Research topic on Tim’s Vermeer, the Penn & Teller art documentary about Johannes Vermeer

Penn & Teller at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Credit: Angela George)

Penn & Teller at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Credit: Angela George)

Penn & Teller, the famous magicians, may not be the first names that spring to mind when you think of an art documentary. But their film, Tim’s Vermeer, provides an interesting look into the connection between art and technology as viewed through the paintings of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. For your next art or film research paper topic, it’s worth it to watch the film and provide your own synopsis on the documentary.

A synopsis of Tim’s Vermeer

The Tim in Tim’s Vermeer is Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor and software developer, who became focused on how artists, particularly 17th-century Dutch artists such as Johannes Vermeer, created an interpretation of reality when they painted. Read more

Folk music and singer Pete Seeger – research topic on the death of a legend

Pete Seeger teaching William Boyce "Alleluia" round in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. (Credit: Jim, the Photographer)

Pete Seeger teaching William Boyce “Alleluia” round in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. (Credit: Jim, the Photographer)

For more than 70 years, singer Pete Seeger championed folk music, highlighting the genre’s important place in musical heritage. Seeger also served as an inspiration and mentor for the numerous revivals of folk music, dating from the 1950s and 60s to present day. Along the way, he guided many famous musicians, including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and supported a wide variety of causes and political movements. His influence can be heard in current musical groups such as Mumford & Sons. Seeger died on January 28, 2014, at the age of 94.

Musician and singer Pete Seeger

The death of a legend can challenge the future of any movement, but folk music had no greater champion than Pete Seeger. Born in 1919 to musical parents, Seeger’s first musical instrument was the ukulele. Read more

History of music research paper topics

Troubadour ensembles are one example of an excellent music history topic. (Credit: Wikielwikingo)

Troubadour ensembles are one example of an excellent music history topic. (Credit: Wikielwikingo)

Humans have been making music for as long as there have been humans. Cave images found in Turkey and dating from 6000 B.C.E., depict people playing drums and dancing.  Obviously the history of music is rich and far-reaching, providing a wealth of research paper topics for your next musically inclined course. Below are some areas to consider.

The need for music writing

In today’s technology-driven world, writing about music may not seem necessary. But even though writing about music can never take the place of hearing an actual musical performance, there is a valid need to communicate about the subject—whether it’s to broaden your understanding of what you’ve heard or to provide a deeper connection to the musical work. Read more

Top fashion designers in American history: Ideas for your fashion design paper

Throughout the years, the frequent changes of the fashion industry are what have made it so successful. (Courtesy of Stephoccitan)

Throughout the years, the frequent changes of the fashion industry are what have made it so successful. (Courtesy of Stephoccitan)

When you think about American history, the topics of fashion design and merchandising may not be top of your mind. Yet, top fashion designers have played an important part in building our unique American culture. If your assignment is to write a research paper on fashion design, then be sure to take the time to explore all the possible approaches that such a paper could take. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Ideas for your research paper

Clothing began as a necessity — a protection against a harsh environment and the elements. But humans also have a need for self-expression and for decoration. Read more

DIY book projects: Repurpose books into crafts and gifts!

Book Clock #1

Book Clock #1 (Photo credit: David Singleton)

Do you have piles of books lying around collecting dust? After you’re done reading them, why not repurpose books into something new and creative? Here are some Pinterest-inspired DIY book projects, crafts and gifts to help you get rid of those books you’ll never read again!

Re-gift them

Have a wedding shower or baby’s first birthday party to attend? Consider taking a favorite book of the guest-of-honor — for example a children’s book, which author Elaine McMillion of the Beans in a Can blog does in her July 24, 2011 post, “Repurposing Used Children’s Books,” — and slice your favorite pages and illustrations out with an X-Acto knife and placing them in antique frames. Read more

Art history books and articles on Questia for researching art history

Art history

Nebamun’s garden, fragment of a scene from the tomb-chapel of Nebamun (Around 1350 B.C.)

Back in March, we featured a post on how to research performing arts topics and we wanted to follow it up with a brief exploration into a few of the most well-received art history books and articles ever written. Art history majors might be intrigued to learn more about the recent contemporary art sale at Christie’s, which established 16 new world records with works by 20th century modern art painters Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat selling for a combined $638.6 million. Read more

Researching Performing Arts topics, from acting to dance to comedy to opera

Performing artsFor undergraduates studying the history of the performing arts, Questia offers a treasure trove of reference books, journals and articles that dive into all aspects of music, dance, acting, opera and comedy. Tracing the roots of performing arts takes one back thousands of years, covering both West and Eastern hemispheres. For the ancient Greeks, renowned playwrights Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) and Menander, (341/42– ca. 290 BC) ushered in the idea of dramatic and comedic theater. The Chinese performing arts date back to 1000 B.C. with singing and dancing being performed at the Chinese court as early as the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 B.C.) Read more

America’s famous artists: Honoring American Artist Appreciation Month

American artist Andy Warhol

Artist Andy Warhol (© AP Images)

In honor of August’s American Artist Appreciation Month, we’ve released a list of the top five most researched American artists in our library. To celebrate, we’re opening up some of our best content to make reference works on these famous artists free for an entire month!

  1. Andy Warhol: Famous for his pop art paintings, prints, photography, film, music and much more, Andy Warhol is considered one of the most controversial artists of the century. Whether the opinion is positive or negative, it’s clear that Warhol’s art struck a nerve with many. “In more than one hundred books and in more than a thousand articles, writers have either adored or despised Andy Warhol, and no other artist has ever aroused such impassioned praise and vehement condemnation.” Read more

Honoring LGBT Pride Month with free reference works on notable LGBT painters

Artist Andy Warhol

Artist Andy Warhol (© AP Images)

Questia is honoring LGBT Pride Month by sharing a few interesting facts on the five most researched LGBT painters in our library. To celebrate, we’ve even opened up our library to make reference works on each of these artist free for a whole month. Continue the celebration by checking out the Huffington Post‘s slideshow of 15 LGBT art exhibits you can visit around the country this month. Enjoy!

  1. Andy WarholIn the visual art movement known as pop art, Warhol was a leading figure and created iconic masterpieces that are engrained within American pop culture, such as the infamous Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings.  While Warhol may be most well-known for his paintings, he expressed his art through many other mediums such as sculpture, fashion and theater. Read more

Guernica by Pablo Picasso: Restoration efforts began with infrared photography scan

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Guernica by Pablo Picasso (© Paul White/AP Images)

Pablo Picasso’s historic painting, Guernica, has been undergoing examination using a new infrared photographic device that compiles detailed information about the masterpiece. The painting’s curator hopes to use the information to focus their restoration efforts and minimize disruption to the painting, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of its creation. Sadly, the history of art restoration is filled with stories of works that suffered due to restoration efforts. Read more