How Well Can You Read a Drawing, Painting, or Photograph?
Below is a simple test containing fifteen questions about the painting "Madonna of the Pilgrims" by Caravaggio that will help determine your current level of knowledge on composition as well as your ability to read a work of art. These questions form the core building blocks of the visual language and every artist, regardless of the medium used, should be able to answer most, if not all, of them effortlessly.
1. What Dynamic Symmetry rectangle does Caravaggio use for the painting?
2. In the Dynamic Symmetry grid, can you locate the main diagonal lines and their reciprocals?
3. What is the dominant diagonal line in the painting? The Baroque or the Sinister?
4. Where in the painting is the greatest area of contrast?
5. Which figures are designed in the rabatment of the rectangle?
6. What diagonal line is repeated more often than any other? The Baroque or the Sinister?
7. Where is the dominant vertical and horizontal line in the painting?
8. What specific areas in the composition demonstrate good figure-ground relationship?
9. Can you outline all the coincidences, radiating lines, and arabesques?
10. Can you locate all the pointing devices in the composition?
11. Is the painting designed using classical balance or the principle of the steelyard?
12. Can you break down all the figures and surrounding elements into simple geometric shapes?
13. Can you determine the limited number of directions (gamut) Caravaggio is using in his design?
14. Can you identify the nine components of light and shadow? These include the highlight, light (halo surrounding the highlight), local light, light halftone, middle halftone, dark halftone, form shadow, core shadow, and dark accent.
15. Can you determine the location of the light source based on the highlights, the cast shadows, and the form shadows?