How does the piece relate to the space around it, and to you? What kind of space does the piece create?

This assignment is a formal analysis that uses contextual evidence to support a thesis about a work from the RISD collection. At this point you have already completed your visual analysis; you may expand on the same artwork you have already written about.
Your paper should have a title, an introduction that names the work you will be discussing and indicates the principal points you want to make about it. Your paper should have well organized paragraphs, a sense of development, and a conclusion. General claims you make about your chosen artwork should be backed up with specific visual evidence and contextual evidence based the readings and lectures. You should make claims about the artwork based on your viewing experience, but you should not, in general, narrate that experience.
Use the assigned readings to explore how to apply historical and iconographical analysis to your chosen artwork.
You must include your Academic Essay Checklist at the end of your paper.
For more information, see
In your editing process, please make use of the Academic Checklist worksheet available on the course page, and at the following link: You must attach your checklist to your paper to indicate that you went through an editing process.
Strategies for Formal Analysis
Don’t forget to consider our strategies for formal analysis. Remember that you don’t have to use all visual elements, just the ones relevant to your argument.
Overall description. Describe the piece as a whole. What is this object—a painting, a sculpture, a photograph, a piece of furniture, an installation? List and describe individual components and explain if, and how, they form a whole.
Materials. What material(s) is the piece made of? Describe the appearance, color, texture, surfaces, edges, patterns, solidity, strength, and other properties related to materials.
Relationship to space. How does the piece relate to the space around it, and to you? What kind of space does the piece create?
Composition. How do the various elements in the piece interact and come together? Are they harmonious, or do they clash with one another? Is the composition crowded or spare? Is there a focal point or focal points?
Shape. What are the predominant shapes of the piece?
Content and function. What is the main function of the piece? If describing a figurative work, can you identify the content and subject matter? If describing a utilitarian work, what is the function?
Style. Can you identify stylistic features of the work? If describing a figurative work, pay attention to how content and subject matter are represented, including stylization, idealization, peculiar forms, etc. If describing a utilitarian work, describe the style of ornaments, shapes, patterns, etc.
Scale and proportion. Try to give an idea of the approximate dimensions. What is the relative proportion of the work—in relation to the subject matter represented, but also in relation to the uses, functions, human scale, and the surroundings?
Additional considerations. Unity and variety; balance (symmetry and asymmetry); massing and volume; light and shadow; color and palette.
Based on this analysis, what message or meaning does this work communicate to you?
Your paper should be 4 pages long, or about 1,000 words, not counting images.
Type your paper in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides.
Provide a title for your paper.
Your paper should have a clear introduction, argument, and conclusion. Think carefully about how you organize your ideas, the sequence of paragraphs, and the transitions between general comments and specific details.
In your introduction, identify the work you have chosen, providing the author name, title of work, date, medium, and location.
Proofread, spell-check, and copy-edit your paper.
Include page numbers.
Be sure to include your name on the first page / cover page.
Include your bibliography if you used sources beyond the lecture
Include your Academic Essay checklist as proof of your editing process.