How to Write a Descriptive Essay on a Sculpture

How to Write a Descriptive Essay on a Sculpture

There is a great deal of artistic freedom granted to the student when a descriptive essay is assigned. In order for a descriptive essay to be successful it must accurately and vividly communicate the essence of a particular experience. At the heart of a descriptive essay on a sculpture is your unique experience with the sculpture. There are several observations to explore in order to ensure your descriptive essay on a sculpture is as valuable as possible.

1 Representation

To the best of your ability, clearly explain what the sculpture is intended to represent. Some sculptures' forms are ambiguous, and if that is the case, explain why. However, many sculptures clearly represent a distinct object or form. For example, Auguste Rodin’s sculpture "The Thinker" is a representation of a man deep in thought. If the sculpture you’re observing is a dog, boat, chair or any other recognizable form, make it clear to your reader what the sculpture is intending to represent and how you know.

2 Texture

In order for your reader to form a vivid picture in their mind of the sculpture you’re experiencing, explain the sculpture’s texture in length. Use descriptive adjectives like “coarse” or “smooth." Also, offer your reader the material the sculpture is made out of. By providing your reader with the detail that a sculpture is made of bronze, the material’s appearance will surface in their mind and create a more vivid picture of the sculpture you’re describing.

3 Size

Explaining the size of the sculpture is an effective way to strengthen the mental image that your reader is forming. Taking exact measurements of the sculpture and including these in your essay is one way your reader can get an accurate sense of how large or small the sculpture is. Comparing the size of the sculpture to another object is also effective. If you explain the sculpture is the size of a household chair it will form a different image in your reader’s mind than if you state that the statue is the size of a station wagon.

4 Tone

The tone of the sculpture has a great deal to do with how you feel about what you’re observing. If the sculpture is of a person running and their face seems in distress, you could interpret the tone of the piece in several different ways. The sculpture could communicate to you the benefits of hard work and determination, or the harsh consequences of demanding physical activity. What’s important is to explain what it is about the tone that impacts you and why.

Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Shore earned his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.