Application of Historical Research:

This assignment will require you to use your knowledge of the different civilization we have discussed and apply them to understanding the art created in the places and times covered by this class. You will write a paper, organized with an introduction, paragraphs that seamlessly answer the following questions, and a conclusion brining all of your thoughts together, and citations. You will investigate your local museums to see what collections they have. If, by chance, you are not able to gain access to a museum, look at the alternative instructions listed below. When you are investigating your museums, look at the types of collections that they contain. The ultimate goal is to find artwork that applies to civilizations covered in the scope of the class; this includes Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Japan, Africa, the New World indigenous civilizations, or Europe before the Renaissance. Go to the museum and pick a piece of artwork that you feel informs you about that civilization. When you have done that, answer the following questions.

-What civilization does this art represent?

-What is the title of the piece?

-Who is the artist (if possible)?

-How was the piece created? What is the medium?

-Why did you choose this piece?

After returning home you will do further research on the piece, looking at the history behind it and the symbolism contained within it. Answer the following questions:

-Why was the piece created?

-What symbols are contained within the piece that give you an idea about the artist and the time and place the work was made?

-What is the background of the piece?

-How does this work inform you about the social norms and mores in this place and period?

-Why are the artistic representations of a place and time a good source for understanding the people, customs, and beliefs of a civilization?

Alternative Assignment Instructions:

If you do not have access to a well-stocked art museum, you do have the option to use an online collection. Several museums have created virtual tours of their collections. Follow the same instructions as above but using a virtual museum instead.

Purpose of the Assignment:

This assignment is designed to give you an interdisciplinary approach to understanding history. People produced much more than written documents throughout history. Humans have long created art, even before they developed into civilizations. Artistic representations reflect the beliefs, customs, norms, mores, and social structures of people, though sometimes it takes time to understand what is being conveyed by a piece of art. By looking closely, we get a visual representation of the people and societies that existed in the past. By studying the visual remnants of the past, it also gives students the opportunity to tap into different learning styles and concepts.

You want to create a well-researched analysis of art. You should do good background research which includes avoiding websites such as Wikipedia,, encyclopedias, and other sources not rigorous enough for college-level research. You will create a paper that is not simply answering the questions but that provides insight into the different topics and your interpretation of the piece you are investigating. Essays should not simply restate the question and provide a short answer but use your writing skills to use the questions as a guide for each paragraph, but don’t number them .

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