Visual arts

Visual Arts class

Extended essay

The time is coming to select the topic for your Extended essay. If you decide to take the Visual arts as your subject in this matter, please consider the following instructions for choosing the topic from IBO Extended Essay Guide (IBO, 2007; Cardiff, UK) :

To be avoided:

Topics that are entirely dependent on summarizing general secondary sources (such as universal art history textbooks, and encyclopedias), and topics that are likely to lead to an essay that is essentially narrative or descriptive in nature.

Choosing a topic that covers many aspects of art history and/or a long period of time is also unlikely to result in a successful essay.

If you decide to write about an artist, consider:

Biographical studies of artists must address a relevant issue or research question and arrive at a particular, and preferably personal, conclusion.

Useful suggestion considers the scope:

Restricting the scope of the essay will help to ensure a clear focus and will provide opportunities for demonstrating detailed understanding and critical analysis.

Look at the two examples of topics explaining how to “frame” the title:

• “How did Wassily Kandinsky use colour?” is better than “The Bauhaus”.
• “An analysis of African influences on Henry Moore” is better than “20th-century British sculpture”.

Look for more information in the classroom…


Pergamon frieze

Watch the video bellow that represents the frieze of the Pergamon altar:

Try to sketch your own work based on Pergamon frieze. Your sketch should be quick and rough, as starting point for the new work.


Think about the meaning of the term development in the context of European sculpture. Write your opinion in the workbook. Make your own timeline.


Since the beginning of the term we have tried to produce several self-portraits.

The practical part of the task included:

  • work from a mirror, or  photo.
  • rough sketches and drawings.
  • experiment with mood, lighting, media and techniques
  • one work in black and white contrast.

The emphasize was set on representational elements because of importance of the meaning – such as personal interests, plans, environment …

The whole process have to be kept in the workbook.

Part of the task included research and timeline of self-portrait through the art history. Students have to do their own timeline based on art history.

In the classroom

The purpose of the slide projection represented in the classroom was to see development of painting style through history of self-portraits. The question is what we can find out if we just look at a theme represented in the timeline? How much can we learn about art history, or technology, or social context?

One timeline may look like this:

We also looked at two paintings with painters witnessing the event of marriage of Arnolfini, and the other one where painter was portraited with royal family:

Jan van Eyck: Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife
Oil on oak, 82 x 60 cm
National Gallery, London
Velazques: Las Meninas
Oil on canvas, 318 x 276 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

All the visual material was collected from the site: Web Gallery of art;

Visiting exhibition of Venetian paintings

On Friday 9th December we will visit the exhibition of Venetian paintings in Gallery Klovićevi dvori.

More about the Gallery you can see on the site:

During the exhibition we will have guided tour, but students will have some tasks for the investigation workbook. The assignment can be downloaded from the site:

Theodore Gericault

Today we investigated Gericault’s painting: The raft of the Medusa


Interviews at 15th December

Preparing for the exam


Investigation workbook

Does your workbook look like it is mentioned bellow:

Think of yourself as a “cultural detective” on a voyage of visual discovery, you may, or may not have a map with you. You will make choices of direction along the way; you may make bad choices or find yourself on the right path or even going round in circles! What you will discover is directed by you, but you are required to think, analyze and understand what those findings might be. The importance of your personal discoveries will take form in your studio work and should demonstrate how you have crystallized your investigation into art works. (Birgit Jennings, 2010)

For the highest grade, it is expected that you

  • analyze and compare art from different cultures and times; consider it thoughtfully for its function and significance.
  • develop an appropriate range of effective skills, techniques and processes when making and analyzing images and artifacts
  • demonstrate coherent, focused and individual investigative strategies into visual qualities, ideas and their contexts, show an appropriate range of different approaches towards your study and connections between works
  • demonstrate successful development and synthesis of ideas and considerable depth and breadth
  • demonstrate effective and accurate use of vocabulary of visual arts
  • use an appropriate range of sources and acknowledge them properly
  • present the work effectively and creatively and demonstrate effective and critical observation, reflection and discrimination
  • present close relationship between investigation and studio

Check the notebook pages if there are

  • · dated and numbered pages
  • · used black pen (or something that can easily be photocopied)
  • · annotated sketches and drawings
  • · mentioned all the new ideas
  • · texts about the mood and feelings relevant to particular practical work
  • · added references and web sites

300 words essay

For the purpose of the following interviews you have to write a short essay (300 words) describing your practical work. Compare your work with work /works of at least one artist, do not forget to mention cultural context of your works, or techniques and media used, strengths and weaknesses recognized.

Write about your future plans.

Studio work

Prepare all your works for the exam including final works and sketches. If possible – bring photographs. Sketch the plan of the exhibition setting.

4mm students should prepare list of all works, together with media and sizes for the purpose of final exam in March.

Drawing technology

Last week we have investigated drawing techniques and considered few definitions of drawing.

Definitions were found on several sites, so we could choose individually the most suitable one.



Artlex; depiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Color and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass.; a sketch, plan, or design, esp. one made with pen, pencil, or crayon
Merriam-Webster on line dictionary; Etymology: Middle English drawen, dragen, from Old English dragan; akin to Old Norse draga to draw, drag. Date: before 12th century
Fact; Drawing is one way of making an image: it is the process of making marks on a surface by applying pressure from or moving a tool on the surface.

We have mentioned drawing techniques such as:

The target is to find the differences between techniques or recognize own work among the mentioned techniques:

  • Drawing based on grid – measurement
  • A preliminary outline showing the main features of a project, fine arts work…
  • Sketch
  • Rough draft made spontaneously; trial run
  • Perspective drawing
  • Illusion of 3D on flat surface, by using convergion of lines at one/more points on the horizon
  • Technical drawing (also drafting, enginery drawing)
  • Based on straight lines with help of the rulers, compass and other tools to make precise dr awing of the object (computer programs – CAD)
  • Preliminary drawing (also preparatory)
  • A study prior to final work in other media
  • Drawing per se

Drawing had not been recognized as art per se, until the 20th Century. It had been used as part of the process. We may see some of the Rembrandt’s sketches and preliminary drawings on the site:

Samples of contemporary drawings we can see on the following sites: International Biennial of drawing, Pilsen The drawing room, non profit gallery in UK

Drawing includes the following media:

Artists we have mentioned in November

Jasper Johns once said:

My work is largely concerned with relation between seeing and knowing, seeing and saying, seeing and believing.

The quote is written on Jasper Johns site. The question is how it relates to Jasper John’s works or how does this relate to our works and Visual Arts course. Think about it and write your opinion… because you may like it or not, use it or not, but the most important part is to have any opinion about it…

The following month we have been inspired by few artists: Jasper Johns, de Kooning, Basquiat… Some of the artists were only mentioned, but their work should be part of the investigation. One of the artists only mentioned is Christo, whose work we should consider because of  the drawings, concepts and documentary level – so important for IB student.

Follow the link with essays about the artists, find  your favorite artist and check what/how is his/her work/life outlined within the form of the essay.

Follow the links bellow and find the artist somehow related to your own work:


Willem de Kooning
Jasper Johns


The next check is scheduled for Friday, the 4th on November. This time we will check investigation workbooks, and inspect them twice by students and teacher. Before the Friday 4th, read carefully the investigation criteria in attachment. Do not forget to bring planning sheets.

Investigation workbook

Visual Arts assessment criteria

Post Navigation