Rhythm in Art


Rhythm in the art can be compared to the rhythm in sound the difference being in the sound we use note while in art we use colours. The rhythm in art refers to the arrangement of shapes. It is a principle of design that indicates movement. It is usually achieved by the use of repetition of lines, shapes and colours. Rhythm is one of the main principles of art the others are balance, proportion, emphasis, variety, movement, and harmony. Rhythm helps in organizing the elements of art like line, shape, form, value, colour, space, and texture. It is often referred to as a tempo or a beat which displays the passion behind the work to the viewer. The speed of rhythm can also be varied as in music. Rhythm in art gives the viewer a feeling of peace, order, and structure when they are static. Also, some compositions tend to create a sense of chaos, disorder, and loss of balance and is the reflection of the artist’s soul.

The use of rhythm in art tends to make a composition interesting and helps in getting the attention of the viewer. It is very difficult to explain the building of rhythm in art as compared to the rhythm in music. The rhythm in sound can be felt by the people and it evokes a reaction from them. In the case of visual art since the work is static, the artist uses lines, shapes, colour, brushstrokes, light, and space to create the rhythm. It enables the artist in the creation of the movement within a flat surface. The use of rhythm makes the composition interesting and helps us to convey a particular emotion to the viewer. It also helps to manipulate the viewer’s vision to the focus of the composition. All rhythm is not patterned but each pattern has a rhythm. In the case of forms, rhythm can be conveyed by the ways they are placed next to one another. The use of lines in rhythm indicates movement.

Types of Visual Rhythm

Rhythm is the arrangement of art’s elements. The rhythm in composition follows a few rules of visual movement that the artist uses to get the desired effect. The different types of rhythm are given below.

To attain a regular rhythm the artists follow a regular space and interval between them.

We also have the random rhythm which does not follow any formal structure.

We also have the alternating rhythm that changes the focus and speed of the composition.

Progressive rhythm involves manipulating the size, colour and number.

Flowing rhythm indicates compositions which contain curved or circular elements. Examples of flowing rhythm are flowers, clouds, and waves.

The artist normally place their elements guided by their inner feelings and hence compared to patterns rhythms are not structured mathematically. The use of line, colour and shapes with rhythm allow freedom of interpretation but they are governed by universal rules. The use of these rules varies from one artist to another and rhythm also tends to be influenced by the individual and the culture.

Using Rhythm in Art

The use of rhythm in art depends on the artist it could be less or more. Try to use rhythm in compositions and try to highlight their use. The rhythm in a composition could have many levels as compared to the rhythm in music where a composition might have different rhythms. You could use dominant and regular shapes in your composition to indicate a strong beat. Whereas in the case of a subtle beat you can use details and patterns which are intricate.

Use of Pattern, Repetition, and Rhythm

When we speak of rhythm, we associate it with pattern and repetition. They may seem similar to each other and also convey the feeling of being interconnected but they are also distinct.

A pattern can be defined as the recurring element in a composition which repeats itself. Examples of the pattern are checkerboard or brickwork.

The word repetition indicates elements which are repeated. Shapes, colour, line and objects which repeats are examples of repetition. The use of repletion in a composition may result in a pattern.

The word rhythm depicts both pattern and repetition. We can define rhythm as the differences in a pattern. Also, rhythm can be defined as the repetition of elements of art. The rhythm of a composition can be controlled by the colour and value and also the line and shape.