Circle and it’s importance in Visual Arts

Circle as a basic shape has always enchanted the human mind. Many mathematicians and philosophers considered it the most perfect of all geometric shapes, while theologians felt it supernatural or divine. For the artist the mysterious circle was always a thing of beauty and a joy forever. For them the mystery element combined with the aesthetic one, producing varied meanings in various semiotic conventions. Circles appear in paintings either as a circles themselves or as their derivatives such as the sun, the moon and other stellar orbs, as wheels, sundials, clock faces, as domes, vaults, spiral stairs, circular paths and what not.

Circular shapes in the advertisement industry.
It is observed that the circle is the most liked shape in the advertisement and media industry. Most of the logos are embedded in circular or oval shapes. This is because the circle more than any other shapes, resists distraction of vision and act as a focal field towards which the viewer’s attention is continuously attracted. This is best understood when we compare and contrast the psychological results that a square and circle can have on your mind. When we see a square we are immediately attracted to the fact that it has four sides and that it’s four corners are different from other parts. On the other hand, a circle is noted for it’s singularity. All points on the circle are identical to one another. The circle doesn’t allow your imagination to be divided into separate directions as a square does. Try this- draw a beautiful logo with a square as its background. It is likely that you get a reply from the client that “the logo is nice but it would be still better had it been placed in a circular background.

We also have artists who use circles as the topic for expressing their ideas on canvas. Wassily Kandisky’s book ‘ Point and line to plane’ a studies shapes and forms and it deals with circle with great attention. His famous paintings like ‘Many Circles’ and ‘Concentric circles’ directly show the artist’s inspiration from the shape circle. He was more interested in shapes and colours than painting anything real.

In Asian countries like India, China and Japan, circles appeared in different types of paintings. In India for instance the manifestations of the circle ranges from the Chakras and Yanthras in Tantric paintings to the simple binds on the foreheads of the womenfolk found in the paintings of Bharti Kher or Jamini Ray. In Chinese art the circle often represent the union between heaven and earth.

In the field of architecture architects used circles, semi- circles and spirals in different places like arches, windows, domes etc. The prehistoric people took the shape of circle when they built the mysterious ‘Stone Henge’. The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright widely used circles in his design. The use of circular shape can be seen in many temples in India especially when they designed the inner Sanctum Sanctorum.

So God is circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere!!

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