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Some help/pointers for first AH (BA) exam paper


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Hello guys.


I know it's slightly off topic, but I know there are many experienced and savvy art historians on this forum, so I thought I'd give it a go. I've just been handed an exam question for a paper due in a week's time for the final exam of my first semester of the BA (yay).


I must account for the human figure perception in antiquity (Greece and/or Rome) based on one or several works.

I must compare this/these with one or several works from a period following antiquity by discussing the characteristics of antiquity in the chosen works.




Pretty straightforward. I have a good idea of what direction to go with the paper and am actually rather excited to get started; have several works in mind, and I have a lot to go from just having attended the lectures of the course. So this topic is not about me being lazy. :)


It's a short but academic paper, so I need sources to cite and material to do research from. Just from googling there's so much information on this, most of it not very useful. Tomorrow will be my first day at the library, and I'll be searching for academic articles, published work, etc. that I can actually use. My question is: any advice on who to look for? Articles, books, published researchers/art historians/authors/etc. from which there may be something I can be able to use?


As of right now I'm looking at Pliny the Elder, Vasari but I'm looking for more contemporary theorists such as Spivey, Elsner.


Also, I'm contemplating discussing the different methodologies used by the theorists I will end up using in the paper, so if you have any idea of any theorists dealing with this subject but in contrasting ways that would help to.


Any leads/advice/comments are greatly appreciated.




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Start with reading the "basics" that are often used (or criticized!). You'll want to skim Ways of Seeing (John Berger) and go read Kenneth Clark's The Naked and the Nude. These both were used as foundational texts (with criticism) for my seminar on nudity, and another seminar on the body. (e.g. it was either assigned or we read texts that reviewed them in a more contemporary light and thus needed to know them on our own). 


I think otherwise, you should be looking for your university's library guide(s), or another uni's library guide which will guide you in the right direction for finding research/materials appropriate to your paper. I'm not terribly fond of telling people how to do research, when the information is already available to them. I suggest googling Art History library guide if you don't know where to find your own college's guide. My school has specialized Art Historian librarians, but yours may not! Any of the search results will tell you how to research, however, and all librarians will be willing to help. 


I think most of those guides will also help you understand how to narrow down key fields... and use google scholar instead of google. :)

Edited by m-ttl
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I usually use Google Scholar but can only read abstracts from home; need to be on university network to get the full articles (for free). And yup, my school also has a (semi) specialized library for AH and a few other humanities.


Thank you, Espresso, for helping me getting started.

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