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Writing About Art, 6th edition

  • Henry M Sayre

Published by Pearson (July 10th 2008) - Copyright © 2009

6th edition

Overview

This straightforward guide prepares students to describe, interpret, and write about works of art in meaningful and lasting terms. Designed as a supplement to Art History survey and period texts, this efficient book features a step-by-step approach to writing–from choosing a work to write about, to essay organization, to research techniques, to footnote form, to preparing the final essay. For beginners as well as more advanced students.

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

 

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