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  • abstract art

    abstract art

    art that departs significantly from natural appearances; forms are modified or changed to varying degrees in order to emphasize certain qualities or content; also called nonrepresentational

  • acrylic (acrylic resin)

    acrylic (acrylic resin)

    a clear plastic used as a binder in paint and as a casting material in sculpture

  • aesthetics


    the study and philosophy of the quality and nature of sensory responses related to, but not limited by, the concept of beauty

  • albumen print

    albumen print

    a paper for making photographic prints, on which egg whites (albumen) coated the paper in order to increase its sensitivity, adding to the brightness of whites in the picture

  • analogous


    colors which are next to each other on a color wheel

  • anatomy


    the study of body structure, whether human or animal, including the bones, the muscles, and all the other parts

  • appliqué


    a decoration make by cutting a piece of one material and applying it to the surface of another

  • apprentice


    to place a person under legal agreement to work a specified length of time for a master craftsman in return for instruction

  • aquatint


    an intaglio printmaking process in which value areas rather than lines are etched on the printing plate

  • arch


    a curved structure designed to span an opening, usually made of stone or other masonry; Roman arches are semicircular; Islamic and Gothic arches come to a point at the top

  • architect architecture

    architect architecture

    the art of designing and constructing buildings (structures), and other environmental features; a person who practices architecture is called an architect

  • art criticism

    art criticism

    the description, analysis, evaluation, interpretation, and judgment of works of art; it is a common assumption that criticism is necessarily negative, when actually it can vary in degrees of positive as well as negative remarks

  • art history

    art history

    knowledge about the contributions artists and art make to culture and society

  • atmosphere


    the air in any given place

  • background


    part of a painting behind the object shown or the farthest depth of space in the picture

  • balance


    an arrangement of parts achieving a state of equilibrium between opposing forces or influences; major types are symmetrical and asymmetrical

  • Barbizon School

    Barbizon School

    French landscape artists who worked near Barbizon, France, c.1835-1870

  • Baroque


    the seventeenth-century period in Europe characterized in the visual arts by dramatic light and shade, turbulent composition, and exaggerated emotional expression

  • bas-relief


    low-relief sculpture that projects slightly from a background

  • base


    A plinth or podium on which a sculpture is exhibited, or the portion of a sculpture on which its weight rests

  • Beaux Arts

    Beaux Arts

    a tradition of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries following principles of the French Academy

  • brayer


    a rubber roller used to apply ink in printmaking

  • bronze


    an alloy of copper and tin used for sculpture

  • cartoon


    a humorous or satirical drawing

  • casting


    a process that involves pouring liquid material such as molten metal, clay, wax, or plaster into a mold; when the liquid hardens, the mold is removed, leaving a form in the shape of the mold

  • ceramic


    objects made of clay hardened into a relatively permanent material by firing; also, the process of making such objects

  • chiaroscuro


    Italian for “light-dark”; highly developed by Renaissance painters

  • cityscape


    a landscape, in which a city is viewed in the scene

  • clerestory windows

    clerestory windows

    In architecture, this term refers to a wall of a building which is raised above an adjoining room, and this section of wall has windows

  • collage


    from the French collerto glue; a work made by gluing materials such as paper scraps, photographs, and cloth on to a flat surface

  • color wheel

    color wheel

    a circular arrangement of contiguous spectral hues used in some color systems; also called a color circle

  • column


    round or square support for a roof

  • commissioned


    in art, the term used for hiring an artist to make a specific work of art

  • complementary colors

    complementary colors

    two hues directly opposite one another on a color wheel whichwhen mixed together in proper proportions, produce a neutral gray; the true complement of a color can be seen in its afterimage

  • composition


    the bringing together of parts or elements to form a whole; the structure, organization, or total form of a work of art

  • Contemporary Art

    Contemporary Art

    generally defined as art produced during the second half of the twentieth century

  • contrast


    a juxtaposition of dissimilar elements in a work of art; the degree of difference between the lightest and darkest part of a picture

  • cool colors

    cool colors

    colors whose relative visual temperatures make them seem cool; cool colors generally include green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, and violet

  • curator


    a person who is responsible for collection building, care, research, exhibition, and writing

  • design


    both the process and the result of structuring the elements of visual form; composition

  • dimension


    a measure of spacial distance; the dimensions of three-dimensional spaces or objects are given as height by width by depth, and they are conventionally listed in that order

  • documentary


    a true-to-life portrayal of a subject

  • dome


    a generally hemispherical roof or vault; theoretically, an arch rotated 360 degrees on its vertical axis

  • easel


    a support for an artist’s canvas during painting

  • edition


    in printmaking, the total number of prints made and approved by an artist, usually numbered consecutively; also, a limited number of multiple originals of a single design in any medium

  • elements


    artistic design considerations such as color, line, texture, shape or form, and space

  • ellipse


    a closed, symmetric curve shaped like an oval

  • emboss


    to raise a relief design on the surface of paper through pressure

  • embroidery


    a design worked on a fabric with a needle and thread or yarn

  • emotionalism


    an aesthetic and critical theory of art which places emphasis on the expressive qualities; according to this theory, the most important thing about a work of art is the vivid communication of moods, feelings, and ideas

  • emphasis


    a design principle that gives dominance to a particular area through color, size, or repetition

  • en plein air

    en plein air

    French for “in open air” used to describe paintings that have been executed outdoors, rather than in the studio and capture the effects of light and air

  • encaustic


    a painting medium in which pigment is suspended in a binder of hot wax

  • engraving


    an intaglio printmaking process in which grooves are cut into a metal or wood surface with a sharp cutting tool called a burin or graver; also, the resulting print

  • etching


    an intaglio printmaking process in which a metal plate is first coated with acid-resistant wax, then scratched to expose the metal to the bite of nitric acid where lines are desired; also, the resulting print

  • exhibitions


    a public showing of a piece or a collection of objects

  • expression


    a process of conveying ideas, feelings, and meanings through selective use of the communicative possibilities

  • faux


    French for false, artificial, fake

  • figurative


    describes artwork representing the form of a human, an animal or a thing; any expression of one thing in terms of another thing

  • focal point

    focal point

    the portion of an artwork’s composition on which interest or attention centers

  • foreground


    front part of a picture

  • form


    in the broadest sense, the total physical characteristics of an object, event, or situation

  • formalism


    An aesthetic and critical theory of art which places emphasis on form; the structural qualities instead of either content or contextual qualities

  • foundry


    a workplace where metal is melted and poured into molds

  • fresco


    the technique of painting into freshly laid plaster

  • genre


    a form of realistic painting of people that depicts ordinary events of the day; not religious, historical, or mythological

  • geometrical


    of or according to geometry characterized by straight lines, triangles, circles, or similar regular forms

  • Georgian


    architecture associated with King Georges I, II, III, and IV

  • gesso


    a mixture of glue and either chalk or plaster of Paris applied as a ground or coating to surfaces in order to give them the correct properties to receive paint; gesso can also be built up or molded into relief designs, or carved

  • gestural


    a movement or movements collectively, of the body or of part of the body, to express or emphasize ideas, emotions, etc

  • glaze


    in ceramicsa vitreous or glassy coating applied to seal and decorate surfaces; glaze may be colored, transparent, or opaque; in oil painting, a thin transparent or translucent layer brushed over another layer of paint, allowing the first layer to show through but altering its color slightly

  • Gothic


    primarily an architectural style that prevailed in western Europe from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, characterized by pointed arches, ribbed vaultsand flying buttressesthat made it possible to create stone buildings that reached great heights

  • gouache


    an opaque, water-soluble paint; watercolor to which opaque white has been added

  • graphic arts

    graphic arts

    fine or applied visual arts and associated techniques involving the application of lines and strokes to a two-dimensional surface

  • ground


    the background in two-dimensional works-the area around and between figures; also, the surface onto which paint is applied

  • gum arabic or gum acacia

    gum arabic or gum acacia

    hardened sap secreted by acacia trees, used in solution as a medium, vehicle, or binder for water-soluble pigments

  • Harlem Renaissance

    Harlem Renaissance

    refers to the flowering of African American cultural and intellectual life during the 1920s and 1930s

  • harmony


    a principle of design which refers to a way of combining elements of art to accent their similarities and bind the picture parts into a whole

  • highlight


    a light area that represents the reflection of light (as in the eye of a model)

  • horizon line

    horizon line

    the distant view where sky meets water or land at the artist’s eye level

  • icon


    an image or symbolic representation often with sacred significance

  • illusionistic


    of the philosophy that the material world is an immaterial product of the senses

  • illustrator


    an artist who develops artwork to accompany a story, advertisement, or written text

  • image


    a picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea

  • imagery


    mental images; especially the products of imagination

  • Imitationalism


    an aesthetic theory of art which places emphasis on a realistic representation of subject matter

  • impasto


    in painting, thick paint applied to a surface in a heavy manner, having the appearance and consistency of buttery paste

  • Impressionism


    a style of painting that originated in France about 1870; paintings of casual subjects, executed outdoors, using divided brush strokes to capture the mood of a particular moment as defined by the transitory effects of light and color

  • incised


    cuts into a surface, typically in metal, stone, or pottery, often used for lettering and decoration

  • intermediate color

    intermediate color

    a hue between a primary and a secondary on the color wheel, such as yellow-green, a mixture of yellow and green

  • jury


    in art, a committee for awarding prizes

  • kiln


    an oven in which pottery or ceramicware is fired

  • landscape


    a scenery painting; also includes the cityscape or seascape

  • line


    a mark with length and direction(s); an element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point

  • linear


    a painting technique in which importance is placed on contours or outlines

  • lithography


    a printmaking method in which a metal plate or stone is drawn on with an oily crayon that resists water, while holding the ink for printing

  • loom


    a device for producing cloth by interweaving fibers at right angles

  • matte


    a dull finish or surface, especially in painting, photography, and ceramics

  • medallion


    a large medal worn around the neck on a heavy chain, ribbon, or rope; or, a relief sculpture resembling a medal, usually of circular or oval design, used as a decoration

  • middleground


    in a painting, the area between background and foreground often along the horizon line

  • miniature


    refers to objects often several sizes smaller than the actual size of the object; a small painting, especially a portrait, on ivory, vellum, etc

  • modernism


    theory and practice in late nineteenth and twentieth-century art, which holds that each new generation must build on past styles in new ways or break with the past in order to make the next major historical contribution

  • mold


    a hollow form for shaping (casting ) a fluid or plastic medium, such as clay, plaster, plastic or molten metal

  • monochromatic


    a color scheme limited to variations of one hue, a hue with its tints and/or shades

  • monument


    a structure, such as a building or sculpture, erected as a memorial

  • mood


    overall feeling or emotion, often equated with expression

  • motif


    a consistent or recurrent conceptual element, usually a figure or design

  • movement


    the effect or representation of motion in painting, sculpture, etc

  • mural


    a large wall painting, often executed in fresco

  • narrative


    a representation in art of an event or story

  • Neoclassicism


    new classicism; a revival of classical Greek and Roman forms in art, music, and literature, particularly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe and America

  • non-objective


    art without reference to anything outside itself-without representation; also called non-representational-without recognizable objects

  • oil paint

    oil paint

    paint in which the pigment is held together with a binder of oil, usually linseed oil

  • opalescent


    a white surface having iridescence

  • opaque


    impenetrable by light; not transparent or translucent

  • organic


    an irregular shape or one that might be found in nature

  • ornament


    something that decorates, adorns, or embellishes; ornamentation- a class of things ornamental

  • painterly


    painting characterized by openness of form, in which shapes are defined by loose brushwork in light and dark color areas rather than by outline or contour

  • palette


    a board on which an artist mixes paints; certain colors used by a specific artist

  • pastels


    sticks of powdered pigment held together with a gum binding agent; pale colors or tints

  • pastoral


    a rural picture or scene, dealing with or portraying a feeling of peaceful innocence

  • patina


    the fine crust or film on bronze or copper; any thin film, coloring, or mellowed appearance on the surface of an object as a result of age or use

  • pattern


    a principle of art and probably the universe itself; pattern means the repetition of an element (or elements) in a work

  • pedestal


    an architectural support or base, as for a column or statue

  • perpendicular


    intersecting at or forming right angles

  • perspective


    a formal method of creating a three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional surface

  • Photorealism


    a style of painting that became prominent in the 1970s, based on the cool objectivity of photographs as records of subjects

  • pigment


    any coloring agent, made from natural or synthetic substances, used in paints or drawing materials

  • Pop Art

    Pop Art

    objects from commercial art and the popular culture transformed into artworks

  • portrait


    a representation of a person, esp. of the face, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculptured

  • Post-Modern


    an attitude or trend of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, in which artists and architects accept all that modernism rejects

  • primary colors

    primary colors

    those hues that cannot be produced by mixing other hues; pigment primaries are red, yellow, and blue; light primaries are red, green, and blue; theoretically, pigment primaries can be mixed together to form all the other hues in the spectrum

  • principles


    certain qualities inherent in the choice and arrangement of elements of art in the production of a work of art; balance, emphasis, harmony, movement, pattern, proportion, rhythm, unity variety

  • print (artist’s print)

    print (artist’s print)

    a multiple-original impression made from a plate, stone, wood block, or screen by an artist or made under the artist’s supervision  Prints are usually made in editions, with each print numbered and signed by the artist

  • Prix de Rome

    Prix de Rome

    an annual prize awarded by the French government in a competition of painters and artists and sculptors and musicians and architects; the winner in each category receives support for a period of study in Rome

  • proof


    in graphic arts, a preliminary print that is examined for quality control before final printing is done

  • proportion


    the size relationship of parts to a whole and to one another

  • quilts


    a coverlet or blanket made of two layers of fabric with a layer of cotton, wool, feathers, or down in between, all stitched firmly together, usually in a decorative crisscross design

  • realism


    a type of representational art in which the artist depicts as closely as possible what the eye sees

  • relief printing

    relief printing

    a printing technique in which the parts of the printing surface that carry ink are left raised, while the remaining areas are cut away; woodcuts and linoleum prints (linocuts) are relief prints

  • relief sculpture

    relief sculpture

    sculpture in which three-dimensional forms project from a flat background of which they are a part; the degree of projection can vary and is described by the terms high relief and low relief (bas-relief)

  • Renaissance


    period in Europe from the late fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, characterized by a renewed interest in human-centered classical artliterature, and learning

  • representational art

    representational art

    art in which it is the artist’s intention to present again or represent a particular subject; especially pertaining to realistic portrayal of subject matter

  • rhythm


    the regular or ordered repetition of dominant and subordinate elements or units within a design

  • Romanticism


    a literary and artistic movement of late eighteenth and nineteenth-century Europe; art of any period based on spontaneity, intuition, and emotion rather than carefully organized rational approaches to form

  • salon


    a general term for a group art exhibition in France

  • scagliola


    plasterwork in imitation of ornamental marble, consisting of ground gypsum and glue colored with marble or granite dust

  • scale


    the size or apparent size of an object seen in relation to other objects, people, or its environment or format

  • screen-printing (serigraphy)

    screen-printing (serigraphy)

    a printmaking technique in which stencils are applied to fabric stretched across a frame and paint or ink is forced with a squeegee through the unblocked portions of the screen onto paper or other surface beneath

  • sculptor


    one who produces sculptures

  • sculpture


    a three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it; may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast and can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media

  • secondary colors

    secondary colors

    pigment secondarys are the hues orange, violet, and green, which may be produced in slightly dulled form by mixing two primaries

  • sensory


    of or pertaining to the senses

  • sepia


    a dark brown ink or pigment originally prepared from secretion of the cuttlefish

  • shade


    a hue with black added

  • shadow


    an area that is not or is only partially illuminated because an opaque object is between the area and the source of light

  • shape


    a two-dimensional or implied two-dimensional area defined by line or changes in value and/or color

  • shard


    a piece or fragment of broken pottery

  • shuttle


    a device used in weaving to carry the woof thread back and forth between the warp threads

  • sketch


    generally a rough draft, drawing, or design not finished, but containing adequate detail to complete a finished product at a later time

  • soldered


    a method of joining pieces of metal by melting an alloy of tin and lead into the joint to fuse the two edges together; the application of a flux to surfaces to be soldered is generally required

  • space


    an element of art that refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within things

  • still life

    still life

    a painting or other two-dimensional work of art representing inanimate objects such as bottles, fruit, and flowers  Also, the arrangement of these objects from which a drawing, painting, or other work is made

  • streetscape


    an artistic representation of a street

  • studio


    an artist’s workroom

  • style


    a characteristic handling of media and elements of form that gives a work its identity as the product of a particular person, group, art movement, period, or culture

  • symbol


    a form or image implying or representing something beyond its obvious and immediate meaning

  • symbolism


    the practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships

  • symmetry


    a design (or composition) with identical or nearly identical form on opposite sides of a dividing line or central axis; formal balance

  • techniques


    any method of working with art materials to produce an art object

  • tempera


    a water-based paint using egg, egg yolk, glue, or casein as a binder

  • textile


    artifact made by weaving, felting, knitting or crocheting natural or synthetic fibers

  • texture


    the tactile quality of a surface or the representation or invention of the appearance of such a surface quality

  • three-dimensional


    having height, width, and depth

  • tint


    A hue with white added

  • tones


    harmony in colors and values in an artwork

  • traditional


    of, relating to, or in accord with tradition

  • translucent


    allowing some light to pass through, but greatly obscuring the image of objects on the other side

  • two-dimensional


    having the dimensions of height and width only

  • typography


    the art and technique of composing printed materials from type

  • unity


    the quality of wholeness or oneness that is achieved through the effective use of the elements and principles of design

  • utilitarian


    having a useful function

  • value


    the lightness or darkness of tones or colors; white is the lightest value; black is the darkest

  • vanishing point

    vanishing point

    in linear perspective, the point on the horizon line at which lines or edges that are parallel appear to converge

  • variety


    a principle of design that refers to a way of combining elements of art in involved ways to achieve intricate and complex relationships

  • Victorian


    being in the highly ornamented, massive style of architecture, decor, and furnishings popular in 19th-century England

  • visualize


    to form a mental image or vision; to imagine

  • warm colors

    warm colors

    colors whose relative visual temperature makes them seem warm; warm colors or hues include red-violet, red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, and yellow

  • wash


    a thin, transparent layer of paint or ink

  • watercolor


    paint that uses water-soluble gum as the binder and water as the vehicle; characterized by transparency and also, the resulting painting

  • welding


    The process of joining metals by fusing them together under direct, intense heat usually with an oxyacetylene torch; a metal rod may be applied to the joint which melts into any gaps and strengthens the bond

  • woodblock print

    woodblock print

    a type of relief print made from an image that is left raised on a block of wood