Types of Art Papers

According to Sylvan Barnet, there are five major types of art writings. When writing an art essay example, it is recommended to blend various categories in order to make sure that you have fully discussed the assignment given.

  1. A sociological essay: sheds light on a specific historical period and discusses how that epoch could have influenced artworks. There are many art essay examples related to this type of writing.
  2. Image writing (aka iconography): critically analyzes images via thorough exploration of symbolic forms.
  3. Formal analysis: the main art essay writing tips here is to learn about more formal aspects of art and critically evaluate how they mix together to create a unique artwork.
  4. Biographical essay: there are many essay writing examples that examine the figure of the artist and how his/ her background or upbringing has shaped his approach to visual arts.
  5. Iconological essay: do not confuse with image writing Types of essays. Here you study a particular image and then with its help interpret the chosen artwork. Among the essay topics can be “The usage of Greek myths in interpretation of archaic Greek art.”


What You Should Know before Writing an Essay Sample?

  1. Identify the artist’s rationale for choosing a certain medium.
  2. Pay attention to the lines (light or heavy? Vertical or horizontal? Straight or curved?).
  3. Coloration (are the colors realistic or expressive? Cool or warm? Subdued or bright? What effect do they have on the artwork and its perception?). Find an example essay on the net to see how one discusses colors.
  4. Examine light & shadows. What is their meaning in the artwork?
  5. Pay attention to space (is there enough space or are the objects crammed? How does the use of space influence the artwork perception?).
  6. Is there some specific style that the artist employs? To get more detailed information about different styles, look through examples of college essays.
  7. Does the composition refer to the main idea or message of the artwork? Does it somehow influence the movement?
  8. Investigate the context of the work: (1) the time and place when the work was painted/ sculpted/ etc.; (2) the influence of politics/ culture/ religion/ history on the artwork.


Advice for Writers

There are no special tips for students who want to succeed in writing an art essay. Actually, the rules are the same as for any other type of writing. It is crucial to stay concentrated on the topic and adhere to the main paper requirements. A student can always search for college essay samples to get more familiar with the paper structure and organization. An important thing to keep in mind is that a student writing an art essay should use specific terms and analyze the artwork according to certain criteria (as in the section above). Moreover, it is not enough to describe an artwork as critical analysis and interpretation is more important. A general tip: avoid first person usage and colloquialisms and stick to the academic style of paper writing. In case you are analyzing the artwork from the historical perspective, make sure to structure the paper layout in chronological order. 

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