Skip Nav

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

Disciplinary Departures

❶An Ahmanson foundation book in the humanities.

O.E.R. Collaboration Wiki

Contact Us
Writing Basics: Forming A Thesis Statement
Undergraduate

Purdue Online Writing Lab. Common Words that Sound Alike Numbers: Text Elements Visual Rhetoric: Process and Materials Overview: An Introduction Researching Programs: Practical Considerations Researching Programs: Drafting Your Statement Statements of Purpose: The Basics In-Text Citations: Basic Rules Reference List: Articles in Periodicals Reference List: A paper, discussion, or other argument requires that you form a strong thesis statement. The thesis often comes at the end of an introduction that "sets the stage" for what you are talking about.

The thesis describes your stance on the topic and then provides some direction as to how you are going to support that argument. The body and conclusion of your writing or speaking, then comes directly out of this statement, thus it is the most essential part to any dialogue, especially in this class. When writing for a specific point about a single artifact, typically a paper will take the following form:.

A discussion about a single artifact thus may refer to other artifacts that aid in supporting the argument. Always be sure that you are fully descriptive of your artifact, its theme, and its contextual connections. Assume that the reader is blind and has no prior knowledge of any of the information you are providing.

Thus, continually ask yourself questions of who, what, when, where, why, how, etc. Also remember that you are not an expert. Any opinion you may have must be based on something that you are seeing or have read, so never write in first person.

Lastly, always remember to work in MLA style. Here is a guide I made awhile back to help others out: Often, to develop universal conclusions, you will be asked to look at multiple artifacts in relation to each other. This type of writing is called a compare and contrast essay. Compare and contrast essays require that you describe both objects, their similarities and their differences in order to form an argument about their relationship.

A compare and contrast essay often varies somewhat in structure from making an argument about a single artifact:. Note the differences that are provided in the two essay styles. Compare and contrast essays require that you critically analyze two artifacts against each other, often bringing to light certain truths that may bridge between contexts such as how visual art demonstrates religion, power, politics, or other major theme.

When looking at a single artifact, some of these points may also be argued, however essays about a single artwork often have a more narrow focus. As you write you final paper, you should consider it to be an essay comparing and contrasting multiple works with the goal of defining the theme of your particular exhibition space.

Even after the Neolithic, several cultures went through an intermediate stage of proto-writing before they used proper writing. The " Slavic runes " from the 7th and 8th centuries AD, mentioned by a few medieval authors, may have been such a system. The quipu of the Incas 15th century AD , sometimes called "talking knots," may have been of a similar nature. Another example is the pictographs invented by Uyaquk before the development of the Yugtun syllabary c.

Writing emerged in many different cultures in the Bronze Age. Examples are the cuneiform writing of the Sumerians , Egyptian hieroglyphs , Cretan hieroglyphs , Chinese logographs, Indus script , and the Olmec script of Mesoamerica. The pre-Columbian Mesoamerican writing systems including Olmec and Maya scripts are also generally believed to have had independent origins. It is thought that the first true alphabetic writing was developed around BC for Semitic workers in the Sinai by giving mostly Egyptian hieratic glyphs Semitic values see History of the alphabet and Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.

The Ge'ez writing system of Ethiopia is considered Semitic. It is likely to be of semi-independent origin, having roots in the Meroitic Sudanese ideogram system.

In Italy, about years passed from the early Old Italic alphabet to Plautus to BC , and in the case of the Germanic peoples , the corresponding time span is again similar, from the first Elder Futhark inscriptions to early texts like the Abrogans c. AD to The original Sumerian writing system derives from a system of clay tokens used to represent commodities.

By the end of the 4th millennium BC , this had evolved into a method of keeping accounts, using a round-shaped stylus impressed into soft clay at different angles for recording numbers. This was gradually augmented with pictographic writing by using a sharp stylus to indicate what was being counted. Round-stylus and sharp-stylus writing were gradually replaced around — BC by writing using a wedge-shaped stylus hence the term cuneiform , at first only for logograms , but developed to include phonetic elements by the 29th century BC.

About BC, cuneiform began to represent syllables of the Sumerian language. Finally, cuneiform writing became a general purpose writing system for logograms, syllables, and numbers. From the 26th century BC, this script was adapted to the Akkadian language , and from there to others, such as Hurrian and Hittite.

Scripts similar in appearance to this writing system include those for Ugaritic and Old Persian. Writing was very important in maintaining the Egyptian empire, and literacy was concentrated among an educated elite of scribes. Only people from certain backgrounds were allowed to train as scribes, in the service of temple, royal pharaonic , and military authorities. Geoffrey Sampson believes that most scholars hold that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script , and Dreyer's findings at Tomb UJ at Abydos in Upper Egypt clearly show place names written in hieroglyphs up to four in number recognizable as signs, which persisted and were employed during later periods and which are written and read phonetically.

The tomb is dated to c. It is argued, therefore, that the Egyptian writing system, which is in any case very different from the Mesopotamian, could not have been the result of influence from a less-developed system existing at that date in Sumer. The undeciphered Proto-Elamite script emerges from as early as BC. It is believed to have evolved into Linear Elamite by the later 3rd millennium and then replaced by Elamite Cuneiform adopted from Akkadian.

The Middle Bronze Age Indus script , which dates back to the early Harappan phase of around BC in ancient north western India and what is now Pakistan , has not yet been deciphered. Mortimer Wheeler recognises the style of writing as boustrophedon , where "this stability suggests a precarious maturity.

The first pure alphabets properly, " abjads ", mapping single symbols to single phonemes, but not necessarily each phoneme to a symbol emerged around BC in Ancient Egypt , as a representation of language developed by Semitic workers in Egypt, but by then alphabetic principles had a slight possibility of being inculcated into Egyptian hieroglyphs for upwards of a millennium.

The Proto-Canaanite was probably somehow influenced by the undeciphered Byblos syllabary and, in turn, inspired the Ugaritic alphabet c. Anatolian hieroglyphs are an indigenous hieroglyphic script native to western Anatolia , used to record the Hieroglyphic Luwian language. It first appeared on Luwian royal seals from the 14th century BC. The earliest confirmed evidence of the Chinese script yet discovered is the body of inscriptions on oracle bones from the late Shang dynasty c.

From the Shang Dynasty , most of this writing has survived on bones or bronze implements bronze script. Markings on turtle shells, or jiaguwen , have been carbon-dated to around BC. There have recently been discoveries of tortoise-shell carvings dating back to c.

These pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. If it is deemed to be a written language, writing in China will predate Mesopotamian cuneiform, long acknowledged as the first appearance of writing, by some 2, years; however it is more likely that the inscriptions are rather a form of proto-writing , similar to the contemporary European Vinca script. Linear B, the writing system of the Mycenaean Greeks , [24] has been deciphered while Linear A has yet to be deciphered.

The sequence and the geographical spread of the three overlapping, but distinct, writing systems can be summarized as follows note that the beginning date refers to first attestations, the assumed origins of all scripts lie further back in the past: A stone slab with 3,year-old writing, the Cascajal Block , was discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and is an example of the oldest script in the Western Hemisphere, preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about BC.

Of several pre-Columbian scripts in Mesoamerica , the one that appears to have been best developed, and has been fully deciphered, is the Maya script. The earliest inscriptions which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BC, and writing was in continuous use until shortly after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century AD.

Maya writing used logograms complemented by a set of syllabic glyphs: The Phoenician alphabet is simply the Proto-Canaanite alphabet as it was continued into the Iron Age conventionally taken from a cut-off date of BC. This alphabet gave rise to the Aramaic and Greek alphabets. These in turn led to the writing systems used throughout regions ranging from Western Asia to Africa and Europe.

For its part the Greek alphabet introduced for the first time explicit symbols for vowel sounds. The Brahmic family of India is believed by some scholars to have derived from the Aramaic alphabet as well. The history of the Greek alphabet started when the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet and adapted it to their own language.

Several varieties of the Greek alphabet developed. The other variation, known as Eastern Greek , was used in present-day Turkey and by the Athenians, and eventually the rest of the world that spoke Greek adopted this variation. After first writing right to left, like the Phoenicians, the Greeks eventually chose to write from left to right. Greek is in turn the source for all the modern scripts of Europe.

The most widespread descendant of Greek is the Latin script , named for the Latins , a central Italian people who came to dominate Europe with the rise of Rome. The Romans learned writing in about the 5th century BC from the Etruscan civilization , who used one of a number of Italic scripts derived from the western Greeks.

Due to the cultural dominance of the Roman state, the other Italic scripts have not survived in any great quantity, and the Etruscan language is mostly lost. With the collapse of the Roman authority in Western Europe, the literary development became largely confined to the Eastern Roman Empire and the Persian Empire.

Latin, never one of the primary literary languages, rapidly declined in importance except within the Church of Rome.

The primary literary languages were Greek and Persian , though other languages such as Syriac and Coptic were important too. The rise of Islam in the 7th century led to the rapid rise of Arabic as a major literary language in the region. Arabic and Persian quickly began to overshadow Greek's role as a language of scholarship.

Arabic script was adopted as the primary script of the Persian language and the Turkish language.

Navigation menu

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Several books have been written specifically to help you write a paper in art history. All are pretty widely available, so check your library and local bookstores: Acton, Mary. Learning to Look at Paintings. New York: Routledge, Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. New York: Harper Collins College, Taylor, Joshua.

Privacy FAQs

In Writing Art History, Margaret Iversen and Stephen Melville address these questions by exploring some assumptions at the discipline’s foundation. Their project is to excavate the lost continuities between philosophical aesthetics, contemporary theory, and art history through close readings of figures as various as Michael Baxandall, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Lacan, and Alois Riegl.

About Our Ads

Writing a paper for an art history course is similar to the analytical, research-based papers that you may have written in English literature courses or history courses. Although art historical research and writing does include the analysis of written documents, there are distinctive differences between art history writing and other disciplines because the primary documents are works of art. Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.

Cookie Info

Writing about the writing about writing the history and theory of visual art—this book, coauthored by two speculative and critical art historians, constructs an intriguing hall of mirrors that lures its reader into being inescapably reflective about our too often workaday directlenders.ml: $ Duke Writing a Visual Analysis: This is a good quick guide. Art History Rules!: This is a good, quick site that provides some of the basics to guide you through art history including how to analyze web resources, copyright, essay writing, and further information.