Thursday, September 30, 2010

Principles of Art - Balance

Balance can be symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial.

1. Symmetrical balance (formal balance) is used to express ideas such as stability, uniformity, and formality. In symmetrical balance both halves of a work are like mirror images of each other. They are exactly alike or so similar that you see them as matched. The symmetry can be either vertical or horizontal. In other words, it can be symmetrical from top to bottom (vertical), or from side to side (horizontal).

2. In asymmetrical (informal balance), the halves of the work are balanced like a see-saw. For example, a large shape on one side might be balanced by several smaller ones on the other side or, a large shape close to the fulcrum (or balancing point) may be balanced with a smaller object further away. A smaller area with bright colors can have as much visual "weight" and interest as a large area with a dull color. Asymmetrical balance is often used to express action, variety, and informality.

3. In radial balance, parts of a design seem to move toward or away from a central point. Radial balance is often symmetrical. the petals on flowers and wheels of bicycles (shown here as Marcel Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel, 1951) are examples of radial balance.

Can you figure out which is which?