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.) Click on the image t enlarge it.

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.

Use the  terminology from the Elements of Design and Composition handout (with the examples of the paintings) to discuss the paintings. I am particularly interested in the "relationships" of the elements of composition. How YOU understand the way that the terms create a composition is what I'm looking for, as well as your application of appropriate terms.

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

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


For each work of art, use the title of the piece as listed on the web page (sometimes, multiple historical pieces have the same name, so use the artist's name, as well) 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 usually 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, low value colors around the outside and warm, high value, high chroma colors towards the center draws the viewer's eye to focus on the subject matter.

In additon to the use of color and value, the overall composition is structured around a central axis with all major lines converging, or implying convergence, at the superhero's insignia on his chest, which is at the center of a radial diffusion of debris and smoke around the perimiter of the composition. The light from the explosions, framed by the roiling shapes of lower value smoke at the lower left of the composition creates the begining of an observational pathway from the implied entrance at the lower left to the implied exit at the upper right of the composition. This use of line and value draws the viewer's attention up from the wreckage below to the superhero at the center, and then out along the superhero's shoulder and arm, along their sword, and into the break in the clouds in the upper right corner of this diagonal composition. We know from the superhero's active posture that the superhero is about to "take off". 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 stood at take-off at the bottom of the painting provides a strong sense of weight and supports a balanced composition.

. . . and so forth.

THETR 151:

Composition Analysis