Examination of the Relationship Between Genre of Artwork and Artistic Medium

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  • Topic: Art, Chi-square distribution, Chi-square test
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Examination of the Relationship between Genre of Artwork and Artistic Medium

International Baccalaureate
Internal Assessment Project
Mathematical Studies 1
Standard Level

Dating back 30,000 years ago to the primitive cave paintings of the Neanderthals, art has been around for centuries. It has contributed to the progression of civilization and reformed the common thought of society. Its vast dispersion over many cultures makes it a relatable and comprehensible topic for people all over the world to understand. Historically, when people think of art they imagine beautiful works like da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”, van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Michelangelo’s “David”, or Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” Even if those works sound unfamiliar, 20th century artists like Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Ansel Adams are sure to ring a bell. However, most people rarely realize the effort and thought that is involved in creating such artwork. Exactly how much consideration do the artists take in deciding on whether or not they want to create a portrait, landscape, or, for the more modern artists, a surreal piece? Furthermore, what influence does that have on the type of mediums that they use? Is there a relationship between the genre of artwork and medium used to create the artwork? Because of my lifelong interest in art, my assessment will focus on the relationship between art genre and the medium used to create the art. The experiment will determine whether medium of artwork is independent of genre of artwork. In art, medium refers to the physical substance the artist uses to create his or her artwork. For example, common mediums would be graphite, paint, photography, or pastel; however, artistic mediums can include nearly any physical material that the artist wishes to use. Data will be obtained by visiting various art galleries and observing every third piece of artwork on display, starting with the first piece of artwork that is to the left of the entrance. For every second gallery entered, the starting point will be with the first piece of artwork that is to the right of the entrance. The genre and medium will be the only information recorded from each piece of artwork. The genres of artwork that will be assessed are landscapes, portraits, still-lives, and abstracts. Each of these will be considered sub-genre, as they will then be grouped into either the genres realism or surrealism. Abstract artwork cannot be considered realistic in its nature, and therefore it will automatically be grouped into the surrealism genre; however, portrait, landscape, and still-life artwork can be either realistic or surrealistic. Because of this, these sub-genres will be included in either surrealism or realism accordingly. The data will be collected this way because each sub-genre on its own will not have enough individual data for the project to be considered reliable or for the sophisticated mathematical processes to be carried out. Additionally, the genres realism and surrealism are broad generalizations. Paint, graphite, and photography will be the mediums observed for the project. The raw data will then be placed in bar charts, one with the sub-genres organized by the specified mediums, and another with the actual genres also organized by the specified mediums. Sixty pieces of artwork will be observed in total with the best effort to produce unbiased data as possible. A chi-squared test will then be performed using the data from the bar charts. The data in these bar charts will be recorded into contingency tables, one for observed frequencies and one for expected frequencies. After all expected frequencies are found using the observed frequencies, the chi-square test will be carried out to find the chi-square value. Finally, the chi-squared valued will be compared against the critical value to determine whether medium of artwork is independent of genre of artwork.

Raw Data:
The data in the bar chart above represents...
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