The Rule of Thirds as seen in Forest Oil Paintings

This gallery features oil paintings of forests from the 17th century to 19th century.  Normally, the rule of thirds is discussed when capturing a picture with a camera, but I wanted to show how some artists use the rule of thirds in their paintings.  Simply put, the rule of thirds has two vertical and two horizontal lines that run through the piece so that when intersecting, the lines create nine equal sections.  The places where the lines converge are called intersection points.  The rule of thirds helps to keep a piece from looking dull since it creates a sense of more to the piece than what one can see.  The pieces selected show different a few different ways paintings are divided.

Following the method discussed in the beginning, On the left side of the painting, the tree in the foreground is on the first vertical line whereas the second vertical line has a distinct tree shown by its lighter color compared to the trees around it. Horizontally, the top third is mostly the sky with the tree top occasionally touching. The bottom third's horizontal line is the horizon line.
Left of the first vertical line is mostly sky in the top, middle a few tall trees off to the right and a cluster of tree off to the left, and below are two boulders and part of the water. The top left intersection is the brightest part of the painting being a white cloud. The right vertical line has the lightest tree in the middle of the painting. Also, the second brightest part of the painting is on the top part of the right vertical line. The lower horizontal line touches the banks of the river whereas the upper horizontal line touches the top of the right hill.
This is the third piece by Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael in this gallery. One can see how he uses rivers and roads to divide his composition as well as different clusters of trees by color and height. In this piece, the lower horizontal third is the road and stream; the line is defined by the bottom of the tree trunks on the right and the shore of the stream on the left side. Vertically, the left has a cluster of dark green threes which one cannot see through. The center is open with less trees of a lighter color and the road. The right side has several tall trees that one can see the sky in the background.
This is the counter-point of the piece because the is in the center of the piece. The left side of the painting is filled with some trees and the hill. The horizon line goes through the middle of piece giving the sky almost half of the painting. In the center of the background is the town surrounded by the river and hills. In the foreground there are a couple of buildings, trees, and people along the slope. Finally on the right side there is a cluster of trees and the rightmost a few trees that hug the edge of the painting.
The section between the two vertical lines is the lightest part of the piece. The lower horizontal line is defined by the grass. The top right corner of the painting is the darkest section but is counter by the relatively lighter bottom left corner.
Here is another piece that uses sunlight to divide the painting. The section between the two vertical lines is in the sun except for the lower half of the painting which is in the shade. The right vertical line is a perfect vertical tree. A person is located on the lower left intersection point.
Between the two vertical lines is an opening of the trees. The right vertical line follows the edge of the boulder and the left vertical lines starts with the cliff edge. Above the top horizontal line is almost completely covered with the canopy of the trees. The lower horizontal lines rests on the horizon which is the hills in the distance.
Instead of a object to mark the left vertical line, it is marked by the absence of an object. The right vertical line intersects through the "v" made by the terrain. The lower horizontal line follows the tree line in the background. the upper horizontal line touches the top of the tree in the center of the painting. The left side of the painting has a lighter sky than the right but it is countered by the right side having a lighter ground.
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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