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Art Essay Writing: Helpful Recommendations for Students

Art Essay Writing: Helpful Recommendations For Students

When you are a student, you write essays all the time. This form matches so many goals, that it’s no wonder all tutors consider essay writing tasks to be so useful in high school and college. Among many essay types, the art essay is one of the most sophisticated tasks causing lots of difficulties.

What Is an Art essay in educational programs?

Art essay is one of the essay types where you need to analyze and assess some object of art. Another approach is to explore some art-related topics like the biography of a famous artist or an art trend. It is a demanding paper – you need to have knowledge on the subject and be able to analyze the object in context and as it is.

Though the main goal is to express your opinion, you have to justify it using reliable evidence and critique. It means you will have to do even more in-depth research for the art essay and invest thoroughly in self-development. The paper can’t be just a description of some painting or a retelling of some biographical facts. It must show all your ability to analyze and understand the meaning of the art object or trend, and means used to build its value.

Types of Art essay

In general, there are several main types of art essays, each has its peculiarities.

  • The Sociological art essay researches some historical period and its social trends influencing art. For instance, it can be an essay dedicated to women’s recognition and representation in the arts.
  • Image writing art essay (or iconography essay) is a work where you are supposed to explore the symbols and their meaning in the selected object of art.
  • The formal analysis art essay is the most common approach for this essay type. In such a paper, you’ll need to examine the aspects of any art object, like the colors, the lines, the shapes, etc. The goal is to understand the art value of this object and the means used to create it. 
  • A biographical art essay is a work dedicated to a person of some artist. The goal is to examine the personal life to track its influence on the style and works.
  • The Iconological art essay or a study of an image is the interpretation of an art object in some context. The student is supposed to appeal to other spheres and use knowledge of the epoch, literature, symbols, etc. 

However, note that there can be personal interpretations of this essay type. If you have any doubts, just consult your tutor and clarify all vague aspects. It would guarantee that you will do what you need to do in the essay, and won’t fail the task.

The structure of an art essay

Like any other essay, this paper type has a strict “three-part” structure. Your art essay must have the Introduction part, the Body part, and the Conclusion part.

  • The Essay Introduction is the area where you have to reach two goals. You have to present your work: explain what it is about, and why you decided to research that subject. And what is much more important, you have to catch your audience. When you deal with the art essay, it is crucial to set the right tone and grasp the attention of the public.
  • The thesis statement is the central part of both the Introduction and the entire essay. It must briefly explain the main idea of your work and the points you want to prove. As your essay is about some art object or trend, you will need to offer some arguments about it.
  • The Body part takes most of your essay. If your work is the standard college essay, you may stick to the “three-paragraphs” Body structure where you present, explore, and prove your statements. In your work, it can be the description and analysis of the object’s form and means used to create it. Or, you might claim about the correlation between some historical and social circumstances and the art trends, to prove your ideas with weighty arguments.
  • The Conclusion part is where you should provide your opinion about the work and evaluate it. Also, it has to refer to the thesis and restate it to demonstrate the logical connection.

Practical tips for writing art essays

The success of any paper you do as a student rests on several “pillars.” They are:

  • The topic of your choice;
  • The researches you run and their results;
  • And the story you tell.

How to choose the right topic for an essay about art

The choice of topic is crucial for any essay type. In the case of an art essay, it becomes even more important, as art is a specific sphere, and not everybody enjoys it genuinely. Or, some art objects or trends might not be interesting at all, but still, you have to write an essay.

If you have just the general direction and can choose any topic yourself, it is a great advantage. But even if your question is definite, you might want a new aspect or view the object from a new angle. Your original ideas will only give you more benefits.

Some more general rules would help you to make the proper choice:

  • Get the topic that appeals to you personally. You will have to do researches about the subject and get familiar with critique, so you will need to process a lot of data. It is always easier to dedicate your time and effort to the subject that is interesting for you.
  • Choose a particular subject. Art is a massive field with too many genres and approaches to cover. Refer to that area where you can show your creative abilities.
  • Consider your audience, as you have to impress them by the new information or original judgments. Also, you should consider their possible reactions to your statements. By the way, there is nothing wrong with being a little bit provocative, when you deal with the art subjects. In any case, you might choose the topic that would be more interesting to other people, so you can share your knowledge and ideas with them. 

Run in-depth research of the subject

If you have to analyze some object of art, try to have a look at it personally. It is excellent if you can visit some museums or galleries. Even the best illustrations might lack some aspects, especially in terms of colors and prospects.

Collect more information about the context of that work. There are the standard points to check:

  1. Who is the author of the work?
  2. When was that artwork created?
  3. How did the social and cultural trends influence that object?
  4. Does the work address any trends or events?

When you research these aspects, you should refer to the trustworthy sources. Your tutor might provide you with the list of recommended publications to research, and you can use more resources to collect essential data.

Analyze the object: describe it and define the means the author used to produce the impression. Define the author’s message to the audience.

At last, present your interpretation and evaluation of the object. The information from authoritative resources will be beneficial here. They can help you to shape your feelings or note some details that you might miss.

After you define these statements for yourself, get to the outline.

Create an outline of your essay.

The outline is an “image” of your future essay. Unlike the “plan” that only has the main points, the outline is a comprehensive scheme of your essay.

With the help of this method, you can define the logical consequence of your statements and arguments, or experiment with the order and structure. The outline should illustrate what you will write about, how you will do it, and which evidence and where you apply.

Writing tips on style for an art essay

  • Always use the present tense.
  • Use strict definitions for objects.
  • Pay special attention to the format requirements. As you have to work with critical sources, you have to note all the references and include them in the bibliography list. Depending on the required academic format style, you have to present the data string correctly, so refer to the format guidelines.
  • After completing the essay, revise and proofread it. Track and fix all the awkward sentences and correct all errors.
  • Get yourself at least one day of rest before submitting the essay, and re-read the work once more. The “fresh eye” will most likely mote more issues you might miss during the first revision.

Some Topics for an Art Essay

In this section, we’ve gathered some topics for art essays. You might use them or get inspiration from these ideas to build your own statement.

History of Art

  1. The ancient Egyptian painting tradition.
  2. Ancient Greek sculpture vs ancient Romanian sculpture.
  3. The Kabuki theater symbols.
  4. Primeval paintings. 
  5. The art of Renaissance.
  6. The depiction of Apocalypse in paintings of different periods.
  7. The Pre-Raphaelites and their art statements.
  8. The first impressionists.
  9. Claude Monet’s paintings and the changes in the style through his lifetime
  10. The main symbols of Mayan art.

Outstanding people of Arts

  1. The most prominent artists of the Renaissance period.
  2. The genius of Leonardo Da Vinci in paintings.
  3. Early works of Ludwig van Beethoven.
  4. Edgar Degas and his role in the impressionism movement.
  5. The legacy of Giuseppe Verdi.
  6. Autobiographic motifs in works of Vincent van Gogh.
  7. Andy Warhol and his revolution in painting.
  8. The life of Frida Kahlo and its representation in her paintings.
  9. Are Dali and Picasso the most prominent artists of the 20th century?
  10. Why are Jackson Pollock’s works so valuable?


  1. Postmodernism in the 21st-century cinemas: main representatives.
  2. The unique style of Tim Burton’s movies.
  3. The influence of Netflix on modern cinema art.
  4. The Nigerian movie industry and its main trends.
  5. How the Marvel movies changed the modern blockbusters.
  6. Reflection of the most important social trends in comic book movies.
  7. The woke culture in blockbusters.
  8. Representation of the new women’s roles in movies.
  9. Quentin Tarantino’s unique director’s style.
  10. Satiric cartoon series and their characters. 

General art essay topics

  1. Is fanfiction a form of modern art and self-expression?
  2. What are the distinctive features of the Baroque style?
  3. What is the role of art in modern society?
  4. Name the three objects of art, producing the most effect on world culture.
  5. What is the influence of different forms of art on our daily life?
  6. What are the new art forms that came into prominence in the digital era?
  7. How does the modern theater compete for the rivalry of TV and cinema?
  8. What are the main trends in street art?
  9. The centers of art in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  10. Why should everyone learn Arts? 

Learn how to write an art essay

This essay type is not the easiest one – there are no simple essay tasks in college at all. It is a demanding assignment. However, your efforts will be justified. Learning Arts help your self-development significantly, and writing art essays is motivation. With our tips, you can understand how to write articles on art topics, and how to make this task exciting.