E is for Elements of Art

E is for Elements of Art

When an artist creates, consciously or not, he employs what are generally regarded as seven elements of art. They are:abstract_light_background

  • Color—hue, with all its variations of intensity
  • Form—characteristic of an object taking up (or appearing to take up) three-dimensional space; can also mean the structure or design scheme of the work
  • Line—a continuous mark; a path created by a point moving in space
  • Shape—enclosed spaceDSC00696
  • Space—areas around, between or within components of a work; can be positive (white or light) or negative (black or dark), open or closed, shallow or deep and two-dimensional or three-dimensional
  • Texture—visual representation of tactile surface features
  • Value—the lightness or darkness of tone or color; each hue used has its own value, but the piece as a whole has a composite value, sometimes with areas of variation


Music is also discussed in terms of seven elements, which almost directly correspond to those of art. They are:

  • Tone color—the characteristic flavor or timbre of the instruments used, determined by the source of the vibration (the essence of sound is vibration—a vibrating cello string will sound very different from a vibrating clarinet reed)
  • Form—the structure of the piece, shaped by genre, and repetition, contrast, and development of themes
  • Melody—the tune; formed of pitches that rise, fall, or repeat; think of it as a musical line or shape
  • Texture—like soup due to its ingredients, music can be “thick” or “thin” or anywhere in between, depending on how many “voices” are included (a child singing a cappella has a thinner texture than a full orchestra playing a symphony)Crescendo-decrescendo
  • Dynamics—how loud or soft the “voices” are; corresponds to value in art
  • Rhythm—determined by duration of tones in relation to a regular pulse; something 90px-C_triadlike space in art in that silences (negative sound) contrast with notes (positive sound)
  • Harmony—how multiple “voices” combine in chords, countermelodies, ostinati, or dissonance; in my opinion, it is linked to texture

Study of art and music is not complete without a thorough examination of all these elements; yet, as the videos show, scholars interpret the elements in different ways, including what constitutes an element.A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

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