Elements of Art

Essay by ddjrljUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2004

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Each work of art has elements of unity and elements of variety. Variety balances out unity and keeps things interesting. The center of interest or focal point is the place the artist draws your eyes first. Artists use balance in order to construct paintings. These elements of art such as unity, variety, focal point or area of interest and balance will be used to give you a better understanding. Examples from "Giorgio de Chirico" (The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street, 1914), "Pablo Picasso" (Seated Nude, 1909, Spanish), "Francisco de Goya" (Saturn Devouring His Children, 1819) and "Piet Mondrain" (Devotie, 1908) will be used merely as informational pieces to convey these elements of art.

Some ways of creating unity might be to make everything in a painting a similar color, or a series of repeating shapes, or a consistent texture made with brush strokes. At times, variety coerces the eye to pay particular attention to that object.

Variety occurs when an artist creates something that looks different from the rest of the artwork. For example, "Giorgio de Chirico", (The Mystery and Melancholy of a street, 1914) depicts unity and variety with light/dark (cooler and warmer hues) various shapes and lines. Unity is depicted in the repletion of the square windows, directly above the repletion of archways alongside two buildings. Variety is depicted in the chosen colors and various shapes and lines. In "Chirico's" oil canvas, variety is applied by the contrasting of warmer hues aside the cooler hues (light and dark) conveying both space/distance and receding/closeness. The unity and variety in this canvas is brought together through the repetition depicted on the two buildings, the warmer hues and light expressing depth and the cooler hues and dark expressing the closeness. These same principles of the elements...