Your second (final) assignment is to write a catalogue entry about a single work of art. A catalogue entry, much like an extended wall text that you might see in a museum beside a work, but broader, is a limited (generally three paragraphs ï¿½ not including the identification of the work) body of information about a given work. The text of your entry should be no shorter than and no longer than two and a half (2.5) double spaced pages (typed, one-inch margins); shorter or longer submissions will lose points. Understand though that given the length of this assignment, what you write must be quite solid.
Your entry should be comprised of four basic parts:
1) Identification of the work (artist, title, date, size, material etc.) in the form used to identify works in your books, and on screen in class (may be single-spaced)
2) Brief but highly informative visual analysis/description of the work in good English prose (double-spaced);
3) A) a general placement of the work into its historical context, informing readers not only of the general relation of the work to that context (for instance, were you to write about Mesopotamian votive figures, you would inform the reader of the central place religion and spirituality held in Sumerian culture in 2700 BCE)ï¿½
B) followed by a more specific discussion of the particular kind of work you have in its role in that context (for instance, the particular role and function of this particular type of object, again, votive figures ï¿½ how they were made, what their forms mean, where they were found, and their likely function in society);
In placing the work in its historical context, express to your reader how the particularities of this work are evocative of the context it comes from. How does it fit? Try also to think about what makes it similar or different from other works you are familiar with from the period. Your book may not contain any information on this particular sculpture type, and so you will have to think critically about the workï¿½drawing in what you know about other similarly situated works and developing insights into this work through the lens of those others. Consider, what makes this work special? Even as it is similar to other works, what might it have that the others you have seen from this period do not?
4) Endnotes and bibliography (on a separate 4th page, may be single-spaced).
Be aware that your historical discussion must build upon what you write about the work with regard to its formal/visual qualities, and your entire piece (with the exception of the identification of the work and the endnotes) must take the form of full paragraphs with complete sentences. The appearance of bullet points and sentence fragments will result in the paper not being accepted.
Again, the work you are to write about should be familiar in many of its aspects, though it will not be a work we have discussed in class. As such, you should consult your textbooks and lecture notes to find works that are of a similar classification and from the same historical period to help guide your discussion; because you know the work you will be writing about is Hellenistic, be sure to go back and review very carefully the major themes and concerns of Hellenistic art so that you can give your reader an understanding of how those themes may be present in the work. You can and should also consult additional sources, especially to help you identify the subject matter of the work (which you must cite in endnotes and in your bibliography). Wikipedia is not a credible source. DO NOT simply copy or even paraphrase the information you glean from these sources. You must put the information you discover or know from class into your own words and try to develop new insights about your chosen work from that base. (As always, plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in the appropriate disciplinary actions).
In writing your entry, imagine that you are working on a real catalogue for a real Museum, with a deadline quickly approaching. Imagine, you are not a student but a museum employee. The editor of the catalogue will have little or no time to check your entry for accuracy or presentation, and so your writing will be published essentially as it is submittedï¿½ and you do not want to disappoint the curator of the museum when they read the catalogue. In other words, while this is a short assignment, it has to be as close to perfect as you can make it. Your written description and historical analysis should be well written, concise, and interesting.
Immediately following your object, you will find an example of a catalogue entry. Read through it carefully. As you can see, this entry does not follow the trajectory I have asked you to follow in producing your entries, nor does it go into quite as much detail about its object as you are being ask to about yours in the paper you will be writing. So do not use this as an exact model for your own work. What you want to glean from this sample entry is the style of writing, the way in which the author presents ideas about the work in question and puts them into dialogue with other ideas, historical and formal.