What Are the Best Tips for Writing an Art Essay?

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  • Written By: Larry Ray Palmer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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When writing an art essay, following a few basic steps can make the process much easier. By using an organized approach to the writing process, once can postulate ideas in a way that the reader can understand easily. This approach also makes the writing process easier for the writer because thoughts flow in a logical progression, making it easier to assimilate thoughts and main points into the work.

A primary starting point for the art essay writing process is the basic outline. By creating an outline, the writer builds a platform to expand upon in the final composition. Outlines for art essay writing usually include key points, such as the artist's biographical information, the time period or significant influences surrounding the artwork and the commonly accepted interpretations of the piece.


The basic outline of the composition is further expanded upon by including sub-points and details that explain or add to the main points of the art essay. For example, a biographical main point on the artist, with Vincent Van Gogh's self portrait, might point out that Van Gogh was suffering from severe depression at the time the picture was painted. Sub-points might include the facts that this depression was brought on by a failed romantic interest and that the manic episode that preceded this depression resulted in the loss of the artist's ear at his own hand. While the art essay could certainly convey the pertinent points about the painting and its creator without the additional details, this extra information goes a long way towards explaining the emotion and significance of the artwork.

When writing an art essay, it is important to get facts and figures correct. One simple way to do this is to create a time-line during the research process. Using the time-line, one can effectively see how the various influencing factors and artistic creations meshed together in chronological order. The time-line is also effective for ensuring that the facts reported in the art essay are accurate in regard to time and locations. This can be a vital issue when creating art essays for school papers or public education websites.

Perhaps the most effective tip for writing an art essay is to keep the audience in mind. Think of the essay as a public speaking assignment. If a speaker would not use certain words or bring up incendiary points regarding the background of a specific piece of art while speaking to a particular audience, then a writer creating an art essay for the same audience would follow the same guidelines. For example, the colorful background of a particular artist may be inappropriate for certain audiences such as an elementary school art class.


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