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What is radial balance in art

what is radial balance in art

Attribution: The Red Cape in the public domain

Can you believe we've already studied all seven Elements of Design. Do you remember the definitions of all of the words above? We've already learned about all of these art concepts! Remember, the Elements of Design can be considered the "building blocks" of art.

The Principles of Design

Now we're moving on to learn about the Principles of Design. which are the "guidelines" of art! Artists follow the Principles of Design by combining the Elements of Design in interesting ways. This lesson (and the next) is about the Principle of balance. which is all about placing the Elements of Design on a composition in ways and places that will interest a viewer and help draw their eyes throughout the entire piece.

Carefully study the painting (The Red Cape by Alphons Mucha) on the first page of this lesson, then carefully study the painting (Water Carrier by Francisco de Goya) below. Then answer the questions below in your Art Journal in the Student Workroom with well thought-out answers and complete sentences:

Francisco de Goya, Water Carrier. date unknown

1. Where does each artist position (place) their figure on each of their paintings? How is the positioning different in each painting?

2. How does the placement of each figure in each painting help your eyes move through the composition. Be sure to comment on each painting. Do your eyes move through one of the paintings more easily than the other one?

Watch this video, then read below about the Principle of Balance:

Balance: Balance. in art, has to do with how big. how many. and where the objects are in a composition. In art, balance has nothing to do with physical weight, but rather is about visual

weight. If an artwork has more objects or larger objects on one side (or top or bottom) of the composition, the visual weight is "heavier" on that side of the piece. If the visual weight appears heavier on one side or the other, or on the top or bottom, the artwork is usually considered "unbalanced ", as in the example below. The visual interest of the artist's use of the Elements (if the artist uses an eye-catching texture or a bright color,for example) will also make the visual weight appear heavier, as well.


If there are approximately the same number of objects, the same size of total objects (as in the example below), or the same amount of interesting use of Elements of Design (such as bright colors) on each side of the composition, the composition will appear to have similar visual weight on each side, or will appear balanced.


Symmetrical Balance: A composition that has the same Elements or imagery on both sides has symmetrical balance. If an object or artwork has symmetry, it can be divided down the center with a line of symmetry. On both sides of the line of symmetry, the images are the same. but opposite (as in the example below). A good way to "test" for symmetry is to fold the image (or at least imagine you are folding it!) on the line of symmetry. If the Elements or images "match up" when the composition is folded, it's symmetrical!

Symmetrical Design

Asymmetrical Balance: "Asymmetrical" simply means "not symmetrical." If a design or composition is asymmetrically balanced. it has more or larger or more interesting Elements or imagery on one side more than the other side. or more on the top than the bottom. etc.

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