Composition (visual arts)

The term composition means "putting together". It can be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art. Composition can apply to any work of art, from music through writing and into photography, that is arranged using conscious thought.

The Art of Painting by Jan Vermeer

In the visual arts, composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure, depending on the context. In graphic design for press and desktop publishing, composition is commonly referred to as page layout.

The composition of a picture is different from its subject (what is depicted), whether a moment from a story, a person or a place. Many subjects, for example Saint George and the Dragon, are often portrayed in art, but using a great range of compositions even though the two figures are typically the only ones shown.


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