Early christian and Byzantine art

Choose ONE artwork from any chapter in the textbook. Take your selection seriously, as you will be working with this same artwork to the end of the whole WI assignment. Choose an artwork that interests you, whether it be a painting, sculpture, photograph or something else. Look at it closely and think about what you see and what it means. Placing yourself into the role of an art historian, describe and interpret chosen piece, using your own words, your own perceptions, and your own experiences to understand it. This step does not require any research, try to capture the initial reaction.DESCRIPTIVE COMPONENTS:Characterize the format (vertical or horizontal, etc.) and determine the size and scale of work (actual dimensions of work in feet and inches and comparison with the human scale, i.e., life- size, smaller or larger-than-human size).Describe the physical condition such chipped or repaired surface, cracks, discoloration of paint or collage elements. Rationalize whether the condition plays a role in your reaction to the work.Identify Visual Style such as the representational, abstract, nonobjective, or media art categories. Is the work figurative or has elements of stylization? Consider the degree of naturalism, realism or illusionism and determine whether idealization is employed.INTERPRETATIVE COMPONENTS:Explore your reaction to the artwork. If the work appeals to you, try to explain the reasons for your responses and understanding of the work. Were you surprised by the scale of artwork or disappointed by its texture or color? Did you feel any emotions or got ideas while observing the work? Be honest in your opinions but avoid value judgments: comments such as “great,” “poor,” “I like it” and such should only be included with full explanations: “I like it because…” and “it’s great/unique/beautiful/excellent because…” In other words, aim for precise characterization of the purpose the “good” modeling or bad representation serves. Safely assume that the artist had control of techniques or visual conventions and made conscious decisions regarding them, even if cultural and historical circumstances predetermined them.Recommendations for writing:Because your initial reactions to the artwork are based on limited knowledge and lack research, you may want to reflect that in your writing style. Instead of claiming something that you don’t know for certain, use qualifiers or hedges, allowing for alternative interpretations, doubt or restricted meaning. They are used frequently in academic writing. Verbs can qualify (may, might, seem, appear), as can modifiers (slightly, perhaps, possibly). Use hedges and qualifiers only when you cannot be certain. Don’t use them to indicate a lack of confidence in your responses and ideas.

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