Formal Analysis Writing Check Your paper should be about 500+ words. Please do your best to make it at least this long with good content. Imagine that

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Your paper should be about 500+ words.  Please do your best to make it at least this long with good content. 

Imagine that you are describing the object to a person who cannot see it.  When you are finished writing, the person should be able to imagine what the object looks like.  

First Paragraph – an introduction to the piece of art
– include artist, title, date, medium (what is it made of), size, and brief general description

Additional Paragraphs – assess the physical characteristics of the piece using the keywords from Parts 1

– demonstrate your understanding of the Fundamental Elements of art (Line, Shape or Form, Perspective, Texture, Value, Color, Balance, or ANY other fundamental elements and principles that may be relevant)

– Describe how the artist deals with each of these fundamental elements or principles. 

– You may make brief statements about subject and interpretation, but your assessment of the physical characteristics should be the bulk of your paper.



For my visual description, I chose to write about an oil painting on wood by Emil Nolde, Large Sunflowers I, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2002.386). The work, which is about two and a half feet high and three feet wide, shows eight sunflowers with their leaves, seen from close up. Some of them are cropped by the edges of the canvas, so we have only a partial view of their blooms. They vary from about the size of a cantaloupe melon to about the size of an orange, which might be the actual dimensions of these flowers. The colors range from yellow, yellow-orange, and light red, to dark red. All but one of the yellow-toned flowers have deep brown centers, while the red ones have deep reds and browns at their centers. The sunflowers are surrounded by large green leaves and stalks. The brilliantly colored paint is thick, and has been applied in big, visible brush strokes.

The sunflowers and leaves take up most of the composition, but there are indications of an outdoor space around them. A strip a few inches high at the top of the painting forms a horizon line, filled with an awesome sunset of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. An orb of the deepest red and orange toward the center depicts the sun itself. Between the leaves, hints of dark blues and greens suggest shadow and depth, possibly in a large garden or field. Towards the bottom of the painting, dashes of red suggest more sunflowers behind the ones we see.

The focal points of this composition are the biggest sunflower, to the left of center, and a pocket of leaves in the center itself. The flower is deep yellow with a muddy, yellow-brown center. Some of its petals are bending, possibly wilting or swaying in a wind. It has a bright green stalk, with a streak of yellow paint through it. The leaves in the center are a bright green with hints of blue, whereas the other leaves in the painting are a deeper green, more like the color of an actual sunflower leaf. They also are distinguished by the wavy brush stroke that appears here, which is different from the shorter, straighter stroke used for the other leaves in the painting.

The artist seems to have used the same large brush throughout the picture, although the paint was applied in different ways. Long, continuous strokes appear in some of the stalks, for example, while the flowers have been made with short strokes, cross weaves, and waves. In many places, the paint was applied thickly and wet on wet, color on top of color before any of it had dried. The result is that the edges of the strokes bleed into each other. In some areas, new colors were made by blending colors directly on the canvas. These techniques combine to make this painting a vivid image of nature.

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