An artist’s masterpiece is beautiful, eye grabbing and has many principles and elements of art scattered in the painting.

The St. Louis Art Museum has a million of examples of principles and elements of art. I personally saw a lot of artwork that showed these principles and elements to a professional level. Artists use these to make their paintings show expression and detail. Principles and elements make an artist’s piece of work unique.

Line is a principle of art. Lines can be wavy, straight, thick, thin, spiral and many more. Diagonal lines usually show tension and movement, horizontal lines are restful and calm, they also represent horizons. Vertical lines are formal and balanced. A great example of line principles is shown in Georgia O’Keefe’s Birch Trees at Dawn on Lake George. The trees in this picture are different sizes and have different line values.

Color seems basic yet can be very detailed and slightly complicated. In a work of art, there can be complementary colors, analogous colors and colors that have meaning or symbolism. Blue means sad or melancholy, black means evil or mourning, red means anger, white means purity, yellow means hazard or cowardice, pink means love or romance, violet means royalty and green means nature and fertility. An extremely good example of color is Orfeo Orfei’s A Political Cobbler. Many uses of color are in this picture. The yellow added to the background shows that the room they’re sitting in isn’t very clean and that the room is old.

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Value is important in a piece of art to show volume or light. Shading is adding black or coloring darker to show shadow. Tinting is adding white or coloring lighter to show which direction light is coming from. Shading and tinting is important because it shows volume and light exposure. Value is very crucial in art to represent shadows and to give your painting meaning. A fantastic example of value is Moneta Sleet Jr.’s African Design. Tinting and shading are being used very well in this painting.

You can see where the light from outside is shining the most in some areas, whereas some areas are dark and not much light shines on those spots. Movement is an element. Movement is a person or thing in action.

Lines pointing in a direction can tell what direction the thing is going. An example of movement is wind blowing. A person can have its hand in the air, but lines pointing behind the hand pointing in the direction of where the hand is going tells you the hand is waving. A pious example of movement is Giovanni Andrea de’ Ferrari’s Abraham and The Three Angles. In this piece of art, you can see multiple things moving at once.

You see Abraham holding a bowl of food that is being offered to the glorious looking angels. You also see the angles making hand gestures as if they’re talking.Repetition, or rhythm, is when an object is used in a piece of artwork, or sculpture, more than once. Pattern indicates rhythm. Symbols can be used in a pattern in a piece of art to show repetition.

Showing repetition doesn’t have to be objects or symbols used constantly, it can be colors too. An extraordinary example of rhythm is an Islamic Ottoman period “Lotto” Carpet with Closed Kufesque Border. This carpet has symbols, colors and designs repeating over and over again.Principles and elements of art can be confusing but it’s actually very simplistic. Art can be summed up into different principles and elements. A picture of an ocean view is just full of these principles and elements of art. The water could be a mixture of cool colors (blue, green, purple).

The ocean can be made up of wavy lines to show that the water is moving around. Even the point that the sky meets the water is a line called a horizon line. These are the principles and elements that make up art.