Module 5: Meaning in my masterpiece

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My masterpiece of choice is, the painting “ The 3rd of May 1808 “For this assignment you will either explore the socio/cultural meaning of your masterpiece. Some masterpieces will be easier to understand the socio/cultural meaning and some will require a broader look at what was going on in the world or influences from the style or movement within which your artist was working


You will research and read about your masterpiece and write a 500 word essay that cites at least 2 scholarly sources.

You must include a works cited list in MLA format and have in text citations. In text citations are the author’s last name and page # (if applicable to your source) in parentheses after you use information from that source. A sentence with an in-text citation could look like: Here is my sentence full of really great information from my research (Smith, 6).

Your works cited list is the full citation listed at the end. See the Resources section of this assignment for more help.

Post your word count at the end of your essay.


You may not have the answers to all these questions but they apply to many. Remember I want to know what your work means, what does it tell us about the culture and time period it came from? Approach this like a historian, how does it fit in to the time it was created in?

  • How does the work reflect the location in which the work was created?
    • does it show agriculture, does it show trade by sea, does it show urban life, is it a scene of leisure?
  • Does the work tell us anything about the person/location it was created for?
    • Did a specific person pay to have it created? Was it made for a church? Is it painted on a wall of a building?
  • Does it reflect religious or cultural belief systems?
    • how is religion shown?
    • how are women depicted?
    • how are people of color depicted?
    • Is there a moral lesson here?
  • What does it tell us about the historical period in which it was created?
    • wartime, famine, kings ruled, poverty, very religious, slavery, women treated poorly etc.

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