Physical weight

Space and weight are important to a piece of art. The weight of an object in a piece of work is not necessarily associated with its physical weight. Instead it is the visual dominance of an object in relation to everything else in the art work. Space can be taken literally in art. It is the distance between objects in art from all areas. The space between objects might not seem to be of great importance, however, it can be as important as any element in the work.

Two pieces of art that demonstrates the importance of weight and space are painting of The Good Shepherd in the Catacomb of Saints Pietro and Marcellino and the mosaic of Justinian and Attendants in Ravenna’s Church of San Vitale. Both Jesus, the good shepherd, and Justinian are the subjects in the artwork. They are both surrounded by objects or people. Both men are encircled by what seems to be a halo. However, they are quite different when it comes to space.

Justinian is very closely surrounded by men on with side of him. In fact, each man is so close that it seems they are touching one another. This gives the impression of a connection between the men. Jesus is surrounded by animals, plants, and birds. Only one object is touching him and allowing no space between them and that is the ram wrapped around his neck. There is white space between him and all other objects in the painting. The halo that encircles both are also a contrast to each of the subjects.

In The Good Shepherd, everything is inside the circle and the circle is not close to anything which allows for space. Justinian’s head is the only thing enclosed in the halo in Justinian and Attendants. It is close to his head and allows for very little space. Weight is achieved in The Good Shepherd and Justinian and Attendants by placing the subjects in the center of the works of art. This draws the eye to the subject and permits dominance to them. Colors are also used to give weight to the subjects.

Lighter colors are used for the color of Jesus than the black and brown used for the animals, plants, and birds. Justinian is separated from the others by the browns and red on his long flowing robe. There are soldiers in the work with colors, but it is Justinian who is surrounded by the men in white.


Delahunt, M. (1996-2008). Artlex. Retrieved April 9, 2008 from http://www. artlex. com Justinian and Attendants. Circa. 527 A. D. The Good Shepherd. Circa 400 A. D.

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