Describing something that refers to reality but that is not representational. For example, forms that are simplified,
exaggerated, or otherwise manipulated may be considered abstract. Compare NATURALISTIC.
Sculpture made by adding material to build up a form. This can be done by molding or MODELING a
medium such as clay or by putting one piece of any material such as wood on top of another. Compare
A technique for representing THREE-DIMENSIONAL space on a flat surface. The farther objects are
from us, the more bluish gray they appear and the less detail we see. Also called atmospheric perspective, it imitates the way distant
objects appear to the human eye.
The use of SYMBOLS and allusions in literature and the visual arts to give a work secondary meaning. This
device was used by Greek painters and was widely used during the RENAISSANCE, Mannerist, and
Something worn as a charm against evil or injury.
A technique of arranging and assembling unrelated objects, parts, and materials to form a sculptural collage.
An arrangement of forms that do not appear to be the same on either side of an imaginary center line. Contrast
A conventional, SYMBOLIC object used for identifying gods, saints, or other beings.
That part of an image that appears to be farthest from view. Contrast
The artistic STYLE that prevailed in Europe from the 17th century through the mid-18th century. Baroque art is
characterized by theatrical emotion, drama, and illusionistic effects. Some artists used dramatic lighting to spotlight scenes of
ordinary life, while others chose inherently dramatic subjects and enhanced them through theatrical interpretation.
A raised decoration in metalwork, furniture, or architecture. A boss can be carved from a protrusion, or attached to a surface.
Describing an object produced or reproduced by pouring plaster or molten metal into a mold. Much sculpture, jewelry, and decorative
art is cast.
In art history, a term describing the arts of ancient Greece and Rome. Many later periods in European art referred to these antique arts
as standards of excellence.
Adhering to the STYLES of Greek and Roman antiquity.
The organization and structure of a work of art, determined by the arrangement of shapes, forms, colors, areas of light and
dark, and so on.
Describes a stance of a human figure in ASYMMETRICAL balance. In this stance most of the weight is on one
leg (the engaged leg), causing the vertical axis of the body to take on a slight S-curve. This pose, celebrated as a
NATURALISTIC innovation, was developed in the CLASSICAL period in Greece.
To visually cut off parts of something so they do not appear within a picture.
A community of religious worship. Devotion to an ideal, person, or god.
The degree or amount of separation between two points, lines, surfaces, or objects measured along the shortest path joining them.
To enhance the attractiveness of something by adding ornamental details.
A technique of sewing decorations on fabric with needle and thread.
A clay and water solution used to paint the decorations onto Attic vases. Engobe is applied to the clay vase before firing, and turns
black during the firing process.
The part of an image that appears to be closest to the viewer.
Describing a work of art done according to a preconceived mathematical formula. The ancient Egyptians, for example, represented the
human figure according to a set formula.
Describing a type of art that represents scenes of everyday life (as opposed to landscape, still life, portraiture).
Describing mechanical or human-made shapes, such as squares, rectangles, circles, and ovals. Contrast ORGANIC.
A mixture of finely ground plaster and glue that is often spread on a surface prior to painting to create a ground or to add
The art of attaching thin metal leaf to an object to approximate the effect of solid or INLAID metal.
A very thin sheet or layer of beaten gold, which is GILDED to objects.
A picture or SYMBOL used in writing, especially in the writing of ancient Egypt.
The most distant line marking the juncture of earth and sky.
Literary, cultural, and philosophical movement centered on human value and achievements.
Achieving a standard of perfection by manipulating nature to create an ideal.
Describing people or objects that have been altered to present perfect or ideal types.
Scratched into a surface.
A line that is visually suggested by the arrangement of forms, lights and darks, or other elements in a work of art.
A design or picture created by inserting thin pieces of material such as metal, stone, wood, tile, or ivory into a ground. The combined
ground and inlaid materials appear to be of one surface.
A very hot furnace, lined with brick or stone, used for firing ceramic objects and for fusing enamels onto metal surfaces.
A natural varnish obtained from the sap of the Asian lac tree.
Stories handed down through history about real people or events, although the details may be unlikely or exaggerated.
Emphasizing contour and outline.
A lusterless or flat surface appearance, as opposed to the shiny appearance of a glossy finish.
That part of an image that lies between the FOREGROUND and the BACKGROUND.
In sculpture, the technique of building up a form by an additive process of shaping and enlarging with a material such as clay. In
drawing, painting, and other TWO-DIMENSIONAL media, the depiction of a solid or
THREE-DIMENSIONAL form, usually achieved through the representation of light and shadow.
A theme or image in a work of art. Motifs are often repeated.
Describing art in which the subject is rendered as closely as possible to the way it is seen by the human eye. Contrast
STYLIZED and ABSTRACT.
The area that surrounds POSITIVE SHAPES.
The revival of Greek and Roman art, literature, and culture during the late 18th and the 19th centuries. Aided by the
archaeological discoveries of the remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the movement used CLASSICAL
MOTIFS and techniques to disseminate predominantly moral messages. Neoclassical subjects are
generally high-minded, drawn from ancient history and mythology. Neoclassical compositions are characteristically
balanced and controlled.
Referring to people without a permanent residence, who move from place to place. Hunting and gathering societies are often nomadic,
moving with the cycles of nature and the animals they rely upon for food and other products.
Describing art in which visual form is used without reference to anything outside of itself; also called nonrepresentational. Compare
and contrast NATURALISTIC and ABSTRACT and STYLIZED.
One who can foresee the future. In ancient cultures, an oracle was consulted before making important decisions.
A term used to describe curving, natural forms. Contrast GEOMETRIC.
A technique of creating the illusion of depth by placing one object in front of another.
An artistic or decorative design that involves regular repetition of shapes, lines, or colors.
Techniques for depicting the illusion of three dimensions on a TWO-DIMENSIONAL surface, as
in a drawing. See AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
A type of Japanese WOODBLOCK PRINT made by pasting two vertical sheets of paper together to create a
long narrow print suitable for hanging on a narrow wooden pillar.
POINT OF VIEW
The imagined position of the viewer within a work of art. Usually artists present images as though seen from a single point or place.
However, Chinese landscapes, for example, are often presented as though viewed from several points simultaneously.
Shapes that occupy space. Contrast NEGATIVE SHAPES.
An image reproduced, usually on paper, from a prepared block, stone, or plate. Numerous copies of the PRINT are
usually made, allowing for a wide distribution of the images. Printmaking processes include etching, engraving, dry point, metalcut, and
The art of embroidered decoration using prepared and dyed porcupine quills.
The representation of the external world in an objective and factual manner.
The often elaborate clothing and accessories worn by kings, queens, emperors, and other royalty and important figures.
A movement in American 20th-century art that peaked during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Paintings of this
STYLE celebrate life in small-town, rural America. The most important regionalist artists, Thomas Hart Benton, John
Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood, were all from the Midwest. Their styles, though different, have traditional, conservative, nationalistic
The projection of a figure or design from the BACKGROUND on which it is modeled or carved.
A historical period spanning the 14th to 16th centuries generally defined by the revival of arts and letters under the influence of
CLASSICAL models. Because the Renaissance began in Italy, the term often implies Italian Renaissance. Early
Renaissance refers to the period from about 1400 to 1500, and High Renaissance refers to the years between 1500 and 1525. Italian
Renaissance art accorded a new dignity to human beings and their works. This art reflects interest in humanism, science, and the ideals of
the classical world. Italian artists employed many devices such as scientific PERSPECTIVE to achieve a sense
of NATURALISM in their art.
A reaction to the rationality of Enlightenment thought and the staid NEOCLASSICISM of mid-18th-century
art. This artistic concept, which asserted the validity of subjective experience, entails a love of exotic or foreign subjects, rich
colors, and a dramatic use of light and line. Romantic artists often explore themes of passion, imagination, and the subconscious.
A stone coffin.
The relative size of an object when compared to others of its kind, to its environment, or to humans.
The decoration of the skin by creating scars that form patterns. Used by many African cultures to mark family or community associations.
A manner of treatment or execution of works of art that is characteristic of a civilization, a people, or an individual.
Describing the simplification or ABSTRACTION of forms according to specific conventions rather than personal
expression or NATURALISM.
Sculpture formed by removing unwanted material from a solid mass such as wood or marble. Contrast
Something that represents a concept, ideology, or thing through association, resemblance, or convention.
A member of the Symbolist movement, which began in late-19th-century France. Symbolist poets and writers were united by an interest in
the mystical and spiritual aspects of art. They often produced expressive, enigmatic images.
Balance achieved in a work of art by distributing weight (objects) equally on both sides of an imaginary center line. Contrast
A paint created by mixing pigment with water-soluble media such as eggs. Color must be applied in little strokes to blend colors on the
canvas or panel, as tempera is opaque and, therefore, does not allow for layering in the way that more transparent oil paints do. Tempera
produces a MATTE FINISH.
Fired clay used especially for vases and statuettes.
The way the surface of an object feels. A texture may actually be rough or smooth to the touch, but an artist can also create an
illusionary texture to make viewers believe they are seeing the texture of something like tree bark or a mountain even when the painting
surface is actually smooth.
Occupying or giving the illusion of three dimensions (height, width, depth).
Having two dimensions (height and width); referring to something that is flat.
A print made by carving an image on a wood block. Those parts not intended for printing are cut away, and ink is applied to
the raised lines and surfaces that remain.