Madame X

Work Name: Madame X
Work Type: Oil on canvas
Date: 1884
Movement: Modern Art - Impressionism

Madame X

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Dimensions: 235 x 101 cm



Lines are marks moving in a space between two points whereby a viewer can visualise the stroke movement, direction and intention based on how the line is oriented. Lines describe an outline, capable of producing texture according to their length and curve. There are different types of lines artists may use, including, actual, implied, vertical, horizontal, diagonal and contour lines, which all have different functions. 


A shape is a two-dimensional design encased by lines to signify its height and width structure, and can have different values of colour used within it to make it appear three-dimensional. There are different types of shapes an artist can use and fall under either geometrical, defined by mathematics, or organic shapes, created by the artist. Simplistic, geometrical shapes include circles, triangles and squares, and provide a symbolic and synthetic feeling, whereas acute angled shapes with sharp points are perceived as dangerous shapes. Rectilinear shapes are viewed as dependable and more structurally sound, while curvilinear shapes are chaotic and adaptable.


Colour is an element consisting of hues, of which there are three properties: hue, chroma or intensity, and value. Colour is present when light strikes an object and it is reflected back into the eye, a reaction to a hue arising in the optic nerve. The first of the properties is hue, which is the distinguishable colour, like red, blue or yellow. The next property is value, meaning the lightness or darkness of the hue. The last is chroma or intensity, distinguishing between strong and weak colours. A visual representation of chromatic scale is observable through the colour wheel that uses the primary colours.

Value :

Value refers to the degree of perceivable lightness of tones within an image. The element of value is compatible with the term luminosity, and can be "measured in various units designating electromagnetic radiation".The difference in values is often called contrast, and references the lightest (white) and darkest (black) tones of a work of art, with an infinite number of grey variants in between.While it is most relative to the greyscale, though, it is also exemplified within coloured images.


Space refers to the perspective (distance between and around) and proportion (size) between shapes and objects and how their relationship with the foreground or background is perceived. There are different types of spaces an artist can achieve for different effect. Positive space refers to the areas of the work with a subject, while negative space is the space without a subject. Open and closed space coincides with three-dimensional art, like sculptures, where open spaces are empty, and closed spaces contain physical sculptural elements.


In terms of art, form refers to objects that are 3-Dimensional, or have length, width, and height.  The world we live is in made up almost entirely of forms. Form is an element of art. It means objects that have three dimensions. When given form circles become spheres, squares become cubes, triangles become cones or pyramids.


Texture is used to describe the surface quality of the work, referencing the types of lines the artist created. The surface quality can either be tactile (real) or strictly visual (implied). Tactile surface quality is mainly seen through three-dimensional works, like sculptures, as the viewer can see and/or feel the different textures present, while visual surface quality describes how the eye perceives the texture based on visual cues.

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