Lesson 1: Composition Basics

Pallazzo da Mula, Venice, by Monet
Photo caption

Palazzo da Mula at Venice, Claude Monet



Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In this first lesson of the curriculum unit Composition in Painting: Everything in Its Right Place, students will begin by learning the definition of composition in the visual arts and some of its most basic components.

Guiding Questions

What is composition in the visual arts, and how does contribute to the success of an art work?

How do the artist's compositional choices convey feeling, tone, or information to the viewer, and how do these elements guide the viewer's eye around the canvas?

Learning Objectives

Define composition in the visual arts

Identify elements of the composition in a number of art works

Diagram and write an explanation of the compositional structure and focal point of a painting

Explain how the artist's compositional choices work to guide the viewer's eye to important components of the image

Discuss ways in which the compositional structure of a painting affects the tone of the painting, and communicates information or emotional content to the viewer