Monday Minute: Open vs. Closed Composition – Art Terms Explained | LittleArtTalks
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Monday Minute: Open vs. Closed Composition – Art Terms Explained | LittleArtTalks

September 14, 2019


I mention in my impressionist technique
and technology video that they often used open composition.
So today I wanna go over what the differences are between open and closed composition. Closed
composition is where all the elements are arranged within the frame to have a clear focal point. The other
elements do not try to draw the viewers eye from one point to another, but rather
complement the focal point. A closed composition is often more static and stable. An open composition as you can probably
guess is the opposite. There is not a singular focal point and
the visual elements keep your eyes moving around. Subjects may be placed at the edge of a scene and they create a sense environment beyond the frame.
Unlike a close composition, where it appears complete. Of course not every
single work will fit into one category or the other. It is possible that they could be
partially both. What do you think of these works of art? Are they opened or closed? Let me know in
the down bar below. Thanks so much for watching this video.
If you are interested in the video I mentioned before a link it down below. Please subscribe
for more videos and I will see you guys next time!

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  1. To me, the Friedrich seems closed – since the man in the middle of the fog is sort of the focal point.

    The Picasso … I would say open. Mostly because it makes my eyes jump all around. And the "folds" on the outer edge of the painting look like they could spill beyond the frame.

    The Velazquez is a bit more tricky, but I'm going to say open too. Although the girl in the middle is very clearly the focal point, there is so much going on beyond her – with the man heading through the doorway behind her, the reflection of the two figures in the mirror which is supposedly her parents standing in the viewer's space. And if I remember correctly the painter on the left is supposed to be Velazquez himself?

  2. 1. It's closed because it clearly has a primary subject that we're drawn to. … But it's open because  we then take his point of view and explore the landscape. The theme of the painting is how big and small the man is (big because look how big his comprehension is, small because… look how big everything he comprehends is). 
    2. Closed when I see it on your thumbnail; open when I see it in person. In a thumbnail it's small enough that the group can count as a single focal point, in reality, though, it's too huge and the eye jumps around the canvas. 
    3. Open. Just open. No one can ever stop exploring Las Meninas. 

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