The Impact of Humanism on the Visual and Literary Arts
Select one of the following essay prompts:
1. One of the most important elements during the renaissance is humanism. In your
own words, what is humanism? How can you apply characteristics of renaissance
humanism in your own life? Discuss its significance during the renaissance. Describe the
ways in which humanism is demonstrated during the renaissance. Select one or two of
the works of art or literature from your textbook and address the impact and
relationship between humanism and the work (s).
2. In your own words, define humanism. Choose one of the following works and write
an analysis, focusing on the humanistic characteristics you perceive in the work:
Domenico Ghirlandaio’s An Old Man and his Son
Raphael’s The School of Athens
Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
Sofonisba Anguissola’s Self-Portrait at the Clavichord
Lavinia Fontana’s Self-Portrait at the Clavichord
v At least 4 pages in length.
v Be certain to italicize ALL works of art and literature
v Follow MLA guidelines of paper format, grammar, spelling etc. These DO count
and will impact your grade.
v Include a cover page on your paper: Name, Course Number, Date, Title
v Thesis statement—usually the last line of your first paragraph.
v The first time an artist or writer is mentioned it is proper to utilize the artist’s first
and last name. Any other mention of the artist should be by his or her last name,
or what they are commonly referred to. For example, Michelangelo.
If you plagiarize, fail to include a works cited or citations in any of your papers (if required)
when using any outside sources (including textbooks), you will receive a “0” grade without
chance for rewrite.
If you use the words of another writer without acknowledging that writer it is considered
If you use the ideas of another writer without acknowledging that writer it is considered
plagiarism. As I read your paper, I will be asking “How does he or she know this
If you use text verbatim from another source, you must provide quotes around the passage
and include an in text citation.
If you paraphrase, you must provide an in text citation.
Introduction provides general background information to your paper topic. The intro. must
include a well-defined thesis statement.
Thesis Statement gives the purpose/intent of your paper and stating the examples to be
focused on for support of your thesis statement.
Body of the paper should set forth and examine evidence that supports your thesis
statement. It should follow the order of your examples as set forth by the Thesis statement.
Conclusion of your paper should be a distinct paragraph after the Body. The Conclusion
should sum up your major points of evidence and demonstrate clear (logical) proof of your
COVER SHEET: Papers must include a cover sheet with student’s name, assignment title,
class and section. This information should not be repeated on the first page of the paper.
Numbering begins with the body of the paper and not on the cover sheet.
GRADING RUBRIC FOR PAPERS
Note that this is the standard expected of good pre-college students. It outlines basic
elements of a good paper, and attaches grades to them. The basic grade of a paper derives
from its content. The difference between the higher and lower grades here may depend on
issues such as presentation.
The Superior Paper (A/A-)
Thesis: Easily identifiable, plausible, novel, sophisticated, insightful, crystal clear.
Structure: Evident, understandable, and appropriate for thesis. Excellent transitions
from point to point. Paragraphs support solid topic sentences.
Use of evidence: Primary source information used to buttress every point with at
least one example. Examples support mini-thesis and fit within paragraph.
Excellent integration of quoted material into sentences.
Analysis: Author clearly relates evidence to “mini-thesis” (topic sentence); analysis
is fresh and exciting, posing new ways to think of the material.
Logic and argumentation: All ideas in the paper flow logically; the argument is identifiable,
reasonable, and sound. Author anticipates and successfully defuses counter-arguments; makes
novel connections to outside material (from other parts of the class, or other classes) which
Mechanics: Sentence structure, grammar, and diction excellent; correct use of
punctuation and citation style; minimal to no spelling errors; absolutely no run-on
sentences or comma splices.
The Good Paper (B+/B)
Thesis: Promising, but may be slightly unclear, or lacking in insight or originality.
Structure: Generally clear and appropriate, though may wander occasionally. May
have a few unclear transitions, or a few paragraphs without strong topic sentences.
Use of evidence: Examples used to support most points. Some evidence does not
support point, or may appear where inappropriate. Quotes well integrated into
Analysis: Evidence often related to mini-thesis, though links perhaps not very clear.
Logic and argumentation: Argument of paper is clear, usually flows logically and
makes sense. Some evidence that counter-arguments acknowledged, though perhaps
not addressed. Occasional insightful connections to outside material made.
Mechanics: Sentence structure, grammar, and diction strong despite occasional
lapses; punctuation and citation style often used correctly. Some (minor) spelling
errors; may have one run-on sentence or comma splice.
The Borderline Paper (B-/C+)
Thesis: May be unclear (contain many vague terms), appear unoriginal, or offer
relatively little that is new; provides little around which to structure the paper.
Structure: Generally unclear, often wanders or jumps around. Few or weak
transitions, many paragraphs without topic sentences.
Use of evidence: Examples used to support some points. Points often lack
supporting evidence, or evidence used where inappropriate (often because there may
be no clear point). Quotes may be poorly integrated into sentences.
Analysis: Quotes appear often without analysis relating them to mini-thesis (or
there is a weak mini-thesis to support), or analysis offers nothing beyond the quote.
Logic and argumentation: Logic may often fail, or argument may often be
unclear. May not address counter-arguments or make any outside connections.
Mechanics: Problems in sentence structure, grammar, and diction (usually not
major). Errors in punctuation, citation style, and spelling. May have several run-on
sentences or comma splices.
The “Needs Help” Paper (C/C-)
Thesis: Difficult to identify at all, may be bland restatement of obvious point.
Structure: Unclear, often because thesis is weak or non-existent. Transitions
confusing and unclear. Few topic sentences.
Use of evidence: Very few or very weak examples. General failure to support
statements, or evidence seems to support no statement. Quotes not integrated into
sentences; “plopped in” in improper manner.
Analysis: Very little or very weak attempt to relate evidence to argument; may be no
identifiable argument, or no evidence to relate it to.
Logic and argumentation: Ideas do not flow at all, usually because there is no
argument to support. Simplistic view of topic; no effort to grasp possible alternative
Mechanics: Big problems in sentence structure, grammar, and diction. Frequent
major errors in citation style, punctuation, and spelling. May have many run-on
sentences and comma splices.
The Failing Paper
Shows obviously minimal lack of effort or comprehension of the assignment. Very
difficult to understand owing to major problems with mechanics, structure, and
analysis. Has no identifiable thesis, or utterly incompetent thesis.