• Various areas of a painting/drawing are designed to attract more attention, other areas of the painting/drawing are meant to attract less attention, while still other areas are meant to attract little or no attention
Artists can make certain subjects/shapes more prominent by making them larger (in the foreground), more colorful, better lit, harder edged, more detailed, and/or by placing them near the center of the piece. By varying size, color, lighting, edges and placement, multiple subjects/shapes can be given a hierarchy that helps to direct the viewer's gaze from the most prominent features to the lesser features and back to the most prominent. Artists might choose to vary the prominence of the subjects/shapes in order to depict an actual hierarchy or in order to create more drama within a piece.
Featured above: Sacred Spring
by Paul Gauguin.