In any work of art, an immediate attraction is fundamental to its success. In a sense, the picture should be like an open window or door for the viewer without anything blocking the visual path. In design, there is a hierarchy of elements. In other words, there must be one dominant area that your viewer is first drawn to, while the remaining elements are there to balance out and lead the eye through the whole. If there is a particular part in the composition that stops this visual flow, it can destroy the overall structure.
In any composition that has a deep perspective, it's always best to enter with a series of diagonal lines that create a winding effect. A dirt road in a landscape that bends and winds around a particular path would be a good example. If you were to formalize this road into straight lines, it would resemble a zigzag. However, not every work of art can use the winding element or zigzag, in which case a visual accent or spot will suffice. This principle of perspective recession can be utilized in all works of art including portraits and multiple figure pictures, not just landscapes.
In the painting below, by Daniel Gerhartz, notice how the use of zigzag lines lead the viewer into the picture and then guides them to the most important element in the entire painting - the brown building.