Critical thinking helps us learn, develop new ideas, and formulate theories. “Critical thinking” has been defined as “self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way” (The Foundation for Critical Thinking website).
Sometimes artists use drawing as a visual process of critical thinking, allowing them to see their subject from copious perspectives within numerous contexts. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Renaissance era drawings of artists like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, or in the nature studies of Albrecht Dürer. Critical thinking can also be found in the schematic and preliminary drawings of modern artists, including sculptors and architects.
Step 1: Research
Using the CCCOnline Library Art Research Guide and sources, the sites listed below, or comparable sites, research Renaissance drawings as a basis for your essay. Major artists of the Renaissance produced large quantities of “cartoons”—sketches used as studies for larger works. Although these drawings were not usually considered art at the time, many did survive and are now proudly exhibited in museum collections.
Recommended Research Sources:
The Smithsonian American Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Materials and Function
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Albrect Durer
Studies for the Sistine Chapel Frescoes
Art History Blogger
Blogs are not typically considered scholarly or professional publications since there is no professional or academic peer review. Anyone can publish a blog, irregardless of his or her credentials and with or without proofreading and editing. However, after careful review by subject-matter experts, this blog is considered to be of the quality required for scholarly publication. Carol Hendricks, the author/publisher, is an art museum professional with a masters degree in Art History, and the content appears accurate and professionally written.
Step 2: Writing
Essay (800 – 1200 Words)
First, insert an image file of the Renaissance preparatory drawing you have chosen to write about. Review the information regarding “thesis statements” in Module 1 Read/View resource, Writing Skills Development: Developing a Thesis Statement. In your thesis statement, identify the artist who created the drawing, the subject of the drawing, and explain how the artist is using the art as part of their critical thinking process.
In your essay’s body paragraphs, explain what the artist was studying. Begin your draft by considering the following questions:
What did this artist hope to accomplish?
Were preliminary sketches a normal part of the artist’s process?
How did other perspectives and contexts affect their subject matter, technique, concept, etc.?
Give a specific example from your chosen image to support your statement.
Conclude by explaining why critical thinking furthers this artist’s studies, plans, and goals, and how drawing aids them in this process.