Getting Started with your CS

You are able to organize the CS however you would like, but in my class, we have found the logical (easiest) way to be the most successful.

So, consider the main components of your CS should be:

  1. Introduction of Artworks and Explanation of Theme/Why you chose Artworks to compare
  2. Introduction of Artist and Analysis of Artwork through
    1. Function and Purpose
    2. Critical and Contextual (Cultural Significance)
    3. Formal Analysis (Feldman’s)
  3. Comparison of Artworks
    1. Similarities
    2. Differences
    3. Connections
  4. Reflection to own Work(s) (HL)
  5. List of Sources
  6. Creative Presentation and Use of Subject Specific Language (throughout)

Getting Started

The Comparative Study should not take 2 years to complete – it is only 20% of your IB mark.  However, it should inform many of your artworks, particularly if you are in HL, and it helps in your PP development.  So if you can, do it earlier than later.  And if you are organized you could complete it within 2 months.  To do so, prepare yourself well.

cs2Choose Wisely

First, choose 2 artists that you are interested in from different cultural backgrounds.  It would be good if you have already studied them and/or are planning on using them for inspiration.  (You CAN choose 3 artists, if you wish as well)

cs1From the 2 artists, you have to choose 3 artworks.  And they have to be able to be compared –  choose a theme or a visual idea that you can compare.  (If you choose 3 artworks, there will be one artwork per artist)


For help….

Research your Artists

Research each artist and the possible conceptual and cultural inspirations of their life/artworks.

Use McFee’s Conceptual Framework as a guide.  You can literally copy the table below to your own pages and use it.  Or create notes in your own style.

REMEMBER TO SOURCE!!!  If you are taking information from the internet, a good rule of thumb is to immediately copy the URL and insert it directly under the information.  You can use the URL at a later date to gather further information to create your list of sources.

To go above and beyond – find articles written by art critics and author’s about the artist and their work – that support your research – that you can quote.  This will add maturity and further relevance to your claims.

Analyze your Artworks

cs7For each of your artworks –  ANALYZE them.


In my class, we found using  Feldman’s Approach as a guide was the best starting block.  You can literally copy the questions below to your own pages to guide you.

For our Formal Analysis screens, we added more visual descriptions of our analysis and broke down the analysis part to make  it easier for the examiner to read key points.


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