Browse images of modern/contemporary art in our textbook by Will Gompertz. Select ONE work of art* that you think best exemplifies ONE of the theories covered in the second half of the semester, listed below.

  • Evolutionary theory
  • Danto’s theory of the Artworld
  • Feminist aesthetic theory
  • Postcolonial aesthetic theory
  • Hume’s theory of the Standard of Taste

*Two Exceptions:

1. Do not pick the same artist you wrote your midterm essay on (assuming they are in the textbook). For example, if you already analyzed Damien Hirst in your essay, you may not write about him again in your exam.


2. Do not pick the exact same art work that is used in a module to exemplify a theory. Pick something different. For example, you may not write on Maman by Bourgeois to explain Freud.

For your selected pairing of an art work with a theory:


  1. List the title of the art work, its artist, and the year it was made. Then note the figure or colour plate number recorded in the textbook.
  3. Make your case in a short paragraph, around 400 words:

In a few sentences, explain the theory in your own words and apply it to the art work. That is to say, analyze and come to some sort of conclusion about the art work according to the theory.


 Briefly attempt to justify how “testing” this theory to the art work might help us answer the three core questions: 

      • What is beauty?
      • Where do we find it?
      • What is its power?

Now repeat these steps three more times for a total of FOUR (4) pairings. In other words, you should end up with four different art works from the textbook that illustrate four different theories of beauty from the list further above.


You are expected and allowed to reference ONLY our course lessons and assigned readings. However, do not quote or copy/paste phrases. To demonstrate learning objectives, your answers must be written entirely IN YOUR OWN WORDS, including any points summarized.


No formal APA citations are needed; rather, indicate informally when you are paraphrasing from an assigned reading or lesson; for example, “As Danto argues in The Artworld, the average person will … to understand Modern art.” Doing so will ground and clarify the source of your ideas.


Each answer is worth up to 6.25 points (x 4 = 25 points total).

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