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How to Write an Art Essay: the Full Guide with All You Need to Know

An art essay is a great thing, with lots of subjects, topics, and approaches. There are lots of excellent sources, and you will be more than welcome to offer your own interpretation of some objects. On the other hand, the subject is tricky, and many students who are not artists face difficulties doing an art essay. So, we set our goal to help you, and that’s why we’ve created this essay writing guide.

What Is an Art Essay: Main Themes

An art essay is an essay dedicated to some original art objects, events, or trends. The most common forms of it are:

  • The analysis of some art object (painting, sculpture, piece of literature or music);
  • The exploration of some trend in art;
  • The study of a biography of a famous person;
  • The research on some art event.

This art essay can be of any type. The feature that will unite them all will be the subject. You will need to dedicate that paper to art and present your understanding of the chosen theme.

Writing of an Art Paper: Structure and Tips

This task requires specific knowledge. The goal of the paper is, as always, to express your opinion on the chosen subject, but you can’t just make claims. You need to justify your point of view. If you are not excited about art, you will need to spend even more time than ever on researches.

Your work will be more complicated. You can’t just describe the object or retell some facts. There must be an in-depth analysis of the form, contents, and means used to create them. If you examine some historical events, you have to prove your understanding of social and political trends, and how they influenced art events or works of some artists.

Thus, your primary tasks when you start to work on the art essay is to define the topic and run the research. You need to collect enough data and use solid critique materials.

In case your essay is the art object analysis, you’ll need to get familiar with it. It would be great if you can visit the museum or a gallery of the exhibition. The possibility of watching the visual art object is priceless. Besides, you can learn some interesting details from the guides. If it is impossible, make sure to get the best-quality images of that object. Refer to art albums with high-quality illustrations, as you need to examine the look of the object in detail.

After you get all the necessary data and analyze it, you can compose your essay. It has three necessary elements:

  • Introduction;
  • Body;
  • Conclusion.

Each of these parts has its peculiarities, which we’ll explain further.

How to start an art essay, and which elements should the opening include?

All the essay writing guidelines claim that the Introduction is the most critical part of the paper. Though it is relatively small, it has to reach several goals:

  • To set the tone of your essay and attract attention;
  • To present the subject and the topic to the audience;
  • To provide your readers/listeners with the essential information. For instance, if you use some specific terms or explore some original approach, you might need to explain this;
  • And last but not least, to introduce the thesis statement.

The opening sentence of your art essay should be the “hook” – the attention grabber. It can be an interesting quote, an anecdote, some statistics data, or rhetoric question, or another piece of information. You need it to get the audience at once, as you won’t have another chance.

The thesis statement is the most potent part of the Introduction part and your art essay in general. It is a summary of your arguments and the main idea of the work. This way, you inform the audience about what you want to tell and why.

How you should organize the body of an art essay

The Body part takes the most of your art essay volume. It is the section where you explore the thesis statement of your art essay, no matter which essay topic and type you have.

The section consists of several paragraphs. Each of them should be a complete piece with its own opening, conclusion, statement, and arguments. All the items must relate to the thesis statement. Also, they need to be logically connected.

If your essay is an art object analysis, you should explore the general data:

  • The name of the artist;
  • The time and place of creation;
  • The art trend it belongs to;
  • The meaning of this object in the general art context.  

For the object analysis, examine the colors, lines, and techniques. You might need to refer to proper critique sources for this information. Experts’ opinions will be handy for an art essay, as you are not an artist or expert.  

Then you should present your judgment on usage of those means for building the artistic value of the object.

How to create a conclusion for an art essay?

The conclusion is your final evaluation of the subject in general. Get back to the thesis statement and check if you’ve proved it successfully. Summarize your arguments and connect them to the introduction.

Take care of the impressive final sentence of your art essay. It can also be a question to engage the audience, or some original idea, or else. The goal is to make the audience think of the topic for longer. 

Some Examples of Art Essay Topics You Might Find Useful

The choice of the topic of an art essay is a crucial issue. It is the same as for all the other essay types – the right theme is your main advantage. It helps you to research the subject and compose a new essay. In general, with appealing essay topics, you can get the play on your turf. We’ve collected some essay ideas on different aspects.

Biographical essay ideas about famous artists

  1. Claude Monet’s paintings.
  2. Edgar Degas and impressionism.
  3. Giuseppe Verdi’s main periods at work.
  4. Ludwig van Beethoven’s childhood.
  5. Frida Kahlo’s life tragedies in her paintings.

Object analysis

  1. Mythological attributes of the Diana of Versailles statue.
  2. Colors in Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.”
  3. The originality of Da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine.”
  4. Pablo Piacasso’s style in “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.”
  5. The technique used by Matisse for “The Dance.”

Modern art

  1. The main features of Art Deco.
  2. Is modern art a platform for political claims?
  3. The mural paintings in Europe as a kind of street art.
  4. The rise of political cartoons.
  5. The main themes of modern art.

Art Topic Suggestions Depending on the Essay Type

Depending on the art essay type, some topics might be more or less beneficial for the writer. Check some of the below examples of essay topics, we hope you’ll find them helpful.

Argumentative essay topics

  1. Andy Warhol and his works as an art revolution.
  2. Leopold Mozart’s role in his son’s world fame.
  3. Does art influence life?
  4. The top three most significant pieces of art in the 20th century.
  5. Did Rafael create the art of the Renaissance?

Cause and effect essay topics

  1. The role of Marvel movies in the film industry.
  2. The grounds of punk art.
  3. Digital technologies and the new art forms?
  4. The beginnings of the American painting style.
  5. The pop-art sources.

Compare and contrast essay topics

  1. Social trends in comic book movies – different approaches.
  2. Modern theater vs. classical theater.
  3. Art vs. Design – should we oppose them?
  4. South Korean film industry vs. Hollywood.
  5. The sculpture of Ancient Rome and Greece.


We hope you’ll get inspired by some of our essay topics. And our recommendations will help you to compose an inspiring art essay. For more assistance with essay writing, you can just refer to us directly.

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