Essays About Art: Top 5 Examples and 9 Prompts

Essays about art inspire beauty and creativity; see our top essay picks and prompts to aid you.

Art is an umbrella term for various activities that use human imagination and talents. 

The products from these activities incite powerful feelings as artists convey their ideas, expertise, and experience through art. Examples of art include painting, sculpture, photography, literature, installations, dance, and music.

Art is also a significant part of human history. We learn a lot from the arts regarding what living in a period is like, what events influenced the elements in the artwork, and what led to art’s progress to today.

To help you create an excellent essay about art, we prepared five examples that you can look at:

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1. Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? by Linda Nochlin

“But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class, and above all, male. The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education–education understood to include everything that happens to us from the moment we enter this world…”

Nochlin goes in-depth to point out women’s part in art history. She focuses on unjust opportunities presented to women compared to their male peers, labeling it the “Woman Problem.” This problem demands a reinterpretation of the situation’s nature and the need for radical change. She persuades women to see themselves as equal subjects deserving of comparable achievements men receive.

Throughout her essay, she delves into the institutional barriers that prevented women from reaching the heights of famous male art icons.

2. What Is Art? by Writer Faith

“Art is the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects that can be shared with others. It involves the arranging of elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions and acts as a means of communication with the viewer as it represents the thoughts of the artist.”

The author defines art as a medium to connect with others and an action. She focuses on Jamaican art and the feelings it invokes. She introduces Osmond Watson, whose philosophy includes uplifting the masses and making people aware of their beauty – he explains one of his works, “Peace and Love.” 

3. My Art Taught Me… by Christine Nishiyama

“But I’ve felt this way before, especially with my art. And my experience with artmaking has taught me how to get through periods of struggle. My art has taught me to accept where I am today… My art has taught me that whatever marks I make on the page are good enough… My art has taught me that the way through struggle is to acknowledge, accept and share my struggle.”

Nishiyama starts her essay by describing how writing makes her feel. She feels pressured to create something “great” after her maternity leave, causing her to struggle. She says she pens essays to process her experiences as an artist and human, learning alongside the reader. She ends her piece by acknowledging her feelings and using her art to accept them.

4. Animals and Art by Ron Padgett

“I was saying that sometimes I feel sorry for wild animals, out there in the dark, looking for something to eat while in fear of being eaten. And they have no ballet companies or art museums. Animals of course are not aware of their lack of cultural activities, and therefore do not regret their absence.”

Padgett recounts telling his wife how he thinks it’s unfortunate for animals not to have cultural activities, therefore, can’t appreciate art. He shares the genetic mapping of humans being 99% chimpanzees and is curious about the 1% that makes him human and lets him treasure art. His essay piques readers’ minds, making them interested in how art elevates human life through summoning admiration from lines and colors.

5. The Value of Art by Anonymous on Arthistoryproject.com

“One of the first questions raised when talking about art is simple — why should we care? Art, especially in the contemporary era, is easy to dismiss as a selfish pastime for people who have too much time on their hands. Creating art doesn’t cure disease, build roads, or feed the poor.”

Because art can easily be dismissed as a pastime, the author lists why it’s precious. It includes exercising creativity, materials used, historical connection, and religious value. 

Check out our best essay checkers to ensure you have a top-notch essay.

9 Prompts on Essays About Art

After knowing more about art, below are easy prompts you can use for your art essay:

1. Art That I Won’t Forget

Essays About Art: Art that I won't forget

Is there an art piece that caught your attention because of its origin? First, talk about it and briefly summarize its backstory in your essay. Then, explain why it’s something that made an impact on you. For example, you can write about the Mona Lisa and her mysterious smile – or is she smiling? You can also put theories on what could have happened while Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.

2. Unconventional Arts

Rather than focusing on mainstream arts like ballet and painting, focus your essay on unconventional art or something that defies usual pieces, such as avant-garde art. Then, share what you think of this type of art and measure it against other mediums.

3. Art: Past and Present

How did art change over the centuries? Explain the differences between ancient and modern art and include the factors that resulted in these changes.

4. My Life as An Artist

Are you an artist? Share your creative process and objectives if you draw, sing, dance, etc. How do you plan to be better at your craft? What is your ultimate goal?

5. Art Histories of Different Cultures

To do this prompt, pick two countries or cultures with contrasting art styles. A great example is Chinese versus European arts. Center your essay on a category, such as landscape paintings. Tell your readers the different elements these cultures consider. What is the basis of their art? What influences their art during that specific period?

6. Comparing Two Art Pieces

Like the previous prompt, write an essay about similar pieces, such as books, folktales, or paintings. You can also compare original and remake versions of movies, broadway musicals, etc.

7. Create a Reflection Essay on a Work of Art

Pick a piece you want to know more about, then share what you learned through your essay. What did the art make you feel? If you followed creating art, like pottery, write about the step-by-step process, from clay to glazing.

8. Conduct a Visual Analysis of an Artwork

Visual analysis is a way to understand art centered around what the eyes can process. It includes elements like texture, color, line, and scale. For this prompt, find a painting or statue and describe what you see in your essay.

9. Art Period or Artist History

Since art is a broad topic, you can narrow your research by choosing only the most significant moments in art history. For instance, if you pick English art, you can divide each art period by century or by a king’s ruling time. You can also select an artist and discuss their pieces, their art’s backstory, and how it relates to their life at the time.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips!

Author

  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.