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American Art Project - History

American Art Project – Assignment Instructions

Statement of Purpose or “Why Am I Doing This?”

It is important to remember, represent, and honor a collective past, but it is equally important to understand the deeper significance of visual records. In this assignment, you will examine works of art available through the website of the Architect of the Capitol. The purpose is to emphasize how art can be used to portray historical events and convey a message when viewed in the context of the age in which it was created. This assignment is not an art critique. Look for connections between events and images. You will NOT be describing the event the artwork depicts, but the period of American history in which it was created. You will be creating either a document or a presentation.

Completing This Assignment:

Part I

  • Click on this link: http://aoc.gov/paintings-0 (Historic Rotunda Paintings).
  • Click on the individual images for each of the 8 paintings to see them in more detail and read the short article on each of the corresponding pages for these paintings.
  • Choose 4 images and write a 200–300-word paragraph for each of them addressing the following:

1.     When was the image commissioned and hung? What is the historical context of this painting? What events were occurring when this painting was created that could have contributed to its content? How are those connections between content and context most clearly presented?

2.     Is the artist successful in communicating contextual influences? Is the message too difficult to understand for a modern viewer?

  • As a heading for each paragraph, include the image, its title, and the artist.

Part II

  • Click on this link: http://aoc.gov/capitol-hill/national-statuary-hall-collection/about-national-statuary-hall-collection (About the National Statuary Hall Collection).
  • Read the short overview and description of the collection and search to find the 2 statues that represent your state.
  • Copy the image for each representative of your state into the document or presentation.
    • If you are not a resident of the United States or do not claim a “home state” for any reason, you are free to adopt any of the 50 states as your own for the purposes of this assignment.
  • After the image, include the individual’s name and the state he or she represents.
  • In a 200–300-word paragraph for each image,
    • give a short summary of the individual’s historic significance and
    • give an evaluation of whether this individual is a good choice to represent your state.

How to Submit

  • You MUST include footnotes/endnotes in current Turabian format for each source. You will be using the images from the website, so you must cite those pages as sources.
  • Save both parts in one file, Microsoft Word document 
  • Microsoft Word document, each paragraph must be 200–300 words, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. The document must have 1-inch margins
  • Write your paragraph in your own words and proofread your work to eliminate spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization errors. Review the Writing Tips document to avoid common errors in academic work.
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