Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.
Compare and Contrast
Graphic Organizers compare - to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences; to compare two pieces of literary work (Webster's. p 416): contrast - to compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc., of: Contrast the political rights of Romans and Greeks (Webster's. p 442).
compare liken, assimilate, similize, liken to, compare with; make or draw a comparison, analogize, relate; metaphorize; draw a parallel; match; examine side by side, view together; weigh or measure against, contrast oppose, set in opposition, set off against, set in contrast, counterpose, note similarities and differences (Chapman, 1977) .