How do you outline an essay about how encounters between countries have shaped the production and understanding of the art of Benin?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is an interesting topic. From the information you provide, I am envisioning that your essay will answer the question of how the encounter between countries has shaped the production and understanding of the art of Benin by focusing on how late nineteenth century imperialism in Benin, particularly by Britain,...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

This is an interesting topic. From the information you provide, I am envisioning that your essay will answer the question of how the encounter between countries has shaped the production and understanding of the art of Benin by focusing on how late nineteenth century imperialism in Benin, particularly by Britain, led to the expropriation of Benin art masterpieces. These were then sold and scattered around museums in Europe, which led artists like Picassos to see and incorporate elements of Benin aesthetics into their groundbreaking modern art. As the question indicates the currents go both ways, you might also want to look at the Tate Modern show of 2013 and the way modern art in the West has in turn influenced Benin's art.

I can help you set up the bones of an outline as follows, which you can infill with your own further research. This outline can be expanded or contracted based on how long your paper needs to be. You will need to indent the "A, B, Cs" five spaces" and the "1, 2, 3" items ten spaces to get the visual flow of the outline as I can't do that in this format.

Your thesis, which you, of course, will refine, would be something like "Benin's traditional art forms have had an under-acknowledged influence on modern art in Western culture."

I. Thesis statement: introductory paragraph

II: How Benin's artworks arrived in Europe

A. Brief Background on the European scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century

B. The British Punitive Expedition of 1897

1. British plan to use plundered art to offset costs of expedition

2. Where the art ended up, particularly what Picasso might have seen

III. Influence of Benin art on Picasso (and other modern artists)

A. Aesthetic principles and styles of traditional Benin art.

B. The Benin Plaques in detail.

C. Picasso's Black Period

D. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon as a case study in Picasso's borrowing/appropriation of Benin's art forms. (You can look at Matisse and other modern artists if you need more.)

IV. Crosscurrent continue: evidence of Benin artists' use of Western art forms combined with traditional African forms to convey the tragedy of imperialism as seen in the Tate Modern show of 2013.

V. Conclusion: how Western art benefitted from Benin.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on