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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/710

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

dimensions. The principal requirement is that outlines should be agreeable and must be well defined. In fact, the two qualities are inseparable, for a well-defined outline is agreeable and a badly defined one is sure to be disagreeable. By well-defined is meant that its particular shape should easily appear and be clearly distinguishable. For instance, a square should appear with sides distinctly equal; a circle should have but one center. In an architectural opening either arch or entablature should prevail, and the character of the arch should be evident. In the examples presented (Fig. 8) in the view these principles are violated. PSM V56 D0710 Equilibrium and stability of design in pendants.pngFig. 12. The first figure is so clearly a square that at first, and before you have examined it closely, you think it is a square. It leaves an indefinite and consequently disagreeable impression. The same criticism applies to the second object, apparently a mirror. The glass is round, but the frame is so irregular that the impress of the circle is destroyed, and there is left an undecided and therefore uncomfortable sensation. In the third example the arch is so poorly defined and so weak, while the entablature above it is so strong and so prominent, that the result is a composition that fails to give pleasure, because no distinct idea is conveyed. In the last example the outlines of the arch are so indefinite that its character is indistinguishable. You can not see which prevails, the round arch or the pointed arch.

The same principles apply to smaller objects and to details, as seen in the next view (Fig. 9). To the left the date plate on top is bad in comparison with the one beneath it, because its direction is not so well marked and its corner projections are too large. In the lambrequins on the right, those are good in which the general direction is properly marked, and in which subdivisions are kept properly subordinated. Lambrequins have so entirely gone out of use nowadays that it is difficult to recall the time when they were regarded as indispensable parts of furniture.

There is one other point to which your attention should be called—that is, stability. If an object be intended to stand, its