Look at the Art:
Learn more about it:
Collect Sources through Research:
Write and Cite:
Art historical analysis is an investigation art historians do to understand and give meaning to works of art. They do this by describing formal properties, examining content or subject matter and placing works of art in their historical context.
A visual or formal analysis examines an artwork's elements that we can see such as scale, composition, space, form, line, color, light, tone, texture, and pattern. The purpose of a visual analysis is to recognize and understand the choices made by the artist in creating the artwork.
Researching and writing about artists and art objects requires contextualizing within the history of art. This is done by making connections to influences or movements and researching beyond your specific artist or object. Asking and answering the questions "Who? What? When? Where? Why?" can serve as a great starting point for this kind of in-depth research.
Scholarly publications usually end with a list of references, also known as a bibliography or a works cited page. These lists can be powerful tools for locating more sources on a topic. By finding one relevant journal article or book and reviewing its cited sources, you can locate new titles to search for that you might not otherwise find through a Library or internet search.
Examining the references in scholarly publications can also help you understand how different researchers have approached a topic and have related their work to that of others. This perspective can help you relate your ideas to those of others and make compelling arguments.