A critical essay is a discussion in response to a question or statement. In it, you present an argument based on evidence and your analysis of relevant theory and research. (“Critical” here is not synonymous with “fault-finding”; it is about analysis, discussion and developing an argument). The critical essay you will now write builds on the skills you have been developing over the past year. You should already know how to write a descriptive paper. The paper for this class will be a critical essay. You are given a question to which you will respond by presenting an argument based on visual (and/or textual) evidence and your analysis of relevant sources (books, articles, etc.).
THE QUESTION FOR THE CRITICAL ESSAY: “Compare the domes of the St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome) and the Suleymaniye Mosque (Istanbul) by discussing the typological and formal influences their designs drew from. Include in your discussion an analysis of the architectural characteristics and the interior decorative program.” I will provide some of the relevant literature on your topic, but you have to add at least one more source to this list. Find out first who the interesting/relevant scholars seem to be, and what they have to say. Use the library and the available art and architecture databases (Oxford Art Online, ARTStor, Art Full Text, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, JSTOR, etc.). You may only use the internet if it leads you towards scholarly material. NO .coms under any circumstances. It should be about 1,200-1,500 words long (max.) including the end notes, bibliography and image captions.