By using elements, such as line, shape, textures, and color, the artist ensures that the composition is unified. The artist achieves this through visual unity by using these elements in a varied way, but also creates balance. Thus, the artwork would have unity, variety, and balance. The unity could also be conceptual through the way in which the artist executes the subject matter, or the ideas in a painting. Balance, in particular, points to the organization of all the visual elements.
Regardless of the scale, the artist would use it to best describe, or communicate the message of the artwork. The scale alone cannot provide an effective expression, and the artist, therefore, has to give consideration to proportion as well. In order for the artwork to be harmonious, and appeal to the eye, proportion is a necessity to conform to scale. The scale and proportion of any work of art influence the overall organization of the entire piece.
When the artist executes an artwork, emphasis plays an important role as well. The placement of emphasis can be anywhere in the work – it can be in a small area, the entire work, a large part of it, or it could be focal points. This is where line plays an important role as it would guide the eyes around the artwork. These lines could be actual lines or implied lines. The gaze can also be directed by the colors, the values, or the textures that forces the eye to return to that focal point or area of emphasis. The artist can use any of the visual elements to draw the attention to a particular area.
To create a well-composed work of art, the artist can use patterns and rhythms that can cause a visual theatre. Rhythm and pattern can also be alternated to keep the stimulus going, and to create a visually strong composition. One cannot always explain why something creates appeal, only to discover that it is the repetition of a motif – the pattern, or the rhythm – on a piece. It is especially appealing when it is combined with other visual elements.
In order to understand an artwork it is necessary to have knowledge of all the visual elements, but also to have the tools of formal analysis, such as contextual analysis, stylistic analysis, iconographic analysis, Feminist and Gender Studies, and psychological analysis. One can analyze a work of art by using only one of these tools or one could combine a few of these to create a fuller understanding of the work. It is necessary to do research by using primary sources as well as, or secondary sources to find a clearer interpretation.
All of the elements discussed here would give one a clearer understanding of what the artists intended with their works over the centuries. A concept that fascinates me in particular is the fact that artists would “copy” the works of others, but would interpret it in their own way. It is fascinating to see …