Sauk Valley Community College

Humanities 210

Midterm Project



  • The Midterm is worth 70 points.
  • It will be at least 3 pages long, not counting the Works Cited page.
  • Please use 12 point Times Roman or Arial font and double-space your paper. 
  • Please save your paper as  .rtf  so that any formatting you use stays the same.
  • Click here for the rubric.

    The Midterm Project will give you a chance to use the analytical skills you have been practicing in the first three units.  What you will be trying to do is create a "reading" of a painting along the same lines as what I did with Seurat's Grande Jatte . There are several specific steps to the project and if you do the steps one at a time you can't help but end up with a worthy project--as well as the status of Mini-Expert on the particular painting and era you choose. 

Step One-- To be done while working on Unit Three.
I have put together a list of websites for suggested eras on the Related Sites page. These sites cover most of the perspectives used in Units Three and Four. Look the materials over and choose one of the eras or follow up on an era that caught your eye in the Eyes on Art website. Then go to the Webmuseum or the ArtHistory site (get there from Related Sites) and decide on an artist and painting to go along with the era. Then, use Google to find further resources on your era, artist, and painting. Little by little, begin reading through the information from the websites. And--of course--you may use other materials such as books, magazines, encyclopedias, etc.

Step Two-- To be done after finishing Unit Three.
Specifically, you are looking for interesting details about various aspects of the era you have chosen. For example, I chose to look at leisure practices during the 19th century, how Seurat fit with other painters of his era, what the critics of his day thought about his work, and so on. You may want to look at similar things or, depending on your materials, you may want to choose other aspects. But all of the aspects you look at will fall somewhere under these four perspectives.  (These perspectives may help you to organize your paper, hint hint.)

Cultural Context-- what does this painting tell us about what was going on in the culture, or how does the painting reflect the culture.
Social Context --what was going on in the society at the time that painting was made, especially events that may have had an impact on the artist.
Institutional Context --what was going on in the art world at the time the painting was created, such as style(s), new techniques, or subject matter.
Critical Context --what did the critics and other artists think of the painting and its creator.

Step Three-- Begin to put materials together.
While you are reading about the era, the artist, the painting, and so on, also do a Wolfflin analysis and a hermeneutical circle on the painting. The Wolfflin and the circle will be the concluding information of your paper, that is, "your turn," so to speak. Then begin to organize the information you have gathered around the four perspectives .  Also begin putting your bibliography together and determining where internal citations are needed. If you are unsure how to cite your sources, either internally or in a Works Cited, go to this website for help--

MLA Citations: Documenting Sources.

Be sure to check out each link in the menu on the right hand side of the page.

Step Four--Check your paper against the Grading Rubric
Click here to see the grading rubric for this assignment. This rubric will give you more ideas of how to craft your paper and what my expectations are.

Don't worry about the finished product too soon; that is, don't do the project in your head before you actually "do" the project. Do your research and see where it takes you. If you need some hints and tips as you go along don't hesitate to email me.

Step Five-- Submitting your Midterm
When you are ready to send your midterm in, go to WebCT and submit it in the same way you would any writing assignment.



Please use Google for your research. (Be sure to click WWW for searches beyond this site.)