Q:

What does shape mean in art?

A:

A shape in art is a closed line that is limited to two directions: width and length. It is defined by other elements of art: form, space and value. A shape can be geometric, which means it is mathematically determined, or organic, which means it is created by nature.

The simplest way to outline the shape of an object is its shadow. Recognizable shapes are called naturalistic or realistic. Shapes that are difficult to identify are abstract.

Shapes can be positive and negative. A positive shape is the one formed by the object itself. The one formed by the space around the object is the negative shape. The combination of positive and negative shapes gives people the image of what they see.

Artists use this capability of the human brain to create optical illusions. For example, an object on a two-dimensional surface seems to exist in three dimensions, and a white and black drawing can seem colourful. Also, it can be difficult to distinguish between a figure and the ground in an image because both make sense and are recognizable objects. M. C. Escher, P. Picasso, H. Matisse and K. Walker are the most famous artists for creating dual shapes in their works.

The boundaries of an artwork are important for perception. For instance, a painting of a tree on a background of a distant mountain gives an impression of open air and vast space. If the same tree and mountains are painted as if in a window frame, the natural elements seem more distant, which does not offer a feeling of open space.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does the term "media" mean in art?

    A:

    There are two different definitions of "media" in artwork. "Media," as the plural for "medium," refers to the type of material used by an artist to create his artwork. "Media" can also refer to substances added to paint to create a desired texture or effect, according to ArtinCanada.com.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How is Ottoman art similar to earlier Islamic art?

    A:

    Ottoman art is similar to early Islamic art because of the use of geometric patterns and the emphasis on decorative arts that have practical uses, such as textiles and vases. Ottoman art is known for using variations on the arabesque, a stylized leafy or floral pattern.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between fine art and applied art?

    A:

    The main difference in fine art and applied art is that fine art is intended to create beauty and pleasure in looking while applied art is intended to be an aesthetic approach to performing a specific duty. Fine arts are able to be seen and can be produced for the sole purpose of pleasing the senses while applied arts are the act of doing something proactive.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is tribal art?

    A:

    Artifacts and objects created by indigenous peoples living in tribal communities are referred to as tribal art. Examples include totemic art made by the First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest, African masks and the stone statues on Easter Island.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore