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Do not write this paper like a diary or personal journal.

by | Nov 12, 2022 | Art | 0 comments

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The assignment is to write about how context affects art, using two or three examples to make your argument. Context means the setting, circumstances, or situation around a work of art (do not confuse context with content, the artwork’s meaning). We have studied several kinds of context that affect art, for instance the historical situation, political or religious circumstances, whether the art is in public or in private, the social background of the time, and so on.
The most important advice is: be specific. Address a specific contextual issue and then explain how it relates in specific ways to the artwork you’re discussing. The topic is up to you as long as the subject is within the scope of the course, European art, c. 1300 to 1800. But this is important: avoid overly general, vague arguments that could be made about anything. Do not write a paper that says: Europe was religious and so people made religious art. Analyses like that, which could be made about every work of art for hundreds of years, are too general, are not informative, and will not produce a passing paper. The more specific your paper, the better it will be. Explain a specific context and then use two (or three) artworks to illustrate how that context—that specific setting, circumstances, or situation—affects art. Do not discuss more than three works of art. Note that this research paper requires using at least three sources other than your textbook,, or You are welcome to use internet resources but be certain that they are valid, academic ones. Do not use any .com website, Wikipedia, or fake academic websites like This is one of the most common mistakes that students make which leads to unsatisfactory papers: using invalid, inappropriate web resources for research. To avoid this, only use the official sites of educational or art institutions, such as colleges, libraries, or museums. Do not just Google things and use the first results that come up. If you use museum websites, make sure it is the official site of the museum, not a random tourist’s guide to the Louvre or Uffizi, for instance. The best way to make sure you’re using valid websites is to only use ones you access through the FIT Library web page or other library sites (see below).
The assignment explains in detail how you must cite your sources, with footnotes and a bibliography in what is called the Chicago format. Please read and follow the instructions carefully and let me know if you have any questions. For instance, I am very happy to let you know whether your topic seems like a good one, or whether sources you’re thinking of using are acceptable. For research tips, you can also contact one of the FIT Librarians, who are always very glad to help out and who can be contacted through the library website. The Research Paper folder also has useful documents in addition to the assignment. There is a link to the FIT Library guide for research papers, more info on when to cite your sources, and a sample paper that shows exactly what your finished paper needs to look like, with proper formatting, footnotes, and bibliography.
Two of the best resources for research are Oxford Art Online’s Grove Dictionary of Art and JStor. Both of these are available through the FIT Library website. Oxford Art Online is an online encyclopedia that has excellent, succinct articles about artists, patrons, cities, styles, and other art-historical topics. It is a great starting point and the entries strike a good balance between introductory information and important specifics about artists and their work. Also, each entry has an excellent bibliography at the end that can give you leads for further research, including articles to look for in JStor, an online database of full-text articles. JStor is an invaluable resource for more advanced research, providing access to scholarly articles from academic journals. When searching on JStor, you can enter general search terms, like an artist’s name, or look for specific articles by author or title, for instance one you found in an Oxford Art Online entry. When searching in JStor, I recommend doing an advanced search to narrow your results to articles in English and in art-history journals. Research Paper:
Four double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins and 12-point font. The first line of each paragraph must be indented a 1⁄2 inch. Do not skip an extra line between paragraphs. Submit PDF documents through the paper- assignment drop box on Blackboard.
Using two or three artworks as examples, write an essay about how context affects art. You may consider different types of context, including: historical, social, cultural, religious, and political. You may choose any painting, sculpture, or architecture as your examples, as long as they are from the scope of this course (European art, circa 1300–1800). The paper must include: an introduction that presents a specific thesis and your examples; a focused and detailed argument in the body of the paper; and a conclusion that summarizes your argument. By the end of the introduction, it should be clear exactly what the whole paper will address, including which artworks you analyze. This paper must meet basic standards of college-level work, including correct grammar and punctuation. Spell-check and proofread to catch basic errors. For your research, you must use and cite at least three sources other than your textbook,, or Your research can be from books, journals, or online resources.
NOTE: if you use Internet resources, they must be valid academic ones. Only use online resources affiliated with established reference sites (such as Oxford Art Online) or the official sites of educational or art institutions such as colleges, universities, and museums. Only use online resources found through the FIT Library portal or through other library websites.
Websites ending in .com, Wikipedia, and sites such as are not acceptable. Your sources must be cited with footnotes and a bibliography, as described below.
Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and is not tolerated. This paper must be written in your own words from your own observations. Other people’s words must be in quotation marks with a footnote indicating the quote’s source, otherwise it is plagiarism. You also need footnotes when you are using someone’s idea or analysis, even if you do not quote that person word-for-word; otherwise, it is plagiarism. If you plagiarize, you will receive an F in the course and will be reported to your department chairperson and dean for possible disciplinary action; you will not have the opportunity to rewrite your paper. For more information about sources, footnotes, bibliographies, and plagiarism, see related documents on Blackboard or ask me or a librarian. Do not use more than three or four quotes. Quotes should be shorter than four lines.
Avoid personalization. Do not write this paper like a diary or personal journal. The words “I” and “me” should
not appear in your paper. Do not use colloquial, informal, conversational language.
Do not call a work of art a “piece” unless you are writing about something actually in pieces.
The first time you mention a work of art, provide the date.
Do not begin your introduction with general statements such as “Throughout history, art has been important.”
Do not use abbreviations (it’s, isn’t, don’t, aren’t, couldn’t, etc.) in formal writing. Write out numbers between one and one hundred.
A century is hyphenated only when it is an adjective: “His fifteenth-century sculpture was significant…” but “The fifteenth century was revolutionary …” FOOTNOTES & BIBLIOGRAPHY
Your sources must be cited with footnotes at the bottom of the page and in a bibliography at the end of the paper. These guidelines for the Humanities are from the Chicago Manual of Style. Please consult it or a comparable writing guide for more details on the “Chicago style” or “Chicago format,” which is the required citation format.
Titles of books or magazines are in italics. Titles of articles or chapters are in “quotes.” Pay close attention to punctuation and abbreviations (for instance, pp. = pages and p. = page). FOONOTES:
The footnote number goes after all punctuation and quotation marks. As in this example, footnotes are marked by a small, raised number at the end of the sentence.1. The actual reference is listed at the bottom of the page. Do not use parenthetical citations. Footnotes are numbered sequentially through the paper, even if you cite the same source more than once; they do not start over with every page and footnote numbers are never repeated. When you footnote a source that you have already cited, use just the author’s last name followed by the page number. For example: Alvarez, p. 63. This is how your footnotes must be formatted for different types of sources: For a book: 1 Alice Smith, Art History (Boston: Academic Book Publisher, 2018), pp. 23–24. For a journal article:
2 Robert Smith, “The Medici as Patrons of Art,” Art History Magazine 36 (1997): 23. For a website:
3 James David Draper, “Donatello (ca. 1386–1466),” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History,
If there is no website author, use the sponsor of the site, e.g., Metropolitan Museum of Art For an encyclopedia or dictionary:
4 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, “Brunelleschi.” BIBLIOGRAPHY:
A bibliography of works cited must appear at the very end of your paper. Sources must be listed alphabetically by authors’ last names. When a bibliography entry is longer than one line, subsequent lines must be indented a half-inch, like this paragraph (a “hanging” indent).
This is how your bibliography must be formatted for different sources. Authors are listed last name first, in alphabetical order.
For a book:
Smith, Alice. Art History. Boston: Academic Book Publisher, 2018.
For a journal article:
Smith, Robert. “The Medici as Patrons of Art.” Art History Magazine 36 (1997): 20–35. (note that you list the page range for the entire article, not just the pages you cited)
For a website:
Draper, James David. “Donatello (ca. 1386–1466).” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Encyclopedias and dictionaries are not included in the bibliography.

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