Visual analysis essays are usually written for English, Art and History classes. The principal thing in this kind of essays is to use various concepts of visual analysis and choices, and engage them in a written form.
It may sound difficult and intimidating to write a visual analysis essay but visual analysis is simply colors, shapes, ideas, concepts, forms, etc. Taking into account all these elements, you have to extract a thesis for the essay and defend it.
Personal responses are the central and the most essential piece in writing a visual analysis essay. The language used in the essay should be precise and simple. It is very important to note that the language in the visual analysis essay should be descriptive and should consist of formal observation. In its core, a visual analysis essay will simply describe an artwork, illustration or any other visual subject, will reveal a specific feature or will examine the artwork as a whole from the perspective’s point of view.
But let’s be more precise and present more details on how to write a visual analysis essay. One of the most specific things in writing a visual analysis essay is that usually, it is brief and very precise; however, if in your instructor notes the vice versa is stated explicitly you will have to follow it. As any type of essay, the visual analysis one will consist of introduction, body and conclusion.
Introduction of visual analysis essay
An introduction in visual analysis essays is usually short, not exceeding two sentences. The purpose of the introduction is to present an artwork to the audience that is going to be examined, your attitude towards it and the response you are looking for. Very often the introduction is not even given separately but it is attached to the first paragraph of the visual analysis essay.
We all know that the purpose of the introduction, apart from stating our thesis and perception towards this specific piece of artwork, is also to capture attention of the audience. But how can you achieve this since you are bound to have a specific number of words? One of the ways to do that is to start with a strong statement. For example, let’s say that you have to write a visual analysis essay on the painting “The Battle of Nashville” by Howard Pyle. For the ones who are not familiar with it and do not want to search it online we can say that the painting represents the battlefield in which an army is advancing towards its enemy.
The painting is dark and full of violence and terror. Here, with one sentence we managed to state our attitude and response to the piece of art. But if we want to make our opening stronger and more influential we can start, for instance, with the following question: can war and violence be justified? You can therefore add a sentence that by examining the painting of Howard Pyle and observing the terror and violence on the faces of the soldiers made you once again realize the insanity of war and violence, or you can go in the other direction. The most important thing, however, in the opening of the visual analysis essay is to introduce the audience with the artwork that is going to be examined and to state your attitude and the response you are looking for.
Body of visual analysis essay
You move on with the so-called body of the visual analysis essay. However, before starting to write it, it will be good if you spend some time observing the object of art on which you are going to write. Examine it in detail. Be precise. Consider carefully the colors, composition, size, texture, space and all other possible visual attributes that affect your perception. Then formulate your thesis.
The following step is to support your thesis with an analysis of the art object. Write and analyze the object as a whole, the techniques that are being used, the lines, the colors, shape and everything else that will support your thesis and reach to the response you are looking for. Again, you should only address to those elements of the art piece that support your thesis. Organize them in logical manner, depending of their strength, reflect on why you have chosen to discuss them precisely and discuss the relationship between them. Use specific vocabulary; for example, words like: linear perspective, foreshortening, demonstrate, intend, and show, etc..
Conclusion of visual analysis essay
After you have finished with the body of your visual analysis essay, you move to the conclusion. The conclusion must be strong and written in a perceptive manner. Here it is not necessary to restate your thesis but to strengthen and form it for one last time. You may keep one last interesting fact for the conclusion in order to make it more trustworthy and convincing. Always proofread your essay.