I posted Couture's painting, The Romans in the decadence of the Empire last night. Tonight I want to draw some hopefully explanatory remarks on it and discuss it's design. You may have noticed I use the word design most of the time, rather than composition. The reason is that design implies a deliberate arrangement, the result of plotting and scheming. Design is intentional, not created from the cropping or found arrangement of nature.
Above is a great swooping line implied within that writhing mass of figures and gesturing limbs. The middle of the painting is full of stuff going on, the figures are in an enormous constellation across the center of the painting. The background is simpler and serves as a backdrop or field on which this figurative assembly is arrayed.
Along that implied swooping line in the middle of the painting are scads of rhythmic lines formed by various limbs of the post figures. They all echo or respond to each other. This is a pattern. The design of the painting is based on a pattern of shorter rhythmic lines arrayed in a manner so as to set one another off. It is sort of like a package with a fancy bow hanging in swags across it's middle.
Gee, that's hard to explain, I hope you all got that.