san diego residents every third tuesday W r i t i n g
This semester, we’ve explored the foundations of art, starting with the elements of art and principles of design. Then we learned about the various modes of analysis art historians use to interpret and understand art. Finally we explored some of the media artists use to make art. Now, we’ll explore the great works of art housed right here in the collection of The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. This discussion post is the culmination of everything you’ve learned in the course so far, tying it all together in a virtual museum visit and subsequent response to a work of art from the Museum.
Here are the instructions for this discussion. Please read closely and make sure you complete each item for full credit:
Explore the San Diego Museum of Art’s collection. For this assignment, you’ll visit the San Diego Museum of Art (this is the only choice of Museum for this assignment). You have two options: visit virtually or in-person.
Option 1 – Virtual Visit. You can browse exhibitions from the Museum’s homepage (Links to an external site.)and search for individual works of art through the online Collections archive (Links to an external site.). It’s free, you won’t have to pay a dime to do a virtual visit. You can also take a free online live tour – note that on Dec 8 at 11am there is an Art of Persia tour! Here is the listing on the tour calendar on the San Diego Museum of Art’s web site (Links to an external site.). Explore the collection and see what’s on view under current exhibitions. This is an encyclopedic museum, meaning it has work across many cultures around the world and from prehistoric to contemporary art.
- Option 2 – In-Person Visit. The Museum is open, so if you want to make the trip to Balboa Park to visit in person and have time to do so this week or weekend, I recommend going. (It’s not required for this assignment due to the short-term nature of this course, so you can always go after the semester is over and school is out for winter break if you want to do so at your leisure.) There’s nothing quite like visiting art in-person. Just check the Museum’s web site (Links to an external site.) for hours and Covid-related info. Student discounted admission is $8 with an ID (or free for San Diego residents every third Tuesday of the month). This weekend (Dec 5-6) is December Nights, so Museum admission is free all weekend with modified hours, though there may be crowds and parking will be tight.
Select a work of art from the Museum. After you have explored the Museum’s collection, select a work of art that you would like to write about. You do not need to know a whole lot about the artist or the work of art yet, but it would be helpful to read any online materials or watch videos about the work of art/artist if offered on the Museum website or on the wall label next to the work of art or online (Links to an external site.), or on the Museum’s YouTube channel (Links to an external site.).
View the guidelines for looking at a work of art, structuring your thoughts, and notes on research on the next page (Guide for Writing about Art) before you begin writing your discussion post.
Write your discussion prompt according to the following criteria:
- List the artist, title, date, and medium of the work of art you selected.
Write a few sentences on what your visit was like. Did you visit in person or virtually? Which do you think you would prefer to do next time?
WHY did you choose that particular work of art. What drew you to it? What do you like/dislike/want to know more about?
Formal analysis on the work of art: Identify the elements of art/principles of design that stand out to you the most. Choose at least 2 elements AND 2 principles to discuss. Write a short statement discussing how the artist has employed those elements/principles and to what effect. Make sure this is entirely in your own words, from your own observation (don’t copy any label information word-for-word from the Museum web site as that would be plagiarism).
Then, choose at least one other mode of analysis (biographical, feminist, gender, race, sexuality, psychological, iconographic, contextual) you can use to analyze this work of art further. Make sure you read the next page in this module for a guide that includes a summary of how to incorporate analysis in your discussion. Just listing a mode of analysis is not enough – you need to engage in the analysis, explaining how the context of the work can help us understand its meaning.
EMBED an image of the selected work of art in your post.
REPLY to at least TWO other students’ posts thoughtfully, in 3 or more sentences.
Reply to the following students;
1. Many of William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s works can be found at the San Diego Museum of Fine Arts at Balboa Park. While looking for this artist on the Balboa Museum’s website, I was attracted by a playful painting depicting the mastery of the human body. One of Bouguereau’s most renowned paintings depicts a little girl defending herself from Eros. A light-haired, dark-skinned young lady squabble with small curly-haired Eros is depicted in the artwork in a very realistic manner. We can appreciate Bouguereau’s mastery of human form, color, and lighting by carefully scrutinizing every detail – from the plants in the backdrop to the way the figures’ skin gradually sinks when touched, the scene nearly looks as if it was recorded. Every line, form, and shape in a realistic setting is in its right place; brush strokes are smooth, contributing to the painting’s very realistic appearance. The colors aren’t particularly vibrant, but they’re opaque, deep, and naturally illuminated, adding to the scene’s reality. Both bodies in the artwork are beautifully rendered, with wrinkles, redness, curves, and perfect anatomy. Bouguereau does an excellent job of representing women in this picture; the young girl who protects herself from Eros is portrayed as a stunning woman. Her demeanor, posture, and arms also suggest that she is accepting of Eros’ feelings and desires to reconcile them. One of the main reasons I chose this piece of art was that it made me desire more even after I finished writing about it.
Reply to this student:
- I chose to visit the museum virtually because that way I could choose the type of art that I like, in addition to visiting the museum as many times as I want and at the time that is easier for you. For my next visit to the museum I would like it to be in person because I think I could enjoy a better explanation about the works of art that are in the museum.
- I chose this work of art because I love natural landscapes, as soon as I looked at this work of art I was drawn to the work of art. I think it is a special work of art because you only have to look at it for a minute to have the feeling that you are on that beach enjoying the sun. I really like the blue color of the water, that blue color gives you a feeling that you are there enjoying the water. I think it would have been nice if the artist painted people to the work of art so that it would look a little more cheerful, perhaps some children playing by the sea.
- In this work of art, the beach alone caught my attention, you can see that it is a sunny and hot day, however there are no people and it seems to me a curious fact. I think the artist used the contrast well when adding it to the seashore because it gives a special touch to the wet sand. Another thing I see is that the artist used his skills to focus his gaze on the blue waves of the sea, the blue color makes you look directly at the waves. I think the blue waves and the wet sand that can be seen stand out a lot.
- I chose the psychological analysis mode because I think that the author wants to convey a message to us through his work of art. For example, the fact that the artist did not draw people on the beach, I think it symbolizes a person who likes to be alone and enjoy their solitude healthily.
- The artist simply created a work of art from the beauty of the landscape of La Jolla, Laguna and beach and who would not do it after admiring such beautiful scenery.