Learn how to read a painting | the composition
Cover image – Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, Thomas Gainsborough, 1750
How to read a painting
Having always as a base the historical data that can be collected through parallel research, we can list, then the elements of visual analysis that assist us in the formal analysis process.
Note that the elements here exposed are examples that should be tailored to the specific needs of each piece in question.
The steps for the formal analysis are.
2. Technical data;
5. Structure (basic and essential considerations);
How to read a painting – the composition
It refers to the organization of the parts that make up the whole which is the pictorial structure itself.
It concerns the analysis of colours, lines, volumes, light, etc.
It refers to the lines that organize the painting.
- Is it simple or complex?
- Is it geometrical order or is it random?
- Is it saturated or is there space?
- Are there patterns, balance, symmetries?
Jacques Louis David -Oath of the Horatii-1784
It concerns the function of the line: its thickness and shape.
How is the three-dimensional shape achieved.
- What are the dominants?
- Are they neutral, hot or cold?
- Primary or complementary?
- Do they have a meaning?
It refers to the provenance of light and its effects.