Recapitulation of the principles and methods conditioned upon the requirements of the mind—

And upon those of matter—

Other methods conditioned by the product are now to be considered—

The product a combination of effects—

Produced mainly upon the mind; or upon the senses; or partly upon the mind and partly upon the senses—

Leading, respectively, to likeness by way of congruity—

Of repetition—

And of consonance—

Illustrations of the three—

All the methods of composition result from combining these three with the seven general methods mentioned above—

Chart of the art-methods—

Additional statements—

Correspondence between these methods and their arrangements and those given by others.


WE have now noticed the more fundamental principles, together with the corresponding methods developed from them, of classification and art-composition.  Of the methods mainly conditioned upon the requirements of the mind, three, respectively determined by the more distinctive demands of mind, of matter, and of a combination of the two, are particularly applicable in their relations to mental conceptions, namely, unity, variety, complexity.  Three more, analogously determined, are particularly applicable in their relations to material construction, namely, order, confusion, and counteraction.  One more is particularly applicable to the result produced by the blending of the requirements of conception and construction. This is termed grouping.  Besides these methods,


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 125]

we have found seven others, mainly based upon the requirements of matter, which respectively correspond to the above in all regards: viz., comparison, contrast, complement, principality, subordination, balance, and organism.


These principles and methods are largely theoretical and general in character.  From them, to complete our subject, we now need to develop methods more practical and definite.  This can be done only as we consider certain conditions determined mainly by the product.


This product is a combination of effects resulting from an application to material conditions of the mental principles involved, if in science, in classification; and if in art, in composition.  These effects must be estimated, of course, by the mind, and must, therefore, be produced upon it.  But they may be said to be produced in strict analogy with the three tendencies already shown to be operative everywhere in connection with this subject i.e., either mentally, materially, or in both ways combined; in other words, either upon thought, upon the senses, or partly upon one and partly upon the other. If the meaning of this statement be shown by applying it to the method based upon the fundamental principle in classification of putting like with like—in other words, to comparison—the reader will find no difficulty in applying it to the other methods.  Let us see, therefore, how each of these tendencies influences comparison.  The effect of likeness underlying this method may be produced either, first, upon the mind, i.e., upon thought, by way of awakening associations or suggestions; or, second, upon the senses, i.e., upon the ear or eye, by way of the actual appearances of the forms; or, third, upon the mind and senses together, i.e., partly upon the one and partly upon the other.


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 126]

When the effect of likeness is produced upon the mind, objects seem alike, because they are seen in the same or a like sphere of place, time, or activity.  Men have come to associate them in their ideas; and, by a law of thought, they naturally associate them in reality.  In this way, a child or savage always connects the bat with the birds, the seal with the fishes, the sponge with the sea-weeds; and there are no limits to the applications of the method, except those that bound the human imagination.  When, because things are seen to go together, it is supposed that they do so in fulfilment of some like, though unapparent, principle, in accordance with which they ought to go together, there is a possibility of finding a reason for associating the most dissimilar objects conceivable.


Not so, however, with those brought together because of having like effects upon the senses, or like forms.  Examined by this test, it is found that the bat has hair, and the bird feathers; the seal has fur, and the fish scales; and the sponge and sea-weed do not absorb their nutriment in the same way.  Therefore they are separated.  But this principle, applied exclusively, leads to very small classes, all the members of which must be as like as two terrier dogs or Shetland ponies.  To accomplish any practical purpose, classification needs to be more general than this.  It needs to be recognized, for instance, that not only is the terrier a doc, but also the hound; and not only so, but that there is a sense in which the wolf also belongs to the same family.  This recognition results from an application, in addition to the test of the senses, of the test also of the mind so far as this is based upon rational rather than merely imaginative grounds.  This latter test, applied in conjunction with the former, gives us, as has been said, the third reason for classifying objects.  It is partly


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 127]

because their forms are alike, but partly also because their spheres of time, place, or activity are alike. Animals, for instance, are put into the same class, partly because of similarity in appearance, but partly also because of similarity in such things as their haunts and habits, their ways of breeding and rearing their young, and of feeding and obtaining their food; in fact, of manifesting in connection with their surroundings that which is the law of their existence.  Such are the three reasons why objects seem to have like or unlike effects, and all will recognize that there are no possible phases of resemblance to which one of the three may not apply.


In art, the grouping of factors which corresponds to the classification, which results from connecting objects because of like effects produced upon the mind by way of association or suggestion, may be termed congruity (from con, together, and gruo, to grow).  It means that two things are conceived of as naturally growing or going together; and it may cause them to be connected when in reality they are as unlike as the sounds of a church bell and of an organ, or as the crape of a widow’s garb and a white face.


The art-grouping which corresponds to the classification which results from connecting objects because of like effects produced upon the senses, in that they are alike in actual appearance, is termed repetition.  This needs no illustration.


The art-grouping which corresponds to the classification which results from connecting objects because alike to a partial extent in both the regards just mentioned, is termed consonance. This word is borrowed from music, and it applies to the conditions which we now wish to represent by it far more exactly than those who first used


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 128]

it supposed.  A consonant tone goes with another in art, not only because men have found the two going together in that which, when heard in nature, is termed harmony; but also, as modern science has discovered, because the one tone is in part actually repetitious of the other, both being compounded in part of like tones.  This, as well as analogous facts with reference to the appropriateness of the term, as applied to the groupings of lines and colors, will be explained hereafter.


It may be well to add here, in illustration of these different methods of likening factors, that congruity might cause the artist to associate in a product things as different essentially as rouge on a cheek and blondined hair, or a hunting song and the sound of a horn; that repetition, on the contrary, would demand as much likeness as in the allied factors of a piece of fringe, or of a picket-fence, while consonance, half-way between the two, would be satisfied were he to unite sounds as different in some regards as those of the flute, the trumpet, the violin, and the drum, or shapes as different in some regards as a chimney and a tower, or a window and a porch.  In architecture, a porch or a bay-window on one side of a building, and a wing or hot-house on the other side of it, might be alike by way of congruity.  Windows and doors of the same sizes and shapes would be alike by way of repetition; but merely a similar pitch of angles over windows and doors and in the gables of a roof above them, would be enough to make all alike by way of consonance.


There are other analogies, which will be brought out farther on, between the methods of classification and of art-construction; but there is no necessity for considering them here.  Let us now leave this phase of our subject and the suggestions to be derived from it, and take the


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 129]

seven methods, all of which, as has been said, are manifested in the production of a class or of an art-product,--namely, comparison, contrast, complement, principality, subordination, balance, and organic form, and combine each of them with each of the methods of causing likeness that has just been mentioned,--namely, congruity, repetition, and consonance.  The result, in terms which will be explained more fully hereafter, is given on page 131.  It must be borne in mind, however, that, according to the conditions already stated, the methods thus arranged on this page are not supposed to be necessarily exclusive of each other.  Those first mentioned are developed into those mentioned later, and therefore include them.  Comparison, for instance, may be manifested by way either of congruity, repetition, or consonance.  But congruity also may be manifested by way of repetition or consonance; and consonance by way of repetition.  The same is true of others of the methods, particularly of those occupying corresponding positions in the different columns.            


Duration, extension, accent, quality, pitch, rhythm, proportion, and harmony are placed in the last two columns merely in order to complete the analysis, and show its connection with every phase of form. They will not be considered in this volume, mainly because, built up as they are in the effort to carry into execution the other more elementary methods, they require an entirely different mode of treatment.


The terms used in order to define the methods have been chosen from those applying to characteristics generally recognized to be essential to artistic excellence.  Ruskin, for instance, in various ways and works, especially in the “Elements of Drawing, Letter III,” speaks of principality, repetition, continuity, curvature (considered under


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 130]

[click here to enlarge image]


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 131]

gradation), radiation (central-point), contrast, interchange, consistency or breadth (the same as massing), harmony, help (a form of consonance), and grouping.  Charles Blanc again, in the introduction to his “Art in Ornament and Dress,” mentions repetition, to which—as he says— belongs consonance, alternation to which belongs contrast, symmetry to which belongs radiation, progression  to which belong gradation, and balanced confusion to which belongs deliberate complication.  Of these he adds “just as the twenty-six letters of the alphabet have been and will be sufficient to form the words necessary for the expression of all human thought, so certain elements susceptible to combination amongst themselves have sufficed and will suffice to create ornaments whose variety may be multiplied indefinitely.”  The peculiarity in the list of the methods as here presented, then, aside from the fact that their number is somewhat increased by the addition of features acknowledged to be artistic but not usually mentioned in this connection, is their arrangement and completeness, and their derivation from the methods necessarily employed by the mind in the work of classification.


[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter VIII, page 132]

Previous chapter (Chapter VII)                  Home               Next chapter (Chapter IX)