Comparing Images

A resource for teaching students to compare art works

Selected images

The pairs of images in the gallery below are especially selected for teaching students to compare and contrast artworks in preparation for The Comparative Study. A comparison is more effective when it has a strong basis for comparing: some common ground, be it concept, context, subject matter, medium or technique.

For the final Comparative Study students should select their own artworks based on their areas of personal interests. The final CS will also include a comparison of a minimum of 3 artworks, by at least two artists

    Basic Guidelines for Comparing

    Building skills for the CS

    The Artworks and their Context

    Identify each art work selected and analyze

    1. Cultural contexts of work
    2. The Formal Elements
    3. Function and Purpose  artists intentions

    Making Connections

    Compare and contrast the works selected

    1. Compare the cultural contexts of the work, how are they shaped by their culture, time and art history?
    2. Compare the formal qualities, how are they similar, how do they differ visually?
    3. Compare the content, motifs, signs, symbols…do they share similar concepts, artistic purpose or intentions?

    Download Basic Guidelines fo Comparing 

    Image Gallery

    In the gallery are 8 pairs of images that are well suited to teaching a guided comparison. In some of the pairs, one art work is clearly acknowledging or referencing an earlier work, and others are completely unaware of each other and their possible commonalities and differences. Each pair is chosen from differing cultural or historical contexts and each share varying degrees of connection.

    8 pairs (A and B) click on the thumbnail to enlarge image.

     gallery also available as a pdf Slideshow of images for comparing

     Teaching activities

    each of these activities builds on the previous and can be taught over several months time
    1. Assign one pair of images to the whole class as a first exercise, following the Basic Guidelines for Comparing  above
    2. Let students choose their own pair from the gallery for a more independent comparison
    3. Invite students to bring in a third artwork of their own choice by another artist
    4. Make an artwork in response to the works under consideration (HL)

      More Useful Pages

      Choosing Artworks

      Choose your artworks for the Comparative study bearing in mind the availability of appropriate resources, the marking criteria and the requirements of the task:Your choice of artworks might be inspired...

      Skills for CS

      Gradually introduce the skills required to write a good comparative studyIf your students are used to analyzing artworks and writing comparisons already then this will be a peach. Many teachers have expressed...

      Compare and Contrast

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