Edgar Payne said ” The study of composition is a matter of studying art and all its factors and influences.”  Nevertheless, pictorial composition is perhaps the least understood aspect of classical painting today.  These books are a good place to begin.

Recommended Composition Books

  • Cyril Pearce. Composition: An Analysis of the Principles of Pictorial Design.  Barsford, 1927
  • Henry R. Poore. Pictorial Composition & the Critical Judgement of Pictures. Putnam, 1903
  • Edgar Payne. The Composition of Outdoor Painting. DeRu’s Fine Arts, 2006
  • Charles Blanc. The Grammar of Painting and Engraving. Trans. Kate Doggett. Griggs, 1879
  • Arthur W. Dow. Pictorial Composition. University of California Press, 1997
  • Albert Boime. The Academy and French Painting in the 19th Century. Phaidon, 1971
  • Fritz Henning.  Concept and Composition.  North Light, 1983
  • Andrew Loomis.  Creative Illustration. Titan Books, 1947