Writing a 3 Point Essay (The Holy Trinity of Art History) Prep-Work!!!

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Stewart, Art History

Writing a 3 Point Essay

(The Holy Trinity of Art History)


  • Prep work helps eliminate test anxiety.

  • Read the question, circle the terms and read the question again.

  • Start with what you know and build from there.

  • Write out your 3 points, including your standby point. Realism is a good one for painting, sculpture, etc. Light is a good one for architecture.

  • Write out your must-use vocabulary.

  • Reread the question again to make sure you are answering the question correctly and in it’s entirety.

  1. Thesis Paragraph

You have three jobs:

  1. Fully identify the theme

  2. Fully identify the two artworks you are comparing/contrasting

  3. List your three points. Make your points fairly general so you can elaborate in the body of the essay. Anything from CORN FLAKES is a good point.

  1. Paragraph 2: Artwork 1

Analyze the artwork using your three points, in order. Make sure you connect the content to the culture. This is the most important part!

Example: The Mayan artist depicted the king in a composite stance. The Mayans did not show their kings with realism because they believed they were directly related to the gods. Only lowly humans were depicted in a naturalistic pose.

  1. Paragraph 3: Artwork 2

Analyze the 2nd artwork, comparing it to the first. Use the same points in the same order.


Write a conclusion paragraph but don’t just restate your thesis. Research is about discovery. What did you discover in your research

Don’t say: “In conclusion, artists used realism, the gaze, and hierarchal scale to show power and authority.”
Do say: “ It was the duty of the artist to express the power of the gods.”
P.S. Never say “I think” or “I believe”. Always play the role of the expert. How would you react if your boyfriend or girlfriend said “I think I love you”?.

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