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Friday, 22 October 2010

The Circle and the Balancing Centre in Paintings



I have previously discussed the compositional structure, the circle. The circle suggests a middle point. The circle moves the viewer around the outside and also in and out of the picture plane. All compositional structures have a centre where the vertical and horizontal lines of the support cross. In the circular structure, a balancing centre is not as apparent. The balancing centre is usually at or near the point where the structural lines cross. There must be a feeling of some final point of balance. In Renoir’s painting, The Luncheon of the Boating Party, the balancing centre is at the woman raising a glass. It is calm and sure. This calm centre is characteristic of a painting’s balancing centre. The measurable centre is close; the shoulder of the seated man in the dark brown coat and hat. The balancing centre is close to the measureable centre or tension would work against the overall painting’s balance. (N. Goldstein, Design and Composition)

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