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ARH 343 Paper Assignment

Please write a paper of at least 2,000 words, but no more than 2,400 words, on one of the following 2 topics:

1. Artists in northern Europe produced a variety of portraits – representations of themselves and of their contemporaries – between ca. 1350 and ca. 1600. In some cases portraits were created as stand-alone works (focusing solely on one person’s head and shoulders or whole body); at other times portraits were integrated into larger compositions containing other figures from the past (for example, Mary and Jesus). Discuss the various types of portraits we have seen in this class. Please address the functions of portraits and, when relevant, the role(s) of the people portrayed. Also, in your essay address the following question: did portraiture change as a result of evolving social, political, artistic, and/or intellectual contexts – in other words, did portraiture have a history? In your essay, please mention and describe at least five individual artworks, including at least one from the fourteenth century, one from the fifteenth century, and one from the sixteenth century. Please don’t hesitate to mention more than five artworks (indeed, you might want to mention more than five in order to produce a more complete essay). 

OR

2. The art historian Walter Friedländer once wrote that Jan van Eyck was an “explorer” and Rogier van der Weyden was an “inventor.” Discuss in your essay the role of invention and innovation in art created in northern Europe between ca. 1350 and ca. 1600. It is true that many types of images were repeated (for example, paintings of the Virgin and infant Christ, sometimes including a donor), but even within the major categories one still sees significant changes over time. Identify and describe what you see as the major innovations and the major innovators. In your answer, please mention and discuss at least five individual artworks, including at least one from the fourteenth century, one from the fifteenth century, and one from the sixteenth century. Be sure to consider a number of major categories: e.g., portraits, devotional works, narratives, landscapes. Please don’t hesitate to mention more than five artworks (indeed, you might want to mention more than five in order to produce a more complete essay).

The paper should be a Word document, and it should be written in 12-point font, double-spaced, and formatted with 1-inch margins. Please send it to me as an attachment to an email by 9 pm on Thursday, April 21, 2022. It will be graded on its content and style (i.e., punctuation, syntax, grammar, etc.). Be sure to edit, edit, and edit your paper and spell-check it before you submit it to me. Please put the word count of the paper (not including the title, your name, and the date) at the very top of the paper.

In general, if you are discussing an idea you have learned in this class or if you are making an observation based on what you see in a work of art, you do not need to cite any source (the textbooks, other readings, or my lectures). However, if you quote something directly from the textbooks or one of the class’s additional assigned readings, you should cite the source. To cite a quotation from the textbooks (here Snyder), follow this model:

In his painting of the Madonna with Canon George van der Paele, Jan van Eyck represents the “two basic bodies of the Church, the priestly and the militant” (Snyder, p. 102).

When quoting something from an additional reading, follow this model:

In a letter of April 2, 1506, Dürer writes that Venetian painters had been “very unfriendly” to him (Stechow, p. 90).

Please keep quotations to a minimum. Do not quote lines and lines of text. I want to hear your opinion about the artworks.

Do not consult or cite websites.

Though it is not at all required or necessary, you may cite outside (non-class) books and articles. If you cite outside sources (that is, if you quote text from them or cite information from them), you must use footnotes. See the “Paper-Writing Instructions” document for information on footnote format.

In a paper, the use of the words or ideas of another person (from, for example, a book or a website) without citing or acknowledging the source is plagiarism. Anybody who is found to have deliberately plagiarized material on the writing assignment will automatically fail the assignment. And, per University rules, I must submit a Violation of Academic Integrity Report to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education, which remains in your file.

Outline that must be followed:

Brief Paper-Writing Instructions for Art History

Things to include in your paper:

  1. An introductory paragraph in which you describe what you will do/say in your paper
  2. Clearly written paragraphs that discuss the works of art you are using to make your points
  3. And, at the end of the paper, a concluding paragraph

Things you should do in your paper:

  1. Aim for clarity. Make sure all your sentences are clear and logical.
  2. Always edit your paper at least twice (more is better) after you finish writing it and before submitting it. Make sure the sentences are all complete. Reading your paper out loud can help in this process. If something doesn’t sound right, there’s a good chance it’s not properly written.
  3. Always spell-check your paper and check carefully the spelling of names and cities.
  4. Always underline or italicize the titles of works of art.

Some things to avoid doing in your paper:

  1. Never use contractions (e.g., can’t, isn’t, I’m) in a formal paper.
  2. Never use colloquial or casual speech in a formal paper. Always write in a formal manner. Personal recollections (of places you have been or works you have seen) are not appropriate to include in a formal paper.
  3. Never end sentences with prepositions (e.g., in, on, behind).
  4. Be sure you use “it’s” and “its” properly; and use “there” and “they’re” and “their” properly; and use “your” and “you’re” properly. Ask me if you have questions.
  5. Do not use numbers to indicate centuries (so, “sixteenth century” and not “16th century” or, when used as an adjective, “sixteenth-century painting” and not “16th-century painting”).

Footnote information:

As you know, this is not a research paper, and it is not required that you cite outside sources. If you cite one of the textbooks or any class reading, please follow the format outlined in the assignment. 

If you choose to cite other articles or books (if you take information from them or quote them directly), you must use footnotes to indicate the source of the material.

Footnote numbers, which should be small numbers written in superscript, should appear in the body of your paper immediately after information or quotations you take from any outside source (that is not the lecture or a textbook or one of the class’s readings), and the identification of the sources of the information or quotation should appear at the bottom of the relevant page. Microsoft Word has a function that automatically inserts and formats footnotes as you write a paper. To use it look under the “insert” menu at the top of the page, then select “reference” and then “footnote” (or “insert” and then “footnote” if you use a Mac). The program will insert the small number in the text, and then it will open a small window at the bottom of the screen that corresponds to the bottom of your printed page, where you should include the relevant information regarding the source you have used. I include here examples of footnotes (the text that should go at the bottom of the page) that you are free to use as models:

  1. For a book, the information in a footnote can follow this model: Alison Cole, Virtue and Magnificence: Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995), p. 35.
  2. For a part/section of a book, the information in a footnote can follow this model: Diane Cole Ahl, “Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel,” in The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, ed. D. Cole Ahl (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 138-157.
  3. For a journal article, the information in a footnote can follow this model: Saul Levine, “The Location of Michelangelo’s David: The Meeting of January 25, 1504,” Art Bulletin 56 (1974): 31-49.

Generally speaking, you can use any format for footnotes, as long as you use it consistently throughout your paper. You can find style guides with instructions about footnote format in the University Library. Examples of style guides include the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and the Chicago Manual of Style (both are in the University Library). For a list of various style guides with their rules outlined, see: https://libguides.library.albany.edu/citationhelp

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