Fine Art Dissertation Introduction

Best undergraduate dissertations in History of Art, 2011

In June 2011 the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol voted to begin to publish the best of the annual dissertations produced by the department’s final year History of Art undergraduates (deemed to be those receiving a mark of 75 or above). We did so in recognition of the excellent research work being undertaken by our students. As a department, we are committed to the advancement of historical knowledge and understanding, and to research of the highest order. We believe that our undergraduates are part of that endeavour.

Listed below are the the best of this year’s final year undergraduate dissertations, with links to the dissertations themselves where these are available. Please note, however, that these dissertations are published in the state they were submitted for examination. Thus the authors have not been able to correct errors and/or departures from departmental guidelines for the presentation of dissertations (e.g. in the formatting of footnotes and bibliographies). In each case, copyright resides with the author and all rights are reserved.

How To Come Up With Interesting Art Dissertation Ideas

Okay, so you want to be an artist? Art is one the most popular courses for young people to take when moving into higher education. It is also a very broad subject, with a whole range of possible career pathways. Thankfully, you still have plenty of time ahead of you to explore your options. So, while you don’t need to decide upon your speciality right now, you do need to come up with a dissertation that will blow your lecturer’s mind away.

With so much competition out there; so many fresh, creative minds buzzing away with ideas you will want to come up with something a little quirky; a little offbeat that perfectly demonstrates your individuality. If you are struggling for inspiration, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Can captioned images posted on social media sites such as “Snapchat” and “Instagram” be construed as art? Discuss.
  2. Does the pop art of the 1950’s have a role to play in comics and graphic comics of today?
  3. Explore the key differences between minimalism and abstract expressionism.
  4. Do artists define a civilization? Examine and explore how prehistoric paintings have shaped our understanding of prehistoric man.
  5. Can painting and drawing help survivors of natural disasters come to terms with their grief? Explore the creative ways in which survivors of the Boxing Day Tsunami are working through the tragedy.
  6. Choose a famous artist and explore how they used their work to mirror the political chaos of the era in which they lived. Are there any examples of artists influencing government policy? Discuss.
  7. The viewing public will see what they choose to see. Can paintings and sculptures help bridge gaps in people’s intelligence? Or is it all aesthetic? Discuss.
  8. During the Second Word War, nude paintings were used as a means of providing comfort to soldiers. Should images of the female body be used in this way and is there a place for this kind of work in modern day warfare? Discuss.
  9. Explore the ways in which nature has influenced great Japanese artists.
  10. Can graffiti artists such as Banksy ever be viewed as positive role models for young people today? Is his work simply a statement, or can it be viewed as beautiful? Should the authorities prosecute graffiti artists for “damaging” public property? Discuss.

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