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Writing A Visual Analysis Essay: Definition, Tips And Ideas

“So, What’s a Visual Analysis Essay?”

This type of writing assignment is most commonly seen in art history classes, and usually requires students to critically recognize, understand and offer an explanation of the visual choices made by artists upon creation of an art piece. The idea behind this kind of writing is that by analyzing a work in separate parts one will come to fully understand what the piece means as a whole.

Specifically, a student of this type of assignment will address a number of formal elements, including color, texture, line and size. Sometimes a visual analysis essay will include some sort of reference to the interpretation of the work through its historical context or vice versa. The writing is common in as many works, including academic books, research papers, and even a number of popular art journals and magazines.

“Can I Get Some Tips on How to Write a Good One?”

  • Tip #1: Start by simply observing the subject and writing down your observations in a free-written form. Don’t worry about getting down complete thoughts; well-thought of words and phrases work just fine.
  • Tip#2: Take some of your initial reactions and develop them further. Ask yourself questions about the formal elements mentioned above, such as color, texture, line and size.
  • Tip #3: Focus on developing your central argument by taking all of your observations into consideration. This can require you draft a number of thesis statements until you are comfortable with a single, unique idea.
  • Tip #4: Create an outline for your paper with a single discussion point per paragraph. Include evidence from the work as well as any complementary sources you may have found in your readings.
  • Tip #5: Start writing your first draft! You aren’t going to get anywhere until you plunge into the focused work that comes with getting your ideas in some organized form onto your computer screen.

“What Are Some Good Ideas to Write About?

As you can well imagine, there are a number of good ideas to write about when you think about art. Consider putting your subject in a different historical context or comparing the art piece to other works created by the same artist. Read a few academic articles to get a better understanding at the sort of discussions that are going around in the art world. This should be enough to give you several good ideas worth exploring in this writing assignment.

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