Comparative Visual Analysis of Medieval Manuscripts

Comparative Visual Analysis of Medieval Manuscripts

Paper details:
Comparative Visual Analysis of Medieval Manuscripts
FORMAT INSTRUCTIONS
Format: 12 pt. font; Times New Roman; 1 inch margins on each side; top and bottom, MLA Format
Pages: 4-5 pages; DOUBLE-SPACED
General Structure: 1. Introduction with your thesis statements
2. Supporting Paragraph(s). Each paragraph must start with a sentence that
defines your discussion in the paragraph below
3. Conclusion: Not merely a summary of what you discussed above but a larger
discussion of your original thesis.
NOTE*: You cannot take any liberties with the format. All papers must follow the format instructions
outlined above; NO EXCEPTIONS
In addition to your textbook, you might find the following Getty/Khan Academy links about
Medieval manuscripts useful in providing background information.
Making Manuscripts

tion_id=annotation_3325523639
The Structure of a Medieval Manuscript

Manuscripts
https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/getty-museum/gettymanuscripts/
a/manuscripts-for-devotion
Your assignment is to select ONE pair of the Medieval Manuscript pages provided and write
a comparative visual analysis of the manuscripts.
1. Lindisfarne Gospel Carpet Page, ca. 698 C.E. (in your textbook Fig 11-7) and
Chi-Rho-Iota (XPI) page (folio 34 recto) of the Book of Kells, ca. 800 C.E. (in your textbook
Fig 11-1) Also see: https://tcld.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/book-of-kells-now-free-to-viewonline/
2. Saint Matthew from the Coronation Gospels, ca. 800 C.E. (in your textbook Fig 11-13) and
Saint Matthew from Ebbo Gospels, ca. 816 C.E. (in your textbook Fig 11-14)
Art 101
Research Paper: Visual Analysis Medieval Manuscripts Option #3
Due 5/8 Outline for Research Paper
Due 5/15 Assignment #2 First Draft of Research Paper
Due 5/22 Final Research Paper
5/29 Presentations
VISUAL ANALYSIS
A good way to begin looking at works of art is by comparing and contrasting what you
see in a pair of images or objects. Whether you are looking at works of art, apartments, cars,
clothes, whatever, comparing and contrasting sharpens your awareness of the similarities and
differences. This is something you probably do all the time in order to make decisions. When
looking at works of art, your aim is to understand the details of what you are seeing and to
formulate ideas – ideas that can be proved by recourse to what can be seen in the image you are
discussing.
This assignment is primarily descriptive. Once you have chosen one of the pairs below,
you might begin by contrasting the general structure of each work; the arrangement of the
composition – of objects, forms, space, and lines. For example:
1. Are the principal elements of an image arranged symmetrically, centered within
the composition or off to the side? How does that symmetry or asymmetry
affect the over-all presentation?
2. How does each work convey its theme or subject. Consider what is emphasized
and what is not. Look at the scale of figures, architecture, or landscape
elements represented, as well as the relation of these elements to one another.
Are figures dwarfed in relation to their settings, or do they dominate them?
3. If you are looking at a figure, is the psychology and/or social status of the subject
hinted at (look at costume, gesture, facial expression, relationship to surroundings)? What is the
relation of the image to the viewer/beholder (you)? Do the figures confront you or do they seem
unaware of your viewing presence?
These are only some of the questions to consider. Bear in mind the subject or lack of
subject. Is there a narrative, a story of some kind? How is it conveyed by the formal
characteristics of the work (the treatment of forms, lines, colors, composition.) In this exercise,
you do not need to consider all of the questions above. Others of your own devising may be
more relevant to the pairing you choose. You do need to consider at least three or four major
points of comparison, and elaborate on these. Do not simply make a list of differences and
similarities. Nor should you just describe one picture and then the other. Your aim is to
compare them in order to explain how they work visually. Your account should be discursive
and well-organized.
Reminder: 1) images of human beings are referred to as “figures”; 2). please do not use
“I” when writing the paper; 3) avoid passive tense; 4) DO NOT DESCRIBE, ANALYZE!

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