Art formal analysis paper

The formal analysis paper is a written analysis of a work of art using proper terminology to describe and analyze the work.  You will pick 1 work of art for your textbook or from a museum website. You can pick any work of art from any period. It can be a painting, a sculpture, photograph, mix media, etc.  


  1. Pick 1 work of art. It can be a sculpture, painting, photograph.  Study the work of art so you can describe it for your paper. 
  2. Write a formal analysis about the work of art. Consider the use of: shape, line, color, texture, scale, proportion, balance, contrast, and rhythm. Not all of these visual elements may be important: examine which ones contribute to the work’s success. Describe how the artist uses these elements to create a particular effect. Refer to Chapters 4 and 5. 

Use specific visual evidence to support your argument, and write in correct essay style with an introduction paragraph and thesis statement, paragraphs with topic sentences, and a conclusion paragraph. Your paper must be in MLA format.

  1. Include an image.  Make sure to cite your image within your paper. 
  2. Submit your word document in blackboard. I will NOT accept papers through email or after the due date. If you run into problems uploading your paper please contact IT. And do not wait till the last minute to submit paper. 
  3. Double check to make sure your paper was uploaded correctly. You will be unable to resubmit your paper after the due date if it is uploaded incorrectly. 


  • Format:Typed, double-spaced in 12 point readable font, with no additional spacing between paragraphs. Indent the first line of each paragraph to indicate paragraph transitions
  • Spelling, Grammar, and Mechanics: Use tools to check your spelling and grammar. Read your final draft carefully for errors not caught by tools. Make sure to spell check and capitalize proper names
  • Citation style:The paper must be written in correct MLA style or CMS style. You must cite your sources! If you do not cite your sources you will get a zero
  • Essay style:paper must be organized and written in complete Standard English sentences and include an introduction, thesis statement, supporting arguments/evidence, and a conclusion.
  • Length:approximately 3 pages of text. These pages do not include cover page, works cited page, or your image.