A complete chronological overview of compositional procedures in painting, from the Middle Ages to our time, with many fine illustrations.
[The secret geometry of painters] The painter’s art begins with the construction of the work; from this point, Bouleau develops a complete chronology of procedures of pictorial composition.
After having examined the questions of scale and monumental perspective, from the Romanesque church to Baroque art, the author analyzes compositional procedures in the Middle Ages: a substantially geometric method, based on the golden proportion and symmetry.
In the Renaissance, through study of the works of great artists, an arithmetic type of construction emerges, reflecting the laws of music. Then come the dynamic compositions of the Mannerists and the Baroque, and the last century and a half, with the original arrangements of Degas, or the synthesis of light and geometry in Seurat and Cézanne.
Bouleau also reviews the range of contemporary solutions: the Cubists, Matisse, Kandinsky, Pollock, Mondrian, for whom composition is no longer one of the ways of enhancing a view, but the very object of painterly research.