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Theories of Composition

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Theories of Composition

  1. 1. Compositional Theories of Art Composition: An orderlyarrangement of elements using the principles of design.
  2. 2. Rule of Thirds Imagine a grid that splits the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Place the subject along those gridlines. The intersections of the lines are especially compelling places to position your subject.The Biglen Brothers Racing (1873) Thomas Eakins
  3. 3. Rule of Thirds Imagine a grid that splits the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Place the subject along those gridlines. The intersections of the lines are especially compelling places to position your subject.The Biglen Brothers Racing (1873) Thomas Eakins
  4. 4. The GoldenRectangleBased on theGolden Ratio,aka the DivineProportion, amathematicallydevelopedformula,observed oftenin nature andapplied toarchitecture andin art.
  5. 5. The Mona Lisa (1503-1519) Leonardo da Vinci
  6. 6. The Rule of Odds Having an odd number of things in a composition means your eye and brain cant pair them up or group them easily. Theres somehow always one thing left over, which keeps your eyes moving across the composition.Portrait of Charles I, King of England (1635-1636) Anthony van Dyck
  7. 7. Leading Lines Lines that guide a viewer’s eyes around, or through, the artwork are called leading lines.Provencher’s Mill at Moret (1883) Alfred Sisley
  8. 8. Strong Diagonal A strong diagonal is a form of a leading line. It can transform a boring composition into a dynamic one.Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890) Vincent van Gogh
  9. 9. Lines of Sight Lines of sight are created when the subject is looking at something within the painting. It causes the viewer to follow the line of sight to the object being observed.Christina’s World (1948) Andrew Wyeth
  10. 10. Point of View Art does not always need to be depicted at eye level. Moving the point of view above, or below, the subject can create a more interesting, dynamic piece of art.Tree Trunks (1821) John Constable
  11. 11. Framing One way to make your subject stand out is by creating a natural frame within the composition. The frame helps draw the viewer’s eye to the main subject. Framing can also be used to create a sense of depth, or to provide a context for the artwork.Noli Me Tangere (1440-1441) Fra Angelico
  12. 12. Simplify Try to eliminate unnecessary items from your composition – they will only distract the viewer.Colour Beginning (1819) Joseph Mallord William Turner
  13. 13. Fill the Frame It is not always necessary for the entire subject to be included in the composition. Sometimes it is more effective, and interesting, to crop the edges of your main subject.Pineapple Bud (1939) Georgia O’Keeffe
  14. 14. Active Space It is important when you are depicting action, that you leave space between the side of the frame and the subject. If you do not do this, the artwork will feel unbalanced.The Walk to Work (1851) Jean-Francois Millet
  15. 15. Composition 1. Rule of Thirds 2. Golden Rectangle 3. Leading Lines 4. Lines of Sight 5. Strong Diagonal 6. Point of View 7. Framing 8. SimplifyFor the next 10-15 minutes, analyze thiswork of art in terms of the compositional 9. Fill the Frametheories you see. 10.Active Space Chair Car (1965) Edward Hopper

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