Line and space are two of the many elements artists consider when creating their works of art. Perspective is achieved through the application of these elements to create an illusion of depth in an artistic composition. Analysis in art is simply the examination of an artist's use of elements and techniques in their artwork, however it is first necessary to understand these basic artistic principles.
Line is one of the elements of art that refers to the path left by a moving point within a work of art, such as the markings made by a pencil or a paintbrush. Characteristics of lines can vary greatly, such as in thickness, texture, length, or degree of curve. Types of lines include horizontal, vertical, curved and zigzagged. In three-dimensional art, line refers to path the eye follows when examining a sculpture.
As an element of art, space refers to the area around, between, within, above or below objects within a work of art. The placement of space forms shapes on a two-dimensional plane. Some consider these shapes to be positive space while the empty areas around the positive space are labelled as negative space. This concept was popularised by artist and educator Betty Edwards who used a sketch of a vase that could "trick the eye" into seeing the profiles of two faces to demonstrate the interpretation of positive and negative space.
Perspective is a technique artists use to create illusions of volume and depth on a two-dimensional surface. Developed in Italy by Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi, perspective can be created through a variety of techniques including colour variation, overlapping shapes, size variation, and converging lines.
When all lines in a work of art recede to a single point, known as the vanishing point, this is known as linear perspective. The application of this technique is used to create an illusion of volume and depth in a two-dimensional work of art. It is also possible for one work of art to feature multiple-point linear perspective in which multiple sets of converging lines taper toward different vanishing points.
In the overall process of art criticism, analysis is the act of determining how the principals of art were applied by an artist in a specific work of art. For example, one might analyse the linear perspective of a composition by discussing how the placement of the positive and negative spaces moves the eye around a canvas which creates a visual line that draws the viewer into the artwork.
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