Formal Analysis Paper: Poussin-The Abduction of the Sabine Women (1633-34)

Begin by identifying the basic elements of the composition: what is depicted? What is the
relationship between the figures and architectural elements or environment? Between one figure and another? What is the focus of the composition and how has the painter created this focus? How is meaning communicated through the arrangement presented to the viewer?

Finally, compose your formal analysis. Your essay should relate the subject of the painting and its literary source (if appropriate) to the way the artist has chosen to represent the subject. No additional research is necessary. Your essay should offer an attentive response to the formal elements of the painting and how these contribute to its meaning. Remember to articulate a thesis early in your essay and support it with your observations, which should be substantiated with visual evidence. Your thesis should propose an interpretation or offer a characterization of the work.

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