Meaning in the Arts: Independent Field Study Assignment
For this assignment, you will write a two to three page paper on a painting, sculpture, or work of architecture you have selected, using the artwork as a jumping off point to explore one of the theories or topics we have been studying. You will find the goals of the assignment and the directions below. Good luck!
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- Plato, Republic Book X
- Selections from Aristotle’s Poetics
- Schiller, “Of the Sublime”
- Nietzsche, Selections from The Birth of Tragedy
- Hume, selections from The Standard of Taste
- Arthur Danto, “The Art World”
- Lessing, “What is Wrong with a Forgery?”
- Dutton, “Artistic Crimes”
- Margolis, “The Ontological Peculiarity of Works of Art”
- Feagin, “The Pleasures of Tragedy”
- Caroll, “Enjoying Horror”
- Gant, “The Paradox of Horror”
- Beardsley, “The Testability of an Interpretation”
- Margolis, “Robust Relativism”
- Gadamer, “Hermeneutical Experience”
The goals of this assignment are to:
- Explore the artwork of Philadelphia
- Develop some basic research skills
- Apply a theory or develop a topic we have covered in the course readings and the classroom
- Practice citing sources
Step 1: Select a creative work of art in Philadelphia from the following forms: painting, sculpture, or architecture.
- Visit a museum – the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum, or the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, for instance – or select an outdoor sculpture or building.
- The artwork should relate to the course by acting as an example or counterexample of a theory or topic we have studied, or by raising important questions related to a theory or topic.
- If permitted by the museum, be sure to photograph the artwork and the corresponding information tag. If not, make sure you write down the details of the information tag.
Step 2: Write a two to three page essay that explains how the artwork you selected relates to a theory or topic we covered in the course readings.
- In your essay, provide an image of the artwork that you selected
- Take a photograph of the artwork at the museum, if permitted, or
- Find an image of the artwork on the museum’s web site, in one of the library’s image databases, or on the free web
- Be sure to properly cite the image
- Your essay should include (but is not limited to) the following:
- An introductory paragraph in which you briefly introduce the artwork, the theory or topic you selected, and how it applies to your artwork. Be sure to craft a strong thesis statement in this paragraph.
- A paragraph of background information on the artist and the artwork.
- A detailed, accurate, and thoughtful paragraph on the theory or topic you have selected to use from the class readings.
- A paragraph that thoughtfully describes how the artwork relates to the theory you have chosen.
- A concluding paragraph restating your thesis, reviewing your evidence and arguments, and offering final thoughts.
- Be sure to cite your sources! Cite your sources using Chicago Style.
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