Exemplary Writers

ARH 344

Prompt 1: Portraiture emerges in the Early and High Renaissance as a primary means of constructing and promoting socio-economic and familial identity.  At the same time, Leonardo da Vinci introduces profound innovations in portraiture that allow for greater psychological investigation of the sitter.  Discuss 3 portraits from at least 2 different style periods (Early Renaissance, High Renaissance, Mannerism).  In each case, analyze the stylistic elements of the portrait (i.e. the rendering of space, the overall composition, palette, brushwork et cetera) and any significant iconographic elements (setting, costumes, accessories).  In each case, discuss how the painting crafts a particular identity or agenda for the sitter.  Be sure to connect your stylistic/iconographic analyses to your discussion of each portrait’s purpose.  NOTE:  You may reference the Mona Lisa in your essay, but you CANNOT use the Mona Lisa as one of your portrait analyses!

Prompt 2: Write a reading response to one of the following assigned articles listed below. The directions are different for this assignment than those for Assignment 1. Read them all the way through.

Answer the following questions about the article as a cohesive essay. Do not respond to each prompt one by one. You will lose points if you do. Compose a unified paper. Do not excessively quote from the article. If you quote from the article, you must contextualize your quote and clearly demonstrate its significance. You will lose points for dropping blocks of quotes from the article into your text.
    • Identify and summarize the author’s thesis.  (Note: Keep in mind that a thesis is an argument. A good way to verify that you have found the author’s thesis is to complete this sentence: “In this reading the author argues that….”)
    • Identify at least 5 substantive things you learned from the reading that you did not know before. These should be ideas, concepts, significant practices, not details like dates or straightforward facts.
    • Identify 3 things you found especially interesting and why.
    • How does the reading relate to, expand upon, or contradict the discussion of the same artwork, or type of artwork, which appears in the relevant assigned course materials?
    • What is your response to the reading?  Do you agree or disagree with the author’ thesis?  Do you find their argument convincing or unconvincing and why?  (Note:  To answer this question you will need to have a “because clause.”  i.e.  “I found this article (un)convincing because….”). What kinds of sources does the author use?
    • Why might the information/analysis/perspective offered in this reading be useful to students studying the Italian Renaissance and/or art history more generally.
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