How to Find Scholarly Sources for Your Project
Post no later than Mar. 23, to an Assignment in BB, a list of three accessible scholarly sources that
pertain to your project. I will review your bibliography and ask you to substitute new sources for any
that are not sufficiently scholarly, so make your best effort from the start.
As per the revised course calendar, and with an expectation of five hours of work per course per
week, use any extra time from this assignment (and any to come) to start conceptualizing the Final
Exam take-home essay described on the last few pages of the syllabus. In addition, continue to work
on the project along the way, noting the presentation and paper deadlines in the revised calendar,
which have not changed from the original.
You are looking for three works of scholarship—book chapters and articles—of the caliber of the
Grigsby essay on Manet’s Olympia that we read together in class. Use this as your benchmark. No
matter what, book reviews and short notices are not acceptable.
In terms of accessibility of sources, normally I would suggest starting with hard-copy books in the
Library. This semester we’ll focus exclusively on online resources for obvious reasons. Depending on
your topic, a number of useful books may be available online, as discussed below.
There are many inroads for finding scholarship of the required kind, depending on your subject: as a
result of the latitude in project choices, the challenges of this assignment will vary from student to
student. Some of you will find sources by searching on the name of the artist of “your” work or even
on its title, depending on its fame. If you can find information on the artist but not your work, you
can extrapolate from these sources in ways that are both logical and of benefit to your argument.
On the other hand, if the artist is not well known, if their name has been lost over time, or if the
work has not been written about by scholars, you’ll need to modify your approach. Using the
sculpture of Mycerinus and Kha-meher-nebty as an example, you could search for studies of ancient
Egyptian burial practices, religious beliefs, and/or political contexts. Indeed, any work of art can be
understood by investigating the culture of its place of origin and historical period: for this pathway,
you would look for readings that focus on the kinds of themes you discussed for the visual analysis
and use them to illuminate the image. This kind of research may take you outside of the standard
art-historical literature to other humanities disciplines, but use your best judgment to avoid
psychoanalytic or scientific studies (this is one area with which students often need help).
Make a list of the categories that might pertain to your work. Have these in mind as potential search
terms as you proceed.
Start by logging into the Library website. On the homepage, type the artist’s name and/or terms
from your list into the Search Box as a place to start. If books come up, see if you can access them
on Google Books, where a number of full-text sources are available. Next, look for journal articles
via the Art Databases page of the Library website: use Art and Architecture Source, International
Bibliography of Art, and JSTOR, all of which can be accessed through links in the yellow box at the
top. Once again, use your search terms to locate publications that are relevant to and help you with
What to Hand In
Assemble a list of three scholarly sources, with citations in Chicago Manual of Style notes and
bibliography format (not author-date format). Post to the Assignment in BB.
What Happens Next?
I will review your list. If your sources are not sufficiently scholarly, you will be required to revise and
resubmit until you have a list of three acceptably scholarly works. It’s to your benefit to get it right
the first time, so please spend sufficient time and energy on this task now. Remember: the Grigsby
article is your benchmark.
What if Questions Arise?
You may of course email me or Jeanne with questions along the way, and you may chat with a
librarian via this link.
Visual Analysis of a Painting
Blue Morning by George Bellows is an oil-on-canvas painting made in 1909. This artwork is
displayed in the Chester Dale Collection in the National Gallery of Art. The painting depicts
workers in a construction project with the background being high rise city buildings. The
workers in the foreground are involved in various construction activities as evidenced by smoke,
the use of a hammer, and a worker who stands next to a crane. In Blue Morning, Bellows
consistently emphasized the contrast between the foreground work site and the background city
through composition, color, and texture to portray the class differences between the working
class laborers and the middle-class city citizen.
The subject and composition of the painting create contrast between the foreground and the
background hence emphasizing class differences. The main subject of the work is the activities
of the workers in the foreground. This is created by the fact that the huge stone or heap, is the
focus of several workers and it is placed in the middle of the painting. Towards the right end and
left end, other workers are involved in construction work. This foreground is contrasted from the
background where huge buildings stand in the city. This composition creates a difference
between the on-going work in the foreground and the city living in the background. The
workplace is the subject for the painting hence the workers are also an object of focus. This
presentation of composition emphasizes the difference between the workplace and the high-rise
city in the background.
In addition to composition, the painting presents realistic proportions and natural poses for the
workers to create a realistic image of everyday life. The painting is framed by the overhead train
line as the upper frame and the ground as the lower frame. This produces a realistic image from
the painter’s point of view. The buildings in the background, though diminished, are realistic in
proportion compared to the workers in the foreground. The involvement of workers in their
construction work presents a natural pose for each. One worker casually sits on the lowly hedge
before the worksite. These depictions are realistic with workers being portrayed as in usual
activity. This portrayal seeks to bring out a realistic everyday image of the construction site and
highlight the normalcy of different social classes. With the bustling city in the background, it is
business as usual for these workers and their pose suggests that they are at ease with their job and
position in society hence the normalized class differences.
Moreover, Bellows used a clever blend of lines and space to focus the attention of the viewer on
the workers and create the contrast with the background. The most dominant lines are horizontal
and vertical hence creating a scene emphasizing the structures present. The overhead railway
makes a thick line at the top frame of the painting while one of its support structures makes a
vertical line a third way off the right frame. These lines contextualize the setting as the backyards
of the city. The buildings in the background are represented using both horizontal and vertical
lines hence forming a space between the railway and the city. This space is the workspace of the
workers and hence lines are used to enhance it. This blend of lines to create the sense of space
emphasizes the space occupied by the workers as construction workers and contrasts it from the
distant space in the background. In a way, the painting creates isolation for the workers who are
active in a space that is isolated from the rest of urban space in the background. The setting next
to a railway line shows that the workers carry out their project in a space that is isolated from the
business of the city and emphasizes the difference between these workers and the people of the
city only left to the imagination of the viewer.
The combination of colors and the dominance of the blue color create a barrier between the site
of the workers and the city in the background hence showing the difference between the two.
One of the most notable aspects of the painting is the dominant blue ‘sheet’ covering most of the
picture in between the workers and the city behind. This blue color alludes to the title of the
painting and produces meaning in creating separation between the workers and the city. Bellows
creatively obscures the background in the left upper corner to expose an otherwise sunny city in
the background. The city is represented by tan, brown, and even white colors for buildings hence
depicting the city as having a brilliant morning. This presentation is contrasted by the dull blue
and black colors occupying the scene of focus. This contrast could be telling a story of difference
between the site and the city. For this site, the morning is ‘blue’ showing gloom while the city’s
morning is brilliant. This play with colors shows that the workers may be undergoing hardships
that regular city dwellers do not experience in the background.
As with the choice of colors, Bellows used light and shadow to create gloom in the foreground
while depicting brilliance in the background. The area closest to the bottom frame is shaded by
the shadow of the overhead railway hence maintaining a dark appearance. Similarly, the use of
dark tones to represent objects in the foreground such as the huge rock which workers seem to be
working on creates a shadowy appearance. Moreover, dark shadows of the workers and activities
are indicated on the ground while in the background, the lighting is brighter with no shadows.
The workers appear to be in a darker space than the city behind them. The use of dark shadows
in the foreground helps to highlight the apparent differences between the workers’ world in the
site and the seemingly thriving city in the background. Class differences between laborers and
middle-class city dwellers are thus shown through contrast and lighting.
Lastly, the texture of the painting is seen through the thick brush strokes of the workers and
their environment to portray crudity and hardship. The focal point of the painting is the workers
in the foreground and their immediate environment. In this case, the texture of their painting is
rough whereby the author has used thick layers to paint their clothes as well as the work they are
engaged in. The thick layers portray a rough and crude image of the workers and their tasks. This
is opposed to the light brush strokes representing the background blue ‘veil’ and the city beyond
it. By portraying a crude image of the workers, the artist evidently emphasized the hardship they
are undergoing working in the site. The rough texture portrays hardship in the forefront while
distinguishing it from smooth-sailing city life in the background.
Through color, composition, and texture, Bellows creates comparison between the seemingly
struggling working class and the luxurious middle-class life in the background. The focus of this
painting was to depict the work site and compare it with the distant city in the background. To do
so, the author trained the viewers’ sight on the workers but also maintained awareness of the
background. Visual aspects used show the foreground as crude and dull while the background is
brilliant and promising. This contrast can be interpreted as showing the existent class differences
between workers and middle-class city dwellers. The painting can be seen as a critique of society
and how social classes dominate and are normalized in America.
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