Principles of Design (based on the artwork 'Las Meninas' by Diego Velazquez)
The work that was chosen for the current analysis of the principles of design is Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez. This work depicts young infant with ladies-in-waiting that belongs to the high society of the Spanish court surrounded by her servants. Below will be studied the application of the principles of design, such as emphasis, harmony, contrast, unity, balance and gradation.The emphasis of the work is made on the youngest infant, daughter of Spanish king that is played at the center of the composition. She also is the lightest point of the picture, so the viewer’s eye starts the work observation from this point and then follows with the rest of the elements. The youngest lady is surrounded by two young ladies, her ladies-in-waiting or Meninas that are also painted with light colors and help to create the centre of the composition. In this way,
the idea of Velazquez to focus on the Meninas of the Spanish royal family was implemented. A harmony for the visual art could be characterized as the visual satisfaction from observing of the picture. In this case all elements of the composition are joined in a manner that allows them to complement each other. One lady-in-waiting on the right side of the little infant is complemented with the girl-in-waiting from the left, but with a little asymmetry in her posture for making this repetition with some variation.
The figure of Velazquez that is staying painting at the left side of the work is balanced with two smaller figures of the servants-dwarfs from the right. The same could be noted about few levels of the work that built a complex composition with few focal points. The contrast of the composition is created due to the light and colors combination. The emphasis of the work was painted with more light and in lighter colors. The infant also has lighter face, hair and dress that force to look at her earlier then at the rest details of the picture. That is the main contrast of the work. Another one was pained by the author in the depth of the picture where the man with the mirror is depicted. That was made with an intention to avoid the too dark background, so it helps to balance the lights with the forefront at the first line of the work.
The unity of composition is reached due to good combination of all elements and figures. It could be noted that few groups of figures are doing different things for making picture interesting to observe and not monotonous. For example, young girls at the center are worrying about little infant, one of them is talking to infant, another is in a reverence. The boy at the right side is playing with a dog, the painter at the left side is observing the details for painting his picture, and a man at the …