Online College Courses for Credit



Author: Aleisha Olson

This lesson will present the basic aspects of composition.

See More

Try Sophia’s Art History Course. For Free.

Our self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to many different colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

28 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

286 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 25 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


This tutorial presents an overview of the basic aspects of composition.

Source: Image of Feast of the Gods, Giovanni Bellini and Titian, Public Domain,; Image of Allegory of the Art of Painting, Jan Vermeer, Public Domain,

Terms to Know

The most distant part of the composition from the picture plane, it is usually shown higher, smaller, and more hazy than the foreground.


The part of the painting closest to the picture plane, usually corresponding to the bottom of the composition.

Middle Ground

The part of the composition between the foreground and the background.

Picture Plane

The invisible plane that corresponds to the surface of the painting, the picture plane is like a window opening out onto another world.