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© Seed Gallery New York

Proportion is the relationship based on size between parts or objects within a composition. While scale defines the relationship between different artworks and their sizes, proportion refers to the relative size and scale of various elements employed within the composition of the artwork. Essentially, both scale and proportion are imperative in the evaluation, appreciation, judging and critically assessing the merits of the artwork.

Proportion works in ratios, where one part relates to the other, and excellent proportion is achieved when there is a harmonious relationship between the elements in respect to size, quantity, ratio, and degree of impact. However, while accurate proportions create drawings and paintings that are realistic, mellifluous, serene and cathartic, by deliberately manipulating proportion, an artist can emphasize certain elements that are vital in communicating his ideas and conveying his message.

Conclusively, proportion is one of the principles of art, of which there are several, namely, harmony, unity, rhythm, movement, pattern, motif, proportion and the aforementioned scale. Fundamentally, the principles of art are an interpretation of the artist’s skillful use of the elements of art to create his composition, namely, shape, line, form, color, value, space, and texture.

There are essentially four types of proportion in art, namely:

Out of Proportion

Altered Proportion

Standard Proportion

Hierarchical Proportion



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