ARTH101 Discussion Topic 6: Objective Description of Artistic Principles

Find two works of art from this list of online galleries. The first work should be two-dimensional, and the second should be three-dimensional. For each one, write four sentences describing the artistic principles present in the work. Do not refer to any subject matter. Remember, be objective in your descriptions. Be objective in your descriptions. An example might be “the work makes an abundant use of pattern” or “this work uses asymmetric balance in its composition”.

Then, for each work, write one sentence that describes your subjective reaction. An example might be “the artwork has a dynamic feel to it” or “the scale in this work disorients me”.

To complete this assignment I chose two objects from the Smithsonian Freer Sackler galleries of Asian art because I will be visiting there soon. The first piece is “Birds in a Landscape, Willow Trees, Some Peonies” by Sanraku, painting is Japan 1559 - 1635, Muromachi period. The heavier part of this painting is on the rights, with strong horizontal lines that move us to the boulder in the center which is the focus. The left side is much lighter, having only a few patches of grass. The repetition of the patches of grasses and birds creates a rhythm and flow to the painting. The curvy lines flow into the water, giving the whole piece a soft moving feeling. This pieces gives me the feeling of peacefulness of nature.

The second piece is “Head of a Pharaoh” from 2675 to 2120 BCE, Old Kingdom, Egypt. This piece uses black stone to portray the head of a Pharaoh. The hair is elongated, and the beard is also elongated, giving the piece a strong vertical movement. The eyes are set with gold, making them the clear focus of the piece. The piece is perfectly symmetrical with strong horizontal lines. The effect is to emphasis the wisdom and experience of the Pharaoh.

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First work of art: The Babylonian Marriage Market painted in 1875 by Edwin Longsden Long (1829 – 1891), England

The painting is well balanced and symmetrical in design. Repetition of many kinds of elements in the work produce rich patterns and sustained rhythm which carry the viewers’ eyes all around the scene. The illusion of depth is effectively maintained by accuracy of scale and proportions for all elements included in the scene. Although emphasis can be found in different locations, the primary area of visual importance is emphasized by its elevated location and implied lines of sight. Overall, the painting expresses unity in composition and form through the use of a variety of elements incorporated in the work as well as skillful techniques used by the artist.

In my opinion, the artists creates a very effective motion or flow in which the viewer can gaze at the painting in a Z-shaped pattern; for instance, the viewer may start at the bottom right of the painting looking at the least attractive girls, then moving progressively towards the left as the subjects get prettier and prettier, then upwards along the stairs on the right towards the main subject who is currently being bid on, and then to the man on the altar-like piece on the left who is conducting the auction. Alternatively, one can first notice the auctioneer on the left pointing towards the main subject, then the subject, down the stairs to the next girl waiting in the queue, and finally across the front row of girls-in-waiting all the way to the right. All in all, the artist meshes all the principles of design in a superb way which results in a fabulous work of art.

Second work of art: Donatello’s ‘Madonna of the Clouds’ marble relief from about 1425–35, Florence, Italy, URL:

The shallow reliefs carved in Donatello’s ‘Madonna of the Clouds’ create an illusion of depth which produce a picturesque three-dimensional quality to the scene. The illusion of volume is also observable through the reflection of light emanating from multiple angles. The lines throughout the work flow in a rhythmic fashion making for a smooth and natural setting. The scene also rests on uniformity in balance anchored by a symmetrical frame.

The closeness between mother and child is emphasized with deeper reliefs in the Madonna’s profiled face along with her left hand cradling baby Jesus’ arm clutched to her breast. The resulting effect is both harmonious and spiritual.

  • Dan Fournier, 2015-10-21



This piece has massive texture.
The painting is filled with varied lines, curved, both diagonal and vertical, implied and non.
The value is impacting.
The work gives symmetrical balance.
This composition makes me feel hopeful.


Flowing repetition.
The ‘ensemble’ supplies vast emphasis.
The dress exhibits texture.
Value is present in this piece.
This beautiful apparel’s balance, scale unity, and flowing repetition composition makes me feel lovely.


The first work of art I chose that is two dimensional using google images is Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol.

This work includes the use of bold and bright colors, along with much saturation. The bright, bold colors make more emphasis on the features of the person in the artwork. There is also the use of dark tones for shading so the person looks more realistic. There is unity in the bold colors working together in the artwork. The artwork has a sense of boldness and a happy feel to it.

The second artwork I chose that is three dimensional using google images is 3D Art Abstract by David Pyatt.

This artwork is complex in the way it uses color and the design. It is very abstract in the random use of colors. This artwork uses both warm and cool tones. There is also the use of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. This artwork gives a feeling of boldness and randomness.


I chose ‘Study of a Bull,’ by Francis Bacon, and a 20th Century Tibetan statue of the Goddess Green Tara.

These pieces or universes apart in terms of difference. Francis Bacon’s ‘Study of a Bull’ is first of all, an image on a canvas, while the statue is a three dimensional object.

Bacon’s work is highly asymmetrical, however uses this same pattern twice in the work to create a sense of loftiness and movement. The image is placed in the upper left side of the canvas, while the rest of the support is blank. Similary the image itself is a dark bull juxtaposed on a white background, and is placed to the left of the negative space. This creates a sense of unity, and almost seems clearly intentional.

The statue of Green Tara is not so asymmetrical. She is seen sitting in a meditative pose, and her figure is definitely symmetrical. However, she is adorned with myriad decoratives - a sinuous snake undulating up and down the right side of her form, and a sunflower perched atop her left shoulder. What seems to be a bell sits atop her right shoulder, and though not the same shape or form as the flower creates a sense of unity within the composition. She wears a very symmetrical crown, with an expressive ornament above it. Perhaps these items are symbols of her deity, and the elements of mortal life in which she is the Goddess over.


Artwork 1: ‘Festoon of Fruit and Flowers, with Butterflies and Other Insects’ 1670 by Rotius Jacob

The first artwork is a visual composition of a bunch using variety of hues of red, yellow green and blue colours.
It employs the principles of Visual balance and emphasis. It uses hues of primary colours and red is predominant. The composition is linear and the point of emphasis is at the geometric centre of the composition.It has an asymmetrical composition to create a visual tension around the point of emphasis, further strengthening the purpose of drawing the viewers attention towards the subject matter. The point of emphasis has been created by rendering the surrounding objects in contrasting colours and playfully creating the illusion of light.There is also repetition of circular forms in a subtle manner, creating a sense of unity in the asymmetry. Overall this artwork creates a sense of freshness and tranquility at the same time.

Artwork 2: ‘Fixed Standard’ by Jean Luc Moulene, 2107
This sculpture uses the principles of asymmetry, both the halves are non symmetrical.
Repetition is also used here , of the vertical lines. The emphasis is given to the breaking symmetry by change of colour contrasted with the neutral white. The viewer is tricked to visualise the completion of the entire form of object in a virtual manner, thus creating a sense of unity. Because the continuing form and lines are suddenly broken by a different object in the same axis, the sculpture imbibes a sense of motion, of a sense of dynamism.
To me this sculpture creates a sense of transformation frozen in time.


Hammershoi: A Room in the Artist’s Home in Strandgade, Copenhagen, with the Artist’s Wife
The artist uses a narrow range of colours, mostly greys, and uses the play of sunlight and shadow to create a central focal point. The limited palette gives the painting a sense of unity. Dark colours, that might otherwise not draw attention, emphasise the woman in the otherwise pale image. Repetition of rectangles of various sizes create a rhythm across the room - frames, panes, panels. The reflection of window panes continues this repetition, drawing the eye downward away from the horizontal. THe window pattern is used twice, the window itself and its reflection thereby providing an inner symmetry. Balance is symmetrical around the window, woman on one side, door on the other. The dark grey floor gives the painting weight, preventing the eye from floating off the image, and provides a strong contrast with the reflections. Figure and ground have equal weight, to the point where the walls and window could as easily be seen as the subject of the painting as the woman at the table.
The overall feeling I have from this work is a sense of serenity.

Nikki de Saint Phalle: Woman fish - part of Stravinsky fountain
The balance is asymmetrical and colour is used to provide variety in what might otherwise be a heavy mass. Solid bands of colour are alternated with bands of pattern creating a lively and whimsical effect. The scale of the piece contributes to the sense of mass. The breasts are emphasised by being out of proportion with the head, and both tail and breasts are emphasised by being multicoloured in primary hues.


The historical backdrop of the statement of three-dimensional structure in workmanship can be followed from the utilization of impediment in Paleolithic cavern artworks, using shadow in old style craftsmanship, to the improvement of point of view during the Renaissance. In any case, the historical backdrop of the utilization of stereoscopic procedures is dubious. In spite of the fact that the main undisputed stereoscopic pictures were introduced by Wheatstone in 1838, it has been asserted that two outlines by Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli (c. 1600) can be to be melded to yield an impression of stereoscopic profundity, while others propose that Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the world’s first stereogram. Here, we report the main quantitative investigation of saw profundity in these works, notwithstanding later works by Salvador Dalí. To control for the commitment of monocular profundity signals, evaluations of the size and lucidness of profundity were recorded for both stereoscopic and pseudoscopic introductions, with a certified commitment of stereoscopic prompts uncovered by a contrast between these scores. Despite the fact that impacts were clear for Wheatstone and Dalí’s pictures, no such impacts could be found for works delivered before. In that capacity, we have no proof to dismiss the ordinary view that the main maker of stereoscopic symbolism was Sir Charles Wheatstone


good description


The annunciation (Fra Angelico) 1438
This is an example of medieval Christian art. The space is divided and defined by the architecture of the porch ( semi circle and column). Everything is build with geometrical shapes but the sense of proportion is weak. The clothes of the angel and Mary have bright but opposite colours. The column that separates the two resemble the medieval way to represent religious scene, the tripthyc.
Beginning by Kenneth Noland 1958
The artwork represents a series of concentric circle with contrasting colours (blue, white and orange) The balance is given by the choice of the circle, the perfect shape, and the sense of deep is created but the bright and alternating colours.


Nice simple descriptions.


In the above link Chris Ofili’s Lymph Dive 2019 is a painting where the mermaid is depicted whose lower body is offsetting the horizontal upper body which is actually at the bottom, signifying movement & flexibility. It has asymmetrical balance. Repetition is present in the colourful patterns shown as the background. The emphasis is on the gold painting scalar fins of the mermaid. Theres no variety in the scene but a unity is there since the main mermaid is the whole being in the painting. The painting has a colourful yet dark feel to it. The mermaid seems to be in her own thoughts alone.

Richard Malone’s Jumpsuit Specimen 2017 is a tall sculpture showing symmetrical balance as the upper part of the suit is well balanced by similar legs. The repetition of the stripes pattern throughout the structure create a sense of rhythm and flow, the diagonal stripes on the upper half breaking the flow. The same lines that have been used throughout the sculpture give unity and lack variety in the artwork.


2D work
Witches Sabbath by Francisco de Goya, 1789, Oil on canvas

Although the time in the painting is definitely night with a crescent in the sky, the devil goat is emphasis because the color of the sky around the goat’s head is bright instead of dark. People sit in circle around the devil, giving a radial balance to focus on the devil. Follow the left hand of the goat devil, we can see there is a woman holding a baby that seems healthy, and another woman next to her, has a starving baby on her hand. In the left of the goat devil, a skeleton-like baby dead body is revealed. The pattern of healthy, unhealthy, death of baby creates a movement making viewers looking from right to left. This is one of the ‘black painting’ in the later years of Goya, revealing the human’s sin.

3D work
Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622-1625, marble sculpture

The hand direction of two character and their heads create implied line from left bottom of the picture to the right upper corner. The water movement and the tree branches from Daphne body has the same motion direction with their body implied line, creating a rhythmic cadences. Using only white marble as material, the sculpture has a warm tone that gives harmony and unity. Apollo and Daphne is slightly overlapping with each other and facing the same direction is some how a simple symmetrical balance. The work is full of motion and fear in turning from human to tree.


1.starry night it has a feel of hope and has symmetrical lines with a feeling that gives you hope for the next day
2. Mona Lisa this gives you a happy feeling because of it’s warm colors and hse is smiling like everything is going to be okay

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  1. In the sea (sinking)-2018 Shintaro Ohata
    This piece uses a vertically symmetrical composition weighted towards the bottom to supply the illusion of sinking, nevertheless, it is well balanced. A combination of two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional sculpturing is used to create a deeply layered and textured image despite the pure simplicity of the composition. Moreover, the pose of the sculpture combined with shadow creates a very dynamic effect of a movement suspended in time, capturing the attention of the viewer. The monochrome layout uses many shades of blue which subsidises to the atmosphere and heeds little distraction.
    In my opinion, the composition feels both serene and soothing whilst holding the dynamic, slow sinking feeling, a moment paused in time that allows the viewer to reflect on themselves, it also gives me the vibe of a slight, helpless, loneliness.

  2. Rhythm No. 2 (Rhythme II) Robert Delaunay
    This painting uses an asymmetrical, left-weighted balance and a flat presentation with no illusion of 3d shapes, nevertheless, the hectic scattering of colours with no apparent order adds overall depth to the image. Still, there appears to be a use of monochromatic (grayscale) segments that divide the different ‘areas’ of the composition. Overall, it makes good use of clean, curved lines, appearing to be made of fragments of circular rings. One unusual thing is the clear line to the bottom left making it look like two pictures have been spliced, it is more of an arch-shape than a circle and clearly separates the picture into two pieces.

Subjectively, the image makes me feel chaotic, caught up in the colours and the abstract – the circular notion makes it feel almost ‘bouncy’, free flowing and never-ending.

Scroll Painting (thang-ka) of Shakyamuni Buddha
Scroll Painting (thang-ka) of Shakyamuni Buddha
This painting makes good use of the color spectrum. The colors are more faded in the centerpiece and sharp and bold on the border surrounding it. The recognizable Budda figure sits in the center with neutral facial features. The Budda is sitting on a cloud while the ocean and terrain rest below expressing the figures divinity. The border has golden Chinese writing across it solidifying it’s heritage in oriental culture.

The second painting I chose is a painting of a street in Venice. This painting makes good use of light warm colors while lending itself to rich textures. There is little repetition through. The emphasis is on the people walking down the street. The scale and proportions are to scale. The painting has unity through. The artist create a gentle, pleasant flow in this talent work.

In order to complete this assignment i have chosen a mosaic by Sonia King. The artwork i have chosen is titled “Depthfinder” which is in the permanent collection in Museo d’Arte della Città di Ravenna in Italy. This mosaic is made of a variety of materials such as gems, stones, minerals, glass, beach glass, and tile. The colors included or charcol black, aqua marine, blues, jasper,and quartz. Each item perfectly thought out to create a place of calmness and serenity.

My next object is a Self Portrait with Straw Hat of Vincent Van Gouh in Paris 1887. In this later portrait you can see his battle with himself through his haunted gaze and pinched mouth. Each line stroked with passion. He made sure to included extreme detail in his face to capture his emotion. His straw hat with a bright beautiful yellow.*&offset=20&rpp=20&pos=28

The artwork I chose is called a Kashan Carpet. They were said to have been produced as early as the sixteenth century. Only about twenty carpets of this type are known to survive. It is made of Silk (asymmetrically knotted pile). The carpet has a warm feeling in contrast to the cool blue center. It has a variety of colors that suggest royalty had most likely owned it. Knowing how it was made suggest that a lot of time and hard work were put into making the carpet. The work makes an abundant use of patterns to accent the colors. It also uses asymmetric balance in its composition.

Lee Krasner - Night Creatures (1965)

Unity is achieved through repetition: it is effectively a single plane with a dense pattern of similar colors, lines and shapes throughout.
Variety is found in the lines’ directions, their thickness and coarseness, providing a lot of texture and movement.
With no clear composition or focal point drawing attention, the work is very balanced.
The palette is very simple with just black, white and ox blood red.

Subjective: The raw contrast and scratchy style of painting make it a naturally intense and somewhat disturbing painting, and it gets downright scary when you look closer and the lines start to form faces, like of a crowd of ghouls is looking at you.


Auguste Rodin - The Old Courtesan (ca. 1885)

Unity can be found in the material, color and overall wrinkly texture.
Also the limbs form very clear lines that either align or point to the same vanishing point.
The composition is quite triangular, with the bent legs sticking out widely, together with the leaning left hand forming a solid base, flowing into the slim upper body.
The shoulders and the hanging head form a stark horizontal plane, in parallel with the base.

Subjective: Although this is clearly a very old woman who has lost most of her beauty and energy, the sculpture is still very dynamic as there is so much tension in her limbs, particularly the right hand unnaturally stretched behind her back.