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: http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/madonna-of-the-clouds-58904
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.