Ruskin, John
The elements of drawing: in three letters to beginners — London, 1857

Page: 249
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https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/ruskin1857/0277
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letter hi.] ON COLOUR AND COMPOSITION.

249

be in your work in a more telling way than you
could have done otherwise; and by tracing them
in the work of good composers, you may better
understand the grasp of their imagination, and the
power it possesses over their materials. I shall
briefly state the chief of these laws.

I. THE LAW OP PRINCIPALITY.

The great object of composition being always to
secure unity; that is, to make out of many things
one whole; the first mode in which this can be
effected is, by determining that one feature shall be
more important than all the rest, and that the others
shall group with it in subordinate positions.

This is the simplest law of ordinary ornamenta-
tion. Thus the group of two leaves, a, Fig. 31., is
unsatisfactory, because

it has no leading leaf; \^^J ^SzW? ^

but that at b is prettier,

a b c

because it has a head or Fig. 31.

master leaf; and c more satisfactory still, because

the subordination of the other members to this head
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