ASSIGNMENT: Choose ONE pair of images listed in the increasing point value. Note you cannot choose
pairs that match the Period Style of your Research artwork. First, closely study the bullet points and watch
the short videos provided in the hyperlinks. Then, write a one-page comparative analysis of each pair’s Form,
Content, and/or Context, showing your comprehension of the work’s Period Styles. Summarize the analysis,
considering applicable new methodologies of art history.
INSTRUCTIONS: Type in a separate word-processing software (Google doc or MS doc), save for your
records. Upload to submission link on Bb, having checked the grading rubric. Note: the answer cannot be a list
of qualities but an analysis.
OPTION 1: 80 points
DONATELLO, David, c. 1430–40.
MICHELANGELO, David, 1501–
4. Florence, Italy. High Renaissance
• boyish shepherd David after battle (standing on
the enemy’s slain head)
• feminine, coy, and relaxed, ambiguous face
• semi-nude: wears shepherd’s hat with golden
laurels, wields a sword
• adult David before battle (Goliath is implied at a
• masculine, daring, and tense, psychologically
sizes up his opponent
• naked: even the weapon is hidden
• sleeker, undeveloped skin surfaces
• inert and complacent pose, outward gestures
• downward gaze
• 5’2” high, frontal bronze statue
• modeled musculature
• twisted body, closed-in on itself pose
• averted gaze
• 17’ tall, dynamic marble statue
METHOD: describe the psychological complexity of both artists as part of the Renaissance Humanism.
Discuss how each hero exemplifies the story of David & Goliath. Question why the sculptors chose different
moments of the story and whether they successfully conveyed David’s heroism? Characterize the different ages
of the hero and explain why they appear nude in both works, considering the moral strictures of Christianity: is
historical accuracy important to the artist, or does he take liberties with the narrative?
Analyze the design principles such as balance, movement, emphasis, and art elements such as line, form,
Explain why contrapposto is employed in both works. What do the Renaissance sculptors do differently from
the ancient ones? How do they transform the classical canon and make their own? Finally, consider the
material advantages or technical limitations of both works.
Fall 22 FINAL COMPARISONS Johnson
OPTION 2: 85 points
Madame de Pompadour, 1756.
Oil on canvas, 6’7” x 5’1”. Rococo Art
Antoinette and Her Children, 1787. Oil on canvas,
9’x 7’. Natural Art
• King Louis XV’s mistress
• the object of King’s desire yet identifies herself as
a femme savant (massive bookcase reflected in
• fashionable (accouterments), sensuous (pink
flowers), youthful/fresh (green satin)
• roses symbolize erotic desire
• a pet dog is a symbol of faithfulness to King
• contemplative and deflecting gaze, relaxed repose
• the last French Queen (years before the horrific
• very intimate scene set against the Gallerie des
glasses (a prominent gambling salon at the time)
• official duties (mothering the heir) upstage private
pleasures (salons and riches)
• children’s love for their mother encourages
people’s respect for the Queen
• maternal, regal, official, she looks straight on
• commissioned to the favorite artist when Mme.
earned the highest rank at the court as the
Queen’s lady in waiting (one among 50 portraits)
• epitomizes frivolity and power of the
aristocracy during the ancien régime
• refers to the Rococo Salon culture, full of leisure,
pretense, and theatricality
• completed in many short sessions (to avoid
boredom of the Queen)
• influenced by Rousseau’s ideas on the role of
mothers in society (i.e., the Enlightenment)
• propaganda: corrects the public image of the
Queen by downplaying material possessions in
favor of the care for royal subjects
METHOD: using the Feminist methodology, explain how the paintings challenge the artistic Canon,
criticize the hierarchy, subvert the “norms,” and tackle the issue of the “male” gaze.
Identify the portrayed historical persons. Characterize the age, dress, and social status and explain for whom the
portraits are made. Discuss the setting, itemizing objects and/or people surrounding the sitter, elucidating the
necessity of their presence in the painting. Explain what messages are conveyed in both.
Characterize the aristocratic “frivolous” life and the “sobering” effects of the Age of Enlightenment in France
during the 18th Century. Identify specific philosophical or artistic influences on the artists.
Determine what the practice of patronage involved during the ancien régime: a faithful representation of
historical fact or further aggrandizement of nobility/royalty, exposure of self-indulgencies or satisfaction of
Fall 22 FINAL COMPARISONS Johnson
OPTION 3: 90 points
INGRES, Grande Odalisque, 1814. Oil, 2’ x 5’. MANET, Olympia, 1865. Oil, 4’ x 6’.
French Neoclassicism (Napoleonic Art) French Realism
FORM: The dissolution of the Academic tradition is marked by the explicit artifice supplanting flawless
• epitome of Neoclassical (linear) clarity, idealized,
delicate curves, statuesque qualities of the body
• precise illusionistic textures (silk, feather, fur, flesh,
metal), invisible brushstrokes
• sensual chiaroscuro, warm colors (pink flesh v. royal
• up-close view from above
• Realistic (not idealized) simplicity of the environment
and body, angular arrangement
• lacks illusionism (painted as “flat as a playing card,”
lacking details such as nails)
• lacks chiaroscuro because painted with thick/visible
patches of paint
• cold/sterile and “blonde” color palette
• distant view from below
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: The Academic Salon loses its hegemony over public taste because incompetence
and stagnation become the subject of social and artistic reform.
• Napoleon’s sister, the Queen of Naples,
commissioned it for private use
• publicly criticized at the 1818 Salon for
exaggerated bodily proportions (e.g., extra
• tackles the Academic reclining nude genre as the
pinnacle of artistic skill
• reveals traditional artist’s aim to please the
viewer (or patron)
• depicts a recognizable artist model, Victorine
Meurent, as a prostitute
• caused the public scandal at the Salon of 1865
• criticizes the immoral social practices and
Academic standards (i.e., illusionism and nude
• disallows the viewer to objectify the woman
• highlights the radical artistic freedom of
METHOD: using the Marxist method, distinguish tradition from revolution, freedom of artistic
expression from servitude to patrons.
Discuss the elements of art such as volume/mass, texture, or space. Identify predominant color harmony, value
tonality and saturation of colors. Take apart the principles of design, such as balance, emphasis, or proportion.
Define the Modernist ideology by explaining the terms abstraction and avant-garde art.
Differentiate Academic and Modernist approaches to painting. Consider how the latter style initiates the
development toward non-objective abstraction. Determine how artists affected by other sweeping cultural
developments that impacted the production of art (e.g., revolutions, urbanization, industrialization,
Fall 22 FINAL COMPARISONS Johnson
OPTION 4: 100 points
RIVERA, Ancient Mexico, from DOUGLAS, From Slavery through Reconstruction,
The History of Mexico, National Palace, from Aspects of Negro Life, NYPL, NY, NY, 1934.
Mexico City, 1929–1935. Oil on canvas, 5’ X 11’ 7”. Harlem Renaissance
Fresco. 24’7” x 29’ 6”. Social Realism
CONTENT: Both works are massive historical narratives (i.e., traditional), but they are told achronologically
(from R to L). Like Renaissance art, they aim to persuade the viewer.
• shows the decline of Aztec culture and uses 3
symbolisms of Quetzalcoatl (including a white and
blond, or Westernized version)
• narrates how an older agrarian civilization (right)
is supplanted by the military-technological one
• harmony of artisan crafts (weaving, pottery,
calligraphy, festivals) gives way to tribal strife and
• depicts the Enfranchisement of black men (center)
between the Emancipation Declaration (right) and the
racist backlash of the KKK (left)
• reflects on the events of the American Civil War
• gives precedence to the unity of nature (cotton picking)
and culture (Jazz music and dance) over military and
industrial alliances of the government (soldiers and
buildings in the distance)
FORM: The Interwar Period derives from the transatlantic artistic and cultural dialogue. While the Armory Show
(1913) led to formal experimentation, the “Degenerate art” show (1939) exercised political suppression of artistic
freedoms, realism and abstraction were in constant tension.
• combines the Renaissance fresco technique with
the modern (avant-garde) Cubist aesthetic
• repetition of forms, colors, and contrasts
• un-illusionistic space: figures retain scale in the
foreground and background
• the vibrant color scheme augments the
• mingles African (patterns) with Cubist reduction of
• layered, sharp silhouettes of figures and objects
• depth of space is suggested by the variance in scale and
tonality of earthy colors
• three concentric circles emphasize the compositional
METHOD: explain how the Formalism of these works convey the political ideologies of the painters.
Describe the narratives in each painting and explain what is traditional or avant-garde about them.
Characterize how the narrative genre would appeal to the modern ruling/working classes of each nation,
considering that these were government commissions.
Discuss the principles of design such as movement (through repetition or pattern), tension, emphasis, and
elements of art such as color, shape/form, volume/mass, space.
Explain the intermingling of avant-garde and traditional approaches in these paintings. That is, how does
traditional storytelling gets a “face-lift” with avant-garde techniques, and vice versa?