Art History Vocabulary Terms Form in speaking of a work of art or architecture, the term refers to purely visual component: line, color shape, texture, mass, value, space; all of which are called formal elements. Composition is the organization, or arrangement of form in a work of art. Style a particular manner, form, character of representation, construction, or expression typical of an individual artist or certain school period that makes the work visually distinctive.
School of artist an art historical term describing a group of artist, usually work at the same time and sharing similar styles, influence or ideals. The artist in a particular school may not necessary be directly associated with one another, unlike those in the work shop or atelier. Iconography the study of the significance and interpretation of the subject matter or symbolism of art. Literally meaning image writing. Representational art that depicts a recognizable image or any art that attempts to depict an aspect of the external, natural world in a visually understandable way.
Nonrepresentational or nonobjective of art is a form of complete abstraction. It does not produce recognizable imagery. Naturalism (naturalistic) is closely linked to the realism and the terms are often used unchangeably. Naturalism, however, refers to attempt to depict objects as they appear in nature. Realism is the attempt to depict objects as they are in actual, visible reality. Abstraction any art that does not represent observable aspects of nature or transforms visible forms into a stylized image. Also: the formal qualities of this process.
Idealization strives to realize an image of physical perfection according to the prevailing values of a culture. The Medici Venus is idealized. Illusionist refers too highly detailed style that seeks to create a convincing illusion of reality. Linear describes style as well as technique. In the linear style the artist uses line as the primary means of definition and may use a smooth form of modeling. Painterly describes a style of painting on which vigorous, evident brushstrokes dominate and shadows and high lights are brushed in freely.
Primary color (hue) blue, red, yellow; secondary hue: orange, green, violet this is the result of mixing two primary; the result of mixing primary and secondary is called as intermediate hue or ternaries; complementary colors are the two colors directly opposite on the colors wheel, such as red and green. Warm color: red, orange, yellow which appear to advance toward us. Cool color: blue, green, violet which seem to recede are called cool colors. Value is the relative degree of lightness or darkness of a given color or gray and is created by the amount of light reflected from an object’s surface.
Saturation, also sometimes referred to as Intensity, is a colors quality of brightness or dullness. A color described as highly saturated looks vivid and pure; a hue of low saturation may look a little muddy. Picture plane the theoretical spatial plane corresponding with the actual surface of a painting. Or mean of the ID surface of the painting. Linear perspective a system for representing three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. Twisted perspective or multiple perspective is the combination of multiple viewpoints in a work of art.
Canon of proportions a set of ideal mathematical ratios in art based on measurements of the human body. Plan a graphic convention for representing the arrangement of the parts of a building. Section a method of representing the three dimensional arrangement of a building in a graphic manner. A section is produced when an imaginary vertical plane intersects tit a building, laying bare all the elements that make up the (cross section of the) structure at that point. Also: a view of an element of an object as if sliced through vertically.
Elevation the arrangement, proportions, and details of the outside or face off building. Also: architectural drawing showing an exterior or interior wall of a budding. High relied sculpture in which the image projects strongly trot the background; or a sculpture extending at least half of its thickness into space. Low relief sculpture whose figures project slightly from the background; or the rejection extends less than half of its thickness into space. Sunken relief the image is carved below the original surface of the background.
Medium: refers to the materials used to make a work of art. Also called media. Circe Purdue is the lost-wax casting technique that has been used for many centuries. Narrative art that tells a story. Paleolithic 40,BOCCE – 8,BOCCE; meaning Old stone Age. Megalithic period between the old and new Stone Age. Neolithic 8,BOCCE – 2,BOCCE meaning New stone Age. Pictograph a highly stylized depiction serving as a symbol for a person or object. Picture writing: using such symbols is called pictographs. Megalith large stones used in prehistoric building.
Post and lintel an architectural system of construction with two or more vertical elements (posts) supporting a horizontal element (lintel) Isomorphic having animal form. Anthropomorphic having human form. Composite image created by combining human and animal forms. Fresco is a painting on the wall using plaster and lime water; Boon fresco is a painting technique in which water based pigments are applied to a surface of wet plaster. The color is absorbed by the plaster, becoming a permanent part of the wall. Fresco cosec is created by painting on the dried plaster, and the color may flake off over time.
Lost-wax casting a method of casting metal, such as bronze, by a process in which a wax mold is covered with clay and plaster, then fired, melting the wax and leaving a hollow form. Gujarat in Mesopotamia, a tall stepped tower to earthen materials, oaten supporting a shrine. The Sumerian place of worship. Cuneiform an early form of Sumerian writing with wedge shaped marks impressed into wet clay with a stylus, primary used by ancient Mesopotamia. Stele is a stone slab placed vertically and decorated with inscriptions or relief. Used as a grave marker or memorial.
Hierarchic scaling the use of different sizes for the significant or holy figures and those of the everyday world to indicate importance. The larger the figure, the greater the importance. Lamas supernatural guardian protector of ancient near eastern palaces and throne rooms, often represented sculpturally as a combination of the bearded head of a man, powerful body of a lion or bull, wings of an eagle, and the horned headdress of a god, and usually possessing five legs. Necropolis a large cemetery or burial area; literally a “city of the deal”
Rosetta stone a stone slab discovered in 1799 with three tiers of writing in hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek. It serves as a linguistic key. Hieroglyphs picture writing; words and ideas rendered in the form of pictorial symbols. Aka the name given by ancient Egyptians to the human life force, or spirit. Marin period in ancient Egypt, a time in which Canteen ruled. He moved the capital city of Egypt and created the monotheistic worship of the “Eaten” (the life- giving sun deity). Masts a flat topped one story structure with slanted walls over an ancient Egyptian underground tomb.
Caryatid a sculpture off draped female figure acting as a column supporting an untreatable. Hypotheses hall a large interior room characterized by many closely spaced columns that support an upper zone known as a clerestory (see below). Clerestory the topmost zone of a wall with windows in a basilica extending above the aisle roofs which provides light into the central interior space. Reposes a technique to hammering metal trot the back to create a protruding image. Elaborate relief are created with wooden armatures against which the metal sheets are pressed and hammered.
Corbel arch: arch formed by a course of stones, each of which projects beyond the lower course until the space is enclosed. Corbel vault: a vault make by projecting courses of stones from arch deep into 3-D space. Free standing adjective used to describe an independent column or sculpture, also called In-the-round. Reductive a sculptural process in which a mass is reduced by a method such as carving. Additive a sculptural process in which a mass is created by compiling elements through various processes. Casting – lost wax casting a method of sculpture in which a metal such as bronze places wax.
Proportion the relationship between parts to the whole or to the whole and its surroundings. Scale the dimensions of an object or work of art. Subject what is being depicted in the work of art. Medium the material from which a work of art is made. Techniques are the process used to make the work of art. Texture, another attribute of form, is the tactile quality of the surface. Content when discussing a work of art, the term can include subject matter; the ideas contained in the work; the artist’s intention; and even its meaning for the beholder.