Visual Analysis Essay


Definition of Visual Analysis

A visual analysis essay is nothing like a typical argumentative or descriptive essay since it mostly asks you to interpret and thoroughly analyze the piece of art. Writing a visual analysis essay implies using various visual analysis concepts, discussing the image’s details, and explaining its design elements. As a rule, this essay type aims to explore a particular artwork, assess it, and explain the artist’s motif and the meaning behind it. It mainly focuses on shapes, sizes, forms, colors, and other fundamental elements determining the artwork.

Most importantly, a visual analysis essay asks the reader to describe what he or she sees behind the artwork: what do colors, contrasts, figures say, and what is symbolic about the painting. Let’s discover how to begin a visual analysis essay and what to pay attention to in the first instance.

Writing Visual Analysis Essay Step-by-Step

Not knowing where to start is the primary problem that prevents students from composing quality visual analysis essays. But organizing your work in advance and identifying the key stages in the writing process will save you time and effort. Here is our guide on how to write a stunning visual analysis essay:

Begin with an outline

Drafting an outline takes only 10-15 minutes but serves as a means of excellent, problem-free writing. A thoroughly composed outline improves the structure, making it sound comprehensive, logical, and convincing. Drafting an outline will also prevent you from mentioning all ideas and findings chaotically. No matter how much time you’ve dedicated to research and observation, you might lose quite a few points if you fail to organize them on paper.

Write an introduction

As a rule, you need to write 2-4 sentences for the introductory part. Unlike most argumentative essay types, a visual analysis essay does not require too much background information. The goal is to grab the reader’s attention, so you may introduce a statement that will let the reader realize the tone, mood, and setting of the painting without actually looking at it. What comes to your mind when looking at the image? Think about it.

Examine the artwork

Before you take a pen and proceed with drafting body paragraphs, it is better to get acquainted with the painting. Examine the object in detail, observe it, and pay attention to even the seemingly insignificant elements. All colors, spaces, shapes, and lines matter. Afterward, you can compose a thesis statement.

Continue with body paragraphs

Take a look at your thesis statement once again and provide arguments for it. To do so, conduct a thorough analysis and pay attention to all the author’s design elements. When discussing each component, don’t forget to mention why each of them is relevant and how each of them justifies the thesis statement.

Conclude your visual analysis essay

Finally, you may mention the thesis statement once again and expand on it in the form of a concluding remark. Besides, you may choose to introduce a thought-provoking statement. Doing so will leave the reader impressed!

Elements and Stages of Visual Art Analysis

Analyzing a particular artwork requires an individual approach and detailed attention to the elements of it. Therefore, there is no unified approach to analyzing visual art since each piece of art is unique. However, there are some steps following which will let you end up with a good visual analysis essay.

Stage 1: Providing general and background information

As soon as you begin the analysis, try to introduce the piece of art succinctly. To achieve this goal, mention all elements that would be useful to form appropriate impressions about the author and their work. Such elements are:

  • Artist: who created the piece of art, and what is unique about him/her?
  • Physical description: what elements did the author use to create the artwork, what shape does it have?
  • Place and date: where was the object made, at what time, and in which epoch?

Stage 2: Proceeding with description

After having introduced the author and their piece of art, you may proceed with describing it. This phase implies telling the reader more about the artwork to let the reader draw it in their mind. This step also suggests evoking associations.

Here are some of the fundamentals:

  • Setting
  • Characteristics: what does the artwork represent?
  • Colors, shapes
  • The theme of the painting
  • The painting’s mood

Stage 3: In-depth analysis

The final step challenges the writer with applying visual analysis skills and identifying the artwork’s principles of design and core elements. In other words, the task here is to impress the reader with your ability to approach a painting from a narrow perspective. Here are few elements you might need to focus on:

  • Proportions. Feel free to describe how the elements of the painting contribute to the sense of volume and scale. How do they work together?
  • Rhythm. Are there any techniques that give a painting the rhythm? And what has the artist done to create that rhythm?
  • Balance. Figure out whether all the shapes, colors, shades are in balance.
  • Focus. What is the most prominent highlight of the painting, the ultimate attention-grabber?
  • Technique variety. At this point, you might take a look at the array of instruments and techniques the author used. Do they create turbulence or rather a sense of unity?

Besides, you may pay detailed attention to separate elements of the painting, such as:

  • Shapes – painters usually make wide use of geometrical shapes, so noting them will be a plus.
  • Patterns – a picture might contain figures that prevail and repeat in the painting.
  • Curves and lines – artists frequently use all kinds of lines, from bald straight to thin curved ones.
  • Lightning – this element contributes to the tone of a painting.
  • Space – different images use various perspectives and describe the depth by making use of this element.

Visual Analysis Essay Topics

  • Themes From Ice Haven: A Visual And Textual Analysis Of A Part
  • Visual Analysis of Christ and The Adulteress by Rocco Marconi
  • A Visual Analysis of The Graffiti Artwork Done by Banksy
  • The Classroom Setting For The Visually Impaired
  • Visual Representation Of Freedom And Democratic Ideals
  • Analysis of The Visual and Philosophical Elements in The Blade Runner

Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Analysis of Cinematography in The Film Citizen Kane
  • Rhetorical Analysis On Deborah Tannen’s Argument Culture
  • I Have A Dream: Rhetorical Analysis
  • Rhetorical Analysis Of The Aspca Commercial
  • Life Is Beautiful – Rhetorical Analysis
  • Rhetorical Analysis Of Obama’s Political Speeches

Visual Analysis Argument Essay Topics

  • Art & Visual Culture
  • Visual Analysis Of The Parthenon
  • Visual Analysis Of The Incense Burner
  • Visual Analysis of The Scene from The Movie Slumdog Millionaire
  • Visual Analysis Making Meaning Of Painting And Portraiture
  • Visual Analysis of The Painting The Expulsion of The Money-changers

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Drafting an Outline of a Visual Analysis Essay

In general, a visual analysis paper structure follows the standard rules and includes an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. However, the peculiarity of the mentioned essay type requires additional input and challenges a writer with a more complex framework.

Before starting with an introduction, it is critical to examine the image and analyze all possible contexts surrounding the image. It is also essential to detect all the vital elements that you should analyze and make sure you don’t miss out on any. Additionally, the writer should acknowledge his or her audience. Doing so is essential to effectively adjust the language in the essay and pick the appropriate tone. Finally, one should think of a thesis statement that will give the text the desired mood and enhance the picture’s meaning.

We’ve broken down the structure of the visual argument analysis essay and described each of the elements below for your convenience.

Introduction: tips and techniques

Things are quite clear when it comes to composing a standard argumentative essay: you need to come up with a hook, give some background, and provide a thesis statement. But where should you start with visual analysis essays? First, since you’re describing a picture, you may think about the author: who is he or she? You may give a brief introduction presenting the author and their work’s relevance. It is always better to keep this piece of information short and provide only the key information.

If you are having trouble coming up with a catchy thesis statement, consider the relevance and the meaning of the analyzed work: what meaning does it project today, and what effect it had in the past? You may observe how the perception of the image has changed over time.

Main Body

You can start off by expressing your opinion on the image. It is always a great idea to avoid referring to other works that comment on the object. Observing the work subjectively can let you uncover some hidden aspects and make a whole new contribution to your visual analysis essay.

Once you are finished with the subjective assessment, you may proceed with analyzing the work objectively. Doing so is essential to uncover the artist’s motive and the idea behind his or her work. Try to use arguments and facts throughout the main body; they will enhance the essay by attributing symbolism and meaning to it.


As always, the conclusion asks the writer to summarize their arguments and observations. It is critical to highlight a thesis statement and identify why the text proves that the former is meaningful. Always make sure the conclusion stems from main body paragraphs and does not contain any new information.

Some Useful Visual Analysis Essay Samples

Composing a visual analysis essay isn’t the easiest task. If you find yourself stuck in the middle of writing or simply struggling to start, you may refer to a visual analysis essay example:

How to Write an Image Analysis Essay in 6 Easy Steps

Visual Analysis Essay: Some Ultimate Tips

Observe and take notes

Your own observations are important. To make your analysis as profound as possible, try to get to know the artwork. If possible, you can visit an exhibition and take a look at it in real life. This practice will enhance your perception and grant you the top grade.

Write down all characteristics

A visual analysis essay is typically based on design elements, so try to detect as many of them as possible. To make this process more convenient, consider creating a separate table. You may include all of the elements into the table and rank them from the most to least strong/fundamental.

Get to know the audience

Knowing who your readers are will facilitate your writing and let you use proper arguments for a respective emotional response. Learning how your audience will react to a visual analysis essay will give you an idea of its expectations and perceptions.

Search for additional information

Developing solid arguments often requires writers to conduct additional research to get a deeper understanding of the subject. Search for extra information regarding the artist, background, and the epoche in which they created this artwork.

Always revise before submitting

As soon as you are finished with preparing the first draft, you may start revising it. Most likely, you will have to make necessary edits and enhance your vocabulary and grammar. Moreover, revising allows you to find the tiniest mistakes and quickly eliminate them, so we recommend keeping this tip in mind.

Let’s Write a Visual Analysis With Us At WriteMyEssayToday!

Overall, writing a visual analysis essay is a great way to demonstrate your ability to see the idea behind the painting, identify its core elements, and take a look at the artwork from the artist’s perspective. Taking all the requirements and writing time into account, we can conclude that composing a visual analysis essay is often challenging. That’s why, as long as you have access to the Internet, you can submit your do my essay request in our online writing service website and get your paper done in just a couple of hours! We ensure the highest quality and timely delivery, thus guaranteeing 100% customer satisfaction.

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