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Art Museum Essay Examples

Museum visit thesis examples

Thesis Statement, Outline, and Bibliography Examples

Example #1

Thesis Statement:

Still life painting as a genre was popularized and developed in the Baroque era, when artists began to move away from painting overtly religious scenes and began incorporating observational painting and images of the natural world into their work.  Some viewers might find these seemingly simplistic arrangements of fruit, vegetables, and other objects to be dull or existing solely for decorative purposes. This is a misunderstanding, and still lives have been used throughout art history to communicate complex ideas. For example, one sub-genre of still life known as “vanitas” combines objects that remind the viewer of his/her own mortality. In allowing the viewer to contemplate mortality, the vanitas also hints at life after death according to Christian tradition. Ori Gersht’s 2006 video multimedia installation Pomegranate (image one), a 55 second looped video piece that references Juan Sanchez Cotan’s Quince, Melon, and Cucumber (image two), both revives the tradition of still life and creates a contemporary vanitas that is both politically and philosophically relevant to our time.


1)    Introduction, thesis statement (see above)

2)    Paragraph One

  1. Description of Cotan’s work “Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber” as comparison.
    1. i.     Theme of decay and precariousness of objects
    2. ii.     Comparison with Gersht’s work.
      1. Importance of the difference in the medium

3)    Paragraph Two

  1. Description of the video work
    1. i.     Psychological impact of video
    2. ii.     Impact of altering a familiar Baroque painting into this format

4)    Paragraph Three

  1. Iconography of the Pomegranate
    1. i.     Symbol of fertility in Hebrew culture
    2. ii.     Symbol of resurrection
    3. iii.     Possible meanings in relation to this work

5)    Paragraph Four

  1. Relation to modern culture and contemporary connections to vanitas

6)    Conclusion

Bibliography (in MLA format):

Georgievska-Shine, Aneta. “Ori Gersht.” ArtUS 33. Art Full Text. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.

Held, Julius S, and Donald Posner. 17th and 18th Century Art: Baroque Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1971. Print.

Scher, Anne. “Pomegranate: A Video by Ori Gersht Video Installation”. The Jewish Museum: February 23, 2008. 23 July 2009

Hall, James. Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art. Boulder: Westview Press, 2008. Print.

Here is a youtube link to the video of the piece.

Example #2

Thesis Statement:

It was with great pleasure that I roamed the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in New York City on Saturday, March 14, 2009 and happened upon The Late Interiors exhibit of Pierre Bonnard.  After viewing the beautiful works of this complicated, emotional artist, and reading about his hardships of applying himself to his work during the Nazi invasion of Europe, I found myself further drawn to one painting in particular titled “The Young Woman in the Garden” (image one) which Bonnard started in 1921-1923 and reworked in 1945-1946.  This enchanting painting, a 23 7/8 x 30 3/8 oil on canvas, told the story of a tormented man who was constantly torn between loyalty and happiness, in both his personal life with his wife and mistress, and in the war that was roaring through his beloved country.


1)    Thesis Statement (see above)

2)    Paragraph One – Introduction to Bonnard

  1. Relationship to his wife Marthe, and the other woman in the painting, his once lover – both of these women are depicted in this work.

3)    Description of the young girl with blonde hair and his wife in the work. Contrast their appearance.

4)    Description of the dog in the work and how he emphasizes the contrast between the two women.

5)    Formal analysis of color and freedom of strokes connected with Bonnard’s once lover compared to the lack of color in the portrayal of Marthe.

6)    Depictions of Marthe throughout Bonanrd’s work and their relationship to this work.

7)    Bonnard’s relationship to WWII and the connection with his loyalty and devotion to his wife.

8)    Conclusion


Terrasse, Antoine. Bonnard; Biographical and Critical Study. Geneva: Skira; [distributed in the U.S. by the World Pub. Co., Cleveland, 1964. Print.

Bonnard, Pierre, and Didier Baussy. In Search of Pure Colour: Pierre Bonnard, 1867-1947. Portrait of an artist. Mass.: Home Vision [distributor, 1984.

Amory, Dita. “Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 2009. Web. 26 Arpil. 2009.

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Philadelphia Art Museum Essay

634 Words3 Pages

The exhibit that I viewed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was one about European Art between the years 1100-1500. This was a series of paintings, sculptures, architecture, and tapestry of the Medieval and Early Renaissance as well as objects from the Middle East. This exhibit was an important part of the history of the Philadelphia Museum of Art because for the first time, Italian, Spanish, and Northern European paintings from the John G. Johnson collection were shown. It gave me a good idea of what the paintings were like in these four centuries and reflected ideas of both the east and the west.
     As I walked into the first gallery, I saw a wood sculpture that stood in the…show more content…

The cloister stood in the heart of a medieval abbey or monetary. The example that I saw was based on the elements of the cloister “located at Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines in the Roussillon, a mountainous region in Southwestern France that was fought over by Christians and Muslims for centuries”. The cloister was the center of the abbey; which connected the living quarters to the church.
     I also observed many paintings in this gallery. One painting that caught my eye was titled, “The Mocking of Christ” by Hieronymus Bosch. It was an early 16th century, oil on wood painting. Christ was seen in the upper right next to Pilate and was surrounded by figured who looked more like friends than enemies that would crucify him. These so called friends of Christ were holding weapons and wearing bizarre headgear. In the painting, Jesus had a saddened look on his face while the others looked jollier. Another painting that I observed was a painting by Defendate Ferrari which showed the enthroned Virgin Mary breastfeeding the baby Jesus with Saint John the Evangelist, Catherine of Alexandra, Anthony Abbot, and a saint reading a book. I was attracted to this painting because I would never have thought to have seen a picture of Mary feeding Jesus in that way. This painting was originally an oil and gold on wood and was transferred to canvas. There were so many

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