How to Maintain the Proportional Balance in the Painting.

The second aphorism - Pramanam

This chapter, I am about to discuss is related to the sense of perspective and proportion as well as, it helps to maintain the balance of a composition. A well-known subject to all artists and an important part of grammar book as well. Establishing the highest significance of this part, the author stated that without knowledge of foreshortening and proportion, a painting may be a matter of joke, but it may not be a serious creation.

Example of symmetrical drawing. Image resource - www.c1.staticflicker.com

This aphorism helps you to determine what would be the size, length, etc of several objects of your composition and how should you maintain the proportional balance within two or more objects. Consequently, it also establishes the proper form of an object that helps to produce the value. Here is an example; - to make a good painting of a palace, it is necessary to make its pillars very suitable to carry the roof of the castle. It will become a matter of joke if they build very narrow or weak. This example as a common sense of symmetry, however, a unique matter related to this aphorism that the author not only proposed to use this aphorism in such type of common sense, rather he precepted to enforce this aphorism to prove the social dignity or status of people! 

King's court of Jahangir. Image resource - 4.bp.blogspot.com

We easily can notice the reverberation of the words of that oldest author when we will concentrate our eyes to some of the old miniature paintings of the king’s court of Mughal era.  When artists of that era started to depict a painting of the king's court, they were always conscious of maintaining the social status or priority of the people by using this aphorism; they placed every member of that court by maintaining their designation. They managed it either, by keeping the respectful distance from the king’s throne or depict larger figure than other common members of the court; even if the figure placed at the far distance from the  front group of figures of that composition, just like the painting of the right side.

In the right line, although the first figure placed at the very front of you, but it is too short. Because he was not so important of the court of Jahangir. Whereas, in the same line, look at the last figure placed at the front of the king's throne; but it depicted in very large size that is looking some odd in order of the sense of perspective because, he is too far from your vision. It mean, this person is one of the most important figures of the court of Jahangir. No matter where he has taken the sit. It is the best example of a unique application of this aphorism.


In our societal life, we always maintain a common respectful manners for all that possibly not applicable for children. Sometimes we show a special respect for a special person that may not similar to common people. The Author’s precept was that artists have to maintain this sort of proportional dignity seriously in their painting, no matter even it neglects the common theory of perspective that depend on the normal visualization.

Please note, on that period of historical Mughal era, a capital punishment granted to that artist who composed a king’s court painting without maintaining the said aphorism and whimsically carried out the painting. Hope you realized, how important this aphorism was.

Artist - Ghazal Goodarzi. Nine years old. Special prize winner of International children's Art Exhibition and competition of Japan. Image resource - www.kanoonintl.com

I noticed the repercussion of this precept of the author in the children’s painting, where they always try to show the importance on that object they liked mostly by creating either a bigger object than other of a composition or, by using any warm or deep color. It is always their ambition to express themselves on the canvas or paper and to do so, they even agree to compromise with the basic grammar. The transparency of this type of childish vision brings the actual freedom that they enjoy very much. 


  It is striking, that the concept of proportion isn’t same for all. Asian concept is far different from the western concept of perspective. The Egyptian concept of perspective wouldn’t correspond with the western and oriental concept. In our oldest oriental paintings, we have discovered that when an artist drew a painting of Lord Buddha, he depicted lord’s portrait bigger than other Buddhist mendicants. They wanted to show the divinity and dignity of Lord Buddha. It is not only an exemplary of the precedence of the oldest grammar, however, it also has given the highest freedom to an artist.


Granting to the past concept of Chinese proportion, female little feet was the symbol of beauty, but it may not be acceptable in all terms.  Egyptian concept of proportion is not similar with Indian or western proportion, however, it doesn’t mean that Egyptian or Chinese concept of proportion was wrong. All concepts of those countries established on their socioeconomic culture and believes as I said in the past of my introductory article of Raag-Mala paintings, -  It is a very common concern that to understand the cultural side of any country, it is must to have a deep knowledge regarding the social life and traditional beliefs related to that country.    


That oldest author mainly ascribed the importance on the rule of using of this aphorism that is not only to the common notion rather, he wanted to use this aphorism to uncover the value of any object. The above examples of social dignities are reflecting his thoughts.  


 By maintaining this sense of proportion, our universe is functioning continuously.

Now we will try to find out the gist of the discussion.


1. What is the proportional balance? 

It’s a method of assessment of the object that helps to determine the value of it by establishing the relative ratio between two or more parts of a composition.   


2. How to maintain the proportional balance?

To maintain a proportional balance, it is necessary to determine the weight and value of the object that would be established by the differential comparison between the other objects of a composition. 


3. Is the aphorism applicable equally in all terms?

No, to apply this aphorism in the highest label, it is necessary to have the widest knowledge regarding the subject matter of the painting; otherwise, it would be perfect for the common sense of symmetry. 



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Last updated on - 07.12.2023