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Principles of Design
Transcript of Principles of Design
Rules that govern how artists
organize the elements of art.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Contrast & Variety
Movement & Rhythm
is the quality of wholeness or oneness that is achieved through the use of the elements of art.
Simplicity-technique for creating unity by limiting the number of variations of an element.
Repetition-technique for creating rhythm and unity in which a motif or single element appears again and again.
Proximity-technique for creating unity by limiting negative spaces between shapes.
Continuation-technique for creating unity by arranging shapes so that the line or edge of one shape continues a line or edge of the next.
Visual rhythm is perceived through the eyes and is created by repeating positive spaces separated by negative spaces.
makes one part of a work dominant over the other parts. The element noticed first is called dominant, the elements noticed later are called subordinate.
is concerned with equalizing visual forces, or elements, in a work of art. If a work of art has balance, the viewer feels that the elements have been arranged in a satisfying way. The two types of balance are formal and informal.
Symmetrical & asymmetrical.
is concerned with the size relationship of one part to another. Is the head too small for the body, the flower too large for the vase, etc?
is created by simplicity, repetition, proximity and continuation.
indicates movement by the repetition of elements.
Dominant or Subordinate
Formal & Informal
Principles of Design
is a technique for creating rhythm and unity in which a motif or single element appears again and again- it is a means of emphasizing.
Eva Hesse. Untitled. Black ink wash and pencil on paper. 11 3/4 " x 9 3/4". Collection of Toy Gail Ganz, Los Angeles © The Estate of Eva Hesse, Hauser and Virth, Zurich, London.
James Siena. Souble Recursive Combs (Red and Black). 2004-2005. Gouache on paper. 11" x 8 1/2" (123.5 cm x 87 cm). Zwirner Gallery (ARS), New York/BUS, Stockholm.
Eve Aschheim. Lurker. 1999. Pencil, gesso, black gesso, wax crayon, ink on Duralene mylar. 12" x 9". The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, 2005.
Willie Cole. Domestic I.D., IV. 1992. Iron scorches and pencil on paper mounted in recycled painted wood window, 35" x 32" x 1 3/8" (88.9 cm x 81.3 cm x 3.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Eva Hesse. Untitled. Black ink wash and pencil on paper. 11 3/4 " x 9 3/4". Collection of Toy Gail Ganz, Los Angeles © The Estate of Eva Hesse, Hauser and Virth, Zurich, London.
Rene Magritte (1898-1967). Golconda, 1953. Oil on canvas. 80.7 x 100.6 cm. Menil Collection, Houston. Image: Banque d'Images, ADAGP/Art Resource, NY ©2013 C. Herscovici, London/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Rules that govern how artists organize the elements of art.
Jacquette makes sketches and takes photos from airplanes or tall buildings to use as references. She captures the contrast between the natural and the manufactured environment.
Yvonne Jacquette. Town of Skowhegan, Maine V. 1988. Oil on canvas. 198.6 x 163 cm (78 3/16 x 64 3/16"). Courtesy Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York, New york
MTV has used variety to maintain interest in its logo. The shape of the logo is always the same: a heavy, solid M decorated with a small, thin TV, but every time you see the logo, the colors and patterns on it change. Repetition reassures the viewer that this is the same station, but variety stirs the viewer's curiosity.
Create your own MTV logos!
One in black and white and one in color.
This building is known throughout the world, not because of its beauty or because the architect is well known, but because it leans. The many diagonal lines tell the viewer that this building must either straighten up or fall down. Because it remains off balance, defying gravity, it is famous.
The many small shapes in the lower right corner of this painting balance the large shape of the stage with its closed curtain.
This entrance to the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., is very important looking. The symmetrical arrangement of vertical and horizontal shapes gives the building a secure, stable look.
Notice the architect's symmetrical arrangement of shapes on the front of this house. Imagine a vertical a vertical axis through the center.
Do you see how the balance has been achieved?
John Vassall (Longfellow) House. 1759. Piazzas added later. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Facade.
In the stained-glass window to the right, the bright colors of the geometric shapes balance the large area of clear glass.
Notice how the large, dead tree on the left is balanced by the mass of trees in the distance on the right. Church is famous for large-scale paintings of exotic scenes such as icebergs and tropical jungles. This small painting was inspired bya sunrise he saw during the first weeks of the Civil War. It is a patriotice expression of his personal feelings about the war. He sold the rights of this image to a printmaker, and it was circulated throughout the North as a mass-produced color print.
In this wedding portrait of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Frida depicts herself in the ribbons, jewels, and native Mexican dress she often wore. Her small body, enveloped in all the ruffles and folds, balances Diego's solid, heavy form.
Kahlo has organized this self-portrait using formal balance to make herself look proud and imposing.
Grant Wood. American Gothic. 1930. Oil on beaverboard. 76 x 63.3 cm (29 7/8 x 24 7/9"). Collection, Friends of American Art Collection. © 1987 The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. 1930.
In this Rococo painting, Fragonard balances all the cool, low-intensity colors with the warm, bright red on the dress in the foreground.
Notice how the small radial design of this tray starts with four matching at the center. As the design moves outward the repetitions become more complicated and increase to eight around the rim of the tray.
The face head and scarf of the Virgin are no lighter in value than the infant on his blanket or the shepherd's white skirt. Her face stands out so much more becuase it is placed against the dark value of the cave's interior, while the infant and the shepherd are placed against the midvalue tan of the gound.
Giorgione. The Adoration of the Shepherds. c. 1505-10. Oil on wood. 91 x 111 cm (35 3/4 x 43 1/2'). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection.
Southeastern Song Dynasty. Carved Lacquer Circular Tray. 1127-1279. Black, red and yellow lacquer on wood. 5.2bx 34.9 cm (2 1/16 x 13 3/4"). Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Arthur M Sackler Collection.
This usually large nose ornament was designed using formal balance to fit the balance of the human face. It was fitted to the pierced septum by the clips at the middle of the top edge. The beast heads on either side rise up over the cheekbones.
Loma Negra. Peru. Nose Ornament. Moche period, first to third century. Silver, gold, inlays of shell. Width: 20.8 x 12.3 cm (8 3/16 x 4 7/8"). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection. Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979.
Albers had a strong influence on the American Hard-edge and Op Art. He reduced line, shape, space, and texture to minimal importance and concentrated on color relationships. He created optical effects by changing the colors in the squares.
Joseph Albers. Homage to the Square: Glow. 1966. Acrylic on fiberboard. 121.7 x 121.7 cm (48 x 48"). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn.
The complex shapes of the wagon and the child are informally balanced by the potted plant and the foliage in this casual scene. Informal balance gives this composition the look of a snapshot.
Thomas Eakins. Baby at Play. 1876. Oil on canvas. 81.9 x 122.8 cm (32 1/4 x 48 3/8"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. John Hay Whitney Collection
Jean-Honore Fragonard. A Game of Hot Cockles. 1967-73. Oil on canvas. 115.5 x 91.4 cm (45 1/2 x 36"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection.
Frida (Frieda) Kahlo. Frida and Diego Rivera 1931. Oil on canvas. 100 x 78.7 cm (39 1/8 x 31"). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California. Albert M. Bender Collection. Gift of Albert M. Bender.
Self Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky. 1937. Oil on Masonite. 76.2 x 61 cm (30 x 24"). National Museum of Women in the Arts. Washington, D.C. Gift of the Honorable Clare Boothe Luce.
Frederic Edwin Church. Our Banner in the Sky. 1861. Oil on paper mounted on cardboard. 19 x 28.9 cm (7 1/2 x 11 3/8"). Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois. Terra Foundation for the Arts. Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. American stained-glass window, one of a triptych. Twentieth century. Glass, lead, wood. 219 x 71 x 5 cm (86 1/4 x 28 x 2"). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Purchase Edward C. Moore, Jr., gift and Edgar J. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation gift, 1967.
Bell Tower of the Cathefral at Pisa (The Leaning Tower of Pisa). Begun in 1174.
Edward Hopper. First Row Orchestra. 1951. Oil on canvas. 79.3 x 102 cm (31 1/4 x 40 1/8"). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Joseph H Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966.
Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson. Federal Reserve Building. 1935. Washington, D.C. Facade.
Phil, 2011-2012. oil on canvas, 108-1/2" x 84" (275.6 cm x 213.4 cm).
1. Describe- Read the credit line for the image to find out the size of the work and the medium with which it was created. Now describe the subject of this painting. What do you see?
2. Anayze- Before you study Close's use of rhythm, look at the way he has used the elements. Do you see any lines? Where? What kind? How has he used shape and space? Is thee any illusion of three dimensions in work? How has he used color? What kids of color dominate the work? Has he imitated the texture of the subject or has he emphasized the texture of the paint itself?
What kinds of visual rhythms do you see? Can you find any examples of random regular, alternating, flowing and progressive rhythm? How does Close's unusual use of rhythm affect the look of this work?
3. Interpret-Based on the clues you collected and your own personal experience, write a brief paragraph explaining your interpretation of the painting. What type of person do you think Phil is?How does he make you feel? Write a new title for this work that sums up your interpretation.
4. Judge- Do you think this is a successful work of art? Why or why not? Use one or more of the aesthetic theories explained in Chapter 2 to defend your opinion.
Ben Franklin (attributed to). Join or Die. Cartoon. 1774.5 x 7.25 cm (2 x 2 7/8"). Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.
Rodin created this monument to honor six citizens who gave their lives in 1347 to save the city of Calais, France. Rodin showed the six men getting ready to see the king, who was laying siege to the city. Rodin spent two years modeling faces and bodies to express the men's tension and pain. Each figure would be successful as an individual statue, but Rodin has placed them so that unity results. The work was designed to be placed at street level, not on a pedestal above the heads of the people.
Auguste Rodin. The Burghers of Calais. 1886, cast 1930s. Bronze. 2 x 2 x 1.9 m (79 3/8 x 80 1/8 x 77 1/8"). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Jesph H. Hirshhorn, 1966.
The decorations on these containers were created by drilling small holes into which short lengths of wire were inserted to form the vaious designs. The polished surface is the result of frequent handling and an occasional application of oil.
Possible Thonga or Shona peoples. Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Snuff Containers. Hard fruit shell with copper, brass and iron wire. Largest: 6 x 7.6 cm (2 3/8 x 3"). National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Acquisition Grant from the James Smithson Society.
Johns combines the loose brushwork of Abstract Expressionism with the commonplace objects of American Realism. His map of the United States could be pulled apart by the wild action painting, but it is unified by the harmonious, limited color scheme of a primary triad.
Jasper Johns. Map. 1961. Oil on canvas. 198.2 x 312.7 cm (78 x 123 1/8"). Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Scull. © Jasper Johns/VAGA, New York 1994.
Why was it much easier for Barlach to unify this sculpture than it was for Rodin to unify The Burghers of Calais?
Ernst Barlach. Singing Man. 1928. Bronze. 49.5 x 55.6 x 35.9 cm (19 1/2 x 21 7/8 x 14 1/8"). Collection. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund.
The use of one color and the repetition of the box shapes add to the unity of this work.
Louise Nevelson. Dawn's Wedding Chapel I. 1959. Wood painted white. 228 x 129 x 15 cm (90 x 51 x 6"). The Pace Gallery, New York, New York.
Wright was a genius who dared to be different. In 1936 he was asked to design a house close to this waterfall. Instead he placed the house right over the falls. Terraces hang suspended over the running water. Even though they are amde of reinforced concrete, the terraces repeat the shapes of the natural stone terraces below. The stones that make up the walls come from the building site, which lties the house more closely to its surroundings.
Frank Lloyd Wright. Falling Water House. Bear Run, Pennsylvania. 1936. Photography by Sandak, Inc., Stamford Connecticut.
Carr has used simplification to eliminate the details of bark, grass and leaves. The foliage seems to be solidified into diagonally flowing living forms.
Emily Carr. Forest, British Columbia. c. 1931-32. Oil on canvas. 129.5 x 86.4 cm (51 x 34"). Collection of Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Emily Carr Trust.
The artist has created unity by grouping the women and children close together. There is no negative space between the figures. Each one touches the next.
Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun. The Marquise de Peze and the Marquise de Rouget with Her Two Children. 1787. Oil on canvas. 123.4 x 155.9 cm (48 5/8 x 61 3/8"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Bay Foundation in memory of Josephine Bay Paul and Ambassador Charles Urick Bay.
Jessup has created a unified composition using many techniques. What has she simplified to unify the work? What has she simplified to unify the work? What has been repeated? Look for examples of proximity and continuity. Which area is the focal point of this work? How has the artist used variety? Notice the two people in the lower right of the work. Do you see any other hints of people in the work? What do you think the bright, round shapes represent?
Georgia Mills Jessup. Rainy Night, Downtown. 1967. Oil on canvas. 112 x 122 cm (44 x 48:). National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Gris uses continuity to tie this composition together. Find out how many lines have been continued. Hold the straight edge of a ruler over a strong line direction to see how many times that lie is continued throughout the painting.
Juan Gris. Guitar and Flowers. 1912. Oil on canvas. 112.1 x 70.2 cm (44 1/8 x 27 5/8"). Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Bequest of Anna Erickson Levene in memory of ther husband, Dr. Phoebus Aaron Theodor Lavene.
Roy Lichtenstein. Blam. 1962. Oil on canvas. 172.7 x 203.2 cm (68 x 80"). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. Richard Brown Baker Collection.
Wayne Thiebaud. Apartment Hill. 1980. Oil on linen. 165.1 x 122 cm (65 x 48"). Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Acquired through the generosity of the Friends of Art and Nelson Gallery Foundation.
Rembrandt. The Mill. c. 1650. Oil on canvas. 87.6 x 105.6 cm (34 1/2 x 41 5/8"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, S.C. Widener Collection.
'Abd Allah Musawwir. The Meeting of the Theologians. c. 1540-49. Colors on paper. 28.4 x 19 cm (11 3/8 x 7 1/2"). Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Purchase: Nelson Trust.
Look closely at the places where the rods are joined by a carefully planned set of loops. Calder's works are so carefully balanced that the slightest movement of air will set the sculpture in motion. Watching a Calder Sculpture is like watching a graceful dancer.
Alexander Calder. Lobster Trap and Fish Tail. 1939. hanging mobile. Painted steel wire and sheet aluminum. About 2.6 x 2.9 m (8'6" x 9'6"). Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Commissioned by the Advisory Committee for the stairwell of the museum.
The artist who painted this dish used an alternating pattern of sets of blue curved lines to symbolize waves of water.
Footed Dish. Japanese, Nabeshima ware. 1700-50. Porcelain with underglaze blue and overglaze polychrome enamel decoration. 5.4 x 20 cm (2 1/8 x 7 1/8"). Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Purchase: Nelson Trust.
The artist saw the meaning of existence in the changes of weather and seasons. He uses thythms to express the living force in the natural environment. The elements in thispainting seem to dance the dance of life.
Charles Burchfield. October Wind and Sunlight in the Woods. c. 1962-63. Watercolor on paper. 101.6 x 137.2 cm (40x 54"), Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. University purchase.
This elevator grill is a delicate pattern of lines and round forms. It was once part of a large bank of elevators in the 1893 Chicago Stock Exchange. The building was torn down in 1972, but parts of it, such as this grill, have been saved and housed in various museums.
Louis Sullivan. Elevator Grille. 1893-94. Bronze-plated cast iron. 185.4 x 78.7 cm (73 x 31"). High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Carroll Crawford Collection, 1982.
The light glowing from the street lamp is represented by a progressive rhythm of both line and color. Notice how the light close to the lamp is white and yellow in color and is created with thin, small V-shaped lines. The light that is farther from the source gradually changes into mostly reds and lavenders, and the V-shaped lines are wider and larger. Why do you think the artist has used the B lines to represent the movement of light from the lamp out into the darkness?
Giacomo Balla. Street Light. 1909. Oil on canvas. 174.7 x 114.7 cm (68 3/4 x 45 1/4"). Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New york, New York. Hillman Periodicals Fund.
The elaborate grid pattern fits together perfectly because the weaver has memorized the whole plan through many years of practice.
Wrapper. Asante peoples, Ghana. Date unknown. Cotton and rayon plain weave with supplementary rayon weft. 190 x 83 cm (74 7/8 x 32 3/4"). National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. Purchased with funds provided by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection Acquisition Program, 1983-85.
The many repetitions of the legs, feet, tail and chain in this work give it the appearance of actual movement.
Giacomo Balla. Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. 1912. Oil on canvas. 89.9 x 109.9 cm (35 3/8 x 43 1/4"). Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear and giift of George F. Goodyear, 1964.
When Jacob Lawrence arrived in Harlem as a young boy, he had never seen such crowded city streets. The shapes of the tall buildings, the windows full of excited people, and the fire escapes that zigzagged down the outside walls fascinated him. He loved the excitement that filled the neighborhood.
to tell a story, Lawrence painted series of pictures. In 1940-41 he painted sixty paintings in a series called The migration of the negro, which depicts the southern Negroes coming north to find work. This was familiar subject matter, because the people in his neighborhood were part of that migration. These paintings brought him fame and success, and in 1942-43 he painted thirty paintings about the neighborhood itself and called it, simply, Harlem Series.
Jacob Lawrence. Parade. 1960. Egg tempera on fiberboard. 60.6 x 76.3 cm (23 7/8 x 30 1/8"). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966.
One pair of lips on the face of Marilyn Monroe would be beautiful and appealing. What has Andy Warhol done to them by repeating them in a regular rhythm?
Andy Warhol. Marilyn Monroe's Lips. 1962. Diptych. Synthetic Polymer, enamel and pencil on canvas. Left: 210.7 x 204.9 cm (82 3/4 x 80 3/4"). Right: 210.7 x 209.7 cm (82 3/4 x 82 3/8"). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1972.
What are the beats of the rhythm that move your eyes through this painting? Are the beats all the same? Can you see any negative spaces between the beats as in the photograph of the lily pads? Where does the movement start? Which way has the artist pulled you through the work? How has she accomplished thi? Are there any other objects in this painting that make up a counterpoint of beats? Can you find a steady beat that moves along in the same direction as the more active beats? How do they help create the rhythmic movement?
Rosa Bonheur. The Horse Fair. 1853-55. Oil on canvas. 244.5 x 506.7 cm (96 1/4 x 199 1/2"). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1887.
Your eye is drawn through this photograph by the repeated diagonal lines.
The gigantic dancing figures seem to float across the mound of grass as they balance on three points. They visually defy the facts that they are 35 feet (10.6m) tall and weigh 1200 pounds (544 kg).
Miriam Schapiro. Anna and David. 1987. Painted stainless steel and aluminum. 10.6 x 9.4 x .228 m (35' x 31' x 9"). Steinbaum-Krauss Gallery, New York, New York.
Look at Anna and David by Miriam Schapiro. do the figures have the proportions of average people? Read the credit information to discover the height of this sculpture. Notice the windows in the building behind the figures. That gives you an indication of the scale of the figures. How do you think this sculpture affects the mood of the people who pass it every day? How do the elements of line and color affect this mood? Why is negative space an important factor in this work?
The heiress from the fifteenth century has some odd proportions. The red silk belt emphasizes her thin, high waist. If you use a ruler to measure, you will notice that her waist is not much wider than her head. Her lips are very full. This is supposed to symbolize a sensuous person. Notice the high forehead, which is thought to be a symbol of an intellectual person. Are these conflicting symbols? Do you think she looked like this or did the painter exaggerate her proportions to make her look more interesting?
Can you find the proportions of the Golden Mean in this work?
Reginald Marsh. Why Not Use the "L"? 1930. Egg tempera on canvas. 91.4 x 121.9 cm (36 x 48"). Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.
Notice how Picasso used distortion and exaggeration to create the atmosphere of poverty and starvation. Look at the man's face. See how the shadows under his cheekbone and around his eye are exaggerated. Notice how the tendons in his neck protrude. You can see the bones sticking out of his shoulder and elbow. Observe the elongated arms, fingers and torsos of both figures. Why is there an empty bowl on the table? Why is there liquid in only one glass? Notice that the filled glass, the piece of bread and the lump of food are on the woman's side of the table. Why?
Pablo Picasso. The Frugal Repast. 1904 (printed 1913). Etching 46.3 x 37.6 cm (18 1/4 x 14 13/16"). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Gift of Abby
This sculpture is idealized. The facial features and all the proportions are so perfect that you would not recognize the model even if she stood next to the work.
Greece (from Alexandria?). Dancing Lady. c. 50 B.C. Peloponnesian marble. 85.4 cm (33 5/8" high with base; 78.7 cm (30 15/16") high without base. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio. John L. Severance Fund.
The sculptural form of this building is based on human dimensions. Le Corbusier. Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haul. Ronchamp, France. 1955.
This soft sculpture is 9 feet (2.7 m) tall. This type of exaggerated scale is one method Pop artists used to make viewers see ordinary objects in a new way.
Claes Oldenburg. Shoestring Potatoes Spilling from a Bag. 1966. Acrylic, canvas, kapok, and glue. 274.3 x 116.8 x 106.7 cm (108 x 46 x 42"). Walker Art Center Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gift of the T. B. Walker Foundation, 1966.
The man who wore this armor was about 5' 9 1/2" (1.7 m) tall. Would many men today fit into this armor?
English (Greenwich School). Armor of George Clifford, Third Earl of Cumberland, K. G. c. 1580-85. Steel and gold. 176.5 cm (69 1/2"). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Munsey Fund, 1932.
Industrial designers must consider human proportions. Look around the classroom at tables, counters, sinks, scissors, pencils, brushes, paper and windows. Think about objects at home, in factories and examples farther from the local environment, such as space vehicles and space stations.
Until the present, the relationship between human proportions and architectural forms has been studied purely for aesthetic reasons. Today there is a discipline of science called
that is concerned with the relationship between people and the environment. It started during World War II with the design of efficient aircraft cockpits, and it is now concerned with all areas of interface between a user and a designed interior environment. This applies to comfort and safety in the everyday environment. Kitchen counters, classroom desks, auditorium seats, shelves in stores, automobiles, and many other objects are designed for comfort and maximum efficiency.
Ruben's Virgin looks much chubbier than those in most other paintings of the Virgin Mary, but hefty proportions were the favored style in the time of Rubens, so he painted Mary in that manner.
Peter Paul Rubens. The Assumption of the Virgin. c. 1626. Oil on wood. 125.4 x 94.2 cm (49 3/8 x 37 1/8"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection.
Siqueiros used foreshortening in this painting to dramatically exaggerate his reach to grab everything he can. His hand becomes a burst of superhuman energy.
David Alfaro Siqueiros. Self-Portrait (El Coronelazo). 1945. Pyroxylin on Masonite. 91 x 121 cm (35 4/5 x 47 3/5 ' 0. Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico.
The artist has placed these heads one behind the other to give a clear idea of the relationship between front and profile views. What feeling has Bishop produced with this organization? What does it tell you about the girls?
Isabel Bishop. Two Girls. 1935. Oil and tempera on composition board. 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24"). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1936.
As with body proportions, the facial proportions of infants are different from those of adults. The skull is large. The infant's features seem to be squeezed together in the lower half of his face.
Albrecht Durer. Virgin and child with Saint Anne. 1519. Tempera and oil on canvas, transferred from wood. 60 x 49.9 cm (23 5/8 x 19 5/8"). The Metroppolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913.
In this painting, Copley not only tells us what Paul Revere looked like, but he also tells us the man's profession. Revere was a silversmith, and the artist shows Revere holding a finished piece of work. The tools on the table were those used by Revere to engrave designs on the surface of his finished forms.
John Singleton Copley. Pauld Revere. c. 1768-70. Oil on canvas. 88.9 x 72.3 cm (35 x 28 1/2"). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massassachusetts. Gift of Joseph W., William B., and Edward H. R. Revere.
As a young man, Catlin visited forty-eight Native American tribes, and he lived with Native Americans in both North and South America. His paintings are an accurate record of Indian life.
George Catlin. See-non-ty-a, an Iowa Medicine Man. c. 1845. Oil on canvas. 71.1 x 58.1 cm (28 x 22 7/8"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Paul Mellon Collection.
The intensity of feeling in this painting is almost unbearable. The twisted tortured hands and feet of Christ are visual symbols of the entire Crucifixion. Grunewald has used just enough distortion to express the suffering without losing the reality of the moment.
Mathias Grunewald. The Small Crucifixion. c. 1511-20. Oil on wood. 61.6 x 46 cm. 24 1/4 x 18 1/8"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection.
Munch has melted the two figures into one. He exaggerates the roundness of the embrace by drawing the arms as smooth curves without any elbows.
Edvard Munch. the Kiss. 1897-1902. Woodcut, printed in blak. 46.6 x 47.4 cm (18 3/8 x 18 5/8"). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
Chagall's painting shows a childlike belief in love's power to conquer all. He created distorted fantasies of full bright colors that looked like joyful dreams.
Marc Chagall. Birthday. 1915. Oil on cardboard. 80.6 x 99.7 cm (31 3/4 x 39 1/4"). Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss bequest.
This sculpture is only 19 1/4 inches (48.8 cm) high and yet it has a monumental quality, because Lachaise has made the head small.
Gaston Lachaise. Walking woman. 1922. Bronze. 48.8 x 26.9 x 18.9 cm (19 1/4 x 10 5/8 x 7 1/2"). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966.
Mask. New Ireland. c. 1920. Wood, paint, fiber, seashells. Height: 38 cm (15"). Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Rembrandt uses value contrast to create a focal point in this work. Only the head and the area immediately around it are in light values. The background sinks into darkness.
Rembrandt van Rijn. Self-Portrait. 1650. Oil on canvas. 92 x 75.5 cm (36 1/4 x 29 3/4"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Widener Collection.
Notice how the bright red shapes in the lower right corner catch your attention.
Horace Pippin. Asleep. 1943. Oil on board. 22.9 x 30.5 cm (9 x 12"). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Bequest of Jane Kendall Gingrich, 1982.
Vincent Van Gogh.
The young woman appears to be in the center of this painting. If you measure, hower, you will see that her head is to the left of the vertical axis and far above the horizontal axis. What devices has Morisot used to make the woman's face the center of interest.
Berthe Morisot. In the Dinig Room. 1886. Oil on canvas. 61.3 x 50 cm (24 1/8 x 19 3/4"). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Chester Dale Collection.
In this painting all the people are staring at the preacher and the girl. the viewer becomes one of the crowd and stares too. Can you find lines in this painting that are also pointing to the two figures.
John Steuart Curry. Baptism in Kansas. 1928. Oil on canvas. 101.6 x 127 cm (40 x 50"). Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbuilt Whitney.
In this painting the artist has chosen a point of view that is at the eye level of the child. We see only the skirt and the hand of Emesta's nurse.
Cecilia Beaux. Ernesta (Child with Nurse). 1894. Oil on canvas. 128.3 x 96.8 cm (50 1/2 x 38 1/8"). the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1965.
Neel has isolated the red chair to make it the focal point in this painting. How does the black line help? What about the color? Notice line direction. The walls, the curtains, the window, the shade and even the static lines. What kind of lines do you see around the chair? Notice how the woodwork behind the chair has been blurred. Why do you think Neel did that?
Alice Neel. Loneliness. 1970. Oil on canvas. 203.2 x 96.5 cm (80 x 38"). Robert Miller Gallery, New York, New York. Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The estate of Alice Neel.
Robert Rauschenberg. Red Painting.
Vincent Van Gogh. Cafe Terrace at Night. Oil on Canvas. 1888. 80.7 cm × 65.3 cm (31.8 in × 25.7 in). Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.
Andrew Wyeth. Winter 1946. Oil on canvas.
In 1920, with financial support from an inheritance, Isabel Bishop enrolled at the Art Students' League in New York City. She had a small studio apartment on Union Square in Manhattan. After marrying and moving to Riverdale, she made the daily trip to Grand Central Station by train and then transferred to the subway, which took her to the studio. During the trips she sketched.
The subjects of her paintings were the working women she saw in the trains and from her studio window. Her concern was composition, and the subjects were a means to attack the abstract problem of time and space. She tried to express the possibility of momentary change. To her, the young women did not belong to a specific class.
The procedures she followed were unusual. First she sketched from life. From her sketchbook ideas, she selected some to become etchings. From those she selected the compositions of her paintings. She then treated a panel with eight coats of gesso, front and back. She painted a ground of loose uneven, horizontal, gray stripes to create the undersurface that gave her paintings a sense of vibration. Then she painted on the surface with tempera. Finally she added glazes of oil paint. The stripes always showed through. She applied the highlights with thick opaque paint and kept the shadows thin and transparent. She half concealed the people in thin shifting shadows and sparkles of light.
Her paintings took months and sometimes years to complete. There was never any point at which she felt a work was complete.