Writing About Art (ART 210000) is a course offered by the Art department at the City College of New York (CCNY). It has two sections: D and G, each enrolling up to 25 students. It is recommended in the 2nd semester of study.

The course is fully online, delivered asynchronously, ZTC/OER designated, which means that your instructor has compiled class material at no cost for you. You may access material in the public domain on https://waba.commons.gc.cuny.edu/resources/. Chapters of the copyrighted books are available to you only on Blackboard.

Writing About Art


Students will be able to:

● define and understand art terminology and methodology and apply them in their analyses.
● select and organize academic sources for art-historical research
● combine visual observations and peer-reviewed sources into essays with notes and bibliographies.
● compose an in-depth scholarly analysis of art using the formal English language and the appropriate methods and sources effectively.


Argumentative Essay Structure

This type of writing has a rhetorical purpose; it aims to persuade an audience and influence the way the reader thinks about a given subject, in this case, a work of art or a comparison of two or more artworks. This persuasive purpose of writing about art must be evidence-based. Special attention will be paid to organizing ‘compare and contrast’ essays. Throughout the semester, you will be acquiring skills in developing clear and logical:
1. thesis statements that indicate your point of view on a subject and
2. body paragraphs in which you defend your stance by integrating and analyzing relevant sources.


In academia, developing a point of view is never arbitrary. In the context of this course, a methodology is defined as a strategic selection and use of sources in establishing a point of an essay and determining arguments when analyzing works of art. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to use Formalism, Iconography, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Structuralism, and Deconstruction.


Since academic writing must be evidence-based, researching for relevant evidence and differentiating between scholarly, educational, and popular sources are crucial skills. You will become familiar with and learn how to navigate various library databases developed specifically for art. In addition, you will learn to cite and organize sources gathered through the research using the Chicago Manual of Style.

Writing Process

Writing an in-depth scholarly analysis of art is a process; it is never done on the spur of the moment. You will be guided to plan, compose, edit, and revise your written work.

Grammar and Style

To assure clarity of your ideas, you should choose the appropriate tone and write in clear, complete sentences. You will learn how to identify and correct the most common grammar mistakes, such as the subject-verb agreement, run-on sentences, comma splices, and dangling modifiers. In addition, you will be exposed to the technical vocabulary used in the visual analysis of works of art.


This is a writing-intensive course. You are expected to meet the deadlines, participate in the online participation activities, discussions, and complete the readings. You should spend between 6 – 9 hours of course-related work per week.