See also:   [2-D design]
                   [3-D design]


            [Art Terms]

Formal Elements

Formal elements are the basic elements of an artwork and are meant to be objective statements about the work. For example, whether a painting "works" or not, is often subjective, however, the use of formal elements can be pointed to so as to "bring out" certain aspects of a work. Often a "formal interpretation" is used to talk about the basic aspects of the work. There are two *supposedly* complementary aspects to an art work: content -- what is IN the work, it's meaning, the subject of the work. and form -- how the work is put together. Content often disappears when there is pure abstraction, in this case we must have information about the work's intent. (This leads to the famous Intentionalist Falacy; ie, that we can "guess" the intention of the artist. In most cases, such guesses are amusing; eg, the "clear intent" of Georgia O'keef's flowers to have specifically FEMALE content to them -- which was far a-field).

Formal Elements

Composition (the big cookie!) Colour Scale Shape Size Value