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Author: Erin Aldana

This lesson will present the basic aspects of composition.

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Allegory of the Oubreak of War; Public Domain: , School of Athens; Public Domain:, Burial of Phocion, Creative Commons Wikimedia,

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.