Comparing and contrasting works of art is one way art historians identify key techniques, ideas, and themes of one artist and cultural time period as compared to another. A comparison/contrast uses similar strategies as a visual analysis, with the addition of considering why artists choose to depict certain things in certain ways at certain points in history. This week, you will compare and contrast the form and content of two artworks that are created in the same medium (painting, or printmaking). Only choose one of the options! At the beginning of your answer, write: Option 1 or Option 2. See full instructions below after choosing a pair to write about.  

Option 1 (Paintings – frescoes): 
– Diego Rivera, Detroit Industry, 1932-33
– Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sistine Chapel Ceiling Frescoes, 1508-1512

Option 2 (Prints – woodcuts)
– Emil Nolde, Prophet, 1912 
– Utagawa Hiroshige, Shono hatkuu (Light Rain at Shono), 1832-33


  1. Introduce each artwork(artist, title, year, medium) and their cultural/historical time periods
    2. Do a description and visual analysis of the first image, including 2, specific, key visual elements/principles of design you think are the most important to the meaning and why. Use your own words. (approx. 100 words).
    3. Next, do a description and visual analysis of the second image, with the same requirements (approx. 100 words).
    4. Lastly, compare and contrast technique, subject matter, and use of medium and how these contribute to meaning. Don’t say HOW the works are different (you already did that in the previous 2 sections),but WHY. Use formal, contextual, and expressive theories in this section to help you determine the WHY and how their respective audiences in particular time periods may have influenced that (approx. 100-300 words).

You do NOT have to do outside research for this. In fact, I would highly prefer you use your own observations and insights IN YOUR OWN WORDS. If you do use outside research, please cite your sources. 

Your response must be 300-500 words and is due Sunday by 11:59 PM, CST.  Your two written peer responses are due Sunday by 11:59 PM, CST. Please see rubric for full grading requirements.