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Art history: What roles females played during the development of Surrealism?

I want to explore: 1.the meaning of female bodies for Surrealism 2. Female Surrealists’ contributions for Surrealism (analyze famous paintings and their meanings).


The databases listed below are good places to begin your scholarly research.Don’t worry when you find contradictory information. Some artists have had generations of people interpreting their narratives to fit their own needs. Instead think about what each conflicting narrative suggests and try to find the common ground between them.

Oxford Art Online (Grove Dictionary of Art) – for general background.Do not use this as a source for your paper; start here to find a basic bibliography.

JSTOR, a research database for scholarly periodicals

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

ArtSTOR image database for good quality images

Remember that many online sources are not trustworthy.

The main approaches to art history are formal/visual analysis, iconographic, contextual (religion, politics, etc.) and biographical or psychological. As you do your research, read critically. Is your author convincing? What and how does the author use for evidence? Is the author presenting new information or simply summarizing previous work? What questions are left unanswered? Research your topic in depth.Choose topics or artists not covered in class. Your goal is to contribute to the content of the course with new material.

If you are working on a specific artist, (or movement) include a brief summary of personal and professional background. Explain innovative work, working method, aesthetic intentions. What movement is your artist associated with and how? How does the work relate to other artists and movements? What major themes are you discussing? Have a clear overall point to make about why your artist and the work are important. Summarize interesting critiques you’ve researched. Do you agree with them? Use your visual/formal analysis skills when describing specific works to illustrate your points. [This only applies if you have already looked into museums: Are any works in local museums or exhibits? Have you looked at object files or archives in these locations? If a local museum has work related to your topic, should include it in your paper.]

Summarize what you have learned, go into depth on certain aspects of your research. This will enable you to do research in related fields like psychology, history, science, literature, etc. Do your own, original analysis of the visuals.

Think about balance. If some aspect of your topic was covered in class, you may want to do a brief review and then move onto new material in your paper. The substance of your work should be research of new topics.


If you need help with research sources, please consult the reference librarian at Snell. Some staff may be available remotely.

Format. There is no particular format required for the papers (Chicago or MLA suggested). Use a standard format preferred by your profession. Put your name, date, course (ARTH 2210) and title of your paper on the first page.

Plagiarism/Citation. All work must comply with Northeastern University’s Code of Student Conduct. Plagiarism, lack of proper documentation (no footnotes),or academic dishonesty will result in a failing final grade. Lack of proper documentation includes lack of footnotes and is considered plagiarism. Cases of plagiarism will be referred to the OSSCR office and possibly result in disciplinary action.

How to get started on a research paper.

  1. List 10 things you think you already know about your topic.Start with the basics.Nothing is too obvious to state. It’s OK if you learn later, after further research, that you were wrong about some things, or if you change your mind.
  1. Write 20 questions about your topic. As you look at art you already know, what questions come to mind?What new things have you discovered?
  1. Mark each question with the type of source that will best answer it. Some types of sources include:reference works (encyclopedia, dictionary, atlas, etc.), books (anthologies, textbooks, biographies, long-form journalism, biographies, etc.), academic journal articles (must be peer-reviewed), films (especially documentaries), periodicals (newspapers, magazines), discipline-specific websites and other electronic sources.
  1. Do your own in-depth visual analysis of the images you choose to illustrate your paper. Your formal analysis should be personal.

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