Art is a fascinating subject that offers as much scope for written expression as it does with the brush, pencil or any other medium. This is largely because art is a subject that virtually everyone seems to have an opinion about. Whether it is an opinion about the work of one of the ‘Great Masters’, the latest craze, or even what the subject of art actually is, everyone has something that they can contribute to the exploration of this most marvellous subject.
As can be seen from the different areas and the particular essay topics to have been identified, there are plenty of opportunities for a student to write an essay that shows both their knowledge and their skills regarding the subject of art.
Art History Essay Topics
Art history is arguably one of the broadest that falls within the overall remit of art to consider. This view is founded upon the fact that it is possible to explore works to have been created as far back as the cave paintings that were produced at the start of human history, right through to the present day since art never stops developing. Therefore, the list of topics that are set out below show the kinds of essays that are currently being set for assessment in this area:
- A critical evaluation of which era of art history has had the biggest influence upon the development of modern art in the twenty-first century.
- What is the biggest influence that the art of Ancient Egypt can be discerned as having had upon the development of art in the past 100 years?
- What can we learn from the history of art to date about how the subject of art itself will develop in the future?
- A critical evaluation of whether the art of Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece has had the greatest influence upon the approach taken by contemporary artists to their particular means of expression.
- An analysis of the role of Francisco de Goya in the development of modern art.
- In the course of art history, which maligned artist do you think has experience the biggest turnaround in their reputation? What does this tell us about the way in which art is developing?
- Based on your own opinion of art history, are there really any new ideas in modern art? Explain your opinion with reference to the work of Banksy.
- Why are the cave paintings produced by early man considered to be so important for the development of art history even today?
- Is the artwork that is produced by indigenous peoples in keeping with their culture and traditions worthy of the same legal protection as more contemporary art?
- Critically evaluate the work of Vincent Van Gogh’s influence upon the development of art through art history.
Contemporary Art Essay Topics
Contemporary art is a fundamental issue that students like to explore because it involves considering the way in which art has developed in more recent times. This area of art offers the opportunity to consider art in the context of many issues that the student themselves is likely to have a greater first-hand awareness of. Consequently, there is a significant amount of scope for the student to put forward their own opinion about the matters that may fall under consideration. Therefore, the list of topics that are set out below show the kinds of essays that are currently being set for assessment in this area:
- A critical evaluation of the principles of globalisation’s influence upon the current understanding of contemporary art.
- An analysis of the view that the growth of art fairs since the start of the twenty-first century has proved to be the death of contemporary art.
- Critically evaluate the opinion that cartoons are the clearest expression of contemporary art that critics will look back on in the future as the most effective illustration of what art was at this time.
- An analysis of whether what technology now allows us all to produce on computers, tablets and other similar devices has proved to be a benefit or a negative for the understanding of contemporary art.
- What influence has the growth of social media had upon the understanding of contemporary art?
- To what extent has activism regarding movements like ‘Black lives matter’ served to influence the understanding of contemporary art?
- Which artist to have debuted in the past ten years has produced work which can be thought of as providing the clearest depiction of contemporary art as it is understood today? Explain your answer.
- Which art movement do you believe has dominated the understanding of contemporary art? Explain your answer.
- Which artistic movement from the history of art as we know it has had the biggest influence upon contemporary art? Explain you answer.
- Is graffiti an example of contemporary art or little more than a criminal act? Explain your answer.
Global Art Essay Topics
One of the most wonderful things about choosing a topic in the area of global art is that it offers the student the opportunity to consider different contemporary and historical styles of art from different countries. As a result, this means that it is possible to show knowledge of the different understandings of what art is and also of different cultures and their development when set against those from different countries. Therefore, the list of topics that are set out below show the kinds of essays that are currently being set for assessment in this area:
- Which country do you consider to have had the biggest influence upon how art is understood today? Explain your answer.
- Critically evaluate the view that the Haka, as performed by the New Zealand Rugby Union team, is one of the most significant depictions of global art in the world today.
- From its conception, should the works of Bollywood be considered to be the best examples of Indian art? Explain your answer.
- How does Japanese manga compare with the United States of America’s comic book movement as an example of art? Which do you believe serves at the most effective depiction of its particular country’s art?
- Critically evaluate whether the work of The Chinese State Circus or Cirque de Soleil is more likely to be remembered as a form of art for the country where it was created.
- Based on a country of your choosing, provide an analysis of whether the art of individual countries effectively depicts their culture.
- To what extent do you agree that the art of every country in the world today shares certain key characteristics? If so, identify those characteristics and explain your answer.
- To what extent is the art of former Soviet Union member states still influenced by Russia? Explain your answer.
- How does art’s development in North and South Korea respectively differ and how do these relationships reflect their relationship currently?
- Critically evaluate the extent to which England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own distinct approaches to art and the extent to which any discernible differences reflect these countries historical differences.