Context from Art Online
If you don't already know much about your work or your artist, you will want to establsh some background information.
You can do this through a simple web or Wikipedia search, but if your artist is well-known, you should start with Oxford Art Online.
Much of this information won't make it into your final paper. You probably don't want it on your annotated bibliography. But it will provide some simple information about your artist that can help guide your searches, such as when he or she lived, what schools or groups your artist hung around with, what other works he or she is known for, and so on.
Look up your artist in Oxford Art Online and Wikipedia and write down a few keywords.
Forming a Research Question
For these assignments leading up to and encompassing your research paper, you are starting with a work of art. Let's say I'm starting with Dürer's self-portrait:
There are many questions I could ask about this painting. Some aren't that interesting for this painting, as they are readily established:
- Is this really a self-portrait? Yep.
- What year was it painted? 1500. Says so right on the painting.
- Does anyone else think this looks like Jesus? The first sentence of the second paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on the painting mentions this.
- What ways does Dürer make himself look like Jesus?
- Why would he do that?
- How would people have reacted to that at the time?
- Is this a copy of a particular image of Jesus?
- Did other artists do this?
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