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Shapes and vignettes

Ayal Pinkus

Hi there!
The purpose of copying from the masters of the past is to learn from it. One thing I like to do is break down an image to find the compositional rules the artist may have used. In this editorial, I want to break down what I noticed, composition-wise, in the lithographs Gottfried Kirchbach made, the ones I am going to draw with pen and ink.

First, a breakdown into triangles, rectangles, and circles. I took the larger shapes I can see, although there are many more of these shapes — triangles, especially — in the images. He's using these shapes to tell a story as one triangle towers over another, indicating power one figure has over the other.

A compositional breakdown of a tonal study based on a lithograph by Gottfried Kirchbach.

I did notice these images seemed to have two main subjects, two “vignettes,” in red and blue in the image below. These two things do not seem to have been placed precisely correctly in perspective, allowing instead for some artistic freedom in placing them.

A compositional breakdown of a tonal study based on a lithograph by Gottfried Kirchbach.

It does appear he used rhythmic composition, aligning edges to imaginary rhythmic lines through the images.

A compositional breakdown of a tonal study based on a lithograph by Gottfried Kirchbach.

I'm actually not sure if Gottfried used these methods for composing his images. If he did, it appears he used them only very loosely. But yet, these elements are in there, and it is almost impossible to arrive at that by accident, and so I am guessing he did...

Yours truly,
Ayal Pinkus