The Depth and Proportion of Architecture through Art - John Jones

Architecture has evolved throughout time but depth and proportion remain an absolute necessity. There are some amazing art pieces that reflect this truth all across history and we are going to explore a number of these examples within this gallery.  Join me as we look at how architecture is portrayed with both depth and proportion through canvas.

This painting depicts the inside of a church with a tomb being prepared at the bottom right next to what may be the wife and children of William the Silent. Even with interior architecture lines are a predominant way to demonstrate depth. In this case the lines are a little less obvious and have obstacles in the way in the form of the two pillars.
This is a painting that depicts a typical sunny day at the Piazza Navona in Rome. One of the most common ways to demonstrate depth on canvas is through the use of straight lines. The buildings in this painting on the left and right create those straight lines and they meet at a central location in the painting creating the illusion that you can actually walk down the road with the people.
This is a painting of the interior of the Westminster Abbey. This painting also uses lines that help the eyes travel deeper into the painting but we also see proportion being applied to give depth to the painting. The people in the painting as well as the wall openings and the ceiling of each section get proportionately smaller as our eyes travel further into the painting.
This painting captures the natural beauty of the canals in Florence and uses straight lines and proportion to demonstrate depth. From this view we can see much more detail in items that are meant to appear closer to the front of the painting but as we move further into the painting, while we can still make out what things are, the detail is much less which signifies distance.
This is another view of canals found in Venice and depicts depth and proportion through the use of many different lines as opposed to just one or two going along the entire length of the painting. We find these lines within the walls of the buildings. The horizontal lines give us the observation of the front of the buildings while the slightly off horizontal lines give us the width or depth of the building. The painter also uses the size of the boaters and buildings to demonstrate proportion and gives the painting depth.
This interior painting of the Treatro Regio in Turin demonstrates multiple techniques to demonstrate both depth and proportion. Starting at the bottom of the painting we have the audience sitting in rows of pews. Depth is depicted through the lines of the pews. The outer left and right areas of the painting use balcony seating that add additional depth once the pew seating ends. The balcony seating also extends beyond the stage and are proportionately smaller than the first set of balcony seating. The one final representation of depth that I want to talk about is the height of the architecture with the heavenly images giving the appearance of a much larger design.
While this painting of high street in Oxford utilizes a combination of broken lines to give depth and distance to the painting, I’m choosing to point out the proportionate considerations in the painting instead. The painter uses people throughout the length of the painting to give distance but also the arches in the architecture on the right as well as the statues found on the rooftops. The painter finished it off by painting a very large building (likely a church) in the distance. Though small from the painters view, it is clearly much larger than the rest of the buildings.
Depth and proportion can be demonstrated in art on a massive scale as well. The Egyptian buildings and pyramids in the background are portrayed by the sea of Israelites leaving the area. The people make up the primary line in this painting to give it depth followed by the buildings that surround them on the right and left. The painting is complimented with the proportionate sizes of the pyramids in the distant background. This painting probably represents several miles of depth when someone looks closely upon the amount of people seen in the painting.
This painting of the railway going into the depths of New York is yet another example of massive scale portrayed on canvas. The railroad tracks take up a considerable amount of space towards the bottom of the painting and proportionately get smaller as they go into the city. The smaller buildings give way to the tall skyscrapers in the distance as well giving the perception of depth.
This painting of a hotel room tackles depth on a small scale using the lines where the walls connect to the ceiling, the red triangles on the floor, the horizontal and vertical lines of the bed and even the patio floorboards that lead to a view of the vast body of water past the railing.
Credits: All media
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