Analyze three paintings or art photographs from the "Morgue of Composition Examples" on the class web site using terms from class.  (This can be accessed on the main page in the column of options on the left as well as the imbedded link above.)

The morgue of images is used for the Lighing Design course as well, so please limit your selections to those images with "151" in the title.

You have two sets of terms to use in your analysis: the Classical Composition Terms from the handout with the examples of the paintings, which is the primary focus of this assignmnet. However, you may also use the 2D Composition Terms sheet (the one with the "Active/ Passive" terms) to suppliment your analyisis if you wish.

You should also use any terms you have learned abut line, value, and color.

You need the handouts from class in order to do this assignment; they are not on this web site. You should also use correct terminology for color, line, and value where appropriate.


For each work of art, use the title of the piece as listed on the web page (some historical pieces have multiple names) and describe as completely as possible the compositional elements of each artwork. Keep your descriptions brief but specific—a couple of paragraphs on each is sufficient as along as they contain the appropriate infromation. Refer to the composition handouts and be sure to use the correct terminology. Make any terminology bold.

You may use one B&W photograph, but at least two examples must be in color from the classical artworks in the gallery. (You may use three color paintings.)

An example might be as follows:

Portrait of the Artist as a Superhero

by Richard Chambers the Elder

The painting uses very high chroma colors, which imbues the image with energy. The arrangement of cooler, slightly toned colors around the outside and warm, high chroma colors towards the center draws the viewer's eye to the subject matter.

In additon to the color, the overall composition is radial with all major lines converging, or implying convergence, at the superhero's insignia on his chest. This creates an observational pathway and draws the viewer's attention to the subject of the painting, and then out along the superhero's shoulder and arm, along his sword, and out to the break in the clouds in the upper right corner of the composition. The crepuscular rays of the sun breaking through the clouds draws our eyes back into the composition. We know from his posture and the obvious exit from the composition that the superhero is about to "take off", now that his work here is done. This makes the superhero's active pose at the point of taking flight all the more energetic and explosive.

The artist employs a serpetine "Line of Beauty" in the shape of his flowing cape, which gives it a curvilinear contrast to all of the geometric buildings in the background.

The dark band of pavement and destroyed automobiles on which the superhero is standing at the bottom of the painting provides a strong sense of weight to the composition and supports a balanced composition.

. . . and so forth.

THETR 151:

Composition Analysis