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Art Dictionary of Art Terms and Special Art Related Terminology


Art Dictionary of Art Terms and Special Art Related Terminology:

 


A

Academy: This term refers to the institutional school established for the classical training of artists during the 17th and 18th centuries. 


Acanthus: This term refers to a type of decorative element found in architecture derived from the acanthus leaves found in the Mediterranean.


Acid Burn: Brown discoloration on paper, resulting from acidic matting or mounting materials.

Acrylic: Water-based plastic paint consisting of pigments bound in an acrylic resin mixture. Can be thinned with water while wet, but become tough and water resistant once dry.


Aesthetics: The word aesthetic or aesthetics refers to the philosophy of visual beauty of Art.


Albumen Print: An albumen print is created by the process developed by Louis Desire Blanquart-Evrard in 1850, which uses egg whites and photographic chemicals to produce a print on paper from a negative.

Alkyd: Synthetic resin used in the manufacturing of paints and varnishes. An alkyd is a mixture of alcohol and acid and must be thinned with solvent or paint thinner. Alykds dry faster than oils but not as fast as acrylic paints.

Allegory: An allegory is an image that illustrates a particular concept, idea or story within a work of art.


Alloy: An alloy is a mixture of metals without any chemical combination.


Applied art: Applied art refers art designed for functional purposes, but also maintains aesthetic attributes. It could also be called "decorative art" or "design."


Aquatint: In this intaglio method of printmaking, a porous ground coats a metal plate, which is then immersed in acid allowing an even biting of the plate. The resulting image has a grainy and textural effect. 


Art for Art’s Sake: This phrase describes the type of art created for no moral or social reasons, but purely for aesthetic pleasure.


Artist's Proof: In an edition, the artist's proof typically refers to the first print pulled by the artist, taken to see the current state of the plate during the production process.


Autochrome: Autochrome refers to the color “screen-plate” process developed by the Lumiere brothers in 1903. It was the principal color photography process until it was replaced by color film in the mid-1930s.

Avant-garde: This phrase signifies artists and concepts that are remarkably new and radical in nature for the present time. 


 

B

Background: Within the space of a work of art, the background is the area of the image farthest from the picture plane. The opposite of background is foreground.


Bloom: Occurs when moisture penetrates a varnished surface, causing cloudy areas to appear.

Brass: Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper.

Bronze: A very dense alloy of 60% copper and 40% tin, bronze is the most universally popular metal used in the casting of sculpture.

 

C

Calligraphy: The art of highly ornamental handwriting.


Calotype: A calotype is a photomechanical method for reproducing photographic images. While it is no longer practiced as a commercial process, it was considered the height of fine art photography beginning in the 1970s.

Carbon Print: First produced in 1864 by Joseph Wilson Swan, a carbon print is a photographic print created by immersing a carbon tissue in a solution of potassium bichromate, carbon, gelatin and a coloring agent.

Cast Plaster, Concrete, or Plastic Resin: Plaster or concrete can also be cast using single waste or multiple piece molds. The final product lacks the aesthetic quality that most metals acquire after casting. Therefore, plaster, plastic or concrete sculptures are typically painted to give the appearance of metal or stone.

Catalogue Raisonne: Complete documentary listing of all works by an artist known at the time of compilation. It includes an identifying catalogue number for each work listed, as well as information such as provenance, current location and/or exhibition history.


Centrifugal Casting: A type of non-expendable mold casting, centrifugal casting is gravity and pressure-independent. In this method, molten metal is poured into the cavity of a spinning chamber.

Ceramic: This term refers to clay objects fired at a high temperature, in a kiln, creating a ceramic form. While some ceramic pieces are classified as fine art, others are considered decorative, industrial or applied arts.

Ceramic Shell Mold: This is a casting process which involves a sand and resin mold making mixture, which takes weeks to produce a final sculpture. There are at least a dozen stages in the shell mold process.

Chalk pastels: Soft chalk pastels are brightly colored, easily blended, and the most widely used form of pastel. 


Charcoal: Charcoal refers to the drawing utensil employed by artists as a medium for sketches, finished works, and under-drawings for paintings. The black and crumbly nature of charcoal produces a freer and less dense line than graphite.


Chiaroscuro: This term refers to the strong contrast between light and dark that gives a work a sense of drama or mystery.


Chine Colle: A chine colle print is created by affixing layers of thinner sheets of paper to a heavier sheet, and then making an intaglio impression. The thinner top sheets take the impression much more easily than a heavier paper, creating a sense of depth in the printed image, both physically and visually.


Cloisonne: A process involving the affixing wires to a metal surface to form a design, and then filling those areas with different colored enamels.


Colored Pencil: Colored pencils are hand-held writing or drawing instruments typically used to create designs on paper.


Collage: The word collage derives from the French, coller, which means to glue. Here a work of art is created by clipping and adhering flat articles, such as photographs, newspaper and fabric, to a two-dimensional surface.


Collodion Negative: A collodion negative is produced by the colorless, high quality duplication process developed by Frederick Scott Archer and Gustave Le Gray in 1850. 

Complementary Color: Complementary colors are the primary and secondary colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple are all complementary colors.


Composite: Composite materials are made from two or more substances with significantly different properties.

Continuous Casting: A non-expendable casting method, continuous casting is used for high-volume production of metal sections. In this technique, the cast shape is continuously withdrawn through the bottom of the mold so that the specific dimensions of the mold do not determine the length of the sculpture.

Contour: This term refers to the outline defining a specific form.


Contrapposto: This phrase refers to a specific stance where the human body has a weight shift borne on one leg.


Copper: Copper is a reddish-brown metal. Copper surfaces are often finished with patina which can range from brown to green.

C-Print: Developed in 1930, the c-print is the most universal type of color photograph, created using at least three emulsion layers of light sensitive silver salts. Each layer is sensitized to a specific primary color. As a result, each layer records different information for the color make up of an image.

Craquelure: A network of fine cracks on a paintings surface, typically due to elemental expansion, contraction , and age.

Crayon: Crayons are sticks of colored wax used for writing and drawing. 


Crazing: In ceramics, a mismatch in the thermal expansion between the glaze of an item and its physical body often causes small hairline cracks of the glazed surface, which can potentially compromise the pieces structural integrity. 

Chromolithography: This term refers to any lithograph which is printed in color. A chromolithograph requires a separate printing for each color. 


Cyanotype: Cyanotype is an older printing method which uses a monochrome photographic process to produce a cyan-blue print.


 

D

Daguerreotype: The Daguerreotype was the first commercial photographic process. Named for Louis-Jacques Monde Daguerre, it is a positive print on a light-sensitive copper plate.

Deckle Edge: Deckle edges are irregular and ragged edges on hand-made paper.


Decorative Art: Arts traditionally defined as ornamental or functional such as furniture and ceramics.


Decoupage: Decoupage refers to a type of collage made from cutting patterns out of paper or other materials and affixing them upon a three-dimensional object. Typically the surface is then varnished for preservation purposes.

Die Casting: In this non-expendable casting method, molten metals are forced into steel molds, or dies.

Digital print: Digital photography refers to electronically captured images composed of digital values, or pixels. Iris prints, giclee prints, and digital archival prints are three examples of popular digital printing methods.

Drypoint: Often used in combination with engraving or etching techniques, lines are scratched or gouged onto a metal plate creating a burr. The raised burr is quite pronounced and is not eliminated when printing, resulting in a heavier line than with engraving alone. 


Dye Destruction Print: Dye destruction prints are characterized by their vibrant color. These prints are created using three emulsion layers, each one specifically sensitized to a different primary color and containing a dye relevant to that color. During the process, different information is recorded from each layer creating the final image in which three layers are perceived as one.

Dye Transfer Print: Dye transfer prints are created from three separate negatives by photographing the original negative through red, green, and blue filters. The result is a richly colored image on gelatin coated paper.

 

E

Edition: Set of prints, photographs or sculptures, made from a single image off one plate, negative, or mold, and numbered consecutively. For example, a piece marked 20/100 is the 20th print out of 100 prints which were produced. These editions vary in size, and artists often choose to duplicate impressions on different types of paper or color states.


Emulsion: Emulsion is the mixture of two liquids.


Embossing: Embossing is the process of creating an impression of an image that results in a raised surface. This can be done alone (blind embossing) or over an already printed image.


Enamel: Enamel is colored glass bonded to a metal surface by firing.


Encaustic: The process of painting by mixing dry pigments with molten wax and varying amounts of Damar varnish. Hot wax painting is easily manipulated, resulting in a variety of textures and color combinations.

Engraving: The most popular of the intaglio methods of printmaking, an engraved print is created by scratching or cross-hatching into the surface of a polished metal plate. The plate is then inked, covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press. The areas of the plate which are incised print, transferring the final image to paper.


En grisaille: En grisaille denotes an entirely gray monochromatic composition.


Etching: Etching refers to the process of using acid to cut into a metal plate. After the plate has “etched,” it is covered with ink and run through the press revealing the etched image on paper.


Exhibition: The public display of a work of art. Artists can have a solo exhibition, retrospective exhibition, or be part of a group exhibition. Solo exhibitions consist of a single artist and may include a variety of works. Retrospective exhibitions typically look historically at the career of an artist or summarize the artist's works to date. Group exhibitions are usually created around a specific theme or idea, or composed of a variety of works from multiple artists, and embody many different mediums.


Expendable Mold Casting: Expendable mold casting includes most methods which use mold making materials such as sand, shell, plaster and investment. A characteristic of these methods is their use of temporary, non-reusable molds.

 

F

Figure drawing: Figure drawing is a type of drawing that depicts the human form.


Figure painting: Figure painting is a type of painting that depicts the human form.


Figure-ground relationship: This phrase refers to the way objects and figures are related within the picture plane.


Fine Art: Works of art that are created specifically for their aesthetic value, such as painting and sculpture.


Focal point: The focal point of an image is the area in a composition to which the eye returns most naturally.


Folio: This term refers to a large sheet of paper that becomes four separate pieces of a book when folded and cut.


Foreground: The foreground is the area that is closest to the picture plane in a two-dimensional work of art.


Foreshortening: According to the rules of perspective, foreshortening is an illusion created on a two-dimensional surface where objects seem to recede or project into space.


Formalism: Formalism is the analysis and writing of artistic form and the use of formal elements rather than content.


Formline: This term refers specifically to Native American art where a line defines a specific space or form.


Found Object Sculpture: Found object sculpture incorporates natural and/or man-made objects that are not typically considered art in and of themselves, but when combined by an artist, the result acquires aesthetic value.

Foundry: A workshop where cast metal sculpture is created. 


Foxing: Reddish-brown mold spots that appear on paper and textiles due to water exposure or high levels of humidity.

Fresco: A painting technique, perfected at the time of the Renaissance, in which pigments suspended in water are applied to a damp plaster surface. As the pigments dry, they become a part of the plaster or wall surface.

Frontispiece: This term refers to an illustration directly opposite or preceding the title page of a book. 


Frieze: A frieze is the middle element of an entablature between the architrave and the cornice. The frieze is typically decorated with sculpture, painting or moldings. 


 

G

Genre: Genre refers to a type or category of artistic form, subject, technique, style or medium.


Genre Scene: A genre scene can be found in paintings, prints or works on paper, and depicts scenes from everyday life, domestic interiors, parties, inn scenes and street scenes.


Gesso: Gesso is made from glue, gypsum and/or chalk forming the ground layer of wood paneling or the priming layer of canvas.


Gesturalism: This very expressive type of painting is identifiable because each line signifies the artist's physical gesture and emotion at the moment the paint was applied to the painting’s surface.


Gilding: Gilding is the application of gold leaf or gold pigment for decorative purposes.


Glass: Glass refers to a uniform amorphous solid material created from the rapid cooling of molten materials.

Glazing: Glazing refers to the outermost layer found on ceramics that protect them from water and give them a decorative quality. 


Gold Leaf: Gold leaf is paper thin, hammered gold that is used for gilding, as a surface treatment.


Gouache: Gouache is a painting medium similar to watercolor that is characterized by pigments suspended in water. However, due to the presence of chalk, gouache produces a heavier and more opaque image than a watercolor.


Graphite: Graphite is a medium known for its greasy texture and metallic gray color which can be easily removed with an eraser. 


Ground line: Ground line is the baseline that denotes the plane in which a figure stands in a work of art.


 

H

High relief: High relief is a type of sculpture in which the design is carved deeply enough suggesting that the parts are detached from the background.


History/historical Painting: A historical painting is directly based on historical, mythological or biblical references. It is considered one of the noblest forms of art and conveys an intellectual idea in an extravagant manner.


Hue: Hue refers to pure color.


 

I

Icon: Icons are any material representation of a sacred figure or event. 


Iconoclasm: This term refers to the banning or destruction of icons and religious art.


Iconography: This term refers to the study and interpretation of the subject matter of art. 


Impasto: Impasto is the heavy application of paint to a surface so that it stands out in relief.


Incising: Incising is a technique in which a design is cut into a hard surface using a sharp tool.


Indentations: Any chip, dent, gouge, tear, abrasion, or loss occurring from force.

Ink / Wash: Ink is a liquid medium composed of a variety of pigments and dyes used to color a surface. It is often used for drawing or writing with a pen or brush. Thicker inks are used in letterpresses and lithographic printing.


Inlay: Inlay refers to the process of setting materials into the surface of an object composed of a different material.


Inpainting: Application of paint to re-establish an items visual continuity. Can be used to replace paint loss or disguise craquelure.

Instaining: Application of stain, typically to a wooden surface, in the area of a loss to re-establish an items visual continuity.

Installation: This term refers to a type of mixed media artwork which typically occupies a large portion, an entire room, or gallery space. 


Intaglio Methods: Intaglio includes the engraving, etching and drypoint methods of printmaking, and is produced via cuts made in a metal surface. These incised areas are then filled with ink and rolled through a press, thus transferring an image to paper. All intaglio prints have platemarks.


Investment or Lost-Wax Casting: Investment casting, or the lost-wax process, is one of the oldest metal-forming methods. It is often an expensive process, but the intricate details and contours of the cast are well worth it. In this process, a wax original is enclosed in an outer mold. The wax is then melted and evacuated from the mold under high temperatures, and the resulting voids are filled with metal, producing the final sculpture.

Iron: Iron is a heavy, ductile, and magnetic metal which is often used in sculpture.

 

J

Japonisme: This term refers to the influence of Japan on European art, especially during the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements.

 

K

Kiln: A kiln is an oven which heats to exceptionally high temperatures, typically used for the firing of clay and casting of glass.


 

L

Late Additions: When an artist authorizes a print re-strike with or without changes to the original plate.

Linocut: The linocut is a 20th century variation on the woodcut. It is created in the same manner, except that a piece of linoleum, which is soft and pliable, is used instead of wood.


Lithography: Lithography is a method of printmaking based on the concept of the repulsion of oil and water. In this process, the artist uses a grease-based chalk to draw an image on stone. An oil-based ink is then applied to the stones surface allowing the ink to stick to the greased areas of the stone. The stone is then inked, and the image is transferred to paper, after being run through a press. 


Low relief: Low relief is a type of sculpture in which the figures project less than half their true depth from the background.


 

M

Mannerist: Mannerist art can be identified by elongated forms, unusual colors and lighting, and irrational spatial relationships. 


Medium: The material/materials an artist utilized in creating a work of art, such as oil paint, acrylic or bronze. The material that a work was created on, such as canvas or wood, is also considered part of the medium. For example, one might say that the medium of an oil painting is "oil on canvas."


Mezzotint: In this method of printmaking the artist creates a dark base on a metal plate using a cutting instrument called a "rocker." Then, using a scraper, the artist burnishes the plate in the areas in which he desires to achieve a lighter color. Finally, the artist inks the plate and rolls it through a press topped with a piece of paper to create the final image. 


Miniature: A miniature is a detailed painting or drawing completed on a very small scale.


Mixed Media Painting: A mixed media painting employs multiple media to create a final piece. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage is considered a mixed media painting.

Mixed Media Sculpture: A mixed media sculpture employs multiple media to create a final piece. For example, the artist might have utilized both wood and metal to create the final product.

Mixed Method Engraving: This is a method of intaglio printmaking which combines two or more methods.


Monochrome/Monochromatic: Monochrome or monochromatic refers to any work done in gradations of a single color.


Monolith: A monolith is a sculpture or piece of architecture created from a single block of stone.


Monotype or Monoprint: The monotype/monoprint incorporates both printmaking and painting, producing a single impression by using pressure to transfer a painted image to paper.


Montage: This term refers to a design created by overlapping materials creating the final image.


Mosaic: A mosaic is a design created by affixing small pieces of color, or tesserae, made of marble, glass or ceramic to a base. 


Motif: This term refers to the subject of a painting or a distinct element found in a work of art. 


Mural: A mural is any type of painting created directly on a wall surface.


 

N

Narrative: Narrative refers to a story which is told through a work of art.


Naturalism: Naturalism refers to the tendency to depict trivial aspects of ordinary life during the 19th century throughout Europe.


Non-expendable Mold Casting: Non-expendable mold casting differs from expendable in that the molds do not have to be reformed after their initial cast. A few of the specific methods include permanent, die, centrifugal, and continuous.

Non-objective: Non-objective works of art contain no representation of figures or objects.


 

O

Oil Paint: This term refers to the technique developed during the 15th and 16th centuries in which slow drying paint is made by mixing color pigments with an oil base. 


Oil pastels: Oil pastels have similar characteristics to chalk, or soft, pastels. However, they are difficult to blend and have a more buttery consistency.


Original: This term refers to a work of art created by the artist, as opposed to a print, which was created in multiples, or a copy by another artist or school.


Oeuvre: This term refers to the total output of works by a given artist.


Overpainting: Occurs when a restorer does not possess the correct skills to retouch a damaged area on an item and extends beyond the confines of a loss into undamaged areas.


 

P

Painterly: Painterly refers to works characterized by large brushwork and patches of color.


Painting: The practice of applying pigment combined with a binding agent to a surface such as paper, canvas, wood, glass or other.

Palette: Palette refers to the specific range of color chosen by the artist in a particular work.


Pastel: Pastels are sticks of color, typically made from oil or chalk. Artists use pastels to create a soft and delicate image. The medium can often be unforgiving, as it is difficult for the artist to fix a mistake.


Patina: The result of natural or artificial oxidation on a surface, which produces corrosion, texture, or a thin layer of color that can range in hue. In bronze sculpture, patina specifically refers to the alteration of the surface by the sculptor with acid or other chemicals.

Permanent Mold Casting: A form of non-expendable casting, permanent mold casting is typically used for iron, aluminum, magnesium, and copper-based alloys. It is highly automated and requires weeks of preparation before the casting begins.

Perspective: This term refers to the system of representing objects in three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. 


Photogenic Drawing: Photogenic drawing was the first cameraless photographic process, discovered by William Fox Talbot in 1839. Talbot used a high quality sheet of paper which was immersed in a solution of table salt. After the paper dried, he brushed it with silver nitrate creating a light sensitive surface and placed small objects such as leaves and lace on the paper. The result was a light image of the object against a dark background, or a negative image.

Photogram: This process, created without the use of a camera, records photo-sensitive material by exposing it to light. Similar to an X-ray, the final image records silhouetted images on photographic paper.

Photography: The art of recording images by capturing light on surfaces sensitized by a chemical process.

Photogravure: Developed in the 1830s by Henry Fox Talbot, photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process in which an image is transferred to a flat, etched copper plate, hand-inked and printed. 


Photomontage: This term refers to a single image formed from assembling many existing images such as photographs or prints.

Picture Plane: This phrase denotes the spatial plane corresponding to the actual surface of the painting.


Pigment: A pigment is the coloring agent in paint or dye.


Planographic Methods: Planographic methods include all types of prints which are drawn on a flat surface and run through a press.


Plaster: Plaster is a dry powdery medium which, when mixed with water, forms a hardened paste. In the visual arts, it is most often used to cast clay models for sculpture.

Plaster Casting: Similar to sand casting, patterns are sprayed with a thin film to prevent the mold from sticking, and then covered in plaster, which fills the small spaces around the pattern. The form is then removed and filled with metals such as aluminum, zinc and copper.

Platinum Print: Created in 1873 by William Willis, platinum prints utilize the light sensitivity of iron salts to produce an image. During the developing process, chemical reactions dissolve the iron salts and replace them with platinum. Platinum prints were extremely popular until the 1920s when the price of platinum rose and became too expensive. They are valued for their range of tonal variations and permanence.

Plein air: When a work is created plein air, it means it has been painted outdoors.


Pochoir: Defined as "stencil" in French, a pochoir print is hand-colored and created with a series of carefully cut stencils. This method of printmaking was most prevalent during the early part of the 20th century in Paris and frequently used for fashion plates during the Art Deco period.


Pointillism: In painting, pointillism is the systematic use of small dots to create an optical illusion.


Polaroid: Polaroid refers to the synthetic plastic sheet used to polarize light, typically associated with the instant camera and self-developing film.

Porcelain: Porcelain is a hard, translucent, white ceramic fired at high temperatures.


Portrait format: This phrase refers to a work of art that is higher than it is wide. 


Posthumous: A posthumous print was created after an artist's death.


Pottery: Pottery includes all wares made of clay except porcelain.


Primary Colors: The primary colors, blue, red and yellow, are the colors from which all others are derived. Primary colors also cannot be broken down into other colors.


Print / Casting Year: Works of art produced in an edition, such as prints, sculpture,and photography can have a second applicable date. For example, a photograph might have been taken in 1932, but printed or re-printed in 1975 from the original negative.


Printmaking: Process in which a work can be recreated from a single image.


Provenance: The history or exact record of ownership for a work of art. The provenance of a work of art helps museum staff, curators, gallerists and auction houses determine valuation and authenticity.


Publications: Any publication in which either the specific work of art or artist was noted. 


Publisher: The printer or foundry that produces an artist's work in multiples (i.e., an edition). For example, Atelier Mourlot of Paris, France, was the publisher for Pablo Picasso's prints. 



 

R

Recto: Recto refers to the front of a single sheet of paper. 


Reduction: A reduction is a copy of a work on a smaller scale.

 


Relief: A relief is a kind of sculpture in which all or part of the material projects from a flat surface.


Relief Methods: A relief print is one when material such as part of a wood block, a piece of linoleum, a metal plate or other carvable material left in relief to be printed black and the remainder is cut away. 


Repousse: Repousse is a type of design created by metal hammering on the back of a work.


Representational: This term refers to art which reflects reality. 


Restoration: The process of halting the decay of a work of art and/or returning it to its original state.


 

S

Salon: A salon denotes an independent group exhibition, and is a term specific to France.


Salt Print: The earliest form of photographic positive paper, salt prints were the most common print type until the invention of the albumen. Developed in 1840 by William Fox Talbot, they were created by soaking a sheet of paper in a salt solution and coating it with silver nitrate. This created a light sensitive paper which typically produced sepia prints with a matte surface.

Sand Casting: Sand casting is typically used for low-temperature metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, magnesium and nickel alloys. In this method, materials are poured into a mold of compacted sand. Sand cast sculpture is easily identified by its textured surface, and lack of delicacy.

Scale: Scale refers to the size or measurement of a piece.


School: School refers to a group of artists working under a specific master or that possess certain qualities pertaining to a particular artist.


Sculpture: Sculpture is a three-dimensional work of art created through carving, modeling, casting and construction.

Serigraph or Silk-Screen: Serigraphs, also known as silk-screens, are created from a special type of stencil. A screen is made of porous fabric and stretched over a wood or aluminum frame. Parts of the screen are covered with non-permeable material forming a stencil.  The areas which allow ink to pass freely create the final image, which can be printed on a number of different grounds, including fabric and paper. 


Sfumato: Sfumato is the haze of an image within a painting.


Silhouette: A silhouette is any profile portrait cut from black paper or painted in solid black.


Silver Print: Silver prints are created by the most common method for producing black and white prints in photography. These prints are generated using papers coated with gelatin that contain light-sensitive silver salts. By 1895, the Gelatin-silver print had replaced the Albumen print, because it did not yellow with age and was easier to produce.

Skinning: Excessive cleaning. Occurs when a piece has experienced exorbitant intervention from a restorer or conservationist, removing a portion of the original media. 

Stenciling Methods: This printmaking method refers to the principle of cutting or creating a hole in a protected surface and applying color through the hole to the surface beneath. 


Sketch: A sketch is a rough preliminary version of a composition.


Steel: Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon used in sculpture and architecture.

Steel Engraving: Steel engravings utilize plates composed of a harder metal, as opposed to the traditional copper plate. This method is preferable when creating designs intended for large editions as the plate will not degrade as rapidly.


Still Life: This term refers to a depiction of a static group of objects.


Stipple Engraving: Rather than etching lines, the design in this method of printmaking is created by applying large numbers of incised dots to the plate’s surface, similar to pointillism in painting.


Stone: Stone is a hard medium composed of aggregate minerals such as marble, limestone or sandstone, used to produce three-dimensional objects. For the most part, sculptors use a hammer and chisel as the basic tools in the carving of stone.

Style: Style refers to both unique visual elements or techniques that characterize an individual artist's work, as well as the particular movement or school of which the artist is associated. 

Sumi-e: Literally meaning “ink painting,” Sumi-e paintings are monochromatic and typically associated with the practice of Zen Buddhism. This elegant form of painting was developed in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

 

T

Tempera: Tempera is a medium that was prevalent in Orthodox paintings of Southern Europe's Middle Ages. The artist combines egg yolk, egg whites, and oil to bind a range of pigments on a rigid support such as wood paneling.


Tenebrism: Tenebrism is a technique that emphasizes the strong shadows and night effects.


Tesserae: Tesserae are small pieces of marble, glass or ceramics used to make a mosaic.


 

V

Vanishing Point: In perspective, the vanishing point is the point in which a set of lines converge.


 

U

Ukiyo-e: Literally translated, this means "pictures of the floating world."  A Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese woodblock print dating from the Edo period (1603-1867).


 

W

Waste Mold: In this expendable plaster mold casting method, a thin plaster mold is cast over an original clay model. When removed from the clay, the details of the clay are destroyed, but captured in the mold. This mold can then be used to cast metals with a low melting temperature, such as pewter, or water based casting compounds, such as plaster.

Watercolor: Watercolor painting is characterized by colorful pigments dissolved in water producing a translucent image.


Wood: Wood is the fibrous surface harvested from the trunks of trees. It can come in a variety of colors and patterns with unique attributes contributing to its aesthetic quality.

Woodburytype: The term woodburytype refers to the photomechanical process in which continuous tone is created in slight relief. In this process, a gelatin film is exposed under a photographic negative and hardened according to the amount of light. The film is then placed in hot water removing all unexposed gelatin, dried, and pressed into a sheet of lead. As a result, an intaglio plate is created, filled with pigmented gelatin, and pressed onto paper producing a final image.


Woodcut: Woodcut is a printmaking method in which the artist works on a plank of wood, cutting away the parts of the design which are not to be printed. The wooden surface is then inked, covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press. 


Wood Engraving: A wood engraving is a variation on the woodcut. Differing from a woodcut, it is done using the cut end of a piece of wood, as opposed to the plank side. Harder wood is typically employed to create a finer line in comparison to the soft, heavy lines associated with woodcuts. 


Works on Paper: Works on Paper include artworks drawn, painted or otherwise created on paper using a variety of media.