ART3020 Albany Technical Pablo Picasso and Simone Martini Art Discussion

OK, you’re up. This discussion is graded, required and worth two full quizzes, so take it seriously. For this job you will need to post an essay plus two two images for direct critical comparison, and then respond thoughtfully to a fellow student’s essay.


First, you need to choose two representative works of visual art for a direct, critical comparison. The 1st selection must be relevant to the WESTERN epoch that begins with Late gothic in Italy c. 1300, and ends with Rococo c. 1790, including the art of the North. That is the period discussed in the first 4 weeks of this course.


That being said the 2nd half of your comparison can be from almost any time or place, provided it is an example recognized well enough to be effectively researched. Non western art, graphic art, modern art, sequential art, record jackets etc can all be acceptable for the 2nd example. You can get creative here, and I encourage you to do that.

Invariably one or two students just skim over the parameters and cluelessly select both examples from China or ancient Rome or the middle ages or something like that and throw a conniption fit when I disallow the essay, so please don’t do that.

If you have any doubts just ask me, that’s what I’m here for.

Essays need to be about 250-500 words long, that’s about one or two pages in double space.

PLEASE, find your own comparison. Do not appropriate one out of your textbook or out of the lecture material. Part of your grade is based on the originality of your comparison, and its cogency to the topic.


Do some research about the examples you chose and know something about them. This is a critical discussion but it is also a research discussion. Check your facts, least you sound foolish. A word of caution here, a great deal of what you read on the internet is just unauthenticated hooey. Stay with the big, respected sites. Wikipedia and Artcyclopedia for example are good.

Print media is even better.

As a general thing, if you don’t have much to say, either your comparison is weak or you didn’t do enough research. You can’t write a good critical paper with untethered opinions off the top of your head. Tell the reader something he/she doesn’t know or could not have guessed.



Here’s you topic. I would like you to cite and defend two issues. It helps to caption them right in the essay. Any order is fine.

Connection. How are these two comparison examples cogently connected? How is one inspired or influenced by the other? Or how do both examples address the same essential content or idea? Or how do both examples serve the same function?

Divergence. How are they different? How does one example expand or build upon the other? How do they say the same thing in a different way? Or how do they depart or even conflict with one another?

The best papers, as a general thing, address two works that seem to have nothing in common and establish some interesting or ironic connection. Or they do the opposite. They address two works with seemingly everything in common and point up some interesting or ironic conflict. If you choose two works that are utterly similar your just comparing twins and there won’t be a lot to compare. On the other hand if you choose two works that are at right angles to each other you’ll get an “apples ‘n asteroids” comparison that is just as difficult to say anything interesting about.

This is not an easy assignment, it is a hard assignment that demands critical thinking, but that’s the entire point.

Some ideas you might to address in your essays (you don’t have to address all of them, just the ones that apply), are similarities and or differences in:

  • Subject – What are these works about, both literally and in a larger sense?
  • Purpose – What was each work for? What audience did each work address?
  • Style – How does each artist approach the work? What is the character of each work?
  • Form – What is the structure of each work and how is that relevant to the content?
  • Content – What is each artist’s world view? What is the artist saying to the viewer? What compelling message is being conveyed? This is probably the most important consideration. Content is the issue, all of the previous points only convey content.

In composing your paper there are a few simple things to keep in mind. The subject of this paper IS THE COMPARISON. While it’s fine to introduce the the two works and the artists involved with a line or two of background information before getting into the direct critical comparison, do not write a one page biography of each artist, slap them together and imagine that you’ve written a comparison. Such papers are OK high school book reports, but the bar for college work is higher.

Review the content page about common mistakes in student essays.

STEP 4 Post your essay with your examples IN THE DISCUSSION WINDOW. Papers with no images WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Papers with links to another site will not be accepted, post the images you selected into the window provided on the discussion page. Do not post image links to god knows where. For grading and discussion this is just awkward for both the professor and the other students.

Papers with image links to other sites WILL NOT BE GRADED.

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