Arts Research Paper Topics & Ideas

Even though it can appear that studying arts is much easier than exact sciences such as physics or mathematics, the practice demonstrates that students frequently face particular difficulties with this subject. The reason is that arts comprise multiple branches such as visual, literary, performing, and other arts, and fully understanding and researching them can be challenging even for scholars. Nevertheless, the importance of studying arts cannot be overestimated due to various reasons. Firstly, art allows people to look at the world from a different perspective, to experience someone else’s way of seeing things, to develop one’s creative thinking, and to broaden the worldview. Secondly, taking into account that people were creating art throughout the history of humankind, its various pieces represent experience and culture of humanity at different stages of development.

When a professor demands you to write a research paper on arts, you should decide on a topic first. You have to remember that being genuinely attracted by a specific area of arts is the key to choosing the right essay topic. After selecting a branch, it is essential to narrow it down and dedicate your research to a particular aspect. You can either analyze a specific timeframe, one’s biography, artistic movement or engage in thorough analysis of a specific work. Nevertheless, it can be complicated to come up with a topic for your essay, and the following topics may help you choose your direction.

Topics and Ideas for Arts Research Paper

Below you can find the topics for the Arts research paper:

  1. Abstract Expressionism and Its Roots
    When choosing this topic, it is essential to focus on the definition of abstract expressionism, the history of its appearance, and all the central events connected with it. Besides, mentioning the key peculiarities of style would also be a great idea. Finally, you can choose one or two representatives of abstract expressionism and dwell on their activity and impact.
  2. Claude Monnet vs. Edouard Manet. Similarities and Differences
    Before comparing the two artists, you should briefly include the information about their lives, indicate the movements they belonged to, and mention the most notable works. Then, you can proceed to contrasting their painting techniques, styles, their perceptions of art, and their influence on the world of art. Your essay should help people, who know nothing about Monet and Manet, easily distinguish between the two artists, so be precise and include both their similarities and disparities.
  3. Does Cultural Identity Influence the Creation of Art?
    In this composition, you should address the influence of one’s culture on art. For instance, you can write about the ways colors are perceived differently in various cultures, how the history of Afro-American oppression had an impact on Jazz or dwell on how the traditions of Ancient Egyptians were depicted in their art. Furthermore, it is possible to mention that culture and art are interdependent, and they alter each other.
  4. How Modern Musicians Are Breaking Genre Stereotypes
    In this essay, you can mention the definition of genre stereotype and include the key examples to illustrate the notion. After writing about the main stereotypes, you can find the examples of modern artists that are dispelling those myths with their music. For instance, write about Hans Zimmer or Ludovico Einaudi, who are breaking the stereotype that classical music is boring.
  5. Does Performance Art Have Boundaries?
    At the very beginning of the essay, provide an accurate definition of performance art. Then, mention its most prominent representatives. You can choose one or two artists and dwell on their activity to analyze the topic. Since performance art is all about innovation, the analysis of the artists of your choice will help you answer the question and get a better understanding of the essence of this type of art.
  6. Art in Ancient Rome
    When writing this essay, present a comprehensive account of the history of Roman art and introduce its most notable peculiarities. Then, you can either write about all of the forms of Roman art or focus on one specific branch such as painting, sculpture or architecture. Additionally, you can also write about its influence on other arts and modernity.
  7. Gustav Klimt’s Painting Techniques
    First, write about Klimt’s nationality, most notable works, and the movements he was a part of. Then, it makes sense to research the techniques he used, and analyze them on the basis of the examples of his most celebrated paintings. For instance, you can write about his use of gold in The Kiss, Palace Athene, and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.
  8. The Art of Street Photography
    Street photography is a rather extensive topic. Thus, you can mention its origins, a brief outline of its history, and the most prominent photographers. Next, it is possible to dwell on the specific techniques used in this type of photography and its various styles. Finally, you can write about legal concerns in selected countries connected with street photography as it can be illegal to take pictures in public places in some countries.
  9. Vivian Maier, the Mysterious Photographer
    Vivian Maier is one of the most outstanding street photographers. Thus, this essay should focus on her biography, the way her works had been discovered, her techniques and peculiarities of style, and the impact she had on the world of photography. Besides, you may analyze a few of her works, mention the movies and books about her, and write about the factors that influenced her art.
  10. Is the Author Indeed Dead or Was Barthes Mistaken?
    “The Death of the Author” is the essay written by Roland Barthes in which he states that a creator and art are not related; thus, any work should be analyzed without taking into account the identity of the author. To research this topic, you can mention the background of the notion, provide the arguments that Barthes included in his essay, and then state whether you agree with them or not. Besides, you can mention the opinions of other scholars regarding the issue and conclude on that basis.
  11. Jazz Music of the 21st century
    Jazz music was created more than one hundred years ago, and your task is to compare its past and modern forms. To do that, you can mention the foremost modern artists, subgenres of contemporary jazz, and techniques that are used nowadays. Finally, write about the role it plays in the lives of people now and how it differs from the situation in the past.
  12. Famous Paintings with Secrets and Hidden Meaning
    In this essay, you can analyze the peculiarities of such painting as Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein, Last Supper by Van Gogh, Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, and Primavera by Sandro Botticelli. All of those paintings hide certain elements or messages that would be interesting to research. Dwell on the techniques used by the artists and the content they wanted to share.
  13. Why Is Everyone Afraid of Modern Art?
    Modern art can appear odd and not worth one’s attention for some people. Moreover, some may even be afraid of it. Your task is to give some tips on how to understand modern art and stop fearing it. You can describe the main contemporary art branches, artists, and provide some pieces of advice on how to start getting acquainted with modern art.
  14. Censorship of Art in Nazi Germany
    Write about the historical events that caused censorship of art, critical figures connected with it, works of art that were banned, and artists who were persecuted. Besides, this essay can focus on the opposition to censorship and various movements that were formed. You can also mention the notion of propaganda, and how Germany used art to spread their ideas.
  15. Do the Viewer’s Understanding and the Author’s Idea Ever Coincide?
    In this paper, discuss your understanding of the question and express your idea on whether it is possible to understand the intention of the author fully. Besides, you can cite the work of Derrida and his notion of deconstruction that means that no one can ever understand what the author meant. In addition, mention Barthes and his idea of the death of the author.
  16. The Life of Pablo Picasso
    Pablo Picasso is indeed the most celebrated artist of the surrealism and cubism movements. When writing about his life, do not forget to include the data about his works, style, techniques, and legacy. Since Picasso is a well-known artist, try to research some interesting information that may be unknown to a regular person. Still, the essential facts from his biography cannot be omitted.
  17. The Theatre of the Absurd. Eugene Ionesco’s Impact
    This topic can be analyzed by including the information about the history of the appearance of the Theater of the Absurd, its principal playwrights, and major productions. Moreover, it is essential to mention the main ideas and concepts of the theater and how they were expressed through its activity. As to Eugene Ionesco, you can write about his role in the history of the theater, his influence on the other playwrights, and his most prominent ideas.
  18. How Andy Warhol Influenced the World of Art?
    Andy Warhol’s impact on the world of art cannot be underestimated. This paper can focus on his main creations, the Pop Art movement, his techniques, and worldview. You can write about his use of media, as it was rather innovative and mention that Warhol had a peculiar perception of art in general. Finally, describe his legacy and role in the modern world.
  19. Ancient Greek Sculpture and Its Peculiarities
    While writing this paper, discuss the main characteristics of Greek sculpture and the history of its creation. Moreover, you can mention why those sculptures are so realistic. Dwell on the main periods of the development of Greek sculpture, mainly the geometric, archaic, classical, and Hellenistic. Finally, you may mention the idea of the ideal man.
  20. Who is Banksy?
    Banksy is probably the most mysterious artist of the 21st century. Thus, in this paper, you can include background information about his work, most notable pieces, his activity not connected with art (such as his hotel), and the theories regarding his identity. Besides, this paper can include information about the destroyed painting that was breaking the news in 2018.


Hence, arts can be researched in numerous ways, and it is up to the person to decide on an approach. The key areas that you should focus on when writing an essay are the history, most prominent artists, their works, and techniques. The rest depends on the task provided by the professor and on your personal preferences. That is why the given topics can be either extended or shortened.

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