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Writing Essays in Art History

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These OWL resources provide guidance on typical genres with the art history discipline that may appear in professional settings or academic assignments, including museum catalog entries, museum title cards, art history analysis, notetaking, and art history exams.

Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis

Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.

A formal analysis is just what it sounds like – you need to analyze the form of the artwork. This includes the individual design elements – composition, color, line, texture, scale, contrast, etc. Questions to consider in a formal analysis is how do all these elements come together to create this work of art? Think of formal analysis in relation to literature – authors give descriptions of characters or places through the written word. How does an artist convey this same information?

Organize your information and focus on each feature before moving onto the text – it is not ideal to discuss color and jump from line to then in the conclusion discuss color again. First summarize the overall appearance of the work of art – is this a painting? Does the artist use only dark colors? Why heavy brushstrokes? etc and then discuss details of the object – this specific animal is gray, the sky is missing a moon, etc. Again, it is best to be organized and focused in your writing – if you discuss the animals and then the individuals and go back to the animals you run the risk of making your writing unorganized and hard to read. It is also ideal to discuss the focal of the piece – what is in the center? What stands out the most in the piece or takes up most of the composition?

A stylistic approach can be described as an indicator of unique characteristics that analyzes and uses the formal elements (2-D: Line, color, value, shape and 3-D all of those and mass).The point of style is to see all the commonalities in a person’s works, such as the use of paint and brush strokes in Van Gogh’s work. Style can distinguish an artist’s work from others and within their own timeline, geographical regions, etc.

Methods & Theories To Consider:

Expressionism

Instructuralism

Postmodernism

Social Art History

Biographical Approach

Poststructuralism

Museum Studies

Visual Cultural Studies

Stylistic Analysis Example:

The following is a brief stylistic analysis of two Greek statues, an example of how style has changed because of the “essence of the age.” Over the years, sculptures of women started off as being plain and fully clothed with no distinct features, to the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite figures most people recognize today. In the mid-seventh century to the early fifth, life-sized standing marble statues of young women, often elaborately dress in gaily painted garments were created known as korai. The earliest korai is a Naxian women to Artemis. The statue wears a tight-fitted, belted peplos, giving the body a very plain look. The earliest korai wore the simpler Dorian peplos, which was a heavy woolen garment. From about 530, most wear a thinner, more elaborate, and brightly painted Ionic linen and himation. A largely contrasting Greek statue to the korai is the Venus de Milo. The Venus from head to toe is six feet seven inches tall. Her hips suggest that she has had several children. Though her body shows to be heavy, she still seems to almost be weightless. Viewing the Venus de Milo, she changes from side to side. From her right side she seems almost like a pillar and her leg bears most of the weight. She seems be firmly planted into the earth, and since she is looking at the left, her big features such as her waist define her. The Venus de Milo had a band around her right bicep. She had earrings that were brutally stolen, ripping her ears away. Venus was noted for loving necklaces, so it is very possibly she would have had one. It is also possible she had a tiara and bracelets. Venus was normally defined as “golden,” so her hair would have been painted. Two statues in the same region, have throughout history, changed in their style.

Compare and Contrast Essay

Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.

Compare and Contrast Example:

Stele of Hammurabi from Susa (modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792 – 1750 BCE, Basalt, height of stele approx. 7’ height of relief 28’

Stele, relief sculpture, Art as propaganda – Hammurabi shows that his law code is approved by the gods, depiction of land in background, Hammurabi on the same place of importance as the god, etc.

Top of this stele shows the relief image of Hammurabi receiving the law code from Shamash, god of justice, Code of Babylonian social law, only two figures shown, different area and time period, etc.

Stele of Naram-sin , Sippar Found at Susa c. 2220 - 2184 bce. Limestone, height 6'6"

Stele, relief sculpture, Example of propaganda because the ruler (like the Stele of Hammurabi) shows his power through divine authority, Naramsin is the main character due to his large size, depiction of land in background, etc.

Akkadian art, made of limestone, the stele commemorates a victory of Naramsin, multiple figures are shown specifically soldiers, different area and time period, etc.

Iconography

Regardless of what essay approach you take in class it is absolutely necessary to understand how to analyze the iconography of a work of art and to incorporate into your paper. Iconography is defined as subject matter, what the image means. For example, why do things such as a small dog in a painting in early Northern Renaissance paintings represent sexuality? Additionally, how can an individual perhaps identify these motifs that keep coming up?

The following is a list of symbols and their meaning in Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth (1743) that is a series of six paintings that show the story of marriage in Hogarth’s eyes.

  • Man has pockets turned out symbolizing he has lost money and was recently in a fight by the state of his clothes.
  • Lap dog shows loyalty but sniffs at woman’s hat in the husband’s pocket showing sexual exploits.
  • Black dot on husband’s neck believed to be symbol of syphilis.
  • Mantel full of ugly Chinese porcelain statues symbolizing that the couple has no class.
  • Butler had to go pay bills, you can tell this by the distasteful look on his face and that his pockets are stuffed with bills and papers.
  • Card game just finished up, women has directions to game under foot, shows her easily cheating nature.
  • Paintings of saints line a wall of the background room, isolated from the living, shows the couple’s complete disregard to faith and religion.
  • The dangers of sexual excess are underscored in the Hograth by placing Cupid among ruins, foreshadowing the inevitable ruin of the marriage.
  • Eventually the series (other five paintings) shows that the woman has an affair, the men duel and die, the woman hangs herself and the father takes her ring off her finger symbolizing the one thing he could salvage from the marriage.
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Compare and contrast: preparing for an art history essay exam, acknowledgements:.

Kathleen Wheeler

Courses in this area are hands-on courses that enable students to present and critically evaluate competing interpretations through written and oral analysis. Students are expected to distinguish between different artistic and historical schools or periods using the varying approaches and viewpoints characterized by those periods under study. In addition, these courses encourage students to identify the values that underlie the world-views of different cultures and peoples, as well as their own culture(s) over time.

This learning activity supports the preparation of students in the UK Core Program   to conduct a sustained piece of analysis of a work of art, in this case, and that makes use of logical argument, coherent theses and evidence of art history, ideally with an informed, appropriate use of library sources. In a course fulfilling the Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities, students learn to interpret, evaluate and analyze creations of the human intellect while recognizing the validity of different points of view.

Step 1: Choose two art pieces to analyze

Do this exercise a week or so before your exam, using material already covered in class so that it is related to the material on which you will be tested for that exam. 

First, read some blogs about art history. Check out Masterpiece Cards website where there are many images of interest to art historians. Under the “Blog” tab, you'll find the “Famous Painters Blogroll” that lists many excellent blogs there.

Now, choose a few pieces of art that you like or are curious about – maybe you like the colors or the theme of the piece. Once you have selected several works of art, think about which two have similarities: is it the subject matter? the colors? the size? texture? Are they both sculptures,or both landscape paintings, for example? Perhaps they both manage to evoke a particular feeling in you. It’s important that you choose two that you are interested in personally for some reason. They should “speak” to you – not just emotionally, but intellectually as well.

Here’s an example of a compare-and-contrast essay < http://academichelp.net/samples/essay/compare-contrast/two-art-periods-major-works.html > using two works from the Renaissance and Neoclassicism eras: Michelangelo’s David and Antonio Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Notice that these two pieces were chosen because they both are considered by scholars to be representative of their time periods and that both of the artists used unconventional ideas in their depiction of the current political and social conditions of the day.  It’s important that you choose two pieces that allow you to make appropriate comparisons relating to the concepts you are learning in your art history class.  This is an important first step as you prepare to write an effective essay that covers multiple main issues covered in class.

Now that you’ve chosen your two art pieces, be sure and write down the most important ways by which you want to identify them.  You can use a local library and online museums (check out, for example, the Art Cylopedia 's Art Museums Worldwide website) to get this information:

Artist’s full name

Title of the art piece

Year of production, country/location/culture

Size of the art piece

Materials/medium used to create it

Formal elements such as line, color, composition

Art style or school the piece comes from (with some basic descriptors of the hallmarks of that art style in general)

Subject matter of the piece

Step 2: Choose 5 elements, items, topics for a comparison chart

In order for you to create an art history exam question yourself, start first with a detailed list of at least five elements, items, or topics you expect to use in your comparison.  In addition to the characteristics and elements listed in Step 1 above, you might also consider using the following in your comparison list:

Style of the piece, e.g., abstract, naturalistic, idealistic, realistic

Function or symbolism of the piece (What was it used for? Does it communicate a message? Is it asking for something? Is it sacred or secular)

Cultural context, e.g., how might the quality of life at the time and place the piece was created affected its function and style? Do historical events relate to the image or story depicted?

Step 3: Brainstorm to compare and contrast the two art pieces

Download and use th Venn Diagram below to help you start brainstorming – put the similarities in the middle and differences to either side. 

Or you can use the Read-Write-Think Interactive Venn Diagram online: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/venn/index.html .

This will help you visualize how much the two art pieces have in common and how much difference there is.

Now, revise and sharpen.  You must decide which of the characteristics you’ve listed are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in an essay. Ask yourself these questions:

What’s relevant to the course I’m taking? Why did I choose these two pieces of art?

What’s interesting and most revealing to my readers?

What matters most to the argument I am going to make?

What’s the most basic or central idea (and needs to be mentioned, even if obvious)?

Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Charts to download and use

Step 4: create a chart with 5 main elements to analyze.

Now, list on a chart those 5 main elements you’ve chosen to focus in on and compile detailed notes for each piece in relation to those elements, items or topics to expand upon in the comparison essay. 

You can use a Double Cell Diagram (see for example the bubble graphic organizer at http://www.graphic.org/bubble.html ) and start making your own for free online at bubble.us or at TheBrain.com .  Or you can use the simple chart, available for download above.

Be sure to use the appropriate terminology and skills from the course readings and specific to the discipline of art history.  For example, in introductory art history courses, students are required in their exam essays typically to compare and contrast different works demonstrating not only their learned skills of formal visual analysis, but also their ability to place works and monuments in a historical context.  This means comparing works not only in terms of the differences in their formal elements, but also in terms of the socio-political, theological, regional or cultural reasons behind those differences.

Step 5: Write Your Own Essay Exam Question

Now that you have the information and key information for a good essay answer, what is the question?  Spend some time thinking from your instructor’s perspective and develop a good essay exam question that would be the prompt for you to write an essay from your brainstorming and chart developed in Steps 3 and 4.

Good essay exam questions are hard to write.  Review some basics on how to write ideal test items here at the Study Guides and Strategies Website: Constructing Essay Exams .  Be sure and use precise directives in your question – review these good tips for definitions associated with the verbs used in essay exams.

Now post your exam question and your chart for others to see and comment on.

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Humanities LibreTexts

1.5: How to Compare and Contrast Art

  • Last updated
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  • Page ID 46129

  • Deborah Gustlin & Zoe Gustlin
  • Evergreen Valley College via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

Comparing modern paintings and historic paintings brings an understanding of how the past influences the present. Learning the elements of art, design, and art methods will help you communicate and write with a new language to compare and contrast art. In this textbook, we will be comparing and contrasting ordinary images of horses, figures, sunflowers, and dots. Like a new language, it becomes more familiar the more the terms used in written descriptions. Looking at art is the foundation of learning how to write descriptive essays. The longer you look, the more information you begin to see, like the brush marks. Asking yourself questions about the brush marks can help you define the type of art you are looking at: Impressionism uses significant broad-brush marks with visible slabs of paint. While Renaissance artists used oil paint with almost hidden brush marks giving a life-like look to the painting. These observations will help you decide what period of art painting can belong in when you do not know the answer.

Comparing Horses

The two paintings, Relay Hunting (1.9) and Foundation Sire (1.10) were created 170 years apart yet are as realistic as photographs taken yesterday. Similar instances, the horses predominantly face away from the viewer displaying the sturdy hind legs and taut muscles. The shining sun marks their coats, reflecting highlights and emphasizing the muscle structure of the animals. Both artists realistically depict the horses causing the viewer to take a second look at the exquisite details of the horses and the surroundings.

Relay Hunting, 1887 - Rosa Bonheur

In realistic paintings, both artists focused on detail based upon their study of horse anatomy. Rosa Bonheur, who painted the three horses in Relay Hunting (1.9), actually went to meat processing plants and studied the anatomy of the horses while she dissected the animals. Most artists study human anatomy as part of their education. Understanding the body's muscle and bone structure benefits the artists' ability to draw realistic people and animals.

Lascaux_painting.jpg

1.13 Study of Horses , Leonardo

The representation of horses throughout human time began on the cave wall, Image of Horse (1.11). We see horses immortalized in bronze statues, captured on film, or drawn in Study of Horses (1.13). Painted in Blue Horses (1.14), etched in Knight, Death and the Devil (1.12), and colored. Horses have been a mode of transportation for thousands of years, and the equine image has been traditional portraiture throughout the ages. These pictures of different types of horses demonstrate they can be drawn or painted in many types of styles. The details in the etched Knight, Death, and the Devil (1.12) establishes the artist as a detail orientated person as opposed to the Blue Horses (1.14), which has a looser painting style and bolder colors.

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Comparing Figures

At first glance, The Birth of Venus (1.15) and Rara Avis 19 (1.16) look completely different from each other, or are they? Let us look closer at these two figures—what is the one object in both paintings that is similar? The woman in the center! Both poses are similar, expressionless except what the viewer reads into it, and they display no movement, a very static pose with elongated legs and feet. Neither one of the artists give any weight to the body or use any type of deep perspective space. Both figures have an impossible pose, the shifting of weight over one hip. They both appear to be emerging from the water as if being born from the sea.

Firenze aka Florence, Italy

They are both colorful and have the impression of a background; land, sea, and trees. However, these two paintings are over 500 years apart, the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli in 1486 and Rara Avis 19 by Jylian Gustlin in 2014. Botticelli painted in oils on canvas, and his Venus is aloof and uninterested in her surroundings. Gustlin works in acrylic and oil paints on board, using the effects of layers to achieve her distinct and intricate paintings. The figures in the landscape frequently show a moody and brooding figure, yet at the same time, depicting a sense of future. One figure set in a literal translation and the other in a modern view, yet each one escapes from reality.

Comparing Sunflowers

These two pieces of art display the gorgeous sunflower at the height of its flowering. The yellow petals open up towards the sunshine, offering seeds to passing birds. The hint of brown color on the leaves tells the viewer that the fall weather is on its way. These two art pieces are about 140 years apart, one is in paint, and the other is painted fabric. The Sunflowers (1.17) in the vase is by Vincent Van Gogh in 1887, and the sunflower quilt (1.18) is by an unknown quilter, 2004.

IMG_1805

The two pieces have many similar components, for example, the colors of the sunflowers are yellow, brown seed pods in the centers, both pictures fill the space, and both painted. The differences are more significant because the quilted sunflowers highly contrast against the dark brown fabric; the flowers in the vase are against a pale blue background. The quilt shows flowers arranged in space not anchored to stems or in a vase, as seen in the painting.

The painting process is also different. Van Gogh painted his sunflowers on canvas with oil paints. The painted quilt fabric became the palette for the sunflowers with mostly yellows, with browns, greens, and oranges in a random array of colors for highlights, cut into individual leaves, and arranged on the background fabric. Both pieces are similar works of art created in different periods with different materials.

clipboard_e1296e3edc1b078a060632c4e66fe18bc.png

Comparing Dots

Dots or points are single primary forms in art. In art, dots can be one or many thousands of dots abstracted into images we may or may not recognize. The dots can be far apart or close together, different colors, monochromatic, or one color. All drawings begin with a single dot from the point of the pencil, and as the pencil moves, it becomes a continuous line of dots, thereby making the dot one of the essential elements in art.

Dots become the focal point of the art, and space in-between the dots are as crucial as the dot itself. The dot can cause tension or harmony depending on the color, size, and how close the dot is to another dot. As dots placed closer together, they start to become an object, a recognizable form.

Yayoi Kusama (born 1929) is considered the 'Princess of Polka Dots' using large distinct polka dots in her two sculptures  Flowers (1.19) and Life is the Heart of a Rainbow (1.20). They are red and white polka dots surrounding the trees or the entire room. The polka dots are distinctly circles, especially in the room, as they are far apart and only in two contrasting colors. The red wrapped trees with white polka dots are closer together but still distinct in various sizes in the high contrast. The dots are not touching, and the negative space between them is about the same size throughout.

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George Seurat developed a technique of painting with tiny colored dots called Pointillism as he when he branched out from Impressionism. Pointillism relies on small dots of color that blend in the viewer's minds creating a large scene. Up close, each colored dot and brush mark are visible; however, when the viewer steps back several feet, the viewer is surprised with a lifelike painting. The large-scale piece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1.21), transformed art at the turn of the 20th century and inspired artists to work with dots.

The three paintings are all created from dots, small dots, large dots, colored dots on the canvas, on walls, suspended from the ceiling, or suspended in space. The size and color of the dot do matter and can give the viewer a completely different experience.

Art is everywhere you look, everything you wear, and art is beauty. Just look around....

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Art History

What this handout is about.

This handout discusses a few common assignments found in art history courses. To help you better understand those assignments, this handout highlights key strategies for approaching and analyzing visual materials.

Writing in art history

Evaluating and writing about visual material uses many of the same analytical skills that you have learned from other fields, such as history or literature. In art history, however, you will be asked to gather your evidence from close observations of objects or images. Beyond painting, photography, and sculpture, you may be asked to write about posters, illustrations, coins, and other materials.

Even though art historians study a wide range of materials, there are a few prevalent assignments that show up throughout the field. Some of these assignments (and the writing strategies used to tackle them) are also used in other disciplines. In fact, you may use some of the approaches below to write about visual sources in classics, anthropology, and religious studies, to name a few examples.

This handout describes three basic assignment types and explains how you might approach writing for your art history class.Your assignment prompt can often be an important step in understanding your course’s approach to visual materials and meeting its specific expectations. Start by reading the prompt carefully, and see our handout on understanding assignments for some tips and tricks.

Three types of assignments are discussed below:

  • Visual analysis essays
  • Comparison essays
  • Research papers

1. Visual analysis essays

Visual analysis essays often consist of two components. First, they include a thorough description of the selected object or image based on your observations. This description will serve as your “evidence” moving forward. Second, they include an interpretation or argument that is built on and defended by this visual evidence.

Formal analysis is one of the primary ways to develop your observations. Performing a formal analysis requires describing the “formal” qualities of the object or image that you are describing (“formal” here means “related to the form of the image,” not “fancy” or “please, wear a tuxedo”). Formal elements include everything from the overall composition to the use of line, color, and shape. This process often involves careful observations and critical questions about what you see.

Pre-writing: observations and note-taking

To assist you in this process, the chart below categorizes some of the most common formal elements. It also provides a few questions to get you thinking.

Let’s try this out with an example. You’ve been asked to write a formal analysis of the painting, George Morland’s Pigs and Piglets in a Sty , ca. 1800 (created in Britain and now in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond).

An oil painting of two pigs with piglets in a sty.

What do you notice when you see this image? First, you might observe that this is a painting. Next, you might ask yourself some of the following questions: what kind of paint was used, and what was it painted on? How has the artist applied the paint? What does the scene depict, and what kinds of figures (an art-historical term that generally refers to humans) or animals are present? What makes these animals similar or different? How are they arranged? What colors are used in this painting? Are there any colors that pop out or contrast with the others? What might the artist have been trying to accomplish by adding certain details?

What other questions come to mind while examining this work? What kinds of topics come up in class when you discuss paintings like this one? Consider using your class experiences as a model for your own description! This process can be lengthy, so expect to spend some time observing the artwork and brainstorming.

Here is an example of some of the notes one might take while viewing Morland’s Pigs and Piglets in a Sty :

Composition

  • The animals, four pigs total, form a gently sloping mound in the center of the painting.
  • The upward mound of animals contrasts with the downward curve of the wooden fence.
  • The gentle light, coming from the upper-left corner, emphasizes the animals in the center. The rest of the scene is more dimly lit.
  • The composition is asymmetrical but balanced. The fence is balanced by the bush on the right side of the painting, and the sow with piglets is balanced by the pig whose head rests in the trough.
  • Throughout the composition, the colors are generally muted and rather limited. Yellows, greens, and pinks dominate the foreground, with dull browns and blues in the background.
  • Cool colors appear in the background, and warm colors appear in the foreground, which makes the foreground more prominent.
  • Large areas of white with occasional touches of soft pink focus attention on the pigs.
  • The paint is applied very loosely, meaning the brushstrokes don’t describe objects with exact details but instead suggest them with broad gestures.
  • The ground has few details and appears almost abstract.
  • The piglets emerge from a series of broad, almost indistinct, circular strokes.
  • The painting contrasts angular lines and rectangles (some vertical, some diagonal) with the circular forms of the pig.
  • The negative space created from the intersection of the fence and the bush forms a wide, inverted triangle that points downward. The point directs viewers’ attention back to the pigs.

Because these observations can be difficult to notice by simply looking at a painting, art history instructors sometimes encourage students to sketch the work that they’re describing. The image below shows how a sketch can reveal important details about the composition and shapes.

An oil painting of two pigs with piglets in a sty demarcating large compositional elements in different colors.

Writing: developing an interpretation

Once you have your descriptive information ready, you can begin to think critically about what the information in your notes might imply. What are the effects of the formal elements? How do these elements influence your interpretation of the object?

Your interpretation does not need to be earth-shatteringly innovative, but it should put forward an argument with which someone else could reasonably disagree. In other words, you should work on developing a strong analytical thesis about the meaning, significance, or effect of the visual material that you’ve described. For more help in crafting a strong argument, see our Thesis Statements handout .

For example, based on the notes above, you might draft the following thesis statement:

In Morland’s Pigs and Piglets in a Sty, the close proximity of the pigs to each other–evident in the way Morland has overlapped the pigs’ bodies and grouped them together into a gently sloping mound–and the soft atmosphere that surrounds them hints at the tranquility of their humble farm lives.

Or, you could make an argument about one specific formal element:

In Morland’s Pigs and Piglets in a Sty, the sharp contrast between rectilinear, often vertical, shapes and circular masses focuses viewers’ attention on the pigs, who seem undisturbed by their enclosure.

Support your claims

Your thesis statement should be defended by directly referencing the formal elements of the artwork. Try writing with enough specificity that someone who has not seen the work could imagine what it looks like. If you are struggling to find a certain term, try using this online art dictionary: Tate’s Glossary of Art Terms .

Your body paragraphs should explain how the elements work together to create an overall effect. Avoid listing the elements. Instead, explain how they support your analysis.

As an example, the following body paragraph illustrates this process using Morland’s painting:

Morland achieves tranquility not only by grouping animals closely but also by using light and shadow carefully. Light streams into the foreground through an overcast sky, in effect dappling the pigs and the greenery that encircles them while cloaking much of the surrounding scene. Diffuse and soft, the light creates gentle gradations of tone across pigs’ bodies rather than sharp contrasts of highlights and shadows. By modulating the light in such subtle ways, Morland evokes a quiet, even contemplative mood that matches the restful faces of the napping pigs.

This example paragraph follows the 5-step process outlined in our handout on paragraphs . The paragraph begins by stating the main idea, in this case that the artist creates a tranquil scene through the use of light and shadow. The following two sentences provide evidence for that idea. Because art historians value sophisticated descriptions, these sentences include evocative verbs (e.g., “streams,” “dappling,” “encircles”) and adjectives (e.g., “overcast,” “diffuse,” “sharp”) to create a mental picture of the artwork in readers’ minds. The last sentence ties these observations together to make a larger point about the relationship between formal elements and subject matter.

There are usually different arguments that you could make by looking at the same image. You might even find a way to combine these statements!

Remember, however you interpret the visual material (for example, that the shapes draw viewers’ attention to the pigs), the interpretation needs to be logically supported by an observation (the contrast between rectangular and circular shapes). Once you have an argument, consider the significance of these statements. Why does it matter if this painting hints at the tranquility of farm life? Why might the artist have tried to achieve this effect? Briefly discussing why these arguments matter in your thesis can help readers understand the overall significance of your claims. This step may even lead you to delve deeper into recurring themes or topics from class.

Tread lightly

Avoid generalizing about art as a whole, and be cautious about making claims that sound like universal truths. If you find yourself about to say something like “across cultures, blue symbolizes despair,” pause to consider the statement. Would all people, everywhere, from the beginning of human history to the present agree? How do you know? If you find yourself stating that “art has meaning,” consider how you could explain what you see as the specific meaning of the artwork.

Double-check your prompt. Do you need secondary sources to write your paper? Most visual analysis essays in art history will not require secondary sources to write the paper. Rely instead on your close observation of the image or object to inform your analysis and use your knowledge from class to support your argument. Are you being asked to use the same methods to analyze objects as you would for paintings? Be sure to follow the approaches discussed in class.

Some classes may use “description,” “formal analysis” and “visual analysis” as synonyms, but others will not. Typically, a visual analysis essay may ask you to consider how form relates to the social, economic, or political context in which these visual materials were made or exhibited, whereas a formal analysis essay may ask you to make an argument solely about form itself. If your prompt does ask you to consider contextual aspects, and you don’t feel like you can address them based on knowledge from the course, consider reading the section on research papers for further guidance.

2. Comparison essays

Comparison essays often require you to follow the same general process outlined in the preceding sections. The primary difference, of course, is that they ask you to deal with more than one visual source. These assignments usually focus on how the formal elements of two artworks compare and contrast with each other. Resist the urge to turn the essay into a list of similarities and differences.

Comparison essays differ in another important way. Because they typically ask you to connect the visual materials in some way or to explain the significance of the comparison itself, they may require that you comment on the context in which the art was created or displayed.

For example, you might have been asked to write a comparative analysis of the painting discussed in the previous section, George Morland’s Pigs and Piglets in a Sty (ca. 1800), and an unknown Vicús artist’s Bottle in the Form of a Pig (ca. 200 BCE–600 CE). Both works are illustrated below.

An oil painting of two pigs with piglets in a sty for comparison with the image of a bottle in the form of a pig.

You can begin this kind of essay with the same process of observations and note-taking outlined above for formal analysis essays. Consider using the same questions and categories to get yourself started.

Here are some questions you might ask:

  • What techniques were used to create these objects?
  • How does the use of color in these two works compare? Is it similar or different?
  • What can you say about the composition of the sculpture? How does the artist treat certain formal elements, for example geometry? How do these elements compare to and contrast with those found in the painting?
  • How do these works represent their subjects? Are they naturalistic or abstract? How do these artists create these effects? Why do these similarities and differences matter?

As our handout on comparing and contrasting suggests, you can organize these thoughts into a Venn diagram or a chart to help keep the answers to these questions distinct.

For example, some notes on these two artworks have been organized into a chart:

As you determine points of comparison, think about the themes that you have discussed in class. You might consider whether the artworks display similar topics or themes. If both artworks include the same subject matter, for example, how does that similarity contribute to the significance of the comparison? How do these artworks relate to the periods or cultures in which they were produced, and what do those relationships suggest about the comparison? The answers to these questions can typically be informed by your knowledge from class lectures. How have your instructors framed the introduction of individual works in class? What aspects of society or culture have they emphasized to explain why specific formal elements were included or excluded? Once you answer your questions, you might notice that some observations are more important than others.

Writing: developing an interpretation that considers both sources

When drafting your thesis, go beyond simply stating your topic. A statement that says “these representations of pig-like animals have some similarities and differences” doesn’t tell your reader what you will argue in your essay.

To say more, based on the notes in the chart above, you might write the following thesis statement:

Although both artworks depict pig-like animals, they rely on different methods of representing the natural world.

Now you have a place to start. Next, you can say more about your analysis. Ask yourself: “so what?” Why does it matter that these two artworks depict pig-like animals? You might want to return to your class notes at this point. Why did your instructor have you analyze these two works in particular? How does the comparison relate to what you have already discussed in class? Remember, comparison essays will typically ask you to think beyond formal analysis.

While the comparison of a similar subject matter (pig-like animals) may influence your initial argument, you may find that other points of comparison (e.g., the context in which the objects were displayed) allow you to more fully address the matter of significance. Thinking about the comparison in this way, you can write a more complex thesis that answers the “so what?” question. If your class has discussed how artists use animals to comment on their social context, for example, you might explore the symbolic importance of these pig-like animals in nineteenth-century British culture and in first-millenium Vicús culture. What political, social, or religious meanings could these objects have generated? If you find yourself needing to do outside research, look over the final section on research papers below!

Supporting paragraphs

The rest of your comparison essay should address the points raised in your thesis in an organized manner. While you could try several approaches, the two most common organizational tactics are discussing the material “subject-by-subject” and “point-by-point.”

  • Subject-by-subject: Organizing the body of the paper in this way involves writing everything that you want to say about Moreland’s painting first (in a series of paragraphs) before moving on to everything about the ceramic bottle (in a series of paragraphs). Using our example, after the introduction, you could include a paragraph that discusses the positioning of the animals in Moreland’s painting, another paragraph that describes the depiction of the pigs’ surroundings, and a third explaining the role of geometry in forming the animals. You would then follow this discussion with paragraphs focused on the same topics, in the same order, for the ancient South American vessel. You could then follow this discussion with a paragraph that synthesizes all of the information and explores the significance of the comparison.
  • Point-by-point: This strategy, in contrast, involves discussing a single point of comparison or contrast for both objects at the same time. For example, in a single paragraph, you could examine the use of color in both of our examples. Your next paragraph could move on to the differences in the figures’ setting or background (or lack thereof).

As our use of “pig-like” in this section indicates, titles can be misleading. Many titles are assigned by curators and collectors, in some cases years after the object was produced. While the ceramic vessel is titled Bottle in the Form of a Pig , the date and location suggest it may depict a peccary, a pig-like species indigenous to Peru. As you gather information about your objects, think critically about things like titles and dates. Who assigned the title of the work? If it was someone other than the artist, why might they have given it that title? Don’t always take information like titles and dates at face value.

Be cautious about considering contextual elements not immediately apparent from viewing the objects themselves unless you are explicitly asked to do so (try referring back to the prompt or assignment description; it will often describe the expectation of outside research). You may be able to note that the artworks were created during different periods, in different places, with different functions. Even so, avoid making broad assumptions based on those observations. While commenting on these topics may only require some inference or notes from class, if your argument demands a large amount of outside research, you may be writing a different kind of paper. If so, check out the next section!

3. Research papers

Some assignments in art history ask you to do outside research (i.e., beyond both formal analysis and lecture materials). These writing assignments may ask you to contextualize the visual materials that you are discussing, or they may ask you to explore your material through certain theoretical approaches. More specifically, you may be asked to look at the object’s relationship to ideas about identity, politics, culture, and artistic production during the period in which the work was made or displayed. All of these factors require you to synthesize scholars’ arguments about the materials that you are analyzing. In many cases, you may find little to no research on your specific object. When facing this situation, consider how you can apply scholars’ insights about related materials and the period broadly to your object to form an argument. While we cannot cover all the possibilities here, we’ll highlight a few factors that your instructor may task you with investigating.

Iconography

Papers that ask you to consider iconography may require research on the symbolic role or significance of particular symbols (gestures, objects, etc.). For example, you may need to do some research to understand how pig-like animals are typically represented by the cultural group that made this bottle, the Vicús culture. For the same paper, you would likely research other symbols, notably the bird that forms part of the bottle’s handle, to understand how they relate to one another. This process may involve figuring out how these elements are presented in other artworks and what they mean more broadly.

Artistic style and stylistic period

You may also be asked to compare your object or painting to a particular stylistic category. To determine the typical traits of a style, you may need to hit the library. For example, which period style or stylistic trend does Moreland’s Pigs and Piglets in a Sty belong to? How well does the piece “fit” that particular style? Especially for works that depict the same or similar topics, how might their different styles affect your interpretation? Assignments that ask you to consider style as a factor may require that you do some research on larger historical or cultural trends that influenced the development of a particular style.

Provenance research asks you to find out about the “life” of the object itself. This research can include the circumstances surrounding the work’s production and its later ownership. For the two works discussed in this handout, you might research where these objects were originally displayed and how they ended up in the museum collections in which they now reside. What kind of argument could you develop with this information? For example, you might begin by considering that many bottles and jars resembling the Bottle in the Form of a Pig can be found in various collections of Pre-Columbian art around the world. Where do these objects originate? Do they come from the same community or region?

Patronage study

Prompts that ask you to discuss patronage might ask you to think about how, when, where, and why the patron (the person who commissions or buys the artwork or who supports the artist) acquired the object from the artist. The assignment may ask you to comment on the artist-patron relationship, how the work fit into a broader series of commissions, and why patrons chose particular artists or even particular subjects.

Additional resources

To look up recent articles, ask your librarian about the Art Index, RILA, BHA, and Avery Index. Check out www.lib.unc.edu/art/index.html for further information!

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Adams, Laurie Schneider. 2003. Looking at Art . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Barnet, Sylvan. 2015. A Short Guide to Writing about Art , 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Tate Galleries. n.d. “Art Terms.” Accessed November 1, 2020. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write an Art Comparison Essay

Jared lewis, 25 jun 2018.

How to Write an Art Comparison Essay

Writing an art comparison essay can be a difficult task for the novice art student. Students of art or art history often assume that any interpretation is as good as another, but in reality, to adequately interpret a work of art and then compare it to another, you will need to learn a little about the artist and the historical context of the composition.

Research the historical context of each piece of art. In order to adequately understand any work of art you must understand the circumstances under which it was produced. Artists are considered cultural innovators and often have an idea or truth they are trying to convey with any given composition or group of compositions. You have to first understand the artist as a person before you can adequately understand the meaning of his or her work. In order to understand the artist as a person you will also need to understand the time in which they lived. Picking up a good art history or humanities textbook will help you get started understanding the context.

Find the similarities and differences. Once you have placed each work within the proper context and before you actually begin to write your essay, sit down with a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil and write down the similarities and differences in each work. Questions to consider are the historical, political, philosophical, and religious differences of the time in which each work was composed. What do each of these works say about these issues? Do the works contain any symbolism? If so, how do the symbols differ and how are they similar? What do the symbols tell the observer about each composition?

Consider the medium through which the piece of art was created. Is it a painting or sculpture? Is the art representational or abstract? Is there a technique or style used that tells the observer something about the meaning of the composition? Who or what are the subjects of the work? The questions you can ask regarding any particular work of art are actually unlimited, but should always include some of these basic questions.

Compose your essay. Once you have analyzed each key piece of art you should develop some type of thesis statement related to that analysis. For instance, a comparison of any of Jackson Pollack's works with Van Gogh's "Starry Night" might yield a thesis statement indicating that both artists expressed themselves similarly by painting in a manner that revealed their inner emotions. Van Gogh was known to cake the paint onto the canvas and create a visible texture that was reminiscent of his inner torment while Pollack's abstract art was created by slopping paint onto large canvases, often in a drunken rage. You can then compare and contrast the elements of each composition to reveal how these artists methods were similar. The key to writing a good comparison and contrast essay is to be as clear and concise as possible, but also to be as detailed as possible regarding each element of the compositions.

Revise your work. If you are submitting your work for a grade you should take the time to reread and revise your essay before turning it in. Even the best writers rarely get their work exactly right on the first try. Have someone else proofread and offer suggestions for revision if possible. It is generally much easier for someone else to spot clarity issues and point them out than it is for you to do it yourself. Getting a little help from a friend, family member, or colleague is a great way to strengthen your writing and increase your chances of getting a positive response from the reader.

  • 1 Academy of Art University: Compare/Contrast Art History Essay

About the Author

Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

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Comparison and Contrast of Art History Research Paper

Introduction, thesis statement, artworks’ brief history, artworks’ visual analysis, artworks’ comparison, connection of artworks with their historical periods.

This paper is dedicated to the analysis and comparison of Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr. (Anna Church Strobel) and Her Son, George by John Vanderlyn, 1799, 20.8 x 15.9 cm, Conté crayon on off-white wove paper, currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the United States, and Midnight: Mother and Sleepy Child by Kitagawa Utamaro, 1790, 36.5 x 24.4cm, ink and color on paper, currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well.

Although both of these paintings were created at the same historical period, they reflect completely different cultures and considerably vary in style and techniques used. At the same time, both artists emphasize women’s beauty and the glory of motherhood – that is why it is interesting how these concepts are addressed in the art of different regions.

John Vanderlyn (1776 – 1852) is a prominent American artist mainly responsible for the introduction of the Neoclassical style to the United States. (“John Vanderlyn,” n.d.). However, his talent was almost not recognized in America, in comparison with Europe, where he studied and created his best works. Vanderlyn was among the first American artists who studied in Paris in the post-Revolution years (Vandelyn, 1799). Being a student of the École des Beaux-Arts, a young painter made his living by drawing the portraits of the members of the American Community that existed in France during the Napoleonic period. Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr. (Anna Church Strobel) and Her Son, George is one from the pair of neoclassical portraits of the Strobel family – Daniel Strobel, the American Diplomat in France, and his wife, Anna Church, the daughter of the first American Minister to Portugal, with their toddler son (Vandelyn, 1799).

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806) is a Japanese painter and printmaker and one of the most outstanding artists of the ukiyo-e movement (“Utamaro,” n.d.). Regarded in the present day as an “expert on women” and “a master of femininity,” Utamaro created thousands of works depicting predominantly women and masterfully composed paintings dedicated to female beauty and sensuality (Hongo, 2020). Midnight: Mother and Sleepy Child from the series named Fuzoku Bijin Tokei (Women’s Daily Customs) illustrates the author’s particular interest in quotidian subjects and images of women, especially mothers, in daily life (Utamaro, 1790). In the painting, a woman sleepily emerges at midnight to check her child.

Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr. depicts a mother sitting with her son, and their figures are the only subjects that matter in the painting. The color pallet is highly limited, though harmonious, with various shades of grey dominating and a considerable range of tones and hues. The background of the painting is much darker in comparison with light figures, and this principle was used to attract all attention to the woman and the child. In addition, Vanderlyn depicts clothes with magnificent accuracy creating the sense of their tangibility. Moreover, the artist used a sfumato technique and softened the transition between the dark colors of the background and figures’ light colors. In combination with the “featheriness” of clothes, this technique creates a glowing angelic image of the mother and her son.

In turn, the color pallet of Midnight is limited to warm shades of yellow and black for contrasting details. Although these colors are typical for a woodblock print, they create a warm and cozy atmosphere of the woman’s everyday life. Similar to the work of Vanderlyn, a woman and an infant are the main figures in the painting placed symmetrically and harmoniously. The author used sharp ink lines to precisely depict the smallest details, such as the mother’s hair or the folds of her clothes. In addition, due to these details, the painting does not look plane despite the almost complete absence of shades and color transitions,

It goes without saying that the main similarity of these works of art is their theme as they both depict mothers with their children. In addition, in both paintings, they are the central figures, and regardless of supportive objects logically included in the composition, such as a chair and a mosquito net, nothing else distracts viewers’ attention from people. At the same time, although both works relate to the same historical period and address motherhood, they are considerably different in style being created in different regions.

Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr. is a portrait of a real person in a realistic technique. Thus, the author aimed to reflect the traits of Anna Church and her son and made them recognizable. In addition, it is obvious that they are depicted not in an everyday situation but spent time posing to the painter in a formal atmosphere. People’s features and their clothes are depicted so naturally that the sense of tangibility and the effect of being there are created. In turn, despite certain preciseness, the woman in Midnight is depicted more generally. In addition, it is unknown if the artist depicted a real person or simply an image of a beautiful woman – thus, there is no portrayal. Moreover, this work focuses on an episode of everyday life as the woman could be caught doing her routine duties. And it goes without saying that due to the differences of Western and Eastern cultures, the appearance of people in the painting is completely different, as well.

The early works of Vanderlyn created by him in Europe were definitely affected by neoclassicism that had gain popularity at this period of time. The second half and the end of the 18th century in Europe “saw the increasing influence of classical antiquity on artistic style and the development of taste” (Gontar, 2003, para. 1). The Renaissance’s achievements renewed interest in simplicity, harmony, and proportion. In addition, the rise of neoclassicism in Europe was determined by archeological discoveries of ancient ruins in Naples, Athens, Palmyra, Paestum, and Baalbek that attracted attention to lost civilizations’ culture (Gontar, 2003).

In painting, Neoclassical artists initially started to recreate themes from Greek mythology and subsequently defined their style with an emphasis on historical subject matter, formal composition, contemporary costumes and settings, solidity, rigidity, “and monumentality in the spirit of classical revival” (Gontar, 2003, para. 6). Thus, in Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr., Vanderlyn reflected almost all principles of Neoclassical painting – people’s appearance resembles ancient classical images, and the composition is characterized by simplicity, classical proportions, solidity, and harmony. In addition, as the Strobel family is depicted in two portraits, Vanderlyn aimed to contrast Daniel Strobel’s angularity, formality, and masculinity with Anna’s curvilinear forms and softness to praise the woman’s beauty, femininity, and motherhood.

In Japan, the Edo period was characterized by relative peace and stability provided by a conservative military government (Department of Asian Art, 2004). The society was segregated by the Tokugawa regime into four classes, including farmers, warriors, artisans, and merchants. In order to control people’s public behavior, walled areas in major cities were set aside for the establishment of teahouses, theaters, and brothels (Department of Asian Art, 2004). Thus, cities contained rich townspeople, predominantly artisans and merchants, who took economic advantages from commerce and cities’ dramatic expansion. In order to avoid social isolation, they started to seek pleasure in entertainment districts, and “celebrations of the exploits of the women, actors, and visitors of these districts” provided popularity of woodblock prints and ukiyo-e paintings (Department of Asian Art, 2004, para. 3). Artists focused on the depiction of human figures, especially women, enjoyable activities, shown close-up, fashions, and contemporary affairs. However, With the development of the ukiyo-e style, painters started to pay particular attention to indoor activities and daily life. This tendency may be traced in Midnight , where Utamaro addresses the informal scene of the mother who takes care of her infant.

It goes without saying that both paintings may be regarded as appealing works of art. First of all, they provide insight into how people of different cultures looked at the end of the 18th century through the prism of artists’ perception. In addition, these works help to compare how motherhood and femininity were addressed in different cultures – it is possible to conclude that mothers were depicted as glowing and light images that bring harmony, peace, and comfort. In addition, this analysis may play an essential role in the present day when mothers and their hard work are frequently underestimated and neglected in favor of self-indulgence.

Department of Asian Art. (2004). Art of the pleasure quarters and the ukiyo-e style. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web.

Gontar, C. (2003). Neoclassicism . Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web.

Hongo, A. (2020). 11 facts about the ukiyo-e master Kitagawa Utamaro: Who is this mysterious bijinga master? Savvy Tokyo. Web.

John Vanderlyn . (n.d.). 2021, Web.

Utamaro, K. (1790). Midnight: Mother and sleepy child. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web.

Utamaro. (n.d.). 2021, Web.

Vandelyn, J. (1799). Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr. (Anna Church Strobel) and her son, George. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web.

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ARTS - Herzberg: Writing Essays About Art

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

What is a compare / contrast essay.

In Art History and Appreciation, contrast / compare essays allow us to examine the features of two or more artworks.

  • Comparison -- points out similarities in the two artworks
  • Contrast -- points out the differences in the two artworks

Why would you want to write this type of essay?

  • To inform your reader about characteristics of each art piece.
  • To show a relationship between different works of art.
  • To give your reader an insight into the process of artistic invention.
  • Use your assignment sheet from your class to find specific characteristics that your professor wants you to compare.

How is Writing a Compare / Contrast Essay in Art History Different from Other Subjects?

You should use art vocabulary to describe your subjects..

  • Find art terms in your textbook or an art glossary or dictionary

You should have an image of the works you are writing about in front of you while you are writing your essay.

  • The images should be of  high enough quality that you can see the small details of the works. 
  • You will use them when describing visual details of each art work.

Works of art are highly influenced by the culture, historical time period and movement in which they were created.

  • You should gather information about these BEFORE you start writing your essay.

If you describe a characteristic of one piece of art, you must describe how the OTHER piece of art treats that characteristic.

Example:  You are comparing a Greek amphora with a sculpture from the Tang Dynasty in China.

Greek amphora

If you point out that the color palette of the amphora is limited to black, white and red, you must also write about the colors used in the horse sculpture.

Organizing Your Essay

Thesis statement.

The thesis for a comparison/contrast essay will present the subjects under consideration and indicate whether the focus will be on their similarities, on their differences, or both.

Thesis example using the amphora and horse sculpture -- Differences:

While they are both made from clay, the Greek amphora and the Tang Dynasty horse served completely different functions in their respective cultures.

Thesis example -- Similarities:

Ancient Greek and Tang Dynasty ceramics have more in common than most people realize.

Thesis example -- Both:

The Greek amphora and the Tang Dynasty horse were used in different ways in different parts of the world, but they have similarities that may  not be apparent to the casual viewer.

Visualizing a Compare & Contrast Essay: 

Introduction (1-2 paragraphs) .

  • Creates interest in your essay
  • Introduces the two art works that you will be comparing.
  • States your thesis, which mentions the art works you are considering and may indicate whether the focus will be on similarities, differences, or both. 

Body paragraphs 

  • Make and explain a point about the first subject and then about the second subject 
  • Example: While both superheroes fight crime, their motivation is vastly different. Superman is an idealist, who fights for justice …… while Batman is out for vengeance. 

Conclusion (1-2 paragraphs) 

  • Provides a satisfying finish 
  • Leaves your reader with a strong final impression. 

Downloadable Essay Guide

  • How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay in Art History Downloadable version of the description on this LibGuide.

Questions to Ask Yourself After You Have Finished Your Essay

  • Are all the important points of comparison or contrast included and explained in enough detail?
  • Have you addressed all points that your professor specified in your assignment?
  • Do you use transitions to connect your arguments so that your essay flows into a coherent whole, rather than just a random collection of statements?
  • Do your arguments support your thesis statement?

Art Terminology

  • British National Gallery: Art Glossary Includes entries on artists, art movements, techniques, etc.

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Other Compare / Contrast Writing Resources

  • Southwestern University Guide for Writing About Art This easy to follow guide explains the basic of writing an art history paper.
  • Purdue Online Writing Center: writing essays in art history Describes how to write an art history Compare and Contrast paper.
  • Stanford University: a brief guide to writing in art history See page 24 of this document for an explanation of how to write a compare and contrast essay in art history.
  • Duke University: writing about paintings Downloadable handout provides an overview of areas you should cover when you write about paintings, including a list of questions your essay should answer.
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  • Comparing and contrasting in an essay | Tips & examples

Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.

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Table of contents

When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.

Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.

  • Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
  • Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.

One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.

Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.

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As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.

This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.

Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.

Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.

Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.

When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.

The alternating method

In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:

Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.

One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.

The block method

In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:

  • Point of comparison A
  • Point of comparison B

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.

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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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The Renaissance Era refers to a period of rebirth in art. It was a cultural movement that took place between the classical and modern periods of art (Johnson, 2005). During this phase, there were significant developments occurring within different art forms. The artists widely reflected the culture, social conditions, and political structure of their societies. They went beyond the boundaries of classical art, and created art with unconventional ideas, and depicted the political and social conditions of their societies (Earls, 1987).

Neoclassicism , also called the Era of Enlightenment, is the period after the Renaissance, during which artists mainly focused on exploring and recreating classical art, especially Greek and Roman styles. During this period, the artists widely emphasized reviving the classic antiquity that highly inspired the art pieces created during this period. It was in reaction to peoples’ opposition to Romanticism (Bietoletti, 2009).

There are some renowned artists who made major contributions in the emergence and development of Renaissance art. For instance, Michelangelo is a notable name in the history of art, playing a vital role in the fruition of Renaissance art. He was an Italian painter, sculptor, and poet who adopted several unconventional styles of art and significantly contributed towards the progress of western art during this period. He introduced versatility within the art forms, and created several masterpieces that truly represent Renaissance art by depicting certain social, cultural, and political issues.

An important creation of Michelangelo’s during the Renaissance phase was the marble statue of a nude standing male named David. The statue was made to represent the biblical hero David who was one of the most favored subjects within Florentine art. The statue David depicts the political situation of the country. With a warning glare in the eye turned toward Rome, the statue symbolizes the defense of the civil liberty of the Florentine Republic that was threatened by the surrounding powerful states during that time. The statue is an excellent and renowned example of the Renaissance Era because it reflects the political and social conditions of that time.

The Neoclassicism Era also gave birth to many exemplary artists (Chilvers, 2004), including Antonio Canova, who was an Italian sculptor from the Republic of Venice. His art pieces indicate the return of art towards classical refinement. His statue Psyche Revised by Cupid Kiss is an important example of neoclassical devotion to love and reflection of intricate emotions. The statue shows the love god Cupid at the heights of tenderness and affection, kissing the lifeless Psyche to make it alive. The statue reflects the Roman style of portraying delicate emotions within art, for which it has been regarded as an example of the Neoclassical Movement.

Earls, I. (1987). Renaissance Art: A Topical Dictionary , London: ABC-CLIO, 1987.

Bietoletti, S. (2009). Neoclassicism & Romanticism . NY: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

Johnson, G.A. (2005). Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford: Oxford University Press, Jul 28, 2005.

Chilvers, I. (2004).  The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Home — Essay Samples — History — Renaissance — Comparing and Contrasting Renaissance and Baroque Artistic Styles

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Comparing and Contrasting Renaissance and Baroque Artistic Styles

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Published: Feb 7, 2024

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Introduction, historical and cultural context, characteristics of renaissance art, characteristics of baroque art, comparison of renaissance and baroque art.

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34 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

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Do your writers need some inspiration? If you’re teaching students to write a compare and contrast essay, a strong example is an invaluable tool. This round-up of our favorite compare and contrast essays covers a range of topics and grade levels, so no matter your students’ interests or ages, you’ll always have a helpful example to share. You’ll find links to full essays about education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more. (Need compare-and-contrast essay topic ideas? Check out our big list of compare and contrast essay topics! )

What is a compare and contrast essay?

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When choosing a compare and contrast essay example to include on this list, we considered the structure. A strong compare and contrast essay begins with an introductory paragraph that includes background context and a strong thesis. Next, the body includes paragraphs that explore the similarities and differences. Finally, a concluding paragraph restates the thesis, draws any necessary inferences, and asks any remaining questions.

A compare and contrast essay example can be an opinion piece comparing two things and making a conclusion about which is better. For example, “Is Tom Brady really the GOAT?” It can also help consumers decide which product is better suited to them. Should you keep your subscription to Hulu or Netflix? Should you stick with Apple or explore Android? Here’s our list of compare and contrast essay samples categorized by subject.

Education and Parenting Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Private school vs. public school.

Sample lines: “Deciding whether to send a child to public or private school can be a tough choice for parents. … Data on whether public or private education is better can be challenging to find and difficult to understand, and the cost of private school can be daunting. … According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, public schools still attract far more students than private schools, with 50.7 million students attending public school as of 2018. Private school enrollment in the fall of 2017 was 5.7 million students, a number that is down from 6 million in 1999.”

Read the full essay: Private School vs. Public School at U.S. News and World Report

Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

Sample lines: “Home schooling, not a present threat to public education, is nonetheless one of the forces that will change it. If the high estimates of the number of children in home schools (1.2 million) is correct, then the home-schooling universe is larger than the New York City public school system and roughly the size of the Los Angeles and Chicago public school systems combined. … Critics charge that three things are wrong with home schooling: harm to students academically; harm to society by producing students who are ill-prepared to function as democratic citizens and participants in a modern economy; and harm to public education, making it more difficult for other parents to educate their children. … It is time to ask whether home schooling, charters, and vouchers should be considered parts of a broad repertoire of methods that we as a society use to educate our children.”

Read the full essay: Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education at Brookings

Which parenting style is right for you?

Sample lines: “The three main types of parenting are on a type of ‘sliding scale’ of parenting, with permissive parenting as the least strict type of parenting. Permissive parenting typically has very few rules, while authoritarian parenting is thought of as a very strict, rule-driven type of parenting.”

Read the full essay: What Is Authoritative Parenting? at Healthline

Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Pandemic

Sample lines: “Face masks can prevent the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2. … However, covering the lower half of the face reduces the ability to communicate. Positive emotions become less recognizable, and negative emotions are amplified. Emotional mimicry, contagion, and emotionality in general are reduced and (thereby) bonding between teachers and learners, group cohesion, and learning—of which emotions are a major driver. The benefits and burdens of face masks in schools should be seriously considered and made obvious and clear to teachers and students.”

Read the full essay: Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Pandemic at National Library of Medicine

To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans?

To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans?

Sample lines: “In recent years, book bans have soared in schools, reaching an all-time high in fall 2022. … The challenge of balancing parent concerns about ‘age appropriateness’ against the imperative of preparing students to be informed citizens is still on the minds of many educators today. … Such curricular decision-making  should  be left to the professionals, argues English/language arts instructional specialist Miriam Plotinsky. ‘Examining texts for their appropriateness is not a job that noneducators are trained to do,’ she wrote last year, as the national debate over censorship resurged with the news that a Tennessee district banned the graphic novel  Maus  just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Read the full essay: To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans? at Education Week

Technology Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Netflix vs. hulu 2023: which is the best streaming service.

Sample lines: “Netflix fans will point to its high-quality originals, including  The Witcher ,  Stranger Things ,  Emily in Paris ,  Ozark , and more, as well as a wide variety of documentaries like  Cheer ,  The Last Dance ,  My Octopus Teacher , and many others. It also boasts a much larger subscription base, with more than 222 million subscribers compared to Hulu’s 44 million. Hulu, on the other hand, offers a variety of extras such as HBO and Showtime—content that’s unavailable on Netflix. Its price tag is also cheaper than the competition, with its $7/mo. starting price, which is a bit more palatable than Netflix’s $10/mo. starting price.”

Read the full essay: Netflix vs. Hulu 2023: Which is the best streaming service? at TV Guide

Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?

Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?

Sample lines: “In the past, we would have to drag around heavy books if we were really into reading. Now, we can have all of those books, and many more, stored in one handy little device that can easily be stuffed into a backpack, purse, etc. … Many of us still prefer to hold an actual book in our hands. … But, whether you use a Kindle or prefer hardcover books or paperbacks, the main thing is that you enjoy reading. A story in a book or on a Kindle device can open up new worlds, take you to fantasy worlds, educate you, entertain you, and so much more.”

Read the full essay: Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes? at Books in a Flash

iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you?

Sample lines: “The iPhone vs. Android comparison is a never-ending debate on which one is best. It will likely never have a real winner, but we’re going to try and help you to find your personal pick all the same. iOS 17 and Android 14—the latest versions of the two operating systems—both offer smooth and user-friendly experiences, and several similar or identical features. But there are still important differences to be aware of. … Owning an iPhone is a simpler, more convenient experience. There’s less to think about. … Android-device ownership is a bit harder. … Yet it’s simultaneously more freeing, because it offers more choice.”

Read the full essay: iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you? at Tom’s Guide

Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you?

Sample lines: “Cord-cutting has become a popular trend in recent years, thanks to the rise of streaming services. For those unfamiliar, cord cutting is the process of canceling your cable subscription and instead, relying on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu to watch your favorite shows and movies. The primary difference is that you can select your streaming services à la carte while cable locks you in on a set number of channels through bundles. So, the big question is: should you cut the cord?”

Read the full essay: Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you? at BroadbandNow

PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch

PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch

Sample lines: “The crux of the comparison comes down to portability versus power. Being able to migrate fully fledged Nintendo games from a big screen to a portable device is a huge asset—and one that consumers have taken to, especially given the Nintendo Switch’s meteoric sales figures. … It is worth noting that many of the biggest franchises like Call of Duty, Madden, modern Resident Evil titles, newer Final Fantasy games, Grand Theft Auto, and open-world Ubisoft adventures like Assassin’s Creed will usually skip Nintendo Switch due to its lack of power. The inability to play these popular games practically guarantees that a consumer will pick up a modern system, while using the Switch as a secondary device.”

Read the full essay: PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch at Digital Trends

What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?

Sample lines: “Have you ever wondered what is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? Instagram and Facebook are by far the most popular social media channels used by digital marketers. Not to mention that they’re also the biggest platforms used by internet users worldwide. So, today we’ll look into the differences and similarities between these two platforms to help you figure out which one is the best fit for your business.”

Read the full essay: What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? at SocialBee

Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference?

Sample lines: “In short, digital watches use an LCD or LED screen to display the time. Whereas, an analog watch features three hands to denote the hour, minutes, and seconds. With the advancement in watch technology and research, both analog and digital watches have received significant improvements over the years. Especially in terms of design, endurance, and accompanying features. … At the end of the day, whether you go analog or digital, it’s a personal preference to make based on your style, needs, functions, and budget.”

Read the full essay: Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference? at Watch Ranker

AI Art vs. Human Art: A Side-by-Side Analysis

Sample lines: “Art has always been a reflection of human creativity, emotion, and cultural expression. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a new form of artistic creation has emerged, blurring the lines between what is created by human hands and what is generated by algorithms. … Despite the excitement surrounding AI Art, it also raises complex ethical, legal, and artistic questions that have sparked debates about the definition of art, the role of the artist, and the future of art production. … Regardless of whether AI Art is considered ‘true’ art, it is crucial to embrace and explore the vast possibilities and potential it brings to the table. The transformative influence of AI art on the art world is still unfolding, and only time will reveal its true extent.”

Read the full essay: AI Art vs. Human Art: A Side-by-Side Analysis at Raul Lara

Pop Culture Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Christina aguilera vs. britney spears.

Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera was the Coke vs. Pepsi of 1999 — no, really, Christina repped Coke and Britney shilled for Pepsi. The two teen idols released debut albums seven months apart before the turn of the century, with Britney’s becoming a standard-bearer for bubblegum pop and Aguilera’s taking an R&B bent to show off her range. … It’s clear that Spears and Aguilera took extremely divergent paths following their simultaneous breakout successes.”

Read the full essay: Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears at The Ringer

Harry Styles vs. Ed Sheeran

Sample lines: “The world heard our fantasies and delivered us two titans simultaneously—we have been blessed with Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Our cup runneth over; our bounty is immeasurable. More remarkable still is the fact that both have released albums almost at the same time: Ed’s third, Divide , was released in March and broke the record for one-day Spotify streams, while Harry’s frenziedly anticipated debut solo, called Harry Styles , was released yesterday.”

Read the full essay: Harry Styles versus Ed Sheeran at Belfast Telegraph

The Grinch: Three Versions Compared

Sample lines: “Based on the original story of the same name, this movie takes a completely different direction by choosing to break away from the cartoony form that Seuss had established by filming the movie in a live-action form. Whoville is preparing for Christmas while the Grinch looks down upon their celebrations in disgust. Like the previous film, The Grinch hatches a plan to ruin Christmas for the Who’s. … Like in the original Grinch, he disguises himself as Santa Claus, and makes his dog, Max, into a reindeer. He then takes all of the presents from the children and households. … Cole’s favorite is the 2000 edition, while Alex has only seen the original. Tell us which one is your favorite.”

Read the full essay: The Grinch: Three Versions Compared at Wooster School

Historical and Political Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Malcolm x vs. martin luther king jr.: comparison between two great leaders’ ideologies .

Sample lines: “Although they were fighting for civil rights at the same time, their ideology and way of fighting were completely distinctive. This can be for a plethora of reasons: background, upbringing, the system of thought, and vision. But keep in mind, they devoted their whole life to the same prospect. … Through boycotts and marches, [King] hoped to end racial segregation. He felt that the abolition of segregation would improve the likelihood of integration. Malcolm X, on the other hand, spearheaded a movement for black empowerment.”

Read the full essay: Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr.: Comparison Between Two Great Leaders’ Ideologies  at Melaninful

Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear

Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear

Sample lines: “The contrast is even clearer when we look to the future. Trump promises more tax cuts, more military spending, more deficits and deeper cuts in programs for the vulnerable. He plans to nominate a coal lobbyist to head the Environmental Protection Agency. … Obama says America must move forward, and he praises progressive Democrats for advocating Medicare for all. … With Obama and then Trump, Americans have elected two diametrically opposed leaders leading into two very different directions.”

Read the full essay: Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear at Chicago Sun-Times

Sports Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Lebron james vs. kobe bryant: a complete comparison.

Sample lines: “LeBron James has achieved so much in his career that he is seen by many as the greatest of all time, or at least the only player worthy of being mentioned in the GOAT conversation next to Michael Jordan. Bridging the gap between Jordan and LeBron though was Kobe Bryant, who often gets left out of comparisons and GOAT conversations. … Should his name be mentioned more though? Can he compare to LeBron or is The King too far past The Black Mamba in historical rankings already?”

Read the full essay: LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant: A Complete Comparison at Sportskeeda

NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison

NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison

Sample lines: “Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were largely considered the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the majority of the time they spent in the league together, with the icons having many head-to-head clashes in the regular season and on the AFC side of the NFL Playoffs. Manning was the leader of the Indianapolis Colts of the AFC South. … Brady spent his career as the QB of the AFC East’s New England Patriots, before taking his talents to Tampa Bay. … The reality is that winning is the most important aspect of any career, and Brady won more head-to-head matchups than Manning did.”

Read the full essay: NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison at Sportskeeda

The Greatest NBA Franchise Ever: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers?

Sample lines: “The Celtics are universally considered as the greatest franchise in NBA history. But if you take a close look at the numbers, there isn’t really too much separation between them and their arch-rival Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, you can even make a good argument for the Lakers. … In 72 seasons played, the Boston Celtics have won a total of 3,314 games and lost 2,305 or a .590 winning mark. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers have won 3,284 of 5,507 total games played or a slightly better winning record of .596. … But while the Lakers have the better winning percentage, the Celtics have the advantage over them in head-to-head competition.”

Read the full essay: The Greatest NBA Franchise Ever: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers? at Sport One

Is Soccer Better Than Football?

Sample lines: “Is soccer better than football? Soccer and football lovers have numerous reasons to support their sport of choice. Both keep the players physically fit and help to bring people together for an exciting cause. However, soccer has drawn more numbers globally due to its popularity in more countries.”

Read the full essay: Is Soccer Better Than Football? at Sports Brief

Lifestyle Choices Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Mobile home vs. tiny house: similarities, differences, pros & cons.

Mobile Home vs. Tiny House: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons

Sample lines: “Choosing the tiny home lifestyle enables you to spend more time with those you love. The small living space ensures quality bonding time rather than hiding away in a room or behind a computer screen. … You’ll be able to connect closer to nature and find yourself able to travel the country at any given moment. On the other hand, we have the mobile home. … They are built on a chassis with transportation in mind. … They are not built to be moved on a constant basis. … While moving the home again *is* possible, it may cost you several thousand dollars.”

Read the full essay: Mobile Home vs. Tiny House: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons at US Mobile Home Pros

Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores

Sample lines: “It is clear that both stores have very different stories and aims when it comes to their customers. Whole Foods looks to provide organic, healthy, exotic, and niche products for an audience with a very particular taste. … Walmart, on the other hand, looks to provide the best deals, every possible product, and every big brand for a broader audience. … Moreover, they look to make buying affordable and accessible, and focus on the capitalist nature of buying.”

Read the full essay: Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores at The Archaeology of Us

Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed

Sample lines: “The key difference between artificial grass and turf is their intended use. Artificial turf is largely intended to be used for sports, so it is shorter and tougher. On the other hand, artificial grass is generally longer, softer and more suited to landscaping purposes. Most homeowners would opt for artificial grass as a replacement for a lawn, for example. Some people actually prefer playing sports on artificial grass, too … artificial grass is often softer and more bouncy, giving it a feel similar to playing on a grassy lawn. … At the end of the day, which one you will choose will depend on your specific household and needs.”

Read the full essay: Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed at Almost Grass

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Maximalists love shopping, especially finding unique pieces. They see it as a hobby—even a skill—and a way to express their personality. Minimalists don’t like shopping and see it as a waste of time and money. They’d instead use those resources to create memorable experiences. Maximalists desire one-of-a-kind possessions. Minimalists are happy with duplicates—for example, personal uniforms. … Minimalism and maximalism are about being intentional with your life and belongings. It’s about making choices based on what’s important to you.”

Read the full essay: Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases at Minimalist Vegan

Vegetarian vs. Meat Eating: Is It Better To Be a Vegetarian?

Sample lines: “You’ve heard buzz over the years that following a vegetarian diet is better for your health, and you’ve probably read a few magazine articles featuring a celeb or two who swore off meat and animal products and ‘magically’ lost weight. So does ditching meat automatically equal weight loss? Will it really help you live longer and be healthier overall? … Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure  and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease. But if your vegetarian co-worker is noshing greasy veggie burgers and fries every day for lunch, is he likely to be healthier than you, who always orders the grilled salmon? Definitely not!”

Read the full essay: Vegetarian vs. Meat Eating: Is It Better To Be a Vegetarian? at WebMD

Healthcare Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Similarities and differences between the health systems in australia & usa.

Sample lines: “Australia and the United States are two very different countries. They are far away from each other, have contrasting fauna and flora, differ immensely by population, and have vastly different healthcare systems. The United States has a population of 331 million people, compared to Australia’s population of 25.5 million people.”

Read the full essay: Similarities and Differences Between the Health Systems in Australia & USA at Georgia State University

Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate

Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate

Sample lines: “Disadvantages of universal healthcare include significant upfront costs and logistical challenges. On the other hand, universal healthcare may lead to a healthier populace, and thus, in the long-term, help to mitigate the economic costs of an unhealthy nation. In particular, substantial health disparities exist in the United States, with low socio-economic status segments of the population subject to decreased access to quality healthcare and increased risk of non-communicable chronic conditions such as obesity and type II diabetes, among other determinants of poor health.”

Read the full essay: Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate at National Library of Medicine

Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying

Sample lines: “Physician aid in dying is a controversial subject raising issues central to the role of physicians. … The two most common arguments in favor of legalizing AID are respect for patient autonomy and relief of suffering. A third, related, argument is that AID is a safe medical practice, requiring a health care professional. … Although opponents of AID offer many arguments ranging from pragmatic to philosophical, we focus here on concerns that the expansion of AID might cause additional, unintended harm through suicide contagion, slippery slope, and the deaths of patients suffering from depression.”

Read the full essay: Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying at National Library of Medicine

Animals Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Compare and contrast paragraph—dogs and cats.

Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Researchers have found that dogs have about twice the number of neurons in their cerebral cortexes than what cats have. Specifically, dogs had around 530 million neurons, whereas the domestic cat only had 250 million neurons. Moreover, dogs can be trained to learn and respond to our commands, but although your cat understands your name, and anticipates your every move, he/she may choose to ignore you.”

Read the full essay: Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats at Proofwriting Guru via YouTube

Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs

Sample lines: “Horses are prey animals with a deep herding instinct. They are highly sensitive to their environment, hyper aware, and ready to take flight if needed. Just like dogs, some horses are more confident than others, but just like dogs, all need a confident handler to teach them what to do. Some horses are highly reactive and can be spooked by the smallest things, as are dogs. … Another distinction between horses and dogs … was that while dogs have been domesticated , horses have been  tamed. … Both species have influenced our culture more than any other species on the planet.”

Read the full essay: Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs at Positively Victoria Stilwell

Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets

Sample lines: “Although the words ‘exotic’ and ‘wild’ are frequently used interchangeably, many people do not fully understand how these categories differ when it comes to pets. ‘A wild animal is an indigenous, non-domesticated animal, meaning that it is native to the country where you are located,’ Blue-McLendon explained. ‘For Texans, white-tailed deer, pronghorn sheep, raccoons, skunks, and bighorn sheep are wild animals … an exotic animal is one that is wild but is from a different continent than where you live.’ For example, a hedgehog in Texas would be considered an exotic animal, but in the hedgehog’s native country, it would be considered wildlife.”

Read the full essay: Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets at Texas A&M University

Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos

Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos

Sample lines: “The pros and cons of zoos often come from two very different points of view. From a legal standard, animals are often treated as property. That means they have less rights than humans, so a zoo seems like a positive place to maintain a high quality of life. For others, the forced enclosure of any animal feels like an unethical decision. … Zoos provide a protected environment for endangered animals, and also help in raising awareness and funding for wildlife initiatives and research projects. … Zoos are key for research. Being able to observe and study animals is crucial if we want to contribute to help them and repair the ecosystems. … Zoos are a typical form of family entertainment, but associating leisure and fun with the contemplation of animals in captivity can send the wrong signals to our children.”

Read the full essay: Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos at EcoCation

Do you have a favorite compare and contrast essay example? Come share in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, if you liked these compare and contrast essay examples check out intriguing compare and contrast essay topics for kids and teens ..

A good compare and contrast essay example, like the ones here, explores the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.

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Compare And Contrast Essay Guide

Compare And Contrast Essay Examples

Last updated on: Mar 22, 2024

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples For Your Help

By: Barbara P.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: Mar 22, 2023

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Are you ready to challenge your critical thinking skills and take your writing to the next level? Look no further than the exciting world of compare and contrast essays! 

As a college student, you'll have the unique opportunity to delve into the details and differences of a variety of subjects. But don't let the pressure of writing the perfect compare-and-contrast essay weigh you down. 

To help guide you on this journey, we've got some great compare-and-contrast essay examples. It will make the writing process not only manageable but also enjoyable. So grab a pen and paper, and let's get started on this exciting adventure!

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

On this Page

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

A compare and contrast essay is all about comparing two subjects. Writing essays is not always easy, but it can be made easier with help from the examples before you write your own first. The examples will give you an idea of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay. 

We have compiled a selection of free compare-and-contrast essay examples that can help you structure this type of essay. 

SAMPLE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY INTRODUCTION EXAMPLE

BOOK COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

CITY COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

CATS & DOGS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

SCIENCE & ART COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

E-BOOKS & HARDBACK BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

HOMESCHOOLING BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

PARENTING STYLES COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

Don't know how to map out your compare and contrast essay? Visit this link to learn how to perfectly outline your essay!

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples University

Compare and contrast paper is a common assignments for university students. This type of essay tells the reader how two subjects are the same or different from each other. Also, show the points of comparison between the two subjects.

Look at the example that is mentioned below and create a well-written essay.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE UNIVERSITY

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples College

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE COLLEGE

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples High School

Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to high school students to help them improve their analytical skills .

In addition, some teachers assign this type of essay because it is a great way for students to improve their analytical and writing skills.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE HIGH SCHOOL

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE 9TH GRADE

Check out the video below to gain a quick and visual comprehension of what a compare and contrast essay entails.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples Middle school

In middle school, students have the opportunity to write a compare-and-contrast essay. It does not require an expert level of skills, but it is still a way to improve writing skills.

Middle school students can easily write a compare-and-contrast essay with a little help from examples. We have gathered excellent examples of this essay that you can use to get started.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE MIDDLE SCHOOL

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLES 5TH GRADE

Literary Analysis Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

The perfect way to inform readers about the pros and cons of two subjects is with a comparison and contrast essay.

It starts by stating the thesis statement, and then you explain why these two subjects are being compared in this essay.

The following is an example that you can use for your help.

LITERARY ANALYSIS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE

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Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion Example

The conclusion of an essay is the last part, in which you wrap up everything. It should not include a story but rather summarize the whole document so readers have something meaningful they can take away from it.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY CONCLUSION EXAMPLE

Struggling to think of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay topic ? Visit this link for a multitude of inspiring ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips

A compare and contrast essay presents the facts point by point, and mostly, the argumentative essay uses this compared-contrasted technique for its subjects.

If you are looking for some easy and simple tips to craft a perfectly researched and structured compare and contrast essay, we will not disappoint you.

Following are some quick tips that you can keep in mind while writing your essay:

  • Choose the essay topic carefully.
  • Research and brainstorm the points that make them similar and different.
  • Create and add your main statement and claim.
  • Create a Venn diagram and show the similarities and differences.
  • Choose the design through which you will present your arguments and claims.
  • Create compare and contrast essay outline. Use either the block method or the point-by-point structure.
  • Research and add credible supporting evidence.
  • Transitioning is also important. Use transitional words and phrases to engage your readers.
  • Edit, proofread, and revise the essay before submission.

AI Essay Writer

Create captivating essays effortlessly!

In conclusion, writing a compare and contrast essay can be an effective way to explore the similarities and differences between two topics. By using examples, it is possible to see the different approaches that can be taken when writing this type of essay. 

Whether you are a student or a professional writer, these examples can provide valuable insight to enhance your writing skills. You can also use our AI-powered essay typer to generate sample essays for your specific topic and subject.

However, if you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, you can always hire our professional essay writer.

5StarEssays.com offer comprehensive essay writing service for students across the globe. Our experts are highly trained and qualified, making sure all of your essays will meet academic requirements while receiving top grades. 

Don't wait - take advantage of our 50% introductory discount today and get ahead of the game with us! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i write a compare and contrast essay.

Here are some steps that you should follow and write a great essay.

  • Begin by brainstorming with a Venn diagram.
  • Create a thesis statement.
  • Develop an outline.
  • Write the introduction.
  • Write the body paragraphs.
  • Write the conclusion.
  • Proofreading.

How do you start a compare and contrast essay introduction?

When writing a compare and contrast essay, it is important to have an engaging introduction that will grab the reader's attention. A good way to do this would be by starting with a question or fact related to the topic to catch their interest.

What are some good compare and contrast essay topics?

Here are some good topics for compare and contrast essay:

  • E-books or textbooks.
  • Anxiety vs. Depression.
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Cinnamon vs. sugar.
  • Similarities between cultural and traditional fashion trends.

How long is a compare and contrast essay?

Usually, a compare and contrast essay would consist of five paragraphs but there are no hard and fast rules regarding it. Some essays could be longer than five paragraphs, based on the scope of the topic of the essay.

What are the two methods for arranging a comparison and contrast essay?

The two ways to organize and arrange your compare and contrast essay. The first one is the Point-by-Point method and the second one is the Block method.

Barbara P.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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Art history: Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Art history: Compare and Contrast Essay Example

  • Pages: 4 (925 words)
  • Published: September 13, 2018
  • Type: Essay

There are a few suggested words when it comes to art analysis that is used. These depend on themes such as texture, color, mood and message, space, style as well as composition. Most untrained analysts focus on the aspects of individual objects in paintings rather than the relationships between the pictorial elements that abide in paintings and this suggests that they hold representational accuracy to be far more important than the design used in judging the aesthetics of a visual composition (Nodine & Locher 226). The art work on display for analysis in the assignment will be judged according to the relationships between the pictorial themes that were stated previously.

Each pictorial theme or element has several aspects which are used to describe the painting. For example, in the painting shown below:

This piece is called "Nu

de Descending a Staircase created by Marcel Duchamp. The monochromic work was mostly in yellow and the shades displayed a quiet ‘Cubist’ style that the painter Marcel had come to adopt. As for the rest of the composition, the painting does little background expect the illusion of the dark staircase. Rather than use the embodiment of sensuality common with expressionism, the artist uses 20 or so pictorials of a mechanical structure that are placed in array over the stair-case. Going along with the ‘cubist style, it is also hard to distinguish whether the figure silhouetted against the dark background is physically a man or a woman. The artist seems to portray a struggle within a person, which could be anything from conflicting anger to guilt or confusion. The painting ultimately lets one attain their perspective of the conflict source.

On the other

hand, the composition can be described as elegant and symmetrical following the strkes at the bottom of the page (Compare and Contrast 3). They give an edge of chaos but upon careful examination seem quite calculated. As it pertains directly to an emotional or philosophical subject, the painting would thus be categorized as abstract, allowing different perspectives on the same subject.

The painting is referred to as the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon done by Pablo Picasso and is said to have been the piece that got him the ultimate title of Picasso in the first place. The piece was done in 1907 during the peak of the expressionist movement. What is immediately recognizable is the unabashed presence of five females. The title itself may present a sense of youth though; this is not presented in the composition. For example, the faces are angular and sharp and two of the women are wearing masks. This gives them an intense, if not severely wild aura. Many people believe the inspiration from the piece came from a visit to Africa, where the artist got in-touch with the nature. Liberal, though it may be, the painting does not necessarily exude crassness by depicting nude beings as the artist’s sways from detailing their private organs. Some paintings like Michelangelo in the middle ages were not as shy.

The liberal nature of the art piece represents a playful nature as concerns the mood. The expression is found through the nudity of the characters exuding a mood of openness because they literally have nothing to hide, without the sexual focus to their genitals involved. As concerns distortion though, the art definition of the term ascribes

to a change made by the artist to size proportion or the general manner of a form based on the visual perception when the forms are assembled to make an image. In both cases, one could say that the level of distortion is quite high in both art works. For example, the forms in the first painting are clashed against each other with a lot of rough edgges and sharp corners involved. This creates the mood of chaos, but organized chaos nonetheless.

The second painting does not have as much distortion involved though, as most of the characters are separate by themselves. However, if one looks closely, the figures of the characters have been altered. The body parts are dismembered in some cases. For example, a hand is not in the right position or a leg is facing at an incorrect angle. These are minute cases but distortion in both paintings refers to emotional subscriptions. This is also known as expressionism which is a term used to describe the use of distortion and exaggeration for the purposes of emotional effect.

When one applies this in a stylistic sense it refers to the use of intense color or agitated brush strokes; case in point here would be the first painting. Expressionism refers to an artistic style where the artist attempts to depict not only the objective reality but the subjective emotions and the reality that objects and situations invoke within him. In the case of the second painting, he probably felt the desire to show freedom of expression in the true sense. The first painting refers to a conflicting time within a person’s personality, hence the release of

stress through agitated strokes.

Thus, the artist accomplishes what he wants through distortion as well as exaggeration and primitivism and fantasy that were depicted in the latter painting. In the broader sense of terms, expressionism is one of the main currents of the art movement during the later nineteenth and early twentieth century (Rouault 2). The qualities of the style are highly subjective and self expressive as detailed through the two art works. The two paintings substitute visual mage reality as the accurate representation of the real meaning to emotions brought forth.

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5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

A compare and contrast essay selects two or more items that are critically analyzed to demonstrate their differences and similarities. Here is a template for you that provides the general structure:

compare and contrast essay format

A range of example essays is presented below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

#1 jean piaget vs lev vygotsky essay.

1480 Words | 5 Pages | 10 References

(Level: University Undergraduate)

paget vs vygotsky essay

Thesis Statement: “This essay will critically examine and compare the developmental theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, focusing on their differing views on cognitive development in children and their influence on educational psychology, through an exploration of key concepts such as the role of culture and environment, scaffolding, equilibration, and their overall implications for educational practices..”

#2 Democracy vs Authoritarianism Essay

democracy vs authoritarianism essay

Thesis Statement: “The thesis of this analysis is that, despite the efficiency and control offered by authoritarian regimes, democratic systems, with their emphasis on individual freedoms, participatory governance, and social welfare, present a more balanced and ethically sound approach to governance, better aligned with the ideals of a just and progressive society.”

#3 Apples vs Oranges Essay

1190 Words | 5 Pages | 0 References

(Level: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade)

apples vs oranges essay

Thesis Statement: “While apples and oranges are both popular and nutritious fruits, they differ significantly in their taste profiles, nutritional benefits, cultural symbolism, and culinary applications.”

#4 Nature vs Nurture Essay

1525 Words | 5 Pages | 11 References

(Level: High School and College)

nature vs nurture essay

Thesis Statement: “The purpose of this essay is to examine and elucidate the complex and interconnected roles of genetic inheritance (nature) and environmental influences (nurture) in shaping human development across various domains such as physical traits, personality, behavior, intelligence, and abilities.”

#5 Dogs vs Cats Essay

1095 Words | 5 Pages | 7 Bibliographic Sources

(Level: 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade)

Thesis Statement: “This essay explores the distinctive characteristics, emotional connections, and lifestyle considerations associated with owning dogs and cats, aiming to illuminate the unique joys and benefits each pet brings to their human companions.”

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

I’ve recorded a full video for you on how to write a compare and contrast essay:

Get the Compare and Contrast Templates with AI Prompts Here

In the video, I outline the steps to writing your essay. Here they are explained below:

1. Essay Planning

First, I recommend using my compare and contrast worksheet, which acts like a Venn Diagram, walking you through the steps of comparing the similarities and differences of the concepts or items you’re comparing.

I recommend selecting 3-5 features that can be compared, as shown in the worksheet:

compare and contrast worksheet

Grab the Worksheet as Part of the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack

2. Writing the Essay

Once you’ve completed the worksheet, you’re ready to start writing. Go systematically through each feature you are comparing and discuss the similarities and differences, then make an evaluative statement after showing your depth of knowledge:

compare and contrast essay template

Get the Rest of the Premium Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack (With AI Prompts) Here

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

Compare and contrast thesis statements can either:

  • Remain neutral in an expository tone.
  • Prosecute an argument about which of the items you’re comparing is overall best.

To write an argumentative thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay, try this AI Prompts:

💡 AI Prompt to Generate Ideas I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that pass a reasonable judgement.

Ready to Write your Essay?

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Take action! Choose one of the following options to start writing your compare and contrast essay now:

Read Next: Process Essay Examples

compare and contrast examples and definition

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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  1. Week 2: Compare OR Contrast Essay

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  6. Compare and Contrast Essay Example

COMMENTS

  1. Art History Essays

    Compare and Contrast Essay. Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces - examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece.

  2. Compare and Contrast: Preparing for an Art History Essay Exam

    The goal of this activity is to promote a more thoughtful, active, and in-depth approach to studying in general and exam preparation more specifically. This exercise requires you to focus on the creation (and presentation) of a sample art history exam essay in which you are required to compare and contrast two pieces of art with a good attempt at critical thinking and analysis.

  3. 1.5: How to Compare and Contrast Art

    Learning the elements of art, design, and art methods will help you communicate and write with a new language to compare and contrast art. In this textbook, we will be comparing and contrasting ordinary images of horses, figures, sunflowers, and dots. Like a new language, it becomes more familiar the more the terms used in written descriptions.

  4. HA1004 Essay 1 Compare and contrast two artworks

    Choose TWO artworks created between 1300 and 1650. Compare and contrast them, one with the other, paying particular attention to style and technique. Word Count: 965. In this essay, the similarities and differences of two paintings will be considered, with particular attention paid to style and technique.

  5. Art History

    2. Comparison essays. Comparison essays often require you to follow the same general process outlined in the preceding sections. The primary difference, of course, is that they ask you to deal with more than one visual source. These assignments usually focus on how the formal elements of two artworks compare and contrast with each other.

  6. How to Write an Art Comparison Essay

    Writing an art comparison essay can be a difficult task for the novice art student. Students of art or art history often assume that any interpretation is as good as another, but in reality you will need to learn a little about the artist and the historical context of the composition. ... 1 Academy of Art University: Compare/Contrast Art ...

  7. Comparison and Contrast of Art History Research Paper

    Artworks' Brief History. John Vanderlyn (1776 - 1852) is a prominent American artist mainly responsible for the introduction of the Neoclassical style to the United States. ("John Vanderlyn," n.d.). However, his talent was almost not recognized in America, in comparison with Europe, where he studied and created his best works.

  8. LibGuides: ARTS

    Visualizing a Compare & Contrast Essay: Introduction (1-2 paragraphs) Creates interest in your essay; Introduces the two art works that you will be comparing. States your thesis, which mentions the art works you are considering and may indicate whether the focus will be on similarities, differences, or both. Body paragraphs

  9. Art History Compare & Contrast Essay Topics

    Art History Compare & Contrast Essay Topics. Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. Learning to write a strong compare and contrast ...

  10. Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

    In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you're comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you've already said about the first. Your text is structured like this: Subject 1.

  11. Compare And Contrast Two Works Of Art Essay

    You have to clearly compare all parameters of art and design such as balance, contrast, movement, pattern, rhythm, and variety. Finally, in the concluding portion, you should summarize all points and establish the significance of your analysis of comparison. FAQ's on Compare And Contrast Two Works Of Art Essay. Question 1.

  12. Two Art Periods: Free Compare and Contrast Essay Sample

    This essay compares and contrasts these two art periods with respect to the major works created by prominent artists. In this regard, the masterpiece David, created by Michelangelo has been compared with Antonio Canova's statue Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss. Both of these works reflect the artistic progression of their ages.

  13. Comparing and Contrasting Renaissance and Baroque Artistic Styles

    Both periods had a significant impact on the art world, and studying them can provide insights into the cultural and historical context of that time. This essay aims to compare and contrast the artistic styles of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, highlighting their unique characteristics and analyzing famous artworks from each period.

  14. Art History Comparison Paper Essay Example [1452 Words]

    Art History Comparison Paper. In the works of arts or artistic explorations, one major area of comparison is the visual effects, how the specific visual elements reflect and portray the themes suggested by the artist. The main aspects of art including shape, line, color, space, value, and texture all combine to form the principles of ...

  15. Art Comparison Essay Example

    I am comparing and contrasting two pieces of American artwork. The two pieces are called "Sun Bath" by Grace Ballentine and "Untitled" in which the artist is unknown. First, I am comparing the two pieces of art. Some of the similarities are that they were made about the same time period. "Sun Bath" was made in 1946 and "Untitled ...

  16. 34 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

    Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats. Sample lines: "Researchers have found that dogs have about twice the number of neurons in their cerebral cortexes than what cats have. Specifically, dogs had around 530 million neurons, whereas the domestic cat only had 250 million neurons.

  17. 15+ Outstanding Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

    Compare and Contrast Essay Examples Middle school. In middle school, students have the opportunity to write a compare-and-contrast essay. It does not require an expert level of skills, but it is still a way to improve writing skills. Middle school students can easily write a compare-and-contrast essay with a little help from examples.

  18. Art history: Compare and Contrast Essay Example

    Art history: Compare and Contrast Essay Example. There are a few suggested words when it comes to art analysis that is used. These depend on themes such as texture, color, mood and message, space, style as well as composition. Most untrained analysts focus on the aspects of individual objects in paintings rather than the relationships between ...

  19. Comparing and contrast art history essay Free Essay Example

    NEW! smart matching with writer. Indeed, even pieces from two distinct hundreds of years can be comparable, which is done in this compare and contrast art essay. Such is the situation with Antoine Caron's Augustus and the Sibyl and Francesco Albani's The Baptism of Christ. Both utilized the rule of assortment comparably to make effective ...

  20. 5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

    Here they are explained below: 1. Essay Planning. First, I recommend using my compare and contrast worksheet, which acts like a Venn Diagram, walking you through the steps of comparing the similarities and differences of the concepts or items you're comparing. I recommend selecting 3-5 features that can be compared, as shown in the worksheet:

  21. Art Comparison Essay Examples

    Art History Informative Essays. Section 1: A Focus on Cornelius Krieg off The Toll Gate, c. 1863 Oil on canvasFigure 1: Cornelius Krieg off the Toll Gate, c. 1863 Oil…. Postmodern Art Comparison Art History Impressionism Modernism Pop Art. View full sample.

  22. IB History essay clinic: compare and contrast

    An example of an IB History student's answer to a 'compare and contrast' question. Below, you will see an IB History student's essay on a question relating to authoritarian states: 'Authoritarian states can be most clearly distinguished from each other by their ideologies since the methods they pursue to acquire power often coincide'.

  23. PDF Compare and Contrast Essay APSU Writing Center

    Start with a topic sentence introducing the subjects. Address each topic separately, listing all relevant points. Block 1: Discuss all the main points about the first topic. Present one aspect of the first topic. Provide evidence and analysis. Transition to the next aspect of the first topic. Block 2: Continue creating blocks for each topic you ...