Art Terms

  1. Subject Matter
    Everything shown in a piece of art.
  2. Content
    Explanation of the subject matter.
  3. Context
    The conditions – social, political, and historical – that are incorporated in an art piece.
  4. Symbol
    Something that is used to depict something different.
  5. Iconography

    System made up of referencesthat are created over time, and are based on a subject matter.
  6. Art Historian
    People who study art from the past and contemplate its meaning.
  7. Art Critic
    People who describe and evaluate modern art. 
  8. Curator
    People who work in museums and whose job is to interpret the art.
  9. Formalist Criticism

    Based on formal analysis; Used to put emphasis on art after WWII.
  10. Ideological Criticism
    Used to replace formalist criticism; Based on cultural beliefs and values.
  11. Structuralism
    Art is studied through language.
  12. Deconstruction
    Theory that any piece of art has multiple meanings that contradict each other.
  13. Psychoanalytical Criticism
    Says that art is based on the unconscious.
  14. Repression
    Act of hiding our thoughts inour unconscious.
  15. Death Wish
    When a human is drawn to the idea of death and violence through desire.
  16. Fetish
    Things onto which a person’s sexual desires are projected on.
  17. Oedipus Complex
    Says that through our relationship with our parents we learn how to deal with sexuality.
  18. Id
    Instincts that tell us to do things, whether they agree with the rules of society or not.
  19. Super-ego
    Our conscience; what allows usto live among society.
  20. Feminist Criticism
    The analyzing of gender and power in art pieces.
  21. Gender
    A type of ideology in which humans are taught to be masculine or feminine.
  22. Museum
    A building in which a collection of art and other objects of interest is displayed.
  23. Line
    A point that is moving and its length exceeds its width. It can be real or implied.
  24. Directional Line
    A line that points to something in order to provide emphasis.
  25. Contour Line
    An outline of a shape or volume.
  26. Value
    The contrast of light and dark shades on asurface. 
  27. Hue
    The name given to the color or the “pure color”
  28. Intensity
    Also called saturation, intensity is the level determining how bright or dull a color is.
  29. Primary Colors
    The colors that cannot be made by mixingothers together (red, blue, yellow)
  30. Secondary Colors
    Can be made by two mixing primary colors together (purple, green, orange)
  31. Complimentary Colors
    Mix of opposite primary and secondary colors and produces a dull shade.
  32. Texture
    How something appeals to the sense of touch.
  33. Pattern
    A set that is repeated three or more times;Can be used to decorate and organize
  34. Shape
    A 2-D figure that has boundaries; Can be both geometric or organic
  35. Volume
    A 3-D figure that can be geometric ororganic and can have mass/space inside.
  36. Space
    The empty space around objects.
  37. Figure
    An object that is not part of the background.
  38. Plane
    A 2-D flat surface such as the foreground, middle-ground, and background.
  39. Perspective
    A technique used to portray depth on a 2-D surface.
  40. Atmospheric
    The farther an object is, the less clear it appears, as if there is moisture/particles in the air.
  41. Linear
    Angled lines drawn to portray a meet in the distance.
  42. Foreshortening
    A distorted figure used to show orientation in space.
  43. Composition
    How formal elements are arranged in a work of art.
  44. Unity
    How a piece of artwork holds together.
  45. Rhythm
    The way in which a viewers eyes travel through a piece of art.
  46. Emphasis
    The focus points in a work of art.
  47. Balance
    The way in which visual weight is spread across a piece of artwork.
  48. Radical Balance
    Occurrencewhere elements surround a central point in a circular composition.
  49. Symmetry

    Two sides that appear to be equal/mirrored.
  50. Asymmetry
    Two sides that do not appear to be equal/mirrored.
  51. Diminishing Scale
    The technique used in which objects in the distance appear smaller.
  52. Proportion
    The size of a part of art as compared to the whole piece.
  53. Post & Lintel Construction
    The use of upright posts to hold cross-beams. 
  54. Hypostyle Construction
    The use of a grid of columns to support a roof.
  55. Load-Bearing Construction
    Walls that hold the weight of the building.
  56. “Classical Order”
    The Greek and Roman order that consists of a base, colonnade, entablature, and pediment.
  57. Vaulting
    A roof made up entirely of arches.
  58. Steel-Frame Construction
    Use of vertical posts and a lintel grid structure and concrete floors in between.
  59. Applied Art/Design

    • Art that can be used for “practical” purposes.
    • (Example: architecture)
  60. Craft
    • A type of applied art in which each piece is unique and made by hand.
    • (Example: Clothing)
  61. Fine Art
    • Used to provide thought and pleasure, this type of artwork does not hold anypractical use.
    • Also used to express cultural values and beliefs. 
  62. Aesthetics
    A theory that describes how fine art “functions” and how it categorized beauty-wise. 
  63. Popular Culture
    • Art that is produced in mass proportions and sold at rates in which the common population can afford.
    • (Example: movies) 
  64. Style
    An aspect of a piece that allows it to be recognized visually.
  65. Cultural Style
    • Art that has become synonymous with a geographical area or a group of people.
    • (Example: European) 
  66. Period Style
    • Art produced within a time period.
    • (Example: 18th Century) 
  67. Movements
    • Groupstyles in which the styles are based on related methods or regionaldifferences.
    • (Example: realism) 
  68. Individual Style
    • A repeating appearance in an artist’s work.
    • (How you can tell the difference between one artist and another) 
  69. Representation Style
    Art that mimics real life objects or people. 
  70. Abstract
    • Art in which the piece does not appear as it does in real life.
    • Art that is considered to be representational, despite being distorted. 
  71. Expressionist
    • Emphasizes emotion through abstraction.
    • Can be either representational or non-representational. 
  72. Realistic
    • Art that is as close to the real life object as possible.
    • Also called naturalistic art.
    • Is considered to be representational and mimetic.
  73. Idealized Art
    • Art that appears to be “perfect”.
    • May be categorized as realistic, but aims for “better than real”.
  74. Classical Style
    • Can refer to Classical Greek art.
    • Can refer to art that is “ordered and balanced” and appears to capture a moment.
  75. Media/Medium
    • The supplies used to create artwork.
    • Medium is the term that would be used to describe an singularitem used. 
  76. Technique
    The way in which the media/medium is used. 
  77. Drawing
    Marks made on the ground.
  78. Ground
    A liquid coating brushed over a paper or canvas (support).
  79. Support:
    Paper or canvas
  80. Printmaking
    A method of copying a picture 
  81. Relief Painting
    The method of removing pieces of a plate that are not supposed to be printed before printing, then covering the pieces not removed with ink and printing the copy by press or hand. 
  82. Intaglio
    • A method in which a plate (described above) is cut into.
    • The indentations then hold ink (for printing).  
  83. Drypoint
    The artist cuts into the metal surface directly with a burin (pointed tool).
  84. Engraving
    The artist cuts into the metal surface by making thin lines which add detail and value.  
  85. Etching
    • A metal surface is covered with a solution, which is then cut into by the artist.
    • Then it is placed into a bath of an acid solution and the acid cutsinto the plate, exposing the metal.     
  86. Aquatint
    • A powder is put on the plate, which is then placed into an acid bath.
    • This creates areas of light and dark on the print.  
  87. Lithography
    • A greasy medium is used to draw on a stone or metal plate.
    • These prints tend toappear like drawings.    
  88. Serigraphy (Screen Printing)
    Ink is squeezed through open areas by fabric stencils.
  89. Painting
    Has pigment and a binder. 
  90. Pigment
    Color in a powdered form. 
  91. Binder
    A liquid that holds the pigment and dries on the surface of the painting.  
  92. Encaustic
    Melted wax is used as the binder. 
  93. Fresco
    Water is used as the binder/Plaster used as the support. 
  94. Tempera
    Egg Yolk is used as the binder. 
  95. Watercolor
    A glue (water soluble) is used as the binder. 
  96. Oil
    Oil (not water soluble) is used as the binder.  
  97. Acrylic
    Plastic (synthetic polymer) is used as the binder. 
  98. Calligraphy
    Writing (seen in a lot of Chinese painting).
  99. Sculpture
    Art that is 3-D 
  100. Freestanding Sculpture
    Sculptures that are created to be viewed from all sides.
  101. Frontal Sculpture
    Sculptures that are created to be viewed from the front.
  102. Relief Sculpture
    • Sculptures created from a wall or support
    • (Meant to be viewed from the front).
  103. Site-specific Sculpture
    Sculptures created for a specific location.
  104. Kinetic Sculpture
    Sculptures that move.
  105. Subtractive Sculptures
    Sculptures created by removing materials. 
  106. Additive Sculptures
    Sculptures made by adding materials. 
  107. Casting Sculptures
    Sculptures created by using a mold. 
  108. Assemblage Sculptures
    Sculptures made by combining materials. 
  109. Mixed Media
    Contrasting materials are used in one piece of art. 
  110. Ready-mades
    Art in which objects foundare used. 
  111. Collage
    Art in which cut pieces ofpaper are assembled together.
  112. Photomontage
    A collage in which photo’s are used. 
  113. Installations
    Art designed for aparticular location. 
  114. Performances
    Real, live events staged as art, usually using humans.
  115. Photography
    The recreation of an sceneby using light-sensitive film or digital technology. 
  116. Cinema/Cinematography
    • Also referred to as movies.
    • A form of photography in which 24 images per
    • second are displayed to create an illusion of motion./Photography in which movie film is used. 
  117. Video
    Used in the 1960s to hold movie-like images using magnetic tape. 
  118. Crafts
    Created by using ceramics, glass, wood, metalwork, fiber, and additional materials
Card Set
Art Terms
The terms used in Art Appreciation Class 2012