8) The meticulous detail characteristic of many paintings by Johannes Vermeer have spurned theories that the artist may have used mechanical aids to construct his compositions (e.g. curved mirrors, the camera obscura or the camera lucida). Delve into [some of] the scholarship of this ilk and argue whether compositional and/or technical qualities of his paintings sustain this possibility.

9) Elizabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun completed over thirty portraits of Marie Antoinette. Some of these, like Marie-Antoinette en chemise, cause a scandal when exhibited at the Salon of 1783 whereupon it was deemed inappropriately informal for a depiction of a royal likeness. Selecting this or another of Vigée-Le Brun’s portraits, argue whether the artist floated eighteenth-century conventions.

10) For those secretly enamored of the Rococo, research Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s famous The Progress of Love series from 1771-2. After delving into scholarship on the subject, rigorously argue how the series encapsulates major developments characteristic of the Rococo period in subject matter, composition, palette, etc. Rather than giving equal weight to all four paintings, students are free to give one greater emphasis, such as The Lover Crowned. If a student has a particular interest not addressed in the above list, other topics can be approved in consultation with me.

Your essay should be six to eight pages long. It should be double-spaced, with 1” to 1.25” margins, using a 12-pt font in Times New Roman, on 8 ½ x 11” pages. There is no need for section headings or extra spaces between paragraphs. Your paper should be page numbered and stapled. You must include a bibliography as well as citations (either footnotes, if using the Chicago Manual of Style, or in-text parenthetical references if using MLA). You must include photocopies or scans of any works of art that you discuss. These images must be placed after your main text but before your bibliography. 

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