Visual Art Vocabulary
Glossary terms you need to use during your visual art analysis.
Terms in this set (65)
artwork in which the subject matter is stated in a brief, simplified manner, little or no attempt is made to represent images realistically, and objects are often simplified or distorted.
line, shape/form, color, texture, space and value
the way in which the elements in visual arts are arranged to create a feeling of equilibrium in a work of art. The three types of balance are symmetry, asymmetry, and radial.
the visual sensation dependent on the reflection or absorption of light from a given surface. The three characteristics of color are hue, value, and intensity.
colors opposite one another on the color wheel. Red/green, blue/orange, and yellow/violet are examples of complementary colors.
the drawing of an object as though the drawing tool is moving along all the edges and ridges of the form
the organization of elements in a work of art.
message, idea, or feelings expressed in a work of art.
distance from the nearest to the farthest point of something or from the front to the back
the plan, conception, or organization of a work of art; the arrangement of independent parts (the elements of art) to form a coordinated whole.
the transverse or slanted orientation of a line, shape or form.
condition of being twisted or bent out of shape. In art, distortion is often used as an expressive technique.
part of a two-dimensional artwork that appears to be nearer the viewer or in the front. Middle ground and background are the parts of the picture that appear to be farther and farthest away.
special stress given to an element to make it stand out.
the place in a work of art on which attention becomes centered because of an element emphasized in some way.
describes mathematical shapes and forms like circles, squares, cubes and spheres.
the principle of design that combines elements in a work of art to emphasize the similarities of separate but related parts
art designed to be used at a tool or with a particular function (furniture, clothing, masks, etc.)
the representation of people, subjects, and scenes from everyday life.
the left to right or across orientation of a line, shape or form
the measurement from base to top or (of a standing person) from head to foot
also called chroma or saturation. It refers to the brightness of a color (a color is full in intensity only when pure and unmixed). Color intensity can be changed by adding black, white, gray, or an opposite color on the color wheel.
artwork with land as the main subject
to explain through drawing or painting
the unique character of a drawn line as it changes lightness/darkness, direction, curvature, or width.
plural of medium , referring to materials used to make art; categories of art (e.g., painting, sculpture, film).
a work of art for which more than one type of art material is used to create the finished piece.
the principle of design dealing with the appearance or creation of action.
area of a two-dimensional work of art between foreground and background.
a color scheme involving the use of only one hue that can vary in value or intensity.
refers to shapes or spaces that are or represent areas unoccupied by objects.
the colors black, white, gray, and variations of brown.
having no recognizable object as an image. Also called nonrepresentational.
observational drawing skills
skills learned while observing firsthand the object, figure, or place.
a way to show three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. Lines appear to go away from the viewer and meet at a single point on the horizon known as the vanishing point.
to extend over a part of something else.
anything repeated in a predictable combination.
a system for representing three-dimensional objects viewed in space on a two-dimensional surface using foreground, middle ground and background.
point of view
the angle from which the viewer sees the objects or scene.
artwork with a person or people as the main subject.
shapes or spaces that are or represent solid objects.
refers to the colors red, yellow, and blue. All other colors can be created from primary colors
a style of art that portrays objects or scenes as they might appear in everyday life, recognizable subject is portrayed using lifelike colors, textures and proportion.
personal and thoughtful consideration of an artwork, an aesthetic experience, or the creative process.
color with black added to it.
intentional, regular repetition of lines of shapes to achieve a specific repetitious effect or pattern.
relative size, proportion, used to determine measurements or dimensions within a design or work of art.
colors that are mixtures of two primaries. Red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green, and blue and red make violet or purple.
artwork about the artist
a drawing without much detail, usually completed in a short amount of time; sometimes used as a rough draft for a later work of art.
arrangement or work of art showing a collection of inanimate objects.
a set of characteristics of the art of a culture, a period, or school of art. It is the characteristic expression of an individual artist.
balance created by making both sides of an artwork the same or almost the same.
the uneven mixture of two primary colors or the combination of one primary color and the secondary color next to it on the color wheel.
the surface quality of materials, either actual (tactile) or implied (visual). It is one of the elements of art.
having height, width, and depth. Also referred to as 3-D.
able to see objects on the other side or through.
a small sketch done to test or try new ideas for larger works of art.
total visual effect in a composition achieved by the careful blending of the elements of art and the principles of design.
lightness or darkness of a hue or neutral color. A value scale shows the range of values from black to white.
in perspective drawing, a point at which receding lines seem to converge.
the up and down orientation of a line, shape or form.
scale showing the range of values from black to white and light to dark.
includes thinking and communication. Visual thinking is the ability to transform thoughts and information into images; visual communication takes place when people are able to construct meaning from the visual image.
Chinese Cut art
is the first type of paper cutting design, since paper was invented by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty in China.
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