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Art History Research Paper Outline

Art History Research Paper Outline

Art History Research Paper Outline

An art history research paper is a type of paper that focuses on the translation of visual impressions into verbal expressions. Art history papers aim at explaining the relationship between the technical structure of a work and the impression it gives to the viewer. It also expresses how the visual elements work together to put across an overall effect.

An art history paper may take any of the following two forms:

  • Analytical.
  • Narrative.

Art History Research Paper Outline Example

An art history research paper outline is organized in the manner below:

1. Introduction.

Your introduction should:

  • State the title of the work of art.
  • State the name of the artist.
  • State the date that the work of art was created.
  • Give the current location of the artwork.
  • Indicate the medium.
  • Indicate the period in which it was created.
  • Give details about the artist’s interests or that of the period that may have influenced his work.
  • Conclude with a thesis statement. Your thesis statement should give a framework for your analysis and suggest your interpretation of the work. It should not necessarily involve a statement of the argument but should inform the reader how the artist’s formal choices affect the viewer.

2. The Body.

Your body should include:

  • Several body paragraphs each explaining a different main idea related to your thesis statement.
  • Topic sentences. Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence stating the significance of the artwork and end with a concluding statement.
  • Organized analyses of the formal elements based on the major figures, a focal point or other significant effects in the artwork.
  • A description of the artwork. You must introduce your descriptions of the formal elements of the artwork to enable the reader to understand how each element influences the overall effect of the viewer on the artwork.
  • Your emotional responses to the artwork. Explain your responses and support them with evidence.

Your art history research paper should discuss some of the following elements within the body:

  • Contour lines. Provide an outline of shapes for artworks on paper or wood. Words that you can use to describe contour lines include thin, thick, hard, strong, linear and curvilinear.
  • Medium. This is the substance that the work is made with.
  • Line. These are the overall vertical, horizontal or curvilinear lines within the piece of art.
  • Color. This includes the pigments that have been used in the artwork. Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a shade.
  • Function. This is the purpose of the artwork.

3. Conclusion

Your conclusion:

  • Should summarize your findings.
  • Should relate back to the theme that you have presented in your introduction. Ensure that you do not simply repeat what you stated in your introduction.
  • Should restate your thesis statement.
  • May include new ideas, insights or understandings that you have gained about the artwork through the research process.

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