Key terms in history of art

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Key Terms

 

Painting

 

Interpretation/representation

Scale

Realistic/Naturalistic

Abstract - Distorted/Exaggerated/Expressionistic

Idealised – Poetic/Ennobled/Grand

Mundane – Everyday/Prosaic

Imaginary - Fantastic /Dreamlike (Surrealistic)

Dramatic – Forbidding/Intimidating

Viewpoint – Close/Distant/Low/High

Any appropriate adjective/adverb

 

Composition

Shapes and lines and their arrangement on the picture surface

Symmetrical – Ordered/Balanced/

Asymmetrical - Disordered/Imbalanced

·         ‘a symmetrical composition with asymmetrical elements’

·         ‘a variety of asymmetrical forms within a larger ordered composition’

·         ‘ostensibly haphazard but with underlying ordered structure’

 

Centralised/Geometric/Pyramidal/Conical/Triangular/Circular

Complex/Simple/Architectonic/Golden Section/ Rule of Thirds

Frieze-like (composition running parallel to the picture plane)

Moving into depth (as opposed to the above)

 

Colour

Descriptive/non-descriptive

Symbolic

Expressive

Arbitrary

Monochrome/polychrome

Varied

Tonal (limited range)

Contrasting

Vivid/rich/saturated

Pastel

Cool/warm

Strident/calm

Primary/complementary

Broken; rainbow palette (Impressionism)

Earth colours (browns, greens, yellows)

Light/tone

Modelling light

Natural light

Chiaroscuro

Dramatic light

Diffused

Harsh/soft

Shadow – light/deep

High/low contrast

Unidirectional/multidirectional

Raking

Top light/side light

Backlight (‘contre-jour’)

 

Line/Pattern

Horizontals/verticals = stability

Diagonals/curves = movement

Rectilinear

Curvilinear

Complexity

Simplicity

 

Pictorial Space

Foreground

Middle ground/distance

Distance

Extensive/shallow

Linear perspective – One-point linear perspective – Albertian ‘window’

Vanishing point

Orthogonals

Transversals

Foreshortening

Overlap

Diminishing scale

Receding diagonals

Colour perspective (brown, green, blue)

Aerial perspective

(in landscape) Repoussoir – coulisse

Flatness/negation of pictorial space

 

 

 

Handling of Paint

Highly finished /High degree of fini

Thinly painted

Flat

Glaze

Stain

Loosely applied

Textured

Scumble

Impasto

Exploitation of the manipulative

Qualities of oil

 

Materials/ techniques

Fresco

Buon fresco

Fresco secco painted al secco

Ariccio and intonaco plaster

Sinopia (drawing)

Giornata

Egg tempera

Wooden support

Gesso

Gilding

Ultramarine (lapis lazuli)

Oil

Slow drying

Linseed/Walnut

See texture/surface

Acrylic Pastel (Gum Arabic) Collage Papier colle Mixed media

 

Style

General terms:

Naturalistic/ realistic

Expressionistic

Impressionistic

Abstract(ed)

Surreal

Specific terms:

Pre-Classical Archaic Classical Hellenistic Roman Byzantine Romanesque Gothic Renaissance Mannerist Baroque Rococo Neoclassical Romantic Realist Impressionist Post Impressionist Symbolist Fauvist Cubist Futurist - Expressionist Abstract Surrealist Abstract Expressionist and so on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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