Choose two of the following twenty-five options that are on the website of Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), www.metmuseum.org/art/collection. Each of these artworks expresses a perspective on issues related to being in quarantine, such as isolation, solitude, contemplation, creativity, even intoxication and being a little closer to people than you’d like.
Look up most, if not all, of these artworks, and pick two to write about.
The artworks you choose should have very different approaches to quarantine or isolation and your goal is to contrast them in both form and content. For example, one artwork could express the sadness of being stuck alone while another could show the delights of solitude. One could evoke boredom and the other could evoke the excitement of creativity. Creating and contrasting the themes is up to you. The artworks do not have to be polar opposites, but they should communicate different perspectives on quarantine-related themes.
This is not a research paper, but you are encouraged to use the information on the painting’s Met website page to help you. Make sure not to copy it word for word and to cite or make reference to it. For example: “I am writing about a Greek sculpture of Dionysus and the Met’s website explains that Dionysus is the Greek god of wine and revelry.” Only include information that is useful for your analysis.
Structure your paper like this:
1) Introduction: “I am writing about two artworks…” and include the artist’s name, the title, date, and materials for each one. Explain you’ll be doing a visual analysis of each piece and contrasting them. The thesis should be something like: “one artwork is about X idea while the other artwork is about Y idea.” For example: “one artwork is about the joy of solitude while the other artwork is about missing community.”
2) Write a detailed formal analysis of one of the artworks. Discuss composition (how it’s organized, what stands out and why).
3) Write a content analysis of this artwork. What quarantine-related theme does it bring up? What ideas and feelings does it express about that theme? Make sure to use visual evidence for all of your points.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the second artwork.
5) Discuss how the artworks are different from one another in form and content (approach to the theme). Which one provides a more optimistic perspective? Which is more pessimistic? Why?
6) As a conclusion, relate one or both of these artworks to your own experience during this unprecedented time. How do you connect to this piece or these pieces right now? Do you agree or disagree with the art’s approach to its theme? Does either piece bring you comfort, bother you, or something else? Why?
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