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Proportional Relations - Arcy Art Original Oil Paintings Art Dictionary

There are three main kinds of proportional relations existing among the parts and dimensions of a piece of sculpture, namely linear, aerial, and volumetric proportions.

Linear proportions include, firstly, the relations existing internally between the length and width of a single volume like a head, or among the dimensions of simple blocks, or between the length and breadth of secondary forms such as a nose or an eye. Secondly, linear proportions include the relations existing between the linear dimensions of two forms, for instance, between the lengths of different component volumes like the neck and the head or the legs and the arms, or the lengths of different secondary forms like the nose and the eyes.

Aerial proportions exist between any areas of a sculpture which are differentiated by colour or texture or are seperated by dividing lines. Such divisions are common in draped sculpture. Aerial proportions also exist among the planes of a sculpture which are seperated by an edge or a highline.

Volumetric proportions are only found in fully three-dimensional works. For their appreciation they depend on the spectator's ability to apprehend volumes as volumes and to sense their relative "weights" or masses. There may be an interplay or counterpoint between aerial and volumetric proportions. The volumes of a sculpture may be divided into areas of colour or texture, the boundaries of which do not correspond to the divisions between one volume and another. This can result in a lively tension between two sets of proportions.


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