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    I am in an art appreciation class which is calling for a critical review essay of three artistic works throughout the Baroque time period of any medium. The professor has listed specific information as to what they are wishing to be included however I am unsure how to write a critical essay without personal thoughts/opinions. As without some personal opinion I would think it would be more of a research essay. Thus I am unsure where to start, how to formulate, etc. and am turning here for assistance. The task is the following:

    Write a three page critical essay about three sets of artistic works from the Baroque period. The goals of this essay are to state your reasoned opinioned about the works and evaluate it. Although you are stating your opinion, your attitude should be detached. The "critical" aspect of the essay refers to this detached attitude, not whether you react positively or negatively to the art form. Thus, three works of art can/should include three pieces of architecture, sculpture, paintings, music, literature, philosophy or a mixture of the arts. It should be an in depth analysis on the works and include the following points:

    ? A description of the works, including the style.
    ? A summary of the artists' point of view.
    ? An explanation of how the works fit into the context of the time period.
    ? An evaluation of the works. (Compare and contrast the three - explain the quality, symbolism, meaning and significance of the works)
    ? Compare the works and to others within the timeframe
    ? What is going on in other arts in the time frame
    ? Compare and contrast individual elements and state how they relate to others within the time and what makes them individualistic and stand out within the era
    ? What religious, political or other trends assisted with the components of the overall style for these and other components for the overall style

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    I think the major confusion arises in the definition of "personal thoughts/opinions." All of our thoughts and opinions are indeed personal. What the assignment asks for in a detached attitude is that you separate emotional responses--likes and dislikes--from the informed analysis of the works of art. The assignment seeks for you to express your critical and analytical opinion, especially in reference to what you know about the standards of art, the time period, the elements of each work of art. So, while your opinion is still personal, it is based on more than an immediate personal response. You should include details to support your opinions. These details are similar to what you would use in a research paper, but you are asked to draw your own conclusions and not solely to rely on what others have thought, as you would in a research paper.

    To approach the subject, you would choose three works from the assigned period that interest you or that you feel can be analyzed and compared or contrasted. Something connects the pieces in your mind, even if that connection is that they are unlike each other in some ways. You would start this paper by stating what these works are, describing form, artist, title, style, and other relevant information. I would also suggest putting the works into their historical context here as a way of beginning your analysis. This discussion can be ...