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Line, Form, and Feeling There


is r kind of foik rrt knowlcdge cmbodin rhe nanre of rhe $ccping rvillow tree. Everyone knorvs thet drooping Iires rre supposed ro convc,v sorrolv or t.rrigue. A crln se:r is placid, and placidity is rnrrked by horiTont.rl lines- wherr youle "up" you are happv, rnd lpcurving lines :rre oftcn usccl to indiclie jov. These assocritions of line direction rvith mood probabl-v clcrive from sornrtic i.lnrificationsi that is, rvith their occurrence in our own bociies. Figrre'l '19 illLrsrrars rhc prcsunrcd rclationships. Actuallv, rhe inferercc drLrt downturned lires are sad rncl uparrned ones jovous is simple-rrindcd. For instance, the f.rce made Lrp of onl,v upnrrned lines is nor as glccfLrlJooking .rs the top left frce in figurc 2-8 bec.ruse the larter corresponds morr: closelv to acrual configurations in .t sniling f.rce. Bur simplistic or not, it is obvious ri1:rr rhere is sot,rlriTiS to thc idea that line moverrent and nnDd are connected. Lconrrdo's L,rsr S"pp?? (lig. 4-2 1) conveys .r pacilic feeling. lr is .r celnr picturc. The Tintoretro version (6g.4-23) boils $,rrh energyi irs line movements are highl,v charged. In vierving it orc fcels less at rest because ir is nor ar rest. hs nlood is inrense and ejnrs at pmvoking.r feeling akin ro ecstasy, religious fervor. In an analogous fashion, t*o famous works from th lite

4-50 vrNcE Nr vaN GoGH. The Story Night | 889 Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 ,/1" colleclion, The l'4use!m of |lodern Ar!, New York Acauired lhrouSh $e Lillie P Bliss Bequest







cEoRGEs sEURAa A Sundoy Afternoon on the lsland of Lo Grcnde

Oil on canvd, 6

9|l"r l0'l%"


Art Instlrule of ChicaSo.

Helen Birch Banlett

latre 18A4-86.

nineteenrh century, Tre srrr'ly NiSrt by Vincent van Gogh

(i853-1890) and

A Smday Aftemoon on the Islaltd of La Grande latte by Georges

(1859- 1891), evoke d;fferent moods because of dre different wa,vs tbe arrists have used line and fom. The brushstrokes in the Van Gogh (6g. 4 50) are exceprionallv linear' and rheir movcnlent is rorrential. Srd/ry Nrt is emotional ro the point of being vehement. The nebuhe raging across the heaveDs of the night afe nor rhirgs seen bur sonrctiring felt. In A Sunday Aftemoon all the Isldncl of La Crande ldfte \frg.4-51) the painter has employecl little dots of color. His lines.rre regulared, prcdicrable, serene. Ever-vthing is thought out. Even the forms bctween the Ggures are calculated; tlrey resemble jigsrw cutolrls And the
rcperitions of line rre very clear' Compare the back of dre Lady in the busrle on rhe f:rr right s'ith the line movement from the seated girl ahead of irer up rhrough her companion's parasol to the hip of the oncoming morher' Such similarities c.rn be discerned rhroughout dre pairting. The mood? Ir is one ot crlm, appropriare to a quiet Sunday afrernoon in Paris Linc and forn are but !\,!'o of the elements ofart. They are, esvou haveseen, so closely related as to be almost interchangeable The orhcr elements arc sinilarly dependent upon each other. Without contrast between dark and



light we could not pcrceive form, and uithour forn u'e would not have linc. D:rkncss or lightness is an aspect ofcolor' ln frct, dre aspect ofcolor summed

ilglr is perhaps dre most import.rnr :rspect of all. One c.rn be colorblind and still see very *'ell indeed But withour dre contrasl benveen lights and d:rrks one would bc unable to see at all.
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