Form and Content Essay

In a work of your choice explore form and content. Form describes the physical properties of the work. Content describes the message and meaning in the work.

First introduce the work and state your thesis. Then you describe what you see in the work. What is depicted?
Then using the elements of art and principles of design, explore composition and form – how is color used, how are shapes and forms placed in the composition, etc… Then discuss style and techniques- Is the work naturalistic, abstract, Impressionistic, Pop Art? What kind of brush strokes does the artist use? What kind of space is depicted? All of these discussions fall under the concept of form.
Content typically requires research to completely describe the meaning in the work. Did the artist write about their intentions? Does the work depict a historical event or story? Is there a story? Is the artist making a point? Is there a political or religious message? When discussing content, formal aspects will also be referenced, often the artist expresses content through form. Every work has content, but sometimes it is more difficult to understand. For instance Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is more than a depiction of a small village at night. The swirling brushstrokes and use of color express Van Gogh’s awe at the magic and mystery of nature and the universe. Even non-representational art has content.
Conclusion, main wrapping up point. What did you get out of this, what does the reader need to know?

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Develop your essay following this guideline:
Introduce the work- title, artist. Include thesis statements at or near the beginning.
Description- Briefly describe what you see. Assume the reader is not familiar with the work.
Form analysis- discuss the use of the elements of art and principles of design, style and technique. Focus on just a few aspects that are important to the work.
Content Analysis – meaning, historical relevance, your perceptions, the message etc.
Closing- Reinforce thesis

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