What Is The Difference Between Unity And Harmony in Arts?

What Is The Difference Between Unity And Harmony in Arts?

Sometimes the different elements of art can be challenging to understand. Two of these challenging elements are the differences between unity and harmony in art.

Harmony is about art that creates cohesiveness, it stressing the similarities but related parts in the work of art. Unity is a much broader term; unity is all about the different parts of the work of art that are separate but all work together as one. In other words, unity is all the parts working well together in art.

Harmony Vs. Unity In Art

Harmony in Art Defined

Harmony is a principle of art that is best defined as art that has cohesiveness. Harmony stresses the similarities of separate yet related parts of the artwork.

Here are some elements of harmony in art:

  • Using colors that relate to each other create harmony in art.
  • A uniformed texture such as a brushstrokes that all go the same direction.
  • Using similar shapes such as all curvy shapes in a composition would be harmony.
  • Using other similar shapes as geometric shapes would be harmony.
  • Harmony in art can use color, line, shape, form, value, space and texture.

Harmony is about a sense of togetherness in the work of art.

A great example is an artist who used color harmony to paint is van Gogh’s sunflowers. Van Gogh only used three tints of yellow and nothing else in the coloring for his sunflowers.

Sunflower by Vincent van Gogh
This is an example of an artist that used very few colors to create a fantastic harmony of colors.

Unity in Art Defined

Unity is the feeling in the art that gives the art piece a kind of “oneness” or that all the parts fit together. Even though unity and harmony seem similar, they are not the same as unity is a broader term.

Here is some element of unity in art:

  • Unity is about all the separate parts of an art work all working together. In other words they all fit together.
  • Unity is not easy to understand as it is an impression that conveys to the viewer that all the parts of the artwork fit together.
  • Unity in art can also encompass color, shape, and subject matter.

Methods to Help Achieve Unity in Art

To help you achieve unity in your art, you can use some methods to achieve that unity. Many artists use those methods: simplicity, repetition, and proximity.

Here is what each of these things means in unity in art:

  • Simplicity – Simplicity means that you will look to simplify your artwork or you reduce the amount of potential variety in the work. If you look at the artist van Gogh you will see that he did this quite a bit with his portraits. Many times he had a very simple background or in many cases just a plain colored background. By using simplicity you also ensure that your work will not clash and that there will be unity throughout your artwork.
  • Repetition – Repetition within an art composition can help to guarantee a feeling of unity. Some artist that were really masters of this were the Japanese Woodblock Prints Ukioyo-e artists. If you look at their woodblock prints you will see that they use a lot of repetition, pattern and other things to give their works of art a feeling of unity. Vincent van Gogh also did some similar techniques with a lot of his artwork where he would also use patterns of repetition.
Yoshitoshi (1868-1912), Looking Smoky, 1888
Example of Japanese Woodblock Prints
  • Proximity – Proximity refers to the closest of different components in a work of art. This is about placing parts together so that you are able to see the parts as one. Proximity is also about how close things are to each other. The closer they are the more they tend to be together as a group.

As an artist thinks about things as = simplicity, repetition, and proximity, it helps them achieve unity in their artwork.

Harmony and Unity in Art Differences Explained

Even though harmony and unity may seem similar in art, they are not the same thing. And artist needs to understand the differences between both of these art terms.

Here are some differences between harmony and unity in art:

  • Unity is Broad Term – Unity in art is a very broad term meaning that it can a compass many things within the artwork itself. It is a much broader term that the term harmony.
  • Harmony is Limited Term – Harmony is a limited term used to show how the art works together for things as shape and color, uniformed texture, etc.
  • Harmony and Unity Are Not The Same – Harmony and unitiy are not the same thing. Harmony can help to enhance the unity of the artwork as the artist uses harmony in color, line, shape, form, value., space and texture.

Even though harmony and unity can seem very similar in art, they are not the same thing. Unity is a broad term where harmony is a more limited or defined term in art. Generally speaking, a work of art would either have harmony or unity.

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Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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What Is The Difference Between Unity And Harmony in Arts?