The size relationships of one part to the whole and of one part to another. What is big? The word big is meaningless unless you place it in relation to something else. For instance the dot on the right may appear small, but when placed in relation to other objects it changes our perception of its relative size. In this way proportion is closely linked to the Elements of art, Scale.
Scale and proportion are closely tied to emphasis and focal point. In past centuries visual scale was often related to thematic importance. The size of figures was based on their symbolic importance in the subject being presented. This distortion of natural proportion is called Hieratic Scaling.
Human Scale Reference is a system in which to compare proportions. Think of the size of the work itself -its size in relation to other art, in relation to its surrounding or in relation to the human body.
Another way to discuss proportion is to make comparisons between elements within a particular artwork. To say an element in a composition is “out of proportion” carries a negative feeling, and it is true that such a visual effect is often starting or unsettling. However,it is possible that this is precisely what some artists desire.
PROPORTION’S LINK TO RATION
Proportion is linked to Ratio. That is to say we judge the proportions of something to be correct if the ratio of one element to another element is correct.
For instance, the ratio of a baby’s head size to its body is in proportion for an infant, but would strike us as out of proportion for an adult.
The ancient Greeks had a desire to discover ideal proportions, and these took the form of mathematical ratios. They found the perfect body to be seven heads tall and even idealized the proportions of the parts of the body.
In a similar fashion they sought perfect proportions in rectangles employed in architectural design. Among these rectangles the one most often cited as the perfect one is the golden rectangle.
This is as subjective judgement but it has influenced art and design throughout the succeeding centuries.
Jason C. NHS alumni, 2008
Jason create a digital negative using Adobe photoshop and printed the image in the darkroom. Later he gave the final print a Halochrome tone.