Pictorial composition and the critical judgment of pictures - PDF by Henry Rankin Poore

Pictorial composition and the critical judgment of pictures

Pictorial composition


From the introduction:

This volume is addressed to three classes of readers; to the layman, to the amateur photographer, and to the professional artist. To the latter, it speaks more in the temper of the studio discussion than in the spirit didactic. But, emboldened by the friendliness the profession always exhibits toward any serious word in art, the writer is moved to believe that the matters herein discussed may be found worthy of the artist's attention perhaps of his question. 

For that reason, the tone here and there is argumentative. The question of balance has never been reduced to a theory or stated as a set of principles that could be sustained by anything more than an example, which, as a working basis must require reconstruction with every change of subject. Other forms of construction have been sifted down in a search for the governing principle, a substitution for the " rule and example." 

To the student and the amateur, therefore, it must be said this is not a "how-to-do" book. The number of these is legion, especially in painting, known to all students, wherein the matter is didactic and usually set forth with little or no argument. Such volumes are published because of the great demand and are de- manded because the student, in his haste, will not stop for principles, and think it out. He will have a rule for each case; and when his direct question has been answered with a principle, he still inquires, " Well, what shall I do here? " 

Why preach the golden rule of harmony as an abstraction, when inharmony is the concrete sin to be destroyed. We reach the former by elimination. Whatever commandments this book contains, therefore, are the shalt not.

 As the problems to the maker of pictures by photography are the same as those of the painter and the especial ambition of the former's art is to be painter-like, separations have been thought unnecessary in the address of the text. It is the best wish of the author that photography, following painting in her essential principles as she does, may prove herself a well-met companion along art's highway, seekers together, at arm's length, and in defined limits, of the same goal. The mention of artists' names has been limited, and a liberal allusion to many works is avoided because to multiply them is both confusing and unnecessary.

To the art lover, this book may be found of interest as containing the reasons in picture composition, and through their aid to critical judgment. We adapt our education from quaint and curious sources. It is the apt correlation of the arts which accounts for the acknowledgement by an English story writer that she got her style from Kuskins' " Principles of Drawing "; and of a landscape painter that to the sculpture he owed his discernment of the forest secrets, by daily observing the long lines of statues in the corridor of the Royal Academy; or by the composer of pictures to the composer of music; or by the preacher that suggestions to discourse had come to him through the pictorial processes of the painter.  poet-philosopher Emerson declared that he studied geology that he might better write poetry. 

For a moment the two elements of the proposition stand aghast and defiant; but only for a moment. The poet, who from the top looks down upon the whole horizon of things can never use the tone of authority if his gaze is a surface one. He must know things in their depth in order that the glance may be sufficient. 

The poet leaves his geology and botany, his grammar and rhetoric on the shelf when he makes his word picture. After he has expressed his thought however he may have occasion to call on the books of science, grammar and rhetoric and these may very seriously interfere with the spontaneous product. So do the sentries posted on the boundary of the painter's art protect it from the liberties taken in the name of originality. "

Contents:

PART I
PICTORIAL COMPOSITION
I. INTRODUCTORY 11
II. THE SCIENTIFIC SENSE IN PICTURES. 14
III. BALANCE 25
Balance of the Steelyard ... 28
Postulates 29
Vertical and Horizontal Balance. 41
The Natural Axis 44
Apparent or Formal Balance . . 46
Balance by Opposition of Line . . 49
Balance by Opposition of Spots . . 52
Transition of Line 55
Balance by Gradation .... 58
Balance of Principality or Isolation . 61
Balance of Cubical Space ... 62
IV. EVOLVING THE PICTURE .... 63
V. ENTRANCE AND EXIT 74
Getting into the Picture .... 74
Getting out of the Picture ... 80

CONTENTVL THE CIRCULAR OBSERVATION OF
PICTURES 84
Circular Composition ... 94
Reconstruction for Circular Ob-
servation 102
VII. ANGULAR COMPOSITION, THE LINE
OF BEAUTY AND THE RECT-
ANGLE 107
The Vertical Line in Angular
Composition 110
Angular Composition Based on
the Horizontal .... 116
The Line of Beauty .... 123
The Rectangle . . . . .129
VIII. THE COMPOSITION OF ONE, Two,
THREE, AND MORE UNITS. 132
The Figure in Landscape . . . 136
IX. GROUPS 140
X. LIGHT AND SHADE 151
Principality by Emphasis, Sacri-
fice, and Contrast . . . .160
Gradation 168
XL THE PLACE OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN
FINE ART 177

PART II
THE AESTHETICS OF COMPOSITION
CHAPTER PAGE
XII. BREADTH VERSUS DETAIL. .187
Suggestiveness 193
Mystery . . . . . . . 197
Simplicity 200
Reserve 201
Belief 206
Finish 207

the book details :
  • Author: Henry Rankin Poore
  • Publication date: 1903
  • Company: New York, Baker

  • Download 43 MB with illustrations

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