The whole is different than the sum of its parts

The visual principle of gestalt, pioneered by German Max Wertheimer, is one of great importance in the design world. The statement, “The whole is different than the sum of its parts,” summarizes much of the gestalt theory. In this assignment we’ll explore this statement in detail.

Choose a famous work of art. The Image Resources in the Course Materials folder should help you find a good source. Look closely at the image and identify several of the individual elements within the image. Imagine the removal of one of these elements. How would the meaning of the image change? Remove a second. With two elements missing, how does the meaning change again?

In a brief 2-3 page analysis, identify the image you chose. Describe the meaning of the image as a whole. Then describe the meaning of the image as the first element is removed and again after the second is removed. What does this exercise show you in terms of how imagery can be used in media?

APA format

The following are links to online image collections.

Magazine Photo Collections

Time Life Pictures – http://www.timelifepictures.com

National Geographic – http://www.nationalgeographic.com

Museum Image Collections

MoMA: Museum of Modern Art – http://www.moma.org/

Smithsonian Institute: Art & Design – http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia/Search/Art and Design

J. Paul Getty Museum’s – http://www.getty.edu/

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp

Specific Artists

For resources pertaining to a particular artist, search the Internet using their name as a keyword (e.g. Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ansel Adams, Paul Cézanne, etc.)

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