In Kimberly Elam's book Geometry of Design, she refers to rabatment as the "lazy man's golden section." Rabatment is a design method that consists of overlapping squares in a horizontal or vertical rectangle, regardless of the dimensions, and the resulting horizontal and vertical lines give the artist a compositional structure to work within.
All horizontal rectangles have a left and right rabatment, and all vertical rectangles have a top and bottom rabatment. However, an important point to remember is that rabatment is only one design principle in a much larger system. Other design techniques must be employed in order to make this compositional method successful. In the image below, the root 2 Dynamic Symmetry rectangle demonstrates a rabatment on the left (green) and right (orange) hand sides.
The painting below, "Lion Hunt" by Eugène Delacroix,
demonstrates the process of building a design based on rabatment.
To learn more about composition in art and photography,
please see the "Tips and Techniques" section above.
Click here to learn more composition tips and techniques.