Tips for writing a formal analysis on the artwork, " French Cottage " by Abraham Archibald Anderson using the format below:
1st page: Introduce your piece and in which museum it was founded. Describe the piece as though the reader cannot see the piece. Start to develop your formal analysis: describe the piece and it's formal qualities. Describe the artwork and articulate what physical attributes you can see in front of you.
2nd page: connect your formal analysis to the elements and principle of art. Line, shape, value,space,texture, color,form,contrast, unity/variety, pattern, rhythm, balance, emphasis/focal point. Explain technically how this artist could have made this work of art. Understand the materials the artist used to work. Do your research. Explain and describe details that make the work stand out.
What is the content? what is this work about?
3rd page: explain the context of the piece. You should study and research any information about the piece or the artist or the time in which this artist made this work. Using web, books, or any text from the museum.


Expert Answers

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

1st part: In your analysis of "French Cottage," you may want to include a description of the artistic style of the painting. As this piece was created in 1883, does it reflect more of Romanticism (style of the 1800's) or Impressionism during the Modern Art period (late 1800's-early 1800's) ? In your explanation, you should include the details of the art, such as the focus upon the young lady painting and her surroundings. You should include close observation of the simple objects in the painting, such as the chair, wall, easel, flowers, and open window. Could this piece depict a scene anywhere, or specifically France, and why?

2nd Part:
In this section, you may want to begin with the focus of the painting. Artists choose either a clear focus in the center of their piece or they offset their subject. You can address if the young lady is in the center of the piece and why or why not. As well, you should include an analysis of light and paint colors in the piece. You can mention if the piece feels light or heavy in relation to the content matter and lighting. As the lines are soft, as well as the colors, explain how that presents the overall feeling. You could also address the only real contrasts of color in the dark green. Also, as you consider if there is much variety in this piece, evaluate why or why not the artist approached his piece this way. You may also consider if the oil on canvas technique affects the feeling of the piece.

3rd Part: In this last section, research a few of the events which were occurring in the late 1800's or in Anderson's own life. As an American artist living and painting in New York City, Anderson's subject is a French cottage. Does he represent his subject realistically? You should consider if his painting reflects the typical tonalism of American art of the 1880's or not. You could also explain if this specific piece appears representative of the artist's style or completely different. As well, you could consider if his subject matter had any great significance to him or his family.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial