The geometry of art

This gallery highlights the use of geometric shapes in abstract works of art from the 1920s to the 1950s.

This abstract piece by Wassily Kandinsky uses lines and shapes to represent music. Sharp lines and geometric shapes create clear structure. There is a small use of bright color; the rest of the work uses black and the empty space, simulating white contrast. The sharpness of the shapes and colors is contrasted by the increasing shades and soft lines, watercolor style in appearance, framing the edges of the painting.
In Relief; Rythms, Robert Delaunay uses contrasting colors, centered in overlapping circles. The circles are echoed in the framing with a mask of negative space, empty of color, reflecting a motif of the same shape and style. Two small circles, appearing almost three-dimensional, have a disorder to their placement, throwing off the diagonal symmetry of the overall piece, yet somehow bringing unity to the work.
Suitably entitled, "Painting" by Ralph Balson uses overlapping shapes and varied colors. The lines are sharp and clean. Though some colors, specifically shades of green, would traditionally be considered "cool" colors, they are complementary to the warmth of the reds and yellows in the foreground. Though the colors of each overlapping shape contrast each other, the overall contrast of the piece as a whole is generally low with a dark and muted feel.
Swiss painter Fritz Glarner uses sharp lines and colored squares in this 1944 painting. The straight lines are contrasted visually with a circular frame of white, then a square black matte. Strangely, the center of the piece consisting of negative space is where focus is drawn, and is balanced slightly asymmetrically by the shapes and line in each corner. The lines appear to extend from beyond the frame.
This painting uses a great deal of geometric shapes, with sharp lines and defined arcs. The dark shades and lines draw the eye to the center, where the focus is a bright white "pie" portion of a circle. Curved lines placed on straight shapes create a "pull" toward the center, making the pie (though smaller than other white shapes) the strongest shape in the peace. Though contrast is high, there is no color saturation in this monochromatic greyscale piece.
In this work by Gino Severini, geometric shapes are used to depict a drastic contrast to the traditionally-soft subject of a woman. Multiple hues of blue are used, and though some warm colors are also used in the woman's composition, the painting has an overall "cool" color scheme. Many of the lines are spaced from the edges of the shapes. The teal color of the canvas defines a clear frame of the woman, bringing a sense of unity in an otherwise chaotic collection of shapes and colors.
This painting uses a wide range of color, illustrating overlapping square-based shapes. No color touches itself but at the corners. Small rectangles, or thick lines, in bright colors are used to separate sections. Though the piece is asymmetric, the shapes are evenly balanced on an imaginary vertical line, and the background (canvas) is clearly visible along each side.
In this piece, there is use of geometric shapes, some resembling human form. The colors are earthly, with various hues of green and brown. Each background shape, or panel, uses a range of greens, from a dark, forest-like green to a light yellowish-green. Placed in the foreground are brown and black figures, constructed from stacked shapes and arc-shaped lines. There are five total foreground figures, balanced from left to right, though their placement vertically varies. The work is highly saturated, and the entire canvas is filled.
In this piece, the artist uses simple, thin lines in black that frame or point to the central circle. The circle at the center of the painting is broken into geometric portions by contrasting colors. The absence of color from the canvas, as well as the weight of saturated color of the central circle, make the circle the obvious focus.
This work uses two main colors (each with a respective lighter tint) as well as the negative space of the canvas. To the left, the bulk of the painting is hues of green, while the shapes to the right are in the reds family. The piece is balanced with reflective symmetry along a horizontal line, but is asymmetric vertically. The edges of the shapes are clean, sharp, and precise.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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