I have made the assignment as a pdf document which can be downloaded here: Assignment 1 PDF submission. I did it this way essentially because the course notes lists the requirements in A4 page sizes and in a pdf is easier to tell than a never ending blog post page.
The assignment includes.
- Two annotations of paintings
- Three pages of notes (one for each art work)
- One 500 word analysis
- References for assignment 1
Reflection on the annotations:
I found the annotations the most interesting parts to do. It incorporated both formal and critical analysis (as per my understanding of that from D’Alleva. (2010) How to Write Art History).
In the course notes it requests for hand written pages with sketches on them which I did not do. I did try some sketches (and put them on my blog under a new category of sketchbook), however since my tutor advised that a purely digital submission is possible it seemed neater to do them as I have done them. For the second painting, Rokeby Venus, I did make a smaller image in black and white to draw arrows over, had I done this as a hand writen page with the postcards from the gallery I would have sketched that. Perhaps for future ones sketches will be required?
For each I tried my best to describe them in detail rather than just the really obvious bits. I tried to include the way my eye was lead around the painting for those compositions. I’m on the photography degree pathway so this is my first real go at looking at paintings in this way.
Reflection on the notes pages:
These pages seemed pretty easy to do as its just a summary of notes on what I’ve read during my research, unless I’ve missed something here and done it all wrong? I am eagerly anticipating feedback from my tutor to see if I have the right end of this particular stick.
I tried to use the headings from the course note guidelines in this section for organising the notes. I did not manage to fill each heading for all of the paintings though. I found the heading of ‘style and movements’ particularly tricky to write about because many of the references don’t really explain anything like that. I tried not to use too many direct quotes too.
Reflection on the analysis:
The course notes say
Describe what you see.
Interpret its historical and artistic context.
Evaluate how successful the image is and how it compares with similar images by other artists or other works by the same artist.
I found the 500 word limit quite taxing to keep to (which bodes well for the 2000 word essay in assignment 5). I got in the first two points but not the last in 508 words. I tried to make a beginning, middle and end, where one paragraph flows into the next but still cover a lot of the points I wanted to make. I was quite pleased with the conclusion because it sort of popped out at me while I was writing.
Reflection on fact checking and references:
I tried to use official webpages and scholarly works (and not rely on wikipedia which I’ve seen other students picked up for). Its quick tricky though getting hold of some of the material in a decent timeframe. For example, some library books I’d reserved to help with the assignment research for Holbein came in for collection too late because I’d basically finished my assignment by then. They look really interesting so I’ll probably still give them a skim read, they will also help to double check my facts because at least one of the reference websites I used was not scholarly really at all but I did list its references and on it were some of these books.
I put the references for the assignment actually in the pdf but all the references for the blog so far are in one giant bibliography. I’m now wondering whether this was such a good idea (perhaps I should be doing it on each post)? Perhaps my tutor can advise before I go much further into the course? For books and other materials it makes sense but it seems very laborious to document webpages in this manner since as a blog they can easily be incorporated into the text (and are anyway so the bibliography is extra).
Overall reflection against the Assessment Criteria:
- Demonstration of subject-based knowledge and understanding – I have tried to research my chosen paintings using the course template such that I get a broad range of knowledge about them and their historical context. It is a bit like falling down the rabbit hole but incredibly interesting.
- Demonstration of research skills – I went to see the paintings I chose to annotate in person but also evaluated the sources I was looking at in books and on the internet for their scholarly worth. When using youtube for example I tried to look at reputable videos such as those uploaded by the National Gallery.
- Demonstration of critical and evaluation skills – I tried to engage with the concepts though out part one within each of the exercises. When looking at the assignment images I tried to interpret what I was seeing as well as just describe it.
- Communication – I think my ideas and points are written clearly. I am not sure of the language though, whether my writing style is too informal for an assignment. I will look forward to finding out from my tutor after this first go.