10.5 Discussion: Formal and Contextual Analysis

This week, we’ve learned about the various modes of analysis art historians use, from formal analysis (analyzing the elements of art and principles of design in a composition), to contextual, biographical, iconographic, feminist, and psychoanalytic. Now, you’ll begin to apply these ways of thinking to analyzing a work of art: Edward Hopper, Chop Suey, 1929. Yes, we all will analyze this same work of art, so it should be kind of fun/interesting to see how everyone’s posts compare.
Here are the instructions for this discussion. Please read closely and make sure you complete each item for full credit:
Start with a brief formal analysis. Identify the two elements of art or principles of design that stand out to you the most. Why did you select that specific element/principle as being the most dominant? Write a short statement discussing how the artist has employed those elements/principles in the composition and to what effect. Make sure this is entirely in your own words, from your own observation (don’t copy any information word-for-word from a web site as that would be plagiarism and will result in a grade of 0).
Then, apply one other mode of analysis (biographical, feminist, gender, race, sexuality, psychological, iconographic, contextual) to analyze this work of art further. Make sure you watch the online lecture for examples of how to do so. For this, you’ll need to do a tiny bit of research. You can start here on the Edward Hopper website (Links to an external site.) or this article from Smithsonian Magazine (Links to an external site.), or visit another reputable source (please NOT Wikipedia, must be an academic source). If you copy any original thought, make sure you cite your source! The idea is to collect information about the artist’s biography, how women are portrayed or what that reveals about gender issues/roles at the time, the social/historical context and how that is reflected in the work, the psychological impact, etc, and then choose one of those modes of analysis to apply to the painting. You get to choose which mode of analysis to use, so there’s no right or wrong choice here, as long as you can back up your analysis with some thoughtful statements that make sense and are appropriate to the painting/time period/artist, etc.
REPLY to at least TWO other students’ posts thoughtfully, in 3 or more sentences. Just writing “I like the work of art you chose” or “nice discussion” isn’t going to be enough. You must offer insightful comments and feedback for each reply that you post.

Please view the attached rubric for how you’ll be graded. Use vocabulary from the course for best results! The format for all discussions and requirements are always the same as far as checking for grammar/spelling, writing in complete sentences, no informal language or abbreviations, etc. This is not really a research assignment, and discussion should be entirely your own words and ideas, but if you do use information directly from another source (web site, for example) you MUST cite that source (list the website URL link in a parenthetical citation). Plagiarism will result in a grade of 0 for this assignment or others. The post should be at least 99% in your own words and from your own observation. Your post is run through a plagiarism detecting software so please avoid getting a 0 by following the rules!

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