Visual Analysis Essay Examples, a Perfect Guide for You

Filed in Articles by on December 9, 2021

– Visual Analysis Essay –

A visual analysis essay is an entry-level essay sometimes taught in high school and early university courses. I will tell you more in the course of this article, keep reading.

Both communications and art history students use visual analysis to understand art and other visual messages.

In this article, I will define the term and give an in-depth guide on how to look at a piece of art and write a visual analysis essay. Stay tuned until the end for a handy visual analysis essay example.

Visual Analysis Essay: What Is Visual Analysis?

Visual analysis is the process of looking at a piece of visual art (painting, photography, film, etc.) and dissecting it for the artist’s intended meaning and means of execution.

In some cases, works are also analyzed for historical significance and their impact on culture, art, politics, and the social consciousness of the time.

This article will teach you how to perform a formal analysis of art. A visual analysis essay is a type of essay written mostly by students majoring in Art History and communications.

The process of visual analysis can be applied to painting, visual art, journalism, photo-journalism, photography, film, and writing.

Works in these mediums are often meant to be consumed for entertainment or informative purposes.

The visual analysis goes beyond that, focusing on form, themes, execution, and the compositional elements that make up the work.

Visual Analysis Essay: Introduction of Visual Analysis Essay

An introduction in visual analysis essays is usually short, not exceeding two sentences.

The purpose of the introduction is to present artwork to the audience that is going to be examined, your attitude towards it, and the response you are looking for.

Very often the introduction is not even given separately but it is attached to the first paragraph of the visual analysis essay.

We all know that the purpose of the introduction, apart from stating our thesis and perception towards this specific piece of artwork, is also to capture the attention of the audience.

But how can you achieve this since you are bound to have a specific number of words? One of the ways to do that is to start with a strong statement.

For example, let’s say that you have to write a visual analysis essay on the painting “The Battle of Nashville” by Howard Pyle.

For the ones who are not familiar with it and do not want to search it online, we can say that the painting represents the battlefield in which an army is advancing towards its enemy.

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The painting is dark and full of violence and terror. Here, with one sentence we managed to state our attitude and response to the piece of art.

But if we want to make our opening stronger and more influential we can start, for instance, with the following question: can war and violence be justified?

You can, therefore, add a sentence that by examining the painting of Howard Pyle and observing the terror and violence on the faces of the soldiers made you once again realize the insanity of war and violence, or you can go in the other direction.

The most important thing, however, in the opening of the visual analysis essay is to introduce the audience with the artwork that is going to be examined and to state your attitude and the response you are looking for.

Body of Visual Analysis Essay

You move on with the so-called body of the visual analysis essay. However, before starting to write it, it will be good if you spend some time observing the object of art on which you are going to write.

Examine it in detail. Be precise. Consider carefully the colors, composition, size, texture, space, and all other possible visual attributes that affect your perception.

Then formulate your thesis. The following step is to support your thesis with an analysis of the art object.

Write and analyze the object as a whole, the techniques that are being used, the lines, the colors, shape, and everything else that will support your thesis and reach to the response you are looking for.

Again, you should only address those elements of the art piece that support your thesis.

Logically organize them, depending on their strength, reflect on why you have chosen to discuss them precisely, and discuss the relationship between them.

Use specific vocabulary; for example, words like linear perspective, foreshortening, demonstrate, intend, and show, etc.

Visual Analysis of Leonardo da Vinci’s Painting — La Belle Ferronnière

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian artist born in April 1452 and died in May 1519who lived in the Renaissance era. His fame and popularity were based on his painting sand contribution to the Italian artwork. Leonardo was also an active inventor, a vibrant musician, writer, and scientist as well as a talented sculptor amongst other fields.

His various career fields proved that he wanted to know everything about nature. In the book “Leonardo Da Vinci: The Mind of the Renaissance” by Alessandro Vezzosi, it is argued that Leonardo was one of the most successful and versatile artists and anatomists of the Italian renaissance based on his unique artwork and paintings (Vezzosi, p1454).

Some of his groundbreaking research in medicine, metal-casting, natural science, architecture, and weaponry amongst other fields have been explored in the book. He was doing all these in the renaissance period in Italy from the 1470s till his death.

Conclusion of Visual Analysis Essay

After you have finished with the body of your visual analysis essay, you move to the conclusion. The conclusion must be strong and written in a perceptive manner. Here it is not necessary to restate your thesis but to strengthen and form it for one last time.

You may keep one last interesting fact for the conclusion to make it more trustworthy and convincing. Always proofread your essay.

Kindly share with your friends on social media.

CSN Team.

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