A Complete Guide on How to Write an Art Essay Competently

Writing guide
Posted on December 17, 2018

Understanding how to write an essay, which is a formal investigation of some topics, in the field of art is an essential skill that can be learned in an art course. Students of different specializations ranging from the art history study to the contemporary art courses can strengthen this skill by writing many art essays and research papers. Writing a university essay, particularly an art essay, requires a lot of thoughtful consideration of some reliable sources. Accordingly, starting the essay the day before it is due leaves you the limited time to for researching, reasoning, structuring and writing the composition itself. According to the Guardian, essay writing is the art as well. Consequently, find more time to carry out an in-depth analysis beforehand to prepare a clear outline of the work with the reasoned arguments. For that purpose, you need to review all the literature directly linked to the subject of the essay. Now, your subject matter is the art that is too broad to study.

In general, an essay is a short paper in which the writer attempts to cover a particular topic keeping in mind what has been learned about it and what can be explored more profoundly. It also can be characterized as an effort to demonstrate a thought process on paper. An art essay is a kind of work that analyzes the aspects of artworks, such as sculpture, painting, music, and architecture. These essays can be used with the aim to investigate the visual elements of the artworks. For instance, an art essay may examine the optical components and creative approaches used in particular pieces of art. Accordingly, the primary purpose of art essay writing is to compose the groundwork for students to tap into the artistic side and sharply draw a view of a particular artwork.

What Art Essay Topics Can You Write on?

Similar to other disciplines, there is a broad range of topics that can be analyzed in an art essay. However, when coming up with a good art essay writing topic, you should follow some essential tips. Generally, if you want to discover how to write an art essay, you should address the work in much the same way you compose any other paper assigned to you at a high school or college. First of all, you should stay focused on the subject of an essay, which involves forming a substantial thesis sentence. Accordingly, you should pick a specific frame of work, and as usual, use proper grammar and organization, including drafting clear and coherent statements. Some topics have been already worked out by our experts in art:

  • Philosophy of Art Through the Ages: How Does It Change?
  • How Do the Artists of Different Epochs Depict the World of Beauty and Aesthetics?
  • What Questions Art Historians Should Answer When Seeing an Artwork?
  • What Makes an Artwork Recognizable: An Artistic Style or Message an Artist Send?
  • How Does the History Influence the Art Movements: What Historical Events Are the Most Significant?

To write an art essay, you should first examine the question and be able to explain what it is required of you, whether to prove, describe or analyze. For instance, the topic can be “Why Is Pablo Picasso Thought to Be a Prominent Artist?” To answer this essay question, you should examine Pablo Picasso’s artworks, the writing of authoritative scholars regarding the topic. In the given topic, you are asked to prove the fact that Pablo Picasso is a prominent artist.

How to Choose Essay Topics


The term “art” classifies different expressions and activities of the artists. Therefore, an art essay can address the works of art as well as present an investigation concerning the art history and particular art movement.

    • Some art educators require the students to visit an art museum to analyze some artworks. Thus, you can use the mentioned idea and visit the local museum to investigate the specific artwork or particular exhibition.

At the same time, one of the most popular subject that can be chosen for an art essay is an artist.

  • You can write an essay regarding an artist from the particular movement. Accordingly, you can analyze the artist’s background and impact on the entire art discourse. You can also determine how past, current and future generations understand the works of that artist.
  • The artist that is pioneering in some sphere can be discussed in an art essay as well. Thus, you can choose the pioneering artist and address such issues as what inspired the artist and what historical movements were pivotal. The essay can discuss the specific features of the artworks such as the author’s technique and use of color or lines.
  • You can write an essay regarding an author that inspires you. Choose a figure that is encouraging to you. In an essay, reveal why the works of that artist are so exciting to you. Consider how you regard that author and his or her artworks.
  • You can choose a comparison essay and compare, for instance, two artworks. You may focus on two artists or compare different artworks of one artist. This theme will require in-depth research as there should be reviewed more than one piece of art.

Handy Tips on Art Essay Writing

Having discovered some key tips for writing an art essay, you will also need to follow the practices utilized in the art discourse. There are some suggestions from our essay writing services you may consider when writing an art essay.


First of all, the artwork should not be just described, since frequently it is required to compose a comprehensive analysis. One familiar claim educators make is that the students often depict the artwork without taking any point of the argument which they are supposed to make. Thus, you always need to estimate the ultimate goal of writing. Then, decide how to draw the details of the report arranging them to represent both the artwork and analysis itself.

In that case, one of the constructions to be used is to create the paper where the original idea or topic sentence is found at the beginning and proved at the end of the work. Accordingly, the starting point of an art essay is the research phase. At that stage, you should gain a perception of the subject and be able to examine the arguments both for and against the point. An essay should start with an opening paragraph with the topic sentence. It is important to ensure that all the details are consistent and chosen with attention. All the statements made in an essay should support the central point you are going to address in a composition.

Thus, in the early steps of writing, it is required to create an outline to plan the development of the essay part. Write down all the ideas and data discovered while investigating the topic. At the investigative stage of writing, you also should establish the claims for and against the reasons you intend to explain in the art essay. Thus, you should examine the structure of the paper before writing. For instance, if you want to present a specific art movement from a particular historical period, it is better to apply a chronological format. Nonetheless, if an essay is addressing the graphic elements recognized in a piece of art, you should use the spatial form of writing.
Only Reliable Sources to Use in an Art Essay
The reference list can include books, articles from scholarly journals, periodical publications, and the internet sources as well only if they are reliable. Nonetheless, the references should be credible and relevant to the topic. Thus, the following part of preparing an art essay is to outline and analyze the information sources. Once the analysis is composed, you must examine each of the applications made and determine if they will justify the thesis statement of the essay. This is an arguable point. To support or oppose a claim, you should use the credible data to strengthen the central claim. When examining a source, you should remember that some works can be biased or untrustworthy. So use your analytical skills to recognize the inappropriateness of different sources according to the following points:

  • Usage of the out-of-date sources,
  • No citations of sources and no references to sources,
  • Usage of sources that aren’t properly formatted, etc.

The aforementioned requires analytical knowledge to make the essay more authentic. Remember the bibliography section of your essay should contain a list of the academic works you have examined, used while preparing a composition. A bibliography should be arranged in the alphabetical order at the end of your art essay.

The Ultimate Structure of an Art Essay

After all the sources have been reviewed, you should define where you stand and, therefore, how to prove your argument. A successful essay writer is one who takes a position that can be supported by the credible sources. Aforementioned involves a broad range of research, which maintains the position the writer has accepted. This position should be presented explicitly and accurately.

Hence, you should compose a standpoint. In that case, the most appropriate way to start writing an essay is to state some questions to be examined and answered in the composition. For you to do those mentioned above, it is required to make a comprehensive investigation to know exactly what research questions are relevant for an essay topic. At that stage, the research will take a lot of time and persistence to develop a coherent structure of an art essay that commonly has:

  • Introduction with the thesis statement;
  • Main body of a composition with arguments;
  • Conclusion.

The Excellent Essay Introduction Is a Special Tool to Engage the Reader

You should begin your own artwork with the clear opening statements to guide the reader through an essay. As was mentioned above, the outline of an art essay is one of the most critical elements as it is the basis of the work. If it is not done, the composition may crumble without making any sense of writing. Once you develop a thesis statement, the outline should be organized to maintain and expand your position. The introduction is the beginning part of the essay. It is usually written alongside the summing-up part. Therefore, once these claims are asserted, it is a time to start working on the body paragraphs and the conclusion.

An excellent art essay needs an introduction to catch the reader’s attention immediately. In that case, the essential advice to you is to state your position in the opening part. When the writer reveals the central claim, some supporting sub positions should be shown as well. It is essential to make the introduction precise and with the limited exposition to attract the reader. The opening paragraph must be connected with all the statements given in the essay. Thus, all sections in the art essay are vital. The introduction explains what type of work is going to be performed. The introduction should also give some hints regarding how you are going to tackle a research question.

The Well-Developed Main Body Is Formula for Success in Writing

You surely know that writing the main body of an art essay is a critical stage of the whole composition. The paragraphs within the body of an art essay should be built-in. Accordingly, the most appropriate way of structuring the body sections is to adjust your leading position with the significant details of the essay topic. You can state it in the first sentence of the first body section or the last sentence of the introduction.
The ideas must be organized in the right way:

  • The paragraphs should be formed as an organized system of knowledge;
  • Concepts should support one another in a rational order so that the entire text looks coherent;
  • Each sentence in the sections should support what you have already declared;
  • The main paragraphs should be relevant to a topic and connected properly with some transition words.

The Logical Essay Conclusion You Need to Arrive at

The ending part of an art essay is the summary section that repeats the central position of the whole composition and some supporting arguments. Note that the conclusion should be short and logical. So consider it as the last opportunity to convince the readers that the data presented in the work is valid and your arguments are reliable. There is a direct connection between every part of your essay. However, the introduction and the conclusion are those parts that play a special role in your essay. The former introduces an essay topic with its narrow context and main focus on essay questions, the latter gives a sense of logical closure of essay writing. Both are aimed at keeping your readers’ interest to plunge into your art essay meaning.

Pay attention that a conclusion is a section of the essay where the writer goes beyond any explanation. You’d rather offer your own judgment that trying to include some new details. Thus, this part of an art essay should be well proofread to avoid repetition of phrases. Any comments you make regarding the work should be based on the examination provided in the body of the composition. In this section, you should explain how and why the essential components and concepts of art employed by the artist formulate meaning. The facts regarding the work should support the discussion of the content and not the reverse cause new questions in the reader’s mind.

Some Proofreading Tips Applied by Our Expert Academic Writers

To make an art essay much more appealing, you can add some vivid examples to the main body of the composition. Aside from this, there are some essential features that you need to keep track of, like the application of proper grammar. Generally speaking, in any piece of academic writing, you should avoid using a personal tone in form of pronouns “I”, “me” or “my”. Don’t undermine the formal style of academic papers the list of which your art essay is also included. It does not mean that your opinion as a researcher is not necessary. It just means that any personal idea must be asserted in a scholarly manner. Thus, you should explain the personal acknowledgment of the artwork, not an impression of it. To do it correctly, you should do the following:

  • Avoid all possible errors in grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling,
  • Leave out the frequently used words/phrases,
  • Keep sentences short and simple,
  • Use well-defined arguments.

In fact, it will be easier for the reader to assume the essence of your art essay if essay content correspond to the highest editorial standards. For that reason, don’t forget to check for the logical flow of your thoughts, concise and definite judgments. What is more, you should make sure that your art essay is plagiarism free and all the other works are appropriately cited according to the necessary formatting styles (APA, MLA or Harvard). All in all, before finishing to write an art essay, you should review it several times to make sure no mistake won’t spoil your reputation as a good art essay writer.

Upgrade your essays with these FREE writing tools!
Get started now