Table of Contents

Preface     ix

Acknowledgments   xi

INTRODUCTION: Writing as Critical Thinking   1

 

1

CHOOSING IMAGES: How to Select the Works of Art You

Plan to Write About     9

Visiting Museums and Galleries, 9

Choosing Works of Art to Write About: Some Questions of Taste, 16

Writing Comparative Essays: Some Advantages, 18

Choosing Works from “The Museum without Walls,”  21

The Computer and “The Museum without Walls,” 24

Summary, 27

 

2

USING VISUAL INFORMATION: What to Look For

and How to Describe What You See     29  

Considering the Subject Matter of the Work, 31

Describing the Formal Elements You Discover in the Work, 35

Line, 35  

Shape and Space, 36  

Light and Dark, 40

Color, 43 

Other Elements, 47

Recognizing the Principles of Design, 54

Rhythm and Repetition. 54

Balance, 55            

Proportion, 56

Scale, 57  

Unity and Variety, 58          

Considering Questions of Medium,  59

Beginning Your Essay By Describing the Work, 61

Asking Yourself about the Work of Art:  A Summary, 64

Questions to Ask Before Writing About a Work of Art, 64

 

3

RESPONDING TO THE VERBAL FRAME:  Where Else

to Look for Help in Understanding What You See     66

Taking the Title and Label into Account, 66

Considering Informational Labels Accompanying the Work, 70

Consulting Artists’ Statements and Exhibition Catalogues, 72

Discovering Other Helpful Material in the Library and Online, 74

Research Online, 75  

Using the Library Catalogue and Databases, 77   

Using Art Dictionaries and Other Guides, 81

Considering the Work’s Historical and Cultural Context, 82

Quoting and Documenting Your Sources, 89

Learning the Art of Quoting, 89  

Acknowledging Your Sources, 90   

Choosing Your Footnote Style, 91   

Citing Internet Sources, 96

 

4

WORKING WITH WORDS AND IMAGES: The Process

of Writing about What You See     98

Gathering Together What You Know, 98

        Taking Notes in a Gallery or Museum, 98

        Taking Notes As You Read, 99

Focusing Your Discussion, 101

Brainstorming and Mapping, 103    

Using Prewriting as a Way to Begin, 105                              

Online Writing, 110

Creating a Finished Essay,   112

Organizing Your Essay: From Description to the Verbal Frame,  112  

Developing an Argument or Thesis, 116  

Revising and Editing, 118      

A Revision Checklist, 120

Writing about Art: The Final Product, 121

 

Appendix

 

A SHORT GUIDE TO USAGE AND STYLE: The Rules

and Principles of Good Writing      126

 

            1. Possessive Apostrophes,   127

            2. Commas,    127

            3. Comma Splices,   128

            4. Run-on Sentences,    129

            5. That and Which,   129

            6. Titles,   129

            7. Foreign Phrases,   130

            8. Split Infinitives,   130

            9. Sentence Fragments,   130

            10. Colons,   131

            11. Semicolons,   131

            12. Dashes,   132

            13. Parentheses,   132

            14. Quotations,   133

            15. Ellipses,    133

            16. Dangling Modifiers,   134

            17. Subject-Verb Agreement,   134

            18. Pronoun Agreement,   135

            19. Pronouns and Gender Issues,   135

            20. Indefinite Antecedents (it and this),   136

            21. Correlative Expressions,   136

            22. Verb Tense Consistency,   137

            23. Diction Consistency,   137

            24. Concrete and Specific Language, 138

            25. Frequently Misspelled Words, 138

Notes     140

Index      143