What Is the Art History Research Paper Outline and What Is the Purpose of Writing It.

Writing a research paper for an art history course is similar to academic writing in other disciplines, such as literature or history. In art history, however, you derive evidence from careful visual observations of artworks. Writing about art can include a broad range of media, such as painting, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, and photography, to name a few examples. In order to consistently structure winning research papers for an art history course, you should know how to write an art history research paper outline.

The outline is a basement of your art history research paper. It serves as a visual aid that assists students in organizing their writing assignments. Creating the art history research paper outline can simplify the overall writing process. The benefit of outlining is that it helps you to craft a clear and coherent research paper. A good outline maintains your focus on the thesis statement and prevents you from drifting into unrelated topics. Read on to learn how to write a college art history research paper outline.

How to Organize Your Art Research Paper

Art history research papers are unique in that they require the students to look at, describe, and interpret pieces of art. The challenge of art history writing is that the students should apply particular vocabulary and verbalize their visual sensory experience. A close visual analysis of a specific artwork lies at the heart of every art history research paper. Successful research papers about art shed light on a process of artistic invention and encourage readers to look at the artwork more carefully.

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At this point, you may wonder how to organize your art history research paper. The basic structure of the research paper for an art history course includes the following elements.

Title page

The title page of the art history research paper introduces the research topic to the readers. An effective title enables you to explain what issue will be the focus of your paper. All you have to do is to insert relevant keywords in the title of your research paper. These keywords should correspond with all the main points that you are going to present in your art history paper.


An abstract is a condensed version of your art history research paper. It summarizes the content discussed in your paper. The professors ordinarily ask students to write either informative or descriptive abstracts. An informative abstract contains 300 to 500 words that reflect the major aspects of your research paper. It acts as a surrogate for your art history paper itself. With this in mind, an informative abstract should include the following:

  • a comprehensive description of the central research problem of your paper;
  • a brief overview of the main arguments;
  • a succinct summary of the Important findings and conclusions.

A descriptive abstract, in contrast, contains about 150 words. It provides a generic description of the issue covered without any specific details. This type of abstract requires the least effort and specifics, but it is not useful to the readers.


The introductory paragraph of the art history research paper provides factual information about the piece of art and its creation. This includes the name of the artist, the title of the artwork, the year of its creation, and the materials used to make it. It is also necessary to indicate the scale of the art object. In addition, the introduction provides some details about the artist’s interests along with the explanation of relevant social and historical conditions that may have influenced the artist’s work. The introductory paragraph ends with the thesis statement that clearly conveys the focus of your research paper. The effective thesis statement indicates the meaning or significance of the art object.


Each body paragraph should present a separate idea related to the thesis statement. Don’t forget to place the topic sentence at the very beginning of the body paragraphs. A strong topic sentence expresses the main point of each paragraph. The body of the art history research paper should include the analysis of the formal elements, such as color, line, texture, and shape. These elements act as the building blocks of the work of art, which allow better understanding the composition. You should also explain how these elements work together to create a specific effect. Avoid describing the art piece without analyzing it. Remember that the body paragraphs present your interpretation of the artwork based on the visual evidence.


The concluding paragraph ties together the art research paper’s main points. This is also where you should discuss the meaning and value of the art object chosen for your research paper. To write a good conclusion, you should demonstrate how all the paragraphs of your research paper make a coherent whole. The conclusion should underline the significance of your argument.

List of references

The list of references should include all the works you have consulted while writing your art research paper. Put the sources in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name.


Art history research paper requires the inclusion of reproductions of the art piece. This useful, supporting material is not an essential part of you research paper, but it lets the reader better understand the research topic. You should include helpful illustrations in appendices. Be sure to use a separate appendix for each distinct type of information.

Now it’s time to edit. Start with taking an overall look at your art research paper. Do the paragraphs flow well together? Should you cut any part of your paper? Then, focus on the word choices. Does your writing sound good? Is there a more suitable word you can use to express your ideas? Next, check for grammar and spelling. You may use available online tools that help detect grammar and spelling mistakes. Finally, check whether your art research paper adheres to the required formatting style. Pay attention to the headings, spacing, references, citations, and so on.

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Tips for Writing the Outline for Art History Research Paper

If you’ve never written the art history research paper outline, keep on reading. Here are some helpful tips on how to craft an art history research paper outline.

  • Select an Interesting Topic

If your professor gives the freedom to select the research topic, be sure to pick a topic based on the personal interest. Why is it important to like what you write about? Because the lack of sympathy reduces the curiosity that is an essential ingredient to good thinking.Cheack out also our essay sample the Reinessance Cassone about art.

  • Observe the Art Piece Carefully

Once you’ve decided on the research topic, be sure to devote enough time to the visual observation of the chosen art object. Pay attention to composition, color, texture, and so on. Try to determine the effect of these artistic decisions on the viewer.

  • Take Notes While Observing the Art Object

Keep in mind that human memories are unreliable. Taking notes on art objects helps you record important information that you can use in your research paper. Good note-taking makes the writing process less daunting. It enables you to finish the art history research paper considerably faster.

  • Fill Your Brain with Relevant Information

Research your topic using reputable sources, such as books and articles. The information-gathering process promotes creative thinking and helps you to create the winning research paper.

  • Craft Your Outline

Your research paper art history outline should consist of the introduction, several body paragraphs that directly address your thesis statement, and the conclusion. The introduction should include an interesting introductory sentence that grabs the reader’s attention, several supporting sentences, as well as an arguable thesis statement. Each body paragraph should consist of the topic sentence and supporting sentences. The conclusion should begin with the thesis restatement. Add several supporting sentences to the concluding paragraph.

Best Topic Ideas for Art History Research Paper

Many students consider that the most difficult part of writing an art history research paper is to get started. But the choice of unique and interesting topic even precedes this starting point. The topic selection process is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. Indeed, good topic ideas don’t fall from trees. It takes a lot of time, persistence, and imagination to choose the right research topic in art history.

As a rule, the professors provide the list of possible topics from which the student may select. However, oftentimes, the professors give their students greater freedom in choosing art history research paper topics. They ask the students to come up with the topic that is interesting and at the same relevant to the course.

Choosing a good research topic in art history can be challenging and even frustrating. Not all the topics that seem interesting to you are broad enough to allow you to locate plenty of information and narrow enough to be manageable in a research paper. The right topic enables you to find a sufficient amount of information for the length of your research paper. Moreover, a specific and manageable research topic in art history can make the writing process easy, quick, and fun. If you can’t decide on the perfect topic for the art history research paper, check out the suggestions below to get inspired.

  1. The influence of science on sculptures in Ancient Greece.
  2. The most notable pieces of art in Mesopotamia.
  3. Sacred symbols of Hinduism in Indian art.
  4. Biblical symbolism in Renaissance artworks.
  5. The meanings of nudity in Renaissance paintings.
  6. The features of Romanticism in Eugène Delacroix’s Death of Sardanapalus
  7. The depiction of dwarfs in Diego Velázquez’s paintings.
  8. Edouard Manet’s new approach to painting.
  9. Color and light in Claude Monet’s Impression: Sunrise.
  10. Coloristics of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.
  11. Savageness in Paul Gauguin’s paintings.
  12. The paranoiac-critical method in Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory.
  13. Abstract art: Can it be decoded?
  14. The combination of several art styles in Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss.
  15. Pablo Picasso’s portraits: How artworks reflect his constantly changing artistic style?
  16. The abstract language of Kazimir Malevich’s paintings.
  17. Cubism and fantasy in Marc Chagall’s I and the Village.
  18. Symbolism in Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas.
  19. The unique painting technique in Jackson Pollock’s art.
  20. Mark Rothko: How to understand the artist’s color-field painting?

Can’t find the right art history research paper topic on the above list? Change some words within the topic, but keep its overall structure intact. This trick helps you to make the topic more in line with your specific assignment.

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Writing an outline for the art history research paper requires a lot of time, diligence, and concentration. Oftentimes, professors don’t provide art history research paper outline example. That’s why many students don’t know for sure how to write an art history research paper outline correctly. If you are still having trouble writing your outline, ask the expert writers at Gold Essays to help you. Our professional writers will do their best to create a perfect art history research paper outline, no matter whether the outline is a part of the research paper or a separate assignment. Be sure that our experienced writers can also assist you in choosing the research topic. When you order the art research paper outline from us, you will be pleasantly surprised with our affordable prices and high quality of writing. Use our outline writing service to receive the research paper outline of outstanding quality. Hundreds of our customers have already realized that such writing assistance allows improving academic progress and save time for other activities.