Mark Twain Quotes

November 19, 2015

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

Deadline: December 2

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  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?

Deadline December 2nd for no. 1, and December 16th for no. 2

brancusi the beginning The Beginning of the World

The Beginning of the World


The First Cry 

The First Step

November 08, 2015

James McNeill Whistler

Watch the documentary about this artist's masterpiece Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1.
Is it 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 link helpful:

October 28, 2015


Classes on Oct. 29 are suspended to important international events taking place at Casa Matei!
We shall find the necessary solutions to recuperate them. 

October 27, 2015

Course no. 2: The Critical Essay. The Formal Analysis

The artistic discourse community:

- a socio-rhetorical group of people who share common goals directly related to art; certain mechanisms of communication (eg. art magazines); specific vocabulary, grammar, semantics, rhetoric; specific GENRES

- genre: type of texts that share the same communicative purpose

The Critical Essay = a genre whose communicative purpose is to offer a personal opinion on a specific subject. Therefore we can consider it subjective writing. Nontheless, subjective does not mean total lack of evidence for what we claim.

The Formal Analysis
- a type of critical essay

- to analyse = to take a thing apart; to decompose it in order to see what its components are and how they work together as a whole => to analyse a work of art = to deconstruct it into smaller elements such as : subject-matter; formal elements; principles of design; style; purpose, etc.
- purpose: to describe, interpret and/or evaluate a work of art, that is, to analyse a work of art
- prerequisite: direct access to the real work or to a good reproduction
- each such important element is then analysed in order to see what role it plays in the whole

- the standard move-structure of a text belonging to the subgenre of formal analysis:

MOVE I: Introducing the work and the artist

  • step 1: identifying the work (some details about the title, author, theme, subject-matter, medium, dimensions, period of creation, current location, purposes of creation)
  • step 2: identifying the artist: only that biographical information considered relevant for the work analysed

MOVE II: Transition:

- usually offers a personal first response to the work

MOVE III: Analysing de-constructed elements:

  • step 1: analysing first element : describing the first element + interpreting the first element + /- evaluating the first element (e.g. a character in the work)
  • step 2: analysing element 2 (e.g. the principle of the perfect symmetry)
  • step 3: analysing element 3 (e.g. the dominating colour)

MOVE IV: Concluding:

- offering a final interpretation +/- evaluation of the whole work, based on the previous analyses


- study the texts:

1. The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini and Jeanne Cenami by Jan van Eyck, written by Erwin Panofsky

Erwin Panofsky and his interpretation of art works
another version of the text

2. Ten Lizes by Andy Warhol by Anca Teodora Pora

3. Write a formal analysis on a subject of your choice.

- comment on the analyses made by the authors, that is, on the descriptions and interpretations and/or evaluations offered; did they convince you?; can you find other possible interpretations to those elements?; are there other elements you would have chosen instead? which? why?

DEADLINE 1 (for task 1): November 4th 

DEADLINE 2 (for task 2): November 24th

DEADLINE 3 (for task 3): November 19th, and 25th 

Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon"'Avignon

You can place your comments on the viewed material here. Why does such a previously perceived as "hideous" work of art mean so much in art history?
DEADLINE for your comments : November 3rd