Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (2023)

Bbalance is an important underlying aspect when it comes to visual compositions; our eyes can naturally detect when a work of art seems unbalanced or harmoniously composed; balance signals a sense of wholeness. But there are different ways that balance can be used to give character to a work of art. We'll discuss this in more detail in this article, along with several examples of balance in art.

What is balance in art?

balance is part ofprinciples of art, which are also known as design principles; these are, namely, emphasis, movement, rhythm, proportion, scale, harmony, unity, variety, and contrast. If you're not familiar with the principles of art, they function as guidelines or rules, if you will, that help compose a work of art in an identifiable format.

Furthermore, an artistic composition consists of several artistic elements, of which there are basically seven. These are, namely, line, shape, figure, color, value, space, and texture. All these elements can be combined in thousands of ways according to the principles of art.

Let's take a closer look at balance in art, which is commonly described as the "visual weight" of a work of art. This can range from painting, sculpture, drawing or graphic art. The “distribution” of the artistic elements is what determines the type of balance in a work of art.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (1)delivery of the keys(1481-1482) de Pietro Perugino, Capela Sistina, Rome;Pedro Perugino, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Types of balance in art

In general, there are several types of techniques available in each of the principles of the art. These can be used in a myriad of ways to apply the principles in more diverse ways. So when it comes to balance in art, although there are three main types of techniques we can use, some art sources mention four, so we'll discuss the four main types of balance in art below.

symmetrical balance

Symmetrical balance is also called "formal balance" in art, which means that there is an equal balance between the two halves of the visual composition and the images are identical to each other. This type of balance in art also includes a "reflection" of halves, which is known as "reversed symmetry." The halves of the composition are separated by the median line or also called "central axis". This can be divided into horizontal, vertical or diagonal sections.

So, if the composition is split horizontally, the top and bottom halves will mirror each other, and similarly, with the vertical split, the left and right halves will mirror each other.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (2)North Americananimal cutout(19th century) by unknown artist;National Gallery of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although symmetrical parts of an artistic composition are generally identical, they can also differ in slight variations, called approximate symmetry. This is when parts of both halves do not share the same identical or mirror-like qualities, although the shapes or sizes may still be similar.

(Video) Art Education - Principles of Design - Balance - Back to the Basics - Art Lesson

Symmetrical balance in visual compositions is widely used in art from all disciplines.

Common characteristics related to it include a sense of security, harmony, order, rationality, and stability in the artwork; however, it can become very boring or monotonous if overused. We will find this technique commonly used inart of the renaissance periodwhen the primary genres of artworks also centered around historical and religious paintings. Examples of symmetrical balance in art include none other than the famousThe Last Supper(1495-1498) by Leonardo da Vinci.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (3)The Last Supper(1495-1498) by Leonardo da Vinci;Leonardo da Vinci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Rough symmetry is used in this painting, while most of the composition is the same in the way the artistic elements are placed, there are differences here and there. For example, the Apostles seated next to the central figure ofJesus Christ they are all different, however the background is rendered similarly on the left and right sides.

The symmetrical balance occurs not only in painting, but also in architecture such as the Parthenon (432 BC) or the Taj Mahal (1632-1653). In both architectural examples there is an equal arrangement of the architectural structures, mainly the columns, which gives it a general symmetry.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (4)View from the south side of the Taj Mahal, Agra, India;Yves Picq,CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Symmetrical balancing can also occur biaxially, which means that the composition is balanced both vertically and horizontally. Optical artist Victor Vasarely is famous for using this type of symmetry in his artwork, for example hisVega-Nor(1969), describes the symmetrical equilibrium of a spherical object on a grid.

Although the colors are different, they also reflect each other in all four quadrants.

In other examples such as that of Frida KahloSelf-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird(1940), there is a sense of balance due to the central figure of Kahlo and the two dark animals, the black monkey on the left and the black cat on the right, on either side of her shoulders, giving equal weight to the left . and right sides. Also, on his head is a figure of eight bands with two butterflies on each side.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (5)Self-portrait with a necklace of thorns and a hummingbird (1940) byFrida Kahlo;ambra75,CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

(Video) The Principles of Art - Balance

Mauricio Cornelis Escher, also known as M. C. Escher, created geometric shapesabstract art, also known as mosaics, which look perfectly balanced using repetitive motifs and patterns. Examples includeDay and night(1938),draw hands(1948), miLizard(1942), among many others.

asymmetric balance

Asymmetrical balance, also called "informal balance," on the other hand, refers to both halves of a composition maintaining a sense of balance, but with different artistic elements on each side. In other words, both sides have “visual weight” that complement each other to make it almost symmetrical.

The artistic elements arranged on each side of the composition vary between different colors, shapes, forms, textures or spaces; for example, one half may appear black and the other half white, or one shape may be larger than the other, or shorter and longer.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (6)The incredulity of Saint Thomas(1604) de Caravaggio;Caravaggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Asymmetrical balance in art is also described as more "subjective" compared to symmetrical balance because it requires and involves closer planning to achieve visual weight on each side of the composition, yet still remain diverse.

Ironically, you may feel more relaxed and unplanned due to the variety in which the art elements were placed.

Asymmetrical balance in art examples include Vincent van Goghthe starry Night(1889), depicting a tree filling the left side and an emptier right side with only the moon and stars in the night sky. The placement of these objects creates an overall balanced effect here, one side having a darker, heavier shape than the smaller, lighter shapes on the other side, playing off each other.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (7)the starry Night(1889) el Vincent van Gogh;Vincent Van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The most abstract works of Piet MondrianDe Stijl art movementit represents asymmetrical compositions that simultaneously create a feeling of harmonious balance. Artworks includeComposition with red, yellow, blue and black.(1921), in which Mondrian used various sizes of shapes, squares, rectangles, and black lines, along with areas ofprimary colors, Black and white.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (8)Composition with red, yellow, blue and black.(1921) by Piet Mondrian;Piet Mondrian, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

(Video) Understanding Visual Balance | Adobe Design Principles Course

In addition to painting, we also see asymmetrical balance in sculptures or three-dimensional objects, for example, the painting by Alexander Calder.Mobile(1942). Made of paint and iron, the mobile is made up of different sizes of biomorphic shapes. The right side is heavier than the left and creates stability for the rest of the structure, which tapers into various circular shapes hanging from a thin wire.

The size variations on both sides of the mobile emphasize its asymmetry, but still create a harmonious whole.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (9)by Alejandro CalderMobile(1942) noMuseo Stedelijk de Amsterdam, 1969;Eric Koch / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

equilibrio radial

According to the dictionary, the term "radial" means "to develop uniformly around a central axis" or "to relate to, be placed in, or move along a radius." A radius is a line from the center of a circular shape or shape, such as a circle or sphere, to its outer edge or circumference. The word “ray” comes from the Latin and means “lightning” and “thunderbolt”.

Knowing where the term radial comes from will help us understand how radial balance is applied in art. Think of the rays of a light shining outward or the spokes of a wheel extending to its outer edges.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (10)Charger de Charles II no Boscobel Oak (c. 1685);Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Radial symmetry in art involves any art element placed around the central point "radiating" outward. Typically, the elements of the illustration would be identical and repeat around this central point, which could be lines, shapes, shapes, colors, or other arrangements in a radial pattern. This pattern is also recurring in nature, for example, in flowers, stars, shells, starfish and much more.

Other examples include spirals used to wrap around the viewer and draw the gaze to the focal point.

Common examples of radial balance art include mandalas, of which there are hundreds of different designs and patterns, as well as rose windows of many.gothic cathedralsthroughout Europe, for example the Cathedral of Reims, Notre Dame and the Cathedral of Chartres, all located in France, among many others.

Balance in Art - Exploring the different types of balance art (11)Rayonnant Gothic rosette (north transept) of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral;Zachi Evenor based on File:North Rose Window of Notre-Dame de Paris, August 2010.jpg by Julie Anne Workman,CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

(Video) Drawing vs Painting | Artwork with Symmetrical Balance

crystallographic equilibrium

Crystallographic equilibrium, also called "tiling" or "complete" equilibrium, refers to the more random placements of artistic elements. In the visual composition, these appear disordered and at the same time create a sensation of order or harmony; it is often referred to as “organized chaos”.

In general, it is recommended that the composition be more compact so that it appears fuller and therefore more balanced as a result. The viewer's gaze will be over the entire composition and will not be able to locate a focal point.

Examples of crystallographic equilibrium in fine art include the artworks of the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. for example, yourNumber 5oNumber 5, (1948) yAutumn Rhythm: Number 30(1950), among many others, all depict his signature action painting process of a variety of daubed and smeared paints on the canvas. When we look at Pollock's paintings, our gaze swims in the sea of ​​the entire surface, which is replete, as it were, with lines and colors.

There is no apparent focal point and the seemingly chaotic nature of his compositions creates a balancing effect.

Summary of Balance in Art

Types of balance in artCharacteristicsarts examples
symmetrical balanceIt is also known as formal equilibrium.

When all the parts of the composition are identical or complement each other, both halves of the work mirror each other.

There may be approximate and biaxial symmetry.

OThe Last Supper(1495-1498) by Leonardo da Vinci

The Parthenon (432 BC)

Taj Mahal (1632-1653)

Vega-Nor(1969) by Victor Vasarely

Self-portrait with a necklace of thorns and a hummingbird (1940) byFrida Kahlo

asymmetric balanceIt is also known as informal equilibrium.

Different artistic elements are used on different sides/areas of the composition, but still create a balanced effect.

Composition with red, yellow, black, gray and blue foreground.(1921) by Piet Mondrian

Mobile(1942) de Alexander Calder

the starry Night(1889) Vincent van Gogh

equilibrio radialIt mainly refers to circular shapes or shapes in which the artistic elements are arranged from the central point outwards, almost like rays of light.Examples include mandalas or rosettes
crystallographic equilibriumThis is also known as mosaic balance or total balance.

Artistic elements are more disorganized and randomly placed throughout the visual composition.

Number 5 (1948) andAutumn Rhythm: Number 30byjackson pollock

In this article, we discuss equilibrium in art, what it is, and several of the different types that can be applied as techniques, namely symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, and crystallographic equilibrium, also known as mosaic equilibrium; examples of artworks explored how these techniques were applied by artists from various artistic periods.

Beginnings of Art: Further Reading

  • principles of artMain article
  • movement in art
  • emphasis on art
  • Unity in Art
  • rhythm in art
  • texture in art
  • proportion in art
  • Harmony in Art

Balance is one of the principles of art and works together with theart elements, which gives you a wide variety of methods to apply it. Whether it's lines, shapes, forms, colors, spaces, or textures, balance can give character, variety, and harmony to a work of art. It can be gentle on our eyes or make our gaze go wild, so to speak, either way, balance in art becomes an essential part of the unified whole of a work of art.

Take a look at ourbalance web art historyhere!

frequent questions

What is balance in art?

Balance is one of the principles of art that gives an artistic composition its so-called visual weight through the arrangement of artistic elements, that is, line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space. The way they are placed in a composition can make it more harmonious or unbalanced.

(Video) What Is Balance? | ArtQuest | NPT

What are the different types of balance?

There are four main types of balance in art, namely symmetrical balance, which means that all artistic elements are placed in such a way that both halves of the composition are identical to each other, sometimes also reflecting each other; asymmetrical balance refers to different artistic elements in both halves of the composition, but still creates a sense of balance; radial equilibrium refers to art elements around a circular shape or shape, and lastly, crystallographic or mosaic equilibrium refers to art elements placed haphazardly or more disorganized, it is also called total equilibrium.

How is balance created in art?

Balance can be created in a number of ways using specific art elements, for example through larger shapes or shapes, especially squares or rectangles compared to circles, darker or bolder colors, thicker lines, more texture, and how use space as foreground. o background placement or along the edges compared to the center of the composition. All artistic elements interact with each other; that is why it is important to understand how they are going to create the so-called visual weight in the artwork.

What are the principles of art?

There are several principles of art, namely balance, emphasis, movement, rhythm, variety, unity, harmony, proportion, scale, and contrast. These are almost like guiding principles for how to use and apply artistic elements such as color, texture, value, form, line, and space.


What are the different types of balance in art? ›

There are three different types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.

What are the 4 types of balance in art? ›

There are four main types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, and crystallographic.
  • Symmetrical Balance. Symmetrical balance requires the even placement of identical visual elements. ...
  • Asymmetrical Balance. ...
  • Radial Balance. ...
  • Crystallographic Balance.
Oct 30, 2015

What is balance in art explain? ›

Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable.

What are the 5 types of balance? ›

There are five types of balance in graphic design: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, mosaic and discordant.

What is an example of balance in principles of art? ›

Asymmetrical balance in art is when each half is different but has equal visual weight. The artwork is still balanced. For example, in the Caravaggio (the picture in the right in the collage), the three men are balanced with Jesus on the left.

What are the different types of balances? ›

There are actually three types of balances: the equal arm balance, the unequal arm balance, and the spring balance. The equal arm balance is named such because the distance between the pivot and each end of the bar are equidistant, or separated by an equal length from the pivot point.

What is the full meaning of balance? ›

noun. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc. a state of bodily equilibrium: He lost his balance and fell down the stairs.


1. Studying Balance in Art and Science
(Getty Museum)
2. Balance art lesson
(Jennifer Jones)
3. 37 Design Principles - balance
4. How This Guy Balances Impossible Rock Structures | Obsessed | WIRED
5. Balance
(Stacy's Art Studio)
6. Principle of Art: Balance
(Sauer's Virtual Art Room)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Margart Wisoky

Last Updated: 02/09/2023

Views: 5948

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Margart Wisoky

Birthday: 1993-05-13

Address: 2113 Abernathy Knoll, New Tamerafurt, CT 66893-2169

Phone: +25815234346805

Job: Central Developer

Hobby: Machining, Pottery, Rafting, Cosplaying, Jogging, Taekwondo, Scouting

Introduction: My name is Margart Wisoky, I am a gorgeous, shiny, successful, beautiful, adventurous, excited, pleasant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.