food for thought

  1. The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso
  2. Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. Edgar Degas
  3. No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. Oscar Wilde
  4. To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist. Schumann
  5. The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. Walt Whitman

March 12, 2018

13. Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"

Comment on the documentary you have watched by trying to argue whether The Kiss should be considered a piece of decorative art or of fine art. You may, of course, come with other comments than those presented in the material.

DEADLINE for this task: March 25, 2018

The short video below is just to remind you some facts:

Here is a link to What is Art Nouveau, helping you to better understand the context of Klimt's works.

12. The Compare and Contrast Essay

general term - comparison

more specific meanings - showing similarities = comparing

- showing differences = contrasting

communicative purpose(s): depending on the specific intention of the writer, we can speak about:

  • descriptive comparison - to show similarities and differences between two artworks
  • expository comparison - to show similarities and differences between two issues in order to support a personal thesis
  • argumentative comparison - to show similarities and differences between two issues in order to support a personal thesis that is expected to encounter considerable opposition

standard move-pattern(s): two patterns: the "block" pattern and the "point by point" pattern

the "block" pattern

Move I: Introducing the theme and the compared artists
Step 1: Setting the stage (the general context in which the two terms intended for comparison belong)
Step 2: Introducing the artists + works + theme(s)
Step 3: Stating the thesis and points of proof (if they exist in the writer's intention)
Move II: Transition: announcing intended organization (the block pattern)
Move III: Developing description/analysis/points of proof/constructive arguments
Step 1: artist/artwork A: elements 1,2,3 / points of proof 1,2,3 / constructive arguments 1,2,3
Step 2: artist/artwork B: elements 1,2,3 / points of proof 1,2,3 / constructive arguments 1,2,3
Move IV: Concluding upon the basic differences and/or similarities (by showing to what extent these have served the intended communicative purpose of the essay)
Move V (optional) Works cited

the "point by point" pattern

Move I: Introducing the theme and compared artists (see above)
Move II: Transition (announces the "point by point" pattern)
Move III: Developing description/analysis/points of proof/constructive arguments

Step 1: Describing/analysing element 1 / elaborating on point of proof 1 / offering constructive argument 1 for work/artist A

Step 2: Describing/analysing element 1 / elaborating on point of proof 1 / offering constructive argument 1 for work B

Step 3: element 2 / point of proof 2 / constructive argument 2 for work A

Step 4: element 2 / point of proof 2 / constructive argument 2 for work B

Move IV: Concluding

Move V (optional) Works cited

Task 1:

Read the text Two Edges of the Subconscious Reality in the Twentieth-Century Art by Olga Bersan.

 What pattern is there used? Which are the elements being compared? What  discourse strategies are employed by the writer?

Task 2:

Read the essay
Uniform Pigment and Abstract Paintings, by Laura Oprea.What move pattern is here employed and how exactly does it work? Which are the compared elements?

Task 3:

What other aspects would you consider interesting enough to compare in each pair of works? Note these as commentaries under this posted material. You can also comment on the way the two writers made their comparisons.

 Deadline: March 25, 2018

Task 4: 

Write a comparison on a subject of your choice, using one of the two patterns.

Deadline: March 26 and April 4, 2018

Task 5:

Compare a few aspects of the two works going by the same title The  Kiss (Klimt and Rodin), analyzed by the two documentaries we have watched.

Deadline: April 15, 2018

February 26, 2018

10. The Argumentative Essay


"to argue"= to present reasons for or against a thing; to dispute; to debate

"to persuade" = to convince; to induce somebody to believe

communicative purpose:

- to present, explain, clarify, illustrate a viewpoint (the author's) (so far the goals are identical with those of the expository essay) + to persuade the reader that personal viewpoints are more valid than another person's viewpoints

move pattern:

Move I: Introducing the issue in contention

Step 1: introductory remarks to identify work + artist + issue in contention

Step 2: acknowledging counterthesis and counterpoints (the other person's viewpoints)

Step 3: providing specific details (who, what, when, where)

Step 4: stating the thesis (personal viewpoints - in one complete, unified statement about the issue in contention, precise enough to limit the issue, but general enough to ask for support, not too obvious, and showing the changes proposed to the counterthesis)

Move II: Presenting counterthesis and counterpoints

Step 1: Restating the counterthesis and enlarging upon it (in the introductory move we have just formulated it; now we have to show the reader that we bothered to understand what the other person's thesis really claims; therefore, we use our own words to explain what we understood and to convince our reader that we know exactly what the other opinion is)

Step 2: Presenting/restating counterpoint 1 (using our own words to show what the first point of proof used by the other person was)

Step 3: Presenting/restating counterpoint 2

Step 4: Presenting/restating counterpoint 3

Move III: Arguing thesis and providing evidence/proof

Step 1: Restating our own thesis and enlarging upon it (we have to make sure the reader fully understands what we claim)

Step 2: Providing constructive argument 1 and evidence/proof to support it (the weakest) to fight against counterpoint 1

Step 3: Providing constructive argument 2 and evidence to support it (stronger) to fight against counterpoint 2

Step 4: Providing constructive argument 3 and evidence to support it (the strongest) to fight against counterpoint 3

Step 5: Disagreeing with counterpoint 1 (refutation 1)

Step 6: Disagreeing with counterpoint 2 (refutation2)

Step 7: Disagreeing with counterpoint 3 (refutation 3)

Note: We can place side by side (mirror) our constructive argument and our disagreement with the other person's counterpoint in the same step, by convincing the reader that our argument and evidence to support it are correct and are better than the other's.

Move IV: Concluding by enhancing the validity of the thesis

We conclude by reminding our reader (in other words) what we claimed and by suggesting that our arguments were (far) more convincing that the other person's. We must never forget to be polite! We must never forget that our simple claim of a truth (our truth) is not convincing without providing proper arguments and evidence. After all, it is the reader to decide who was more convincing!

Move V: (optional) Works cited


Task 1: Read the texts Fashion Art: To BE or Not to Be, by Maria Hritcu and Damien Hirst--Between Art and Money, by Daniela Codrea; pay attention to the thesis in each of them, to the counterpoints and constructive arguments; which of them convinces you most? whose side do you tend to take? why?

Task 2: Express your own viewpoints on these matters (provide your own thesis, arguments, evidence). (orally)

Task 3: Write an argumentative essay (either on these subjects or on any other), related to art. Make sure you mark down all the moves and steps of your essay as well as some discourse strategies you make use of. The essay should be presented in class and submitted in print, within the deadline. It will be taken into consideration either as the final grade this semester only if you have the 4 attendances IN CLASS; otherwise, it will count just as a simple intervention in  class.

DEADLINE Tasks 1 + 2 + 3: March 11, 2018                   

11. Graffiti Art (Bomb It!)

Which were the issues presented by the documentary watched in class? Do you have a personal opinion on this matter? Is graffiti a type of art? Try to answer by using the argumentative move-pattern but limiting to 1 counterpoint and 1 constructive argument (a paragraph).

Deadline: March 11, 2018

November 20, 2017

9. Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

After having watched the documentary about this masterpiece, what is your reading of this work? Are there any new meanings you might attribute to it? Is this still an icon of the modern world?

The two materials above are just for some remembrance and/or new thoughts.

What do you think about Sebastian Cosor's animation of The Scream? Did he manage to give that "little figure" a voice?

Deadline: December 3 EXTENDED to December 17

8. Course 3: The Expository Essay

COMMUNICATIVE PURPOSE : to theorize/speculate about:

-causes + /- effects
-particular meanings
-artist's choices
-possible developments, etc

theorizing = performing an inferential type of mental activity (moving from particular items to general ideas), whose result is a thesis which must be supported by a number of points of proof

DISCOURSE STRATEGIES (that can be used when developing points of proof):

  • explaining viewer's reactions
  • formal analysis
  • comparing works/artists/features
  • historical/anecdotal narratives
  • exemplification
  • quoting/paraphrasing
  • paradox, etc


MOVE I: introducing the subject, thesis, list of points of proof

Step 1: introducing the subject (title of work, artist, context of creation)

Step 2: stating the thesis: one complete, unified statement, limited to one aspect only, general enough to ask for support, defensible, not too obvious

Step 3: stating the points of proof (2-3) intended to be used in order to support the thesis

MOVE II: developing the points of proof

Step 1: developing the first point of proof

Step 2: developing the 2nd point of proof

Step 3: developing the 3rd point of proof

MOVE III: concluding by evaluating the measure in which the points of proof have demonstrated the thesis

MOVE IV: Works cited (whenever one uses bibliography)

Task 1.    Comment on the way the theses and the points of proof were formulated and developed in the two texts we have read in class (1. The African Influences in Brancusi's Work by Paul Stoie  and 2. Idea for Sale by Oana Boca). Which of them appears to you more convincing and why?
Task 2. Try to formulate a thesis and a list of points of proof on a subject of your choice.

Deadline December 17, 2017


The Beginning of the World


The First Cry 

The First Step

November 06, 2017

7. Whistler's Mother

Comment on the video material about James McNeill Whistler's  "Portrait of the Artist's Mother" also known as "Arrangement in Grey and Black, No 1"; you might think about him breaking all sorts of conventions, both in his real life and in his painting. Or, maybe, think about what he said:

"Art should be independent on any emotions such as devotion, pity, love, patriotism, and the like. And that is why I insist on calling my works 'arrangements' and 'harmonies'".

Is this just a portrait of his mother? Is it more? If so, what is it that  makes this painting a widely known American artwork? What about the title?
You may find the following links helpful:'s_Mother

Here is a very short fragment:

Deadline: November 19, 2017