Picture Composition – Balance Of Principality Or Isolation

These qualities are not synonymous but so nearly so that they are mentioned together. In discussing the principle of the steelyard it was stated that a small item could balance a very large one whose position in point of balance was closer to the fulcrum, but to this point must be added the increase of weight and importance which isolation gives. These considerations need not be mystifying.

In the charge to Peter, ” Feed my sheep,” Raphael has produced something quite at variance with his ordinary plan of construction. Christ occupies one side of the canvas, the disciples following along the foreplane toward him.

Here is an isolated figure the equivalent of a group.

The sleeping senator of Gerome’s picture effects a like purpose among the empty benches and pillars. The main group is placed near the centre, the small item at the extreme edge. Even Cæsar in the foreground—covered by drapery and in half shadow—is less potent as an item of balance, than this separate figure.