Lesson 4: Line in the Visual Arts

Jacques-Louis David - The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries
Photo caption

Jacques-Louis David - The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries

In this lesson students will learn about one of the most important elements in painting and drawing: line. Students will learn how line is defined in the visual arts, and how to recognize this element in painting.

Guiding Questions

What is composition in the visual arts, and how do compositional elements guide the viewer's eye around the canvas?

What is line in the visual arts, and how does it affect works of art?

Learning Objectives

Identify line in the composition of a number of art works, and how this element works to make the painting successful as a whole

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

Identify sight lines in several paintings and explain how they influence direction

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