Sample Research Paper

This is a sample research paper (PDF) that I wrote for ARTH 189. It received an A. Art historical research papers are structured, thesis-driven pieces. They typically contain an introduction, a series of paragraphs that support the thesis, and a conclusion. The assignment called for an argument that used the artworks themselves (compositional analysis) to support other interpretations (iconographic, stylistic, and contextual analyses).

My argument in particular is centered on context: namely, artists’ identities within Maya society as seen on cylinder vases. In order to support my argument, I use primary sources (Maya literature), articles and interpretations in secondary sources, and images of the objects themselves. This is standard in an Art History paper. Although I focus on a set of works, other papers may focus on one work in particular or one repeated element in several works.

The professor for this class wrote his own citation style based off the Harvard style, but most Art History papers use Chicago/Turabian or APA. Footnotes and a bibliography are ideal in order for readers to find the information that the writer used. (Since my annotations take the form of footnotes, I have used endnotes for my citations. Normally, they would be footnotes.)

– Rachael Nutt, Writing Center Tutor

Certain sections of this essay have been removed in order to make the sample more succinct and discourage plagiarism.