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Art History Vocab
Terms in this set (32)
A term coined by critic Harold Rosenberg in 1952 to describe a technique that uses splashing, flicking, dribbling, smearing and/or scraping paint to achieve a spontaneous effect. The resulting work emphasizes the physical process of painting as an essential aspect of the finished work. The term is associated with American painters of the New York School, such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline.
A fast-drying, water-soluble synthetic paint.
A work of painting or sculpture placed on, above or behind the altar in a Christian church. Also known as a retable.
Art created by gathering and manipulating found objects.
A technique for creating the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional picture by gradually decreasing color intensity, contrast, and texture in distant objects. Also known as aerial perspective.
The art of highly ornamental handwriting.
In architecture, a beam or structure that is anchored at one end and projects horizontally beyond its vertical support.
A term coined by the 20th-century American artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) to describe his works that combined found objects and hand-made elements.
A building wall that does not support any of the weight of the structure. The curtain wall is a typical feature of 20th-century International Style architecture.
A print made by incising an image into a smooth copper plate with a sharp tool called a burin. The image is then inked, a piece of paper is placed on the plate, and it is run through the rollers of a press to transfer the image to the paper.
A printmaking process in which an etching needle is used to draw into a wax ground applied over a metal plate. The plate is then submerged in a bath of acid, which "bites" into the metal surface only where it is unprotected by the ground. The ground is then removed, ink is forced into the etched depressions, the un-etched surface is wiped clean, and an impression is printed on paper.
In Gothic architecture, a structural element that carries the thrust of the nave vault over the side aisles through masonry struts and arches.
A category of subject depicting aspects of everyday life, including domestic interiors, tavern scenes, and street scenes.
In East Asian art, a long, narrow, horizontally oriented painting on paper or silk. Handscrolls are stored wrapped around wooden dowels and are unrolled for viewing.
The strip-woven, patterned cloth created by professional weavers among the Asante peoples of Ghana and the Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo, in West Africa.
In a mosque, the niche that indicates the wall oriented toward Mecca.
A tall slender tower, typically part of a mosque, with a balcony from which from which Muslims are called to prayer.
A construction made of objects that are suspended and balanced on wire arms so as to move freely.
In Hindu and Buddhist art, a hand gesture used to express the meaning of an image of a divinity. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. Mudras denote specific behaviors, actions or states of mind.
A form of decorative vaulting in Islamic architecture. In muqarnas, the surface of a vault or dome is subdivided into niche-like cells that have no load-bearing function. Also know as stalactite vaulting or honeycomb vaulting.
In Buddhism, the 32 "auspicious marks" (physical traits) by which the Buddha can be recognized. The lakshanas include golden skin, long arms, a tuft of hair between the eyebrows (the urna), and a knot of hair on the top of the head (the ushnisha).
A technique for creating the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional picture by using straight lines converging towards a vanishing point (or vanishing points) in the distance.
(Italian: "pity"). A picture or sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus in her lap or arms.
An extremely fine, hard, translucent, white ceramic invented in China in the 8th century CE. The secrets of porcelain production were not discovered in Europe until the early 18th century, when European porcelain production was pioneered at the Meissen factory in Saxony (modern Germany).
A common, mass-produced object designated as a work of art by the artist.
A printmaking technique in which paint or ink is squeezed through a stencil screen of silk or other fine mesh to produce multiple copies of an image. Also called serigraphy or screen printing.
A plaster-like material consisting of lime, sand, water, and other ingredients. Stucco can be used for covering walls, or, when molded or carved, for architectural decoration.
In Buddhist architecture, a monument made of earth and/or stone and containing sacred relics.
From the Italian word tenebroso ("shadowy"), the use of extreme contrast of light and shadow to create a dramatic effect in a painting, drawing or print.
A picture made up of three panels. The outer panels are often hinged so they fold over the center panel like doors.
A technique of Japanese printmaking in which the surface is carved away from a hardwood block, leaving the outlines of an image standing in relief. Water-based ink or watercolor is brushed over the block, a sheet of paper is placed on top, then rubbed with a smooth, padded tool to make an impression. For prints with several colors, the artist makes a block for each color.
Japanese Zen gardens, also known as dry landscape gardens, are carefully composed arrangements of some or all of the following: rocks, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and gravel or sand raked into patterns. Zen gardens are normally relatively small, surrounded by walls, and meant to be appreciated from a single viewpoint outside the garden. Zen gardens were created in Buddhist temples and monasteries to serve as aids to meditation.
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