The paper is intended to offer you an opportunity to study an original work of art from the period covered by the course. Your paper should include both firsthand observations from the work of art itself and evidence of library research. Use the interactive map on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website to locate the works of art on the list below. It is important that you study an original work of art directly, and not rely solely on book illustrations or online images. The evaluation of your paper will be based both on the content and substance of the paper as well as your ability to convey information and ideas in writing. Your ability to follow these term paper instructions is also important. I expect a well-written and organized paper in which your sources are adequately and properly documented. Before you hand in your paper, please reread these term paper instructions carefully to make sure that you have followed all of the directions. Art History research tools, that is, information about how to carry out research and find scholarly sources in the field of Art History, are posted on the Blackboard site for the course and will be discussed in class. To make sure that students have chosen topics, started the assignment early, are on the right track, and have been able to locate scholarly sources on their chosen topics, students are required to hand in an annotated bibliography for their chosen term paper topic on October 23.
Choose a topic from the list of works of art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each work of art will have a different subject, history, and literature. When choosing a topic, try to focus on one that interests you visually as well as thematically, historically, and intellectually. To understand the requirements of the assignment and how it will be evaluated, please read carefully the section below entitled “Criteria for the Evaluation of the Term Paper.” In addition, you may find the book by Suzanne Hudson and Nancy Noonan-Morrissey, The Art of Writing About Art, helpful in formulating your ideas and organizing your paper. This book is on reserve in the Henry Birnbaum Library.
Format: Carefully organize the important information and main ideas of your paper. In the first paragraph, introduce and fully identify your subject, the main themes of your paper, and methods of analysis (optional). Then, in a logical sequence of well-structured paragraphs that make up the body of the paper, develop each of the themes you introduced in the first paragraph. Begin with the most important theme, which may be to explain what is known about the original setting (placement), function, and patronage of the work of art, that is, the specific historical context for which the work of art was made. After an analysis of the historical facts surrounding the work, include a straight-forward identification of the work’s subject matter (you may include information about the work’s textual or iconographic source, tradition, and the artist’s particular interpretation of the subject matter). Describe the composition of the work of art and its style (for example, how it has characteristics of an artistic period style, a regional style, or an artist’s personal style). In analyzing its form, you may also consider such issues as scale, materials, techniques, and condition, if appropriate. To illustrate specific points and support your arguments, you are welcome to discuss other works of art and include illustrations, but do not pad your paper with information that is not directly related to the work of art you have chosen to write about. The main themes of your paper should always address an issue and make a point that is directly related to the work of art that is the main subject of your paper. End with a summation of and conclusion to your research in the final paragraph of your paper. At the end of your paper, you must include a bibliography section, which should be a list of all significant works consulted. The papers should run around five to ten pages. Papers should be typed or printed and double-spaced. Please also double-space the footnotes and bibliography sections so that there is room to make corrections. For footnotes and bibliography, use the same font size as the text in the body of your paper. For titles of works of art, book titles, and foreign words (for example, in situ), underline the words or put them in italics. Illustrations in the form of sketches, diagrams, postcards, or photocopies, are welcome. Please number the pages of your paper. If you use a Bible, please use the Holy Bible, Douay Rheims Version, which is on reserve for this course in the library. This version of the Bible can also be found online at: http://www.drbo.org.
Each topic will suggest its own emphasis, but in most cases you will want to devote special attention to the analysis of style and to placing the work into its original cultural and historical context. How is it expressive of the time in which it was created? To what tradition, school, or movement does it belong? Where does it fit in the career of its author (if known)? To what extent was it influenced by specific works of preceding or contemporary artists? To answer some of these questions you will need to do some additional reading. As starting points, use the bibliographies in Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (pp. 448-457) and in the books listed in the syllabus section entitled “Additional Bibliography.” For more bibliography, look under subjects relevant to your topic in the Grove Dictionary of Art (Grove Art Online), which is now part of the Oxford Art Online. For many topics, the Metropolitan Museum of Art website has useful lists of references. Students are encouraged to use the resources listed on the pages entitled “Art History Research Tools” and “Art History Indexes and Databases,” which will be posted on the Blackboard site.
Online sources in Art History are mainly used for searching for and finding bibliographical references to information in print. Most Art History sites on the internet are generally not scholarly or reliable and you are discouraged from using them (unless they are online versions of scholarly material found in print). The website for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (http://www.metmuseum.org) and the online version of the Grove Dictionary of Art are acceptable and very useful online sources for this assignment. If you use information from the internet for this paper, you must do the following three things: in a footnote, you must give a correct citation of the internet source as well as an accurate and complete URL address for the information you are citing, you must cite the source in your bibliography, and you must make a print-out of the pages from which you obtained the information and attach the pages to the end of your term paper.
It is recommended that each student use the Henry Birnbaum Library and the New York Public Library at 42nd Street to obtain historical and art historical information about the works of art listed below. The Nolen Library and the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are also very good and the librarians are helpful. Sources for all particular facts and interpretations must be cited in footnotes or endnotes. One of the main purposes of writing a research paper is to learn how to put information and ideas into your own words and to document your sources correctly. To learn this skill, students completing this term paper assignment are not allowed to quote from secondary sources unless it is absolutely necessary (for example, if it is necessary for the reader to see an author’s exact wording). For example, for this assignment, you may use quotation marks to quote from primary sources such as a Biblical text or an ancient Roman literary source. Put all information and ideas into your own words and then use footnotes to let your reader know exactly where to locate the material. Please take note of the following sentence in the MLA (Modern Language Association) Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, sixth edition, page 70: “Presenting an author’s exact wording without marking it as a quotation is plagiarism, even if you cite the source.” For this paper, because I have asked that you do not quote from secondary sources, you must always use your own words (unless you are quoting from a primary source). Please be very careful and do not plagiarize or paraphrase too closely from your sources. For this assignment, if you include ten or more words verbatim from a text – even if you cite your source in a footnote – this constitutes plagiarism. You must always use a footnote as soon as you introduce information or an idea that is not your own. If you quote from a primary source, you must also use a footnote. Students who commit plagiarism in the first version of the paper will fail the assignment and will not have an opportunity to submit a second version. For footnote and bibliography forms, please use the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (the 16th edition has been used for these instructions). A copy of this book is on reserve and copies are also available in the bookstore. A handout with examples of Chicago Manual of Style footnote and bibliography forms will be distributed in class and posted on the Blackboard site. For footnotes, use the system called the “notes and bibliography system.” Do not use parenthetical references in the text or the body of the paper (also described as the “author-date system”). The first time you cite a source, use the form for a “first note citation in a work without full bibliography,” which is described in section 14.14 on pp. 660-666. You can either put the footnotes at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or at the end of the paper (endnotes), which are placed before the bibliography – it’s up to you. Footnote (or endnote) and bibliography forms are discussed in chapter 1 of the Chicago Manual of Style. Additional examples of types of sources and how to cite them are included in chapter 14. For footnotes (or endnotes) use sections 14.14 to 14.55 on pp. 660-684. Please take special note of how to cite subsequent references, that is, “shortened citations,” which is described in section 14.14 and 14.18 on pp. 660-665. A complete bibliography or section entitled “Bibliography,” “Selected Bibliography,” or “Works Consulted” (written in proper bibliography form) must be included at the end of the paper. In your bibliography, put all of your sources in one list and use alphabetical order (by the first author’s last name). Do not separate your bibliography into different sections for books, articles, and online sources. To write a proper bibliography, use sections 14.56 to 14.280 on pages 684-769 of the Chicago Manual of Style. To cite Biblical, Classical Greek, or Latin references, use sections 14.252-14.266 on pages 757-762.