Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Balance in Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and Butterfield’s Verde

Since balance is a key design principle in art, it is important that the artist achieve it in one of two ways. A piece of art must be either symmetrical or asymmetrical to skeletal achieve balance and not create tension in the work. When a piece of art is symmetrical it is a mirror image. There are an equal number of items of equal size, colors, textures, and etc. Many times this is used in architecture to create a pleasing effect to the eye. Balance can also be attained through asymmetrical design.

Equilibrium is still attainable through this technique. Asymmetrical means that several smaller items are balanced by a larger item, larger and smaller objects are arranged at different lengths away from the center, different textures are used, or brighter or darker colors contrasted by lighter or muted shades. The famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci, who lived in the fifteenth century, used the symmetrical technique in his famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man.

In this drawing, it is mostly a mirrored image of the man and his anatomy. This draws the viewer’s eye to the center of the page. However, there is a tiny portion of the work that is asymmetrical. There is slightly more color on one side that is balanced with both feet turning to the side with less color. Deborah Butterfield, a sculptor from the twentieth century to the present, used the asymmetrical technique for her sculpture of the horse, Verde.

The back portion of the horse is bulky held on two skeletal legs while the front of the horse is opened and curvy with thin strips of metal for the neck and head. It parallels the way that a real horse would look and it is totally balanced. Works Cited Butterfield, D. (c. 1990). Verde. Da Vinci. L. (c. 1485). The Vitruvian Man. Skaalid, B. (1999). Classic Design Theory Principles of Design: Balance. Retrieved April 3, 2008 from http://www. usask. ca/education/coursework/skaalid/theory/cgdt/balance. htm

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