Book of Hours & Elements of Design


The elements of design are what makes a piece of art. Without them, our art would lack creativeness and a sense of uniformity. The above images strongly utilize many of the elements of design, henceforth strengthening the composition of the artwork.

The elements of design are made up by: line, shape, texture, form, value, color, and space.

An artwork from the Book of Hours (middle row, right) strongly emphasizes the use of line. The outline of the angels’ wings, the flowing blue robe, curved outline, and flowered border are all made up of lines. Diagonal, straight, horizontal, and vertical are all examples of lines in an artwork. These bring the piece together, making it stronger as a whole.

Another artwork from the Book of Hours (top row, left) is a great example of value. On the left page, usage of darker hues is starkly contrasted by the light colored page. This makes the art almost “pop” against the page. On the right page, lighter hues are the main focus of the artwork, but darker hues are worked in among the many curved designs. This gives the lighter hues more of a “presence” in the piece of art.

Texture, as pictured in a Persian miniature painting (top row, right) with dotted and striped designs makes the artwork look almost touchable. Texture can also be found in the people’s robes, giving them a seemingly realistic look. In an artwork, texture is what gives it “depth” and a more three-dimensional feel.

In another piece, featured in the Book of Hours (middle row, center), shape is used to make the humans featured in the artwork. Arms, legs, and heads are all examples of shapes. There are three different types of shapes: organic, inorganic, and geometric. The shapes mostly used this piece of artwork are organic and inorganic. Shapes are important when it comes to composing a piece of art because almost anything two-dimensional can be composed using shapes.

A strong use of color can be found in another miniature painting (bottom row, right). The colors used in the robes, trees, sky, and ground are bright, vibrant, and come together to create a gorgeous setting. Complimentary colors are used in the man’s blue robe against the orange tree in the background. Both warm and cool colors are also present, making the artwork aesthetically breathtaking.

Pictured middle row and center, space is predominantly present in this Persian miniature painting. There are two types of space: negative and positive. In this painting, the positive space is made up by guitarist, tree, and flowers. The yellow background is the negative space. Negative and positive space are essential in a piece of art. One must utilize both types of space in order to create a “balanced” artwork.

Lastly, form can be found in the miniature painting (bottom, left). The woman in the painting as she twirls and dances she exemplifies human form, which is three-dimensional. Her form gives her dress more depth and makes her seem almost realistic. Form is key in art because it gives it dimension.

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