Raphael: The School of Athens
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For the course project, you will write a paper of between one and two pages in length on one of the following works:
Raphael: The School of Athens
Wright: An Experiment on a Bird in the Air-Pump
Mozart: Symphony no. 40 in G minor
Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People
Jefferson: Declaration of Independence
Masaccio: The Holy Trinity
Wordsworth: “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”
Dickinson: Poem 479 (“Because I could not stop for Death”)
Leonardo: Vitruvian Man
The paper will use the following format (4 points possible for each of the three parts, for a total possible score of 12):
I. Descriiption of the work (four to six sentences):
A. Identify the type of work (architecture, sculpture, painting; prose, poetry; instrumental music, chamber music, orchestral music)
B. Describe the size and scale of the work (Size refers to the absolute dimensions of the work. Scale is relative to medium. Thirty square feet would be tiny for a building, but quite large for a painting. A one-hundred-page novel is fairly short, but a one-hundred page poem would be quite long.)
C. Describe the work’s formal properties (symmetrical or asymmetrical; highly organized or chaotic; number of divisions, parts, or sections)
D. Describe the work’s sensory properties (if a painting, what kinds of colors are used; if a musical work, what kinds of instruments and sounds; if a literary work, what rhyme, meter, tone, etc.)
II. Context of the work (four to six sentences):
A. Socio-historical context (What was going on in the world in which the artist lived? What important political events, conflicts, or social issues inform the work?)
B. Biographical context (What details of the artist’s own life experience helped shape the work? NOTE: Do not engage in lengthy biographical summary—this should be a sentence or two at most.)
C. Stylistic context (How was the work influenced by other works? How does it represent or react against an established style or movement? How does it reflect tendencies of its cultural period?)
D. Philosophical context (How does the work reflect the worldview and values of its time?)
III. Interpretation of the work (four to six sentences):
Using the descriiptive and contextual information you supplied in sections I and II, interpret the work—discuss its meaning, its impact, its significance.
Be sure to discuss how your work relates to the five big themes of the course: Truth and Knowledge; Beauty; The Good; Ultimate Reality; The Self and Its Destiny
Support your interpretation with clear references to the work itself.
Refer to the “Principles of Interpretation” for guidance (see below).
Important: If you are writing about a literary work, DO NOT summarize the plot. Plot summary is not interpretation.
At the end of the paper, on a new page, provide a Works Cited list using MLA style.
Cite your sources within the text of your paper by giving the author’s last name and page number (if the source is paginated) in parentheses at the end of the sentence or identifying the author’s name in the text. You must cite a source even if you have rephrased it in your own words (not just if you quote directly).