By: John Stephens. Copyright John Stephens 2010, Blog, Post, Reverse Engineered by C.S. Gilmore
I first came across this poster when I was shopping for Christmas gifts for my family, and since this uses the principles of design so masterfully I decided to use it for this reverse engineering project.
Proximity was used in this piece in numerous ways. We have the pillars together in two groups, plus the stones in the lower half close to each other and creating a transition between the land and space scenes. There is also the mountain in the center, which is placed so as to appear behind the pillars, helping to create a sense of depth. Besides the layers of object groupings from top to bottom there is also a grouping of things on each side, creating a channel down the center of the image for the flowing water to lead the eye from top to bottom and far to near.
Contrast comes to mind primarily in the use of color. There is the dark of space at the bottom, transitioning into a middle level of color richness in the area of the stream, trees, and rocky hills. The transition and contrast deepen further with the brightness of the pillars before darkening again a little with the sky above. In addition there is also the brightness of the black hole compared to the dark of space around it. There is also the nearness of the lower image in contrast to the larger size but greater distance feeling given by images further up, such as the cathedral.
Repetition is used throughout the image as well, easily seen in the varying shapes, sizes, and colors of the rocks in space and the stream. It is also visible in the pillars as they shift in angle and nearness, as well as in the shape of the arches and in the fact that they are mirrored in the water. The Image itself is also almost but not really mirrored in its two sides.
Alignment is also used to great effect to clearly define different zones, such as space, the stream, the pillars, and the sky, helping the eye to recognize the different layers of the painting and the relation of objects in those layers to each other. Most notably the alignment of objects along the sides creates the tunnel effect that serves as the central point of the image with the water flowing down, which adds a lot to the sense of image depth.