Summer CS Research

See it, then write it

Send mid IB students off with some summer homework to give the Comparative Study an extra boost.

Summer holidays are an opportune time for students to visit museums, galleries, or artist studios and see some art work firsthand. Now that museums are reopening, why not use this as  enrichment for the Comparative Study? If you haven't already completed the CS with your students, ( if you have then congratulations!) make this part of your mid IB students required summer work.

Students will return to school with important research and a head start on the CS, ready to mold it into a full fledged comparative study at the start of the school year. What's more, they will have seen and chosen the work themselves- using a primary source gives added value and meaning.

Start with a piece that excites you- then find connections through form and or content.

The beautiful image of Jane Rosens' blown glass birds on sandstone plinths at the top of this page to me suggests comparisons with Giorgio Morandi's still lives... or Constantin Brancusi's soaring columns or Bird in Flight, or with certain African carved sculpture in wood or stone. But these are purely visual connections, what happens when you investigate the artists intentions, the cultural background of the work? What would YOU choose as a third artwork?


What stage are you at?

The two activities below are for different stages of CS development 

1. Summer research getting started 

this is for students just beginning the Comparative Study research

Identifying an artwork of interest is the first, but critical step of the CS. If you get this right the rest of the process is so much easier. Visiting an exhibition this summer can be the kick off point for the Comparative Study and a great way to chose an artist that you want to investigate.

Once you have selected one piece, the next step is to find other art works from different cultural contexts to compare to this one. Remember, 3 artworks are sufficient to meet the requirements!

Your teacher may be able to help by offering suggestions for possible comparisons, and then ultimately letting the student choose according to their individual preferences. Check out the page on Choosing Artworks 

For those who need a little extra help with structure there is also a CS Guiding Template 

      2.  Primary source research

      this is for students who already have a good start on their CS or a clear idea of the chosen artworks

      • Identify an artist or art works that you are writing about in your CS that you could go see for yourself. The page on Bill Viola, Electronic Renaissance shows how an exhibition can be used for the CS
      • Plan a visit to the site, museum, gallery or building to see the artwork
      • Gather information about the artist, the cultural context in which the work was made, and the artists intentions or purpose in making the work. Take notes from the exhibition texts, or any other written material you find. Consider even buying a book or catalog.( great for sources page)
      • Visual note taking: make sketches, photos, document the work. You may use these photos in your CS if you write " my own photo"
      • With one art work, practice analysing the Formal Elements of Art for Visual Analysis: Criterion A 

      Download or share pdf of Summer CS research

      More Summer Assignments?

      Mid IB Summer Assignments

      Begin year 2 with clear ideas and a sense of personal direction, ready to work towards a coherent exhibition.Mid IBDP summer is a critical moment for art students. They have completed the first year...

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