GEOMETRIC VS. ORGANIC: The human body is of course an organic form. However, the body of an ideal male, like the ancient Greek sculpture Doryphorus (left), is closer to being geometric. Notice the lines of the form are straighter and the shoulders being broader than the hips makes an upside-down triangle The Bathers (above) by Renoir have typical curvilinear lines creating forms that are quite organic. IMPLIED SHAPES: Another way of organizing a composition In The Madonna of the Meadow , Raphael has grouped the figures of Mary, the young John the Baptist (left), and the young Jesus (right) so that we perceive them as a single, triangular whole. Triangular (pyramidal) compositions are considered particularly strong, stable, and appealing to the eye. Tonal Value & ay TONAL VALUE – the relative level of lightness or darkness of an area or object. These grayscales show a range of values from black to white.
Colors also have tonal values. Burgundy (a shade) is darker than pure red which is darker than pink (a tint). The women in these paintings both wear dresses made of luxurious green fabric, but the left one has a much lighter value (and thus emphasizes the black cat on her lap). The darker green tonal value of the left one makes it look mysterious, which goes along with the medieval theme of the painting. Be aware that tonal value is relative. The same medium gray appears lighter next to black and somewhat darker next to white. CONTRAST of tonal value – the effect of a striking difference in the lightness and darkness of adjacent parts of a work of art (Note: contrast can also apply to other visual elements like line, shape, color, etc.) The woman’s pale skin and black dress create a dramatic high contrast image. Our eye goes to lighter values first so the artist makes sure we notice her face, arms, neck, and chest first. We later look at her dress, the table, and background. Low contrast images have very little tonal variation. This mural by John Singer Sargent is very different than his Madame X. Here the low contrast adds to the sense of mystery. Sargent described this ghostly image as “the beautiful, soulless figure of Astarte, goddess of sensuality, veiled in blue…” Light- Because light helps us define spatial relationships, artists are very interested in manipulating it. CHIAROSCURO - comes from the Italian words chiaro (light) and scuro (dark) Refers to the balance of light and shade in a picture, especially its skillful use by the artist in representing the gradual tonal transition around a curved surface from highlights to mid-tones to dark values. The use of chiaroscuro to represent light falling across a curved or rounded surface is also called modeling . Shading is a related term that refers to the darkening of an area in a 2-dimensional work to suggest curving of a 3-dimensional form away from a light source.
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- Spring '20