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Format Of Art Works In Painting.

The most widespread format for a picture is quadrangular, and the pure square meets less often, than a quadrangle, more or less extended upwards or in breadth. Some epoch appreciate a round format (tondo) or an oval. The format history is not written yet; there are only the incidental researches concerning separate epoch and artists. From them undoubtedly follows that the choice of a format hasn?t casual character, that the format usually occurs from deep, fundamental connection as with the contents of a work of art, with its emotional tone, and with a picture composition that in it the individual temperament of the artist, and it is equally brightly reflected also taste of the whole epoch.

The horizontal, extended format, in general, is unconditionally more suitable for a narrative composition, for consecutive expansion of movement by the spectator. Therefore to such format willingly address the artists, who have been adjusted epically, aspiring to an active composition, to action, – for example the Italian painters of XIV and the first half of XV centuries (especially in fresco compositions). On the contrary, the format square or such in which the height prevails over width a little, as though stops at once dynamics of action and gives to composition a character of solemn representation – this kind of a format preferred for the altar pictures of the master of the High Renaissance (?the Sistine Madonna?). In turn, at significant prevalence of height over width, the composition again acquires dynamics, strong draught, but this time upwards or downwards; such narrow format was especially to liking to aristocratic, decorative artists or artists, who were adjusted mystically (mannerists, Greco), aspiring to embody certain emotions, moods.

Certainly, immutable laws of a format are not present, but there are some tendencies, format language.

It is characteristic that a square and tondo represent the most rare, most exclusive kinds of a format, only very much few periods and the directions inclined in this or that form to classical tendencies, cultivated these kinds of a format willingly. During the Renaissance epoch, for example, the round format can be met almost only in Florence and in Rome whereas the Venetian painters concerned it as negatively, as well as a square. As ideas of the Renaissance lose the popularity, and tondo gives way to a new kind of a format – to an oval, from the end of XVI and to the middle of the eighteenth century the oval is one of the most favorite formats of the European painting. It is quite clear. For yearning for dynamics baroque artists tondo should seem too motionless, as abstract-mathematical format. An oval is dual. It has not only softer bend of a contour, but also more flexible, more changeable rhythm of the silhouette. How much tondo personifies rest and concentration, so an oval is changeable and complete of aspiration. Free from compasses guardianship, the oval can already be freer, etc. The artist can give to an oval absolutely personal shade. In this direction from some rigidity to soft fluctuation the oval silhouette also develops in an epoch of baroque and rococo, according to all those stages of the general evolution of style, which can be traced, for example, in the field of drawing and color.

Thus, we have the right to conclude that the format history to a certain extent reflects the general changes occurring in evolution of styles.

At last, the format is in direct dependence on the picturesque engineering. The more widely, more freely dab of the artist, he has bigger aspiration to a large format; the painters working in thin brushes, prefer usually small format.

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