Reflection: Rigor Frame it or Trash it? Writing Argument about Art - Section 3: Wrap Up


Comment on Student Work

Here is a sample  writing that a student completed for homework.  I think she's done a nice job of making the case for this piece of art.  Again, this is just a draft, and students will get a chance to revise one of their three papers (narrative, informative, argument) for publication.  

Personally, I am more persuade by comments of technique than  by comments that the painting is famous, so it's good.  I am intrigued to discuss some of these criteria with the student and with the class. 


Student Sample: Looking beyond a Painting

Isn’t looking into a painting or a piece of writing what makes that piece more interesting? It’s like finding clues on how the author felt while making it or figuring out how the characters in the work felt. In a painting called Nighthawks drawn by Edward Hopper, when one looks at this painting, they can find several clues and find different meanings of what the painting is trying to say or express. In the painting there are four customers in a diner, everything else around the diner is dim, showing that the setting is late at night. The way the customers are positioned can give anyone who looks at the painting different feelings on what they think is happening inside the painting. Some might say that these people are meeting up for a late night dinner, some might say they want to get a drink. Even though not many people will figure out right away what the drawing is really about, it keeps our minds active of seriously thinking about what the artist drew and why he drew it the way he did. These questions that flow through people’s minds are what hooks them into the painting, this is what will attract more attention.

Not only is Edward Hopper a famous artist, but his painting the Nighthawks is one of his most famous paintings that is a favorite for some people. If this painting is taken away, some of the people anticipating to see it will be disappointed, and the amount of people that come to the museum might decrease. There are very few paintings of Edward Hopper that are famous, you already have one of them, if you just pluck this piece of artwork out of the museum, you won’t have any of Edward Hopper’s masterpieces featured! Taking this painting out of the museum, that’s one less painting of a famous artist that you don’t have in your museum. The painting is already worth lots of money and getting it to be able to be featured in the museum was difficult, if you just give it to another place, it’ll probably be hard to retrieve another painting as popular as the Nighthawks.

The way this painting is drawn makes you feel like you’re right across the street, just watching the man sip his coffee, and the worker wipe down tables and coffee spills. It makes you wonder how the artist made each stroke of his brush give each detail some kind of magic, that when you look at it all together, it gives off a sense of realism. The way that the characters actions are drawn, the way they are all positioned and their facial expressions aren’t like most paintings. The way one person is positioned has his back to the viewers eyes, the two other customers don’t seem like they are in a modeling position, it seems natural. The expressions don’t seem strained or made in a way to look presentable. The scene just looks normal and real.

For some people, looking at some kinds of paintings that seem plain and practical can be as boring as watching a fish swim around in a small bowl. What these people don’t realize, is that they haven’t really looked at all the details clearly and thought about what makes that piece of paper, that has either paint, marker, or oil pastels slathered on top of it, so great that made someone want to draw it. If you notice small details like how an object is shaped, positioned, or how one part of the drawing is a different color or tone than another, you can figure out what kind of feeling the artist was trying to give off once you look at it. You can also see what the message the author was trying to send about the piece of artwork. In the painting the Nighthawks as you look at the painting, you can notice how the diner is more lit than the rest of the setting, which has a more darker tone. The artist draws only four people sitting quietly in the painting, than a group of people, chatting, and having expressions that show that they’re having a good time. If you really think about all these details, you can see that the artist is trying to express the loneliness is in a big city, he conveys this meaning through the colors he used for different parts of the setting, and through the way he added additional features into the artwork.

In conclusion if we just let a valuable and marvelous painting escape from our hands, we won’t be able to share the experience of seeing a famous painting and be able to feel what the artist felt. You have to read into things a little more to understand the true meaning of how significant something is.

  Student Work
  Rigor: Student Work
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Frame it or Trash it? Writing Argument about Art

Unit 10: Writing about Art: Exploring Image and Linguistic Connections
Lesson 8 of 8

Objective: SWBAT argue about a piece of art work by generating three criteria that evaluate its value and by elaborating on those criteria in a short writing.

Big Idea: Quick: get your beret and French accent--we're going to be art critics!

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