If you’ve been assigned an art history paper, it might feel overwhelming for you. It might not be the easiest thing to write about, and you’re probably worried about not finishing it in time or writing it incorrectly.
A good art history essay needs to be well-written and engaging. It needs to comprise a strong central thesis that is not only supported by critical argumentation but also selected evidence.
Are you confused about where and how to start writing, as well as how to make it as good as possible? Here are some tips to consider when writing an art history essay:
- Choose a Subject that Interests You
The history of art is vast, and you have a lot of things to choose from. Unless you were assigned a certain topic, you must do the work and find something yourself. Whereas it will take more time for thinking about a subject, this is better, because you can choose something that you actually like.
You can start by carefully reading an art history book. Pick something that is visually appealing to you, and particularly interests you. Writing about something you take interest in will make you enjoy working on it, leading to a better-written essay.
- Write a Good Introduction
The introduction is a key part of an essay because it’s what opens the portal to a world full of information – and you already know that first impressions matter. However, getting the started might be the hardest part of the process, because you may be very confused about how to properly word it.
Therefore, you need to spend a good amount of time thinking about it, so you don’t get it wrong. The introduction should make the question clear, as well as let the reader know what they will accomplish by reading your work. Ensure you make it strong and compelling enough and set a tone that you will be using for the rest of your paper.
Also, keep in mind that an art history paper is also a close visual analysis of at least one artwork – in other words, something visual. Build your essay based on this idea.
- Use Evidence Critically
When you’re presenting the essay, the teacher will be more interested in how able you are to support your conclusion. Therefore, you need to use claims of substance in it, as well as use relevant evidence.
You shouldn’t just take the sources, but also critically examine them. Refrain from using any statement without substance, and make sure you create proper arguments for the information you provide.
- Answer the Question
An essay is written on a certain idea, and the introduction usually leaves a certain mystery in the air. The readers ask themselves questions about what you said in the introduction, and they are willing to read more to find the answers.
As such, your essay needs to answer the question set. In other words, the content that you write has to be relevant to the end, and not just be there to fill empty space. It might not be the easiest thing, but you need to think hard about the question, its meaning, the problems raised by it, as well as ways to answer it.
It’s much more important than you think, so pay a lot of attention to this aspect.
- Don’t Ramble
You may find yourself telling a story at one point, and that’s when you know that you need to stop and take a look at what you’re doing. Art history essays need to give evidence to support the arguments, but they’re not narratives of events. So, if you’re telling a story, you might have drifted from the whole point, meaning you need to be more careful at what you’re writing down.
To make it easier, structure your material in logical order, and start from there.
- Write a Good Conclusion
When arriving at the concluding remarks, you need to keep in mind that the reader is supposed to learn something from your essay. As such, you must remind the one reading it about the things you’ve found and convince him/her that you have proved that your essay is based on your findings.
You can also state that your analysis is relevant for understanding a larger picture of an artist’s work from a period, an artwork’s relationship to a movement, or others. A new topic must not be opened, but you should rather offer your reader proof that you made your point.
Art history essays are not the easiest type to deal with, but with these tips, you might be able to polish your work in a better way.
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