher Cascio is a memoirist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literature from Southampton Arts at Stony Brook Southampton, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in the rhetoric of fiction from Pennsylvania State University. His literary work has appeared in "The Southampton Review," "Feathertale," "Kalliope" and "The Rose and Thorn Journal."Photo Credits
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Descriptive essay is a particular genre of writing that calls for the writers to describe specific objects, people, memories, events, places or experiences. The purpose is to paint a picture for the audience by appealing to all their five senses so that reading the paper is truly an immersive experience. This is why the descriptive essay should be clear and focused with rich details and vivid imageries.
Descriptive, Informative and Reflective essay are different types of work, learn the differences and get outstanding results with your papers!
Planning ahead is extremely important for a descriptive paper. Keep in mind that what or who is needed to be described. What is the reason for writing this essay and what quality or what are the key aspects of the topic that need more attention than others. For the sake of the descriptive essay itself, ensure that the paper has a general theme and an overall purpose. A message that needs to be conveyed to readers or else the essay will seem blotchy and scattered and the readers will get lost in the writing. Nonetheless the writing will lose its quality. So therefore check what sights, smells, textures are important for the progression of the description. There might not be a need to splurge out all details. Background information or other such information should be kept to a minimum when it is not directly linked to the topic and does not serve any particular purpose.
In order to successfully start the assignment, it is best to refer to a checklist which can help with organization and keep the momentum going.
A lengthy and tedious description essay will only serve to confuse the readers if it is not properly organized. Therefore drafting an outline for the paper is paramount for its ease of understanding for the readers. This way the essay will also become more engaging for the readers as well. So the writing should describe one thing at a time. For example when describing a person, it is perfectly alright to start with their appearance. The freckles on their face, their bushy eyebrows and hazel colored eyes behind old and broken spectacles. You can then move onto to describing their deep voice, their vocabulary and their accolades and achievements in the field of medicine but it would be wrong to then once again go back to describing the size of their nose or their deep, dark skin tone.
In order to make the essay systematic and help it flow better, it is best to follow a general outline or framework. The paper should start with an intriguing introduction, followed by the body paragraphs and then the conclusion.
After the topic has been finalized, there should be a hook sentence that summarizes the essay and completely engages the reader. Use simple words to explain the topic to your reader so that they become well acquainted. Also give a brief and relevant description of the background so that the readers can easily relate to the writing itself.Body Paragraphs:
The body paragraphs must carry forward the description of the topic. This can proceed in three ways.
If you are looking to describe a particular place then you can do so in a sapatial order which intends to give its audience a camera like movie that moves along to describe the place. Ensure that you are putting in factual details to avoid any empty spaces or waste any sentences.
If the essay is about an event or a series of events then the chronological method can be employed. The description moves on from scene to scene starting from what happened in the beginning to describing what happened in the very end. The ascent of the order of time is key here.
Thirdly if looking for a generic approach that can be used for practically any topic or subject, then the paper can proceed in a climatic order which places value on the level of importance of particular details. This means that the essay goes on from describing items arraneged in a manner of less importance to the most. This is so that the best can be saved for the last and readers leave with a powerful impression in their mind.
Have your conclusion tie up the entire paper. Therefore make sure to give a purpose and let the readers know why they read the descriptive essay in the first place and what they got out of it. Tell them how the description affects them and how it is relevant. Apart from this, exaplan the significance of your most important terms and details of the essay. Let them know why they were there and what impact did these essential details create. After this, end with a “one hell of a statement” so that the message resonates with the audience and gives them food for thought.Descriptive Essay Topics
While there can be many topics and ideas that you can simply start writing descriptions about, below are some example topics that you can refer to for inspiration:
This is a sample descriptive essay paragraph about a mysterious place:
The deeper we ventured, the more spellbinding, profound and elaborate it became. The foliage grew thicker with each of our step. The umber brown color of the sky high and primitive trees stood unwavering above us. The smell of the forest seemed fresh and organic with a flower bed full of blossoming red roses just besides us. But even these roses could not bring us any joy. We decided to move on, to follow a deep dark shadow that had led us into this canopy of trees, the murky and glutinous mud on the mossy matteress floor. We knew that we had to get out before nightfall fo that night would be the darkest and the deepest night we would ever see – a night that not even the stars which were like sliver asters, bright, radiant and shimmering could light up this dark and gloomy forest.
Show, don’t tell. Show them that the house is old, creaky and about to fall apart rather than simply stating that the house is old.
Never forget to poroofread your writing. This can eliminate any chances of careless mistakes that only serve to reduce the quality of the essay and make it seem unprofessional.
It is perfectly alright if you need a little extra hand for your essay. EssayHub which is the best writing service would be more than happy to make your description a work of art. You will be able to get a custom made, top notch papers in no time and without all the hassle. Work with our writers, add your personal flare and make the best essay ever!
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Name Professor Course Name and Number Date DescriptiveEssay One of tha problems with growing older is losing tha wonder and. fascination of tha world that children see. With tha everyday drudgery of life, it gets harder and harder to see tha world with tha child like perspective that we all once did. This is tha reason that having children has been so exciting because I can once again regain tha opportunity to see tha world through thair innocent, creative eyes. Thare are few places where tha.
Disney Vacation Club. Epcot. Magic Kingdom 1533 Words | 6 Pages
The Art of the Essay It is the fall of 2008, and a 14 year old kid is sitting in his Freshman Introductory English class. Classes essentially just started and like always, the new freshmen are still giddy in the excitement of a new school with new classes. Kids walk around with their class schedules in their back pockets, stopping and investigating the potential of each and every one of their friends' list of classes. Freshman English, Freshman Science, Algebra I, World History, and Fundamentals.
American football. Essay. Five paragraph essay 1980 Words | 5 Pages
Gina Broyles English 152 Lynne Goldsmith DescriptiveEssay October 23, 2014 Let Me Tell Ya ‘Bout My Best Friend Saige. Mackenzie Polk, a five foot girl with ten feet of attitude and sass. The girl that everyone knows and watches in awe as she struts down the hallways. She’s the girl that succeeds with flying colors at everything she attempts, and never has a thought of giving up until she feels it is good enough for not only herself, but every other person around. Everything about Saige is spectacular.
2005 singles. 2006 albums. Friendship 976 Words | 4 Pages
Anh Phan ENG 099 7248795 DescriptiveEssay Grandmother, the inspiration of my life I still remember every picture. and actions of my grandmother, a woman who loves me and sacrifices for me and my father most. My father grew up in the north of Vietnam, and my mom and my family in the south of Vietnam. For the disadvantages of long distance, I could not visit my grandmother and grandfather regularly. Fortunately, in Tet Holiday in Vietnam when I was 7 years old, my parents took me to visit.
A Big Family. Family. Grandparent 964 Words | 4 Pages
DescriptiveEssay As I walked through the cold, lonely streets of Aberdeen, I decided to take a shortcut home. Making a sharp. right, I was headed down an alleyway, which was dark and sinister. Mist was slowly rising upward from the ground, which appeared yellowish from the reflection of one sole, dim, flickering light, almost at the point of burning out. The only sounds of the night came from my own feet dragging over many pebbles and stone on the cement. The breeze was very bitter and piercing.
Cosmo Kramer. This Old Man 1151 Words | 3 Pages
A DescriptiveEssay Anticipation grows consistent with every step I take along the gritty concrete labyrinth. Beneath a. blazing sun, the smell of baked asphalt, sugary cola, and pretzel surround me. I follow the unpainted, gray chain fence that leads me forward. Overhead the deafening whirl of metal and screams briefly fill the hot air. The consistent drone of greasy motors and hissing pneumatics engage my curiosity. My heart rushes like a child on Christmas morning about to receive a favorite.
Mind 1016 Words | 3 Pages
Chandell Gabler English 099-22-Intro to College Writing 9:05-10:15 am Professor Braxton-Robinson/Professor Sheffield Assignment: Write a. DescriptiveEssay describing a storm you have witnessed. The storm I witnessed was Hurricane Sandy. When I first heard of the hurricane I thought it wouldn't be as bad as some people were prediciting, but as the storm approached I certainly changed my mind. As we sat in the house it became very real how bad the storm was going to be. It was scary to.
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Denzel Washington. Paterson, New Jersey 971 Words | 3 Pages
know anything about descriptiveessays you should certainly look for descriptiveessay examples. which you can find online, as well as at Professays.com. Why should you look for such examples? Those students with little writing experience can be somewhat puzzled by a descriptiveessay . Thus, an essay example will offer much valuable information, regarding both essay form and contents. The first thing you can learn is descriptiveessay topics. Then you can pay attention to essay structure and outline.
Essay. Essays. Five paragraph essay 743 Words | 3 Pages
English Description Essay In this essay I will describe something in my home; I have chosen to describe a Cheez-It box. Many people own Cheez-It snacks in their homes. The color of the Cheez-It box is red, white, orange, yellow, and black. The front of the box has a big label reading Cheez-It. Above the label it shows the company’s name which is Sunshine. It has a picture of a little fat chef on the left of the company sunshine’s name. Directly underneath the Cheez-It label it declares.
Cheddar cheese. Cheese. Cheez-It 961 Words | 3 Pages
the humanities that photography did not impact. Throughout all of history and the advancements made in technology photography has. been used to do everything from prove a theory in science, to record a special event in a person’s life. In today’s modern world the impact of photography can be seen daily. Developments such as Photo identification, films, photojournalism, and thousands of other advances in life have all come from photography . Though all these aspects of photography are amazing in themselves.
Art. Camera. Great Depression 1628 Words | 4 Pages
DescriptiveEssays vs. Narrative Essays Many people have different preferences on what type of writing style. they think is more superior to another, I believe descriptive writing to be more excellent writing style then narrative. I can tell you that there are a few similarities and a few differences between the two. I prefer Descriptiveessays . rather than narrative essays . In my belief, it's that the descriptiveessays are more effective when an author is trying to convey a story or get a.
Essay. Fiction. Narrative 1153 Words | 4 Pages
Visual Arts Analysis Essay This world is full of so many different art . types and styles. For example there is drawing, painting, sculpture (such as carving, modeling, assemblage and construction) architecture, printmaking, electronic media such as computer and digital graphics, ceramics, visual design, collage, photography . postmodern appropriation and recontextualisation, and graffiti. See us as scholars we have learned a lot from many artists like Banksy.
Art. Banksy. Graffiti 1872 Words | 5 Pages
Man in the Mirror The mirror is an ever-changing piece of art . It sees all emotions and watches unconditionally with no cause or concern. for its reflection. You can only see the present state of objects; it does not record the past or predict the future. We watch ourselves grow through mirrors throughout our life watching our bodies change shape and seeing all of our emotions. Some of us even practice in front of mirrors to enhance our talents such as singers and dancers. I have chosen Michael.
Brown hair. Emotion. Eye color 883 Words | 3 Pages
College Writing 2 October 2012 DescriptiveEssay A compact two-door car might not mean a lot to someone, but to me, working. and improving my car is my favorite thing to do. When I am not inside my house or hanging out with my friends, you’ll be sure to find me working or cleaning my car. For most people, leaving their car stock is passable for their needs, but to me it’s not. My car is modified which makes it one of a kind. My car consists of its exterior, interior, and performance level.
Automobile. Color. Headlamp 2139 Words | 5 Pages
English 1301 Week 4 The Narrative Essay My First Flight The seasons are approaching in which families gather to celebrate. Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time of year does not carry the same feelings for me as they did when I was young. I am a military spouse and my husband has been away for most of our holidays. One peculiar Christmas I received the opportunity to spend the holiday with him this was my first flight experience. The morning of my flight, I got up at 2 o’clock, said a prayer.
Anxiety. Flight. Plane 1310 Words | 3 Pages
Descriptive narrative Assignment September 25, 2013 A Terrible Event No one could ever imagine that such an incident could. happen. On December 31, 2008, in Benin precisely in West Africa, my friends Erick, John, and I decided to go out, as we were welcoming the New Year. Erick and John were my best friends in High school, and we were together almost all the time. Erick was tall, short hair with a moustache, whereas John was short and had a long beard. New Year’s Eve was always fun.
ARIA Charts. Automobile. New Year 1041 Words | 3 Pages
ESSAY . The artist Robert Barry states that “nothing keeps renewing itself the way art does” the meaning behind this statement. can be supported by analysing the still life or vanitas of painting in western culture whilst looking through the post-modern frame. The use of the post-modern frame is to primarily analyse and interpret an artwork, taking into account the post-modern and temporary influences and how this many affect the making & meaning of the artwork. It is used to examine how changing.
Allegory. Audrey Flack. Hyperrealism 1190 Words | 4 Pages
ArtEssay Question: Explain how artists can represent their ideas by using materials and techniques The artists Frida Kahlo. and Marion Borgelt both use materials and techniques in their art making practice to represent their ideas. This is evident in Kalho’s The Little Dear’, ‘Self-portrait with cropped hair’ and ‘the flying bed’ and Borgelt’s ‘Lunar Circle 2007’, ‘Liquid light: 46 degrees 2007’ and ‘Strobe series no 17, 2007’. Frida Kahlo de Rivera, (July 6th, 1907 – July 13th, 1954) was.
Diego Rivera. Frida. Frida Kahlo 1810 Words | 5 Pages
Descriptive paper Mercedez 1 How It Feels To Be in a Live Poker Tournament About five years ago I used to date this guy, whose mother. loved to go to the casino. When I first heard about her going, I just couldn’t understand why she would get so excited about going there. She would come home and say how she had the best time and how she got so lucky. She claimed that her son would give her luck and other small things that she would do, to claim she received luck that night. I would just look.
Card game. Game. Luck 1678 Words | 4 Pages
Compare-Contrast Essay Eng121: English Composition I (AXC13480) Regina McKinney Professor: Nancy Segovia January 1, 2014 A. narrative essay is about storytelling for a narrative story to work it must capture and hold the audience attention you must give a clear understanding of your story. A descriptiveessay lets you describe in detail what the essay is all about using words that appeal to your sense of smell, hearing, see, touch, and taste. A descriptiveessay lets you use words that.
Essay. Maya Angelou. Narrative 1226 Words | 4 Pages
ArtEssay - The context, of which art is created, clearly reflects its history and where it is from. Society’s. values are further highlighted by the piece and give us insight into what life was like. This is interestingly interpreted by Juan Bautista de Espinosa’s exuberant baroque style painting, with a heavily catholic influence from Spain in the late 1500’s, as well as Margaret Olley’s contrasting and simplistic sensibility of the mid 20th century. Each artist’s aesthetic, although significantly.
Baroque. Juan Bautista de Anza. Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail 1433 Words | 5 Pages
Ivory Koehn 9/10/2010 DescriptiveEssay Under The Raised Hand Prologue When I was a young girl learning about life and. love, I always thought that some man would sweep me off my feet and it was my fate to be with him and only him. My mother was not a big fan of love and fate. She didn’t have a very good history of guys and relationships. She would always tell us love was not a reality and we should find someone with a lot of money. My mother is a strong feminist woman and I tried as hard.
2008 singles. English-language films. High school 2045 Words | 5 Pages
Burns 1 Steffenie Burns Mrs. Maxwell British Literature 03 November 2011 The History, Importance, and Evolution of Photography Without. photographs in today’s society, how would we be cognizant about past events, present news, and even foresee a glimpse into the future? With a single idea of a sun beam passing through a hole in a simple enclosed box, the invention of the image projecting camera obscura was created. There is a magnitude more to comprehend about the camera than just the disposable.
Aristotle. Camera. Camera obscura 1704 Words | 5 Pages
Asakusa. A second strong point is that Ueno have one of the biggest city parks which covers several cultural institutions in Japan. For instance. Ueno park contains Tokyo National Museum, The National Museum of Western art . Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Ueno Zoo, and other famous cultural facilities. Once tourists stepped into Ueno Park, they may forget the fact that they are in the part of Japanese biggest city. Nothing is to be heard except the conversation.
Greater Tokyo Area. Japan. Narita International Airport 812 Words | 5 Pages
my new lifestyle. Maintaining one’s diet and eating the right amount of daily calories may take a lot of time to get used to, but I was determined more than. ever. We bought a large variety of different Kyle Eslami B. McDonald Composition 105 Essay # 4 Process 11/7/11 foods, anywhere in the mix of turkey, chicken breast, salmon, shrimp, tuna, vegetables, whole grain bread, nutrigrain bars, plain yogurt, and cottage cheese. This was a huge change for me; it took me about a week or so to get.
Biceps brachii muscle. Biceps curl. Muscle 1389 Words | 4 Pages