Art Appreciation- Arts 1301

Art Appreciation vocabulary to help better understand the arts from a layman's point of view. Taken with Mrs. Kristina Elizondo.
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Terms in this set (...)

How long have humans created art?
Since ~30,000 B.C., when cave paintings were found in the Chauvet Cave in France.
What are the three criteria for a work to be considered a work of art?
1. It has to be made by someone who calls themselves an artist.
2. The work has to be created with the intent of it becoming a work of art.
3. Many art critics consider it a true work of art.
Subjective
Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. Being prone to critique.
What are the Arts?
Crafts such as forging a sword, cobbling a shoe, sketching, or photography.
What are the Fine Arts?
Elite artworks such as painting or sculpting that not only need skill, but imagination as well.
Art-Like
Certain crafts or works that mimic art via aesthetic appeal, such as tattoos.
Aesthetics
The branch of philosophy concerned with the feelings aroused in us by sensory experiences, such as seeing or hearing. Aesthetics examines, among other things, the nature of art and the nature of beauty.
Paleolithic
Old Stone Age.
Neolithic
New Stone Age.
Megaliths
A very large stone.
What are the eight qualities of creativity?
-Sensitivity
-Flexibility
-Originality
-Playfulness
-Productivity
-Fluency
-Analytic Skill
-Organizational Skill
Why do artists make art?
-To create places for human purpose
-Create extraordinary versions of the ordinary
-To Record and Commemorate
-Give tangible forms to the unknown
-Give tangible forms to feelings and ideas
-Refresh our vision and help us see the world in new ways
Value ($)
The economic value of a certain of work of art. Things that may influence value are:
-The rarity of a work
-The artist's influence in the art world
-The symbolism or meaning behind a work (story, etc.)
Craft
Certain skills that may not be portrayed as art due to their practicality by the less noble and the fact they actual serve a purpose besides aesthetic appeal. For example, quilting or wood carving.
Representational Art
Descriptive of a work of art that depicts forms in the natural world. "Looks a lot like something."
Naturalistic
Descriptive of an approach to portraying the visible world that emphasizes the objective observation and accurate imitation of appearances.
Tromp l'oeil
French for "fooling the eye". Something marked by extreme optical fidelity.
Abstract
Descriptive of art in which the forms of the visual world are purposefully simplified, fragmented, or otherwise distorted.
"Looks kind of like something."
Stylized
Descriptive of representational art in which methods for depicting forms have been standardized, and can thus be repeated without further observation of the real-world model.
Non-Representational
Descriptive of art that does not represent or otherwise refer to the visible world outside itself. "Looks like nothing."
Style
A characteristic or a number of characteristics, that we can identify as constant, recurring, or coherent. For example, Van Gogh's curly, fluid brush strokes.
Form
The physical appearance of a work of art- its materials, style, and composition.
Content
What a work of art is about, and its subject matter as interpreted by the viewer. The message behind a work of art.
Subject Matter
The objects or events being depicted in an art work.
Context
The personal and social circumstances surrounding the making, viewing, and interpreting of a work of art; the varied connections of a work of art to the larger world of its time and place.
Iconography
The identification, description, and interpretation of subject matter in the art.
Visual Elements
Using properties of art to supplement a work. Can be present (visual) or hidden (implied). The ingredients of art.
Line
-Diagonal: denotes action or drama
-Horizontal: denotes calmness and tranquility
-Vertical: denotes growth, order, and strength.
Shape
A two-dimensional shape with an identifiable boundary.
Mass
Three-dimensional shape with an identifiable boundary. Can be actual like a sculpture's surface, or implied in a drawing via shading.
Charioscuro
Light/dark shading. The contrast of light and shadow.
Hatching
Closely spaced parallel lines that create depth and shade to a work of art.
Stippling
Utilizing dots to give a sense of dark and light shading.
Value
Relative lightness or darkness.
Hue
The same meaning as color.
Pointillism
Placing dots of pure color so close to each other that they look mixed from afar (blue next to yellow looks like green from a distance).
Primary Color
The natural colors present without mixing anything. These are red, blue, and yellow.
Secondary Color
Achieved by mixing two primary colors together. For example, red and yellow make orange.
Tertiary Color
Mixing a primary color with a secondary color. For example, red and orange make red-orange.
Warm Colors
Red, yellow, orange, etc.
Cool Colors
Blue, green, violet, etc.
Intensity and Saturation
Relative purity or brightness of a color. Think of "how much color can I put in a single space". For example, a pure blue would be more intense and saturated than a cerulean.
Monochromatic
One color scheme. The utilization of various shades of hue in one work of art.
Complementary Colors
Colors that intensify and juxtapose each other on the color wheel. These colors lie directly opposite of each other on the color wheel. For example, red and green are complementary colors.
Triadic
Utilization of a color spaced three units apart on the color wheel. For example, red, yellow, and blue or violet, orange, and green.
Analogous Colors
Utilization of colors near each other on the color wheel to create a sense of unity or theme, like using warm colors like red, yellow, and orange to invoke a sense of warmth.
Texture
Feeling of rough or smooth that can be actual like the face of a sculpture, or implied via shading on a drawing or a photograph.
Linear Perspective
Parallel lines converging from a point to create depth.
Atmospheric Perspective
Utilization of shading and color intensity to create depth. For example, using light clouds in the background to make a landscape look more protruded.
Vanishing Point
Point where all the lines or depth in an art work recede from to create focus. For example, in The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, lines appear to be approaching Jesus' head in the painting.
Design Principle
Recipe for an art work (combination of various visual elements).
Emphasis
Where the viewer's attention is focused on in a work of art.
Unity
The sense of oneness, things combining to form a coherent whole.
Variety
Differences that provide contrast in interest.
Balance
Symmetrical or asymmetrical sides to give a sense of implication (or to take away the sense of implication).
Subordination
A less visually interesting area of a work of art. Usually the background or an area denoted by light colors, minimum detail, shading, or lack of shading.
Scale
Size in relation to a constant or normal size.
Proportion
The relation of two or more parts in a work of art. Sometimes the proportion may be distorted to add emphasis or to make a statement via abstraction.
Hierarchical Scale
The use of size to denote relative importance, rank, significance, or power. For example, a Pharaoh may be three times as large as his slave, because he is more affluent than his slave.
Golden Section
A proportion between two segments that states that the ratio of the whole to the larger part is equal to the ratio of the larger to the smaller. Approximately a scale of 1.61.

AB:A = A:B

----------------------*
A B
Rhythm
Movement, patterns, or certain visual elements that are present in intervals.
Squared for Transfer
The process of cutting an art work into grids, then copying each grid as an individual part, in hopes of recreating the whole, like a gestalt method in which the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
Gesture Lines
Quick, rapid lines utilized by artists as a preliminary outline for a work of art such as a drawing or a painting.
Liquid & Dry Media
-Liquid Media: Materials like oils, inks, and paints.
-Dry Media: Materials like charcoal, graphite, and pastel.
Pigment
A coloring material made from various chemical or organic substances.
Binder
A substance in paints that causes particles of pigment to adhere and support.
Metalpoint
A drawing technique in which the drawing medium is a fine metal wire. Metalpoint drawings are permanent.
Support
The surface on which a work of two-dimensional art is made; for example, canvas, paper, or wood.
Primer
A preliminary coating applied to a painting support to improve adhesion of paints or to create special effects.
Encaustic
Painting medium in which the binder is wax, which is then heated to render the paints fluid.
Fresco Secco
Colors applied to dry plaster, usually on a wall or a mural.
Buon Fresco
"True fresco", where paint is applied to a wet plaster on a wall or mural, and all procedures must be finished before the plaster dries, and becomes a permanent part of the wall. To remove a buon fresco, one must chisel the wall and remove that layer of paint as it is engraved on the wall. Buon fresco requires a team.
Cartoon
A full scale preparatory drawing for a fresco or mural.
Tempera
Paint in which the pigment is compounded with an aqueous, emulsified vehicle, such as egg yolk. Tempera tends to be very yellow in paintings, and lacks luminosity and variety in shades. It's very "jaundiced". Tempera is very hard to decay or remove.
Oil Paint
Paint made from oil (usually linseed). Very luminous, and diverse in color. Oil paint started during the Renaissance.
Alla Prima
Italian for "all in one go." Alla prima refers to completing a work of art in one single session, without preliminary templates or sketches.
Luminosity
The quality of being luminous; emitting or reflecting light. Can make a work of art (usually paintings), more real.
Impasto
From Italian, meaning "paste", a thick application of paint.
Acrylic
A synthetic, chemical paint made for resin. Acrylic is very rubbery and versatile.
Printmaking
The production of images normally on paper and exceptionally on fabric, parchment, plastic or other support by various processes of multiplication. Printmaking is done with reference to an original template that produces the same copy every time. In art, prints are usually cheaper than the original work, and introduced the concept of non-aristocratic, non-crafts owners of art in society.
Registration
In printmaking, the precise alignment of impressions made by two or more printing blocks or plates on the same sheet of paper, as when printing an image in several colors.
Editions
In printmaking, the total number of prints made from a given plate or block. Each print is numbered in the order that it was printed. For example, edition 32 of a print would indicate that the print was the 32nd print printed.
Relief
Anything that projects from the background. Relief in sculptures means figures that are attached to a background and project from it to some degree. In low relief, also called bas-relief, the figures project minimally, as on a coin. In high relief, figures project substantially from the background, often by half their full depth or more. In sunken relief, outlines are carved into the surface and the figure is modeled within them, from the surface down. In printmaking, it is the portions of a block meant to be printed or raised.
Woodcut
A relief printmaking method in which a block of wood is carved so as to leave the image areas raised from the background.
Intaglio
Printmaking techniques in which the lines or areas that will take the ink are incised into the printing plate, rather than raised above it.
Etching
An intaglio printmaking method in which the design is bitten into the printing plate with acid. Also, the resultant print. To create an etching, a metal plate is covered with an acid-resistant ground. The design is drawn with a sharp, pen-like tool that scratches the ground to reveal the metal beneath. The plate is then submerged in acid, which bites into the exposed metal, the longer the plate remains in contact with the acid, the deeper the bite, and the darker the line it will print.
Engraving
An intaglio printmaking method in which lines are cut into a metal plate using a sharp tool called a burin, which creates a clean, v-shaped channel.
Drypoint
An intaglio printmaking technique similar to engraving in which the design is scratched directly into a metal plate with a sharp, pointed tool that is held like a pen. As it cuts through the metal, the tool raises a rough edge called a burr, which, if left in place, produces a soft, velvety line when printed.
Lithography
A planographic printmaking technique based on the fact that oil and water repel each other. The design to be printed is drawn in greasy crayon or ink on the printing surface- traditionally a block of fine-grained stone, but today, more frequently aluminum or zinc. The print surface is dampened, then inked. The oil-based ink adheres to the greasy areas and is repelled by the damp areas.
Planography
Printmaking techniques in which the image areas are level with the surface of the printing plate.
Screenprinting
A printmaking method in which the image is transferred to paper by forcing ink through a fine mesh in which the areas not meant to print have been blocked.
Burin
A fine tool with a chisel point used for carving.
Camera Obscura
A darkened chamber in which the real image of an object is flipped upside down, and received through a small opening or lens and focused in natural color onto a facing surface rather than recorded on a film or plate.
Joseph Nicephore Niepce
French inventor who took the first photograph in 1825, that took 8 hours of light exposure to take.
Heliograph
Earliest form of photography invented by Joseph Nicephore Niepce that utilized bitumen that hardened in exposure to light and produced an image based on captured lights after the plate that was coated with bitumen was washed with lavender oil.
Louis Daguerre
French artist and chemist who is recognized for the invention of the daguerreotype process of photography, a process that cut light exposure from 8 hours with the heliograph to 20 minutes.
Daguerreotype
The first practical photographic process. Invented by Jacques Louis Daguerre and made public in 1839, it produced a single permanent image directly on a prepared copper plate.
Pure Photography
Photography that attempts to depict a scene as realistically and objectively as permitted by the medium.
Photojournalism
The use of images to create a story or send a message. Photojournalism is to photography as conceptual art is to painting or drawing.
Celluloid Film
A thin flexible sheet of celluloid, coated with a sensitized emulsion of gelatin, and used as a substitute for photographic plates.
Auteur
French for "author". The word describes a film-maker, usually a director, who exercises extensive creative control over his or her films, using a strong personal style.
In The Round
In sculpture, a work fully finished on all sides and standing free of a background.
Casting
The process of making a sculpture or some other object by pouring a liquid into a mold, letting it harden, and then releasing it.
Additive Sculpting
Sculpture made from starting form nothing and building form.
Subtractive Sculpting
Sculpture made by removing material from a larger block or form.
Assemblage Sculpting
The technique of creating a sculpture by grouping or piecing together distinct elements, as opposed to casting, modeling, or carving. An assembled sculpture may be called an assemblage.
Contrapposto
A pose that suggests the potential for movement, and thus life, in a standing human figure. Developed by sculptures in ancient Greece, contrapposto places the figures weight on one foot, setting off a series of adjustments to the hips and shoulders that produces an "S" curve.
Earthwork
Art which is generally large in scale, made in landscape from natural elements found there, such as rocks and dirt.
Installation
An art form in which an entire room or similar space is treated as a work of art to be entered and experienced. More broadly, the placing of a work of art in a specific location, usually for a limited time.
Kinetic
Having to do with motion. Kinetic art incorporates real or apparent movement, such as film.
Forging
The technique of shaping metal, especially iron, by heating it until it softens and then beating or hammering it.
Lost-Wax
A technique for casting sculptures or other objects in metal. A model of the object to be cast is created in wax, fitted with wax rods, then encased in a heat-resistant material such as plaster or clay, leaving the rods protruding. The ensemble is heated so that the wax melts and runs out (becoming the lost). The mold is then filled with a harder alloy like bronze to make the desired shape.
Folk Art
Genre of art of unknown origin that reflects traditional values of a society.
Arts & Crafts Movement
An international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 to help restore the creation of crafts. It was started by John Ruskin and William Morris.
Gustave Stickley
was a manufacturer of furniture and the leading proselytizer for the American Arts and Crafts movement, an extension of the British Arts and Crafts movement.
Ceramics
Crafts made of baked clay.
Glass
Material made from heated sand.
Metal
Versatile, hard, expensive, and long lasting.
Wood
Hard fibrous tissue from trees. Used for furniture, or tools. However, wood is not very long lasting, except in very dry arid climates, such as the ancient chairs from the Egyptian dessert.
Fiber
Elastic material, usually used for weaving. For the longest time, weaving was considered a woman's craft, and for that reason, it was not considered a fine art.
Crafts
A professional branch that requires some sort of skilled work, like weaving or furniture making. Because crafts serve a viable function, they are not considered arts by elite of the art world.
Ivory, Jade, Lacquer
Valuable Materials Used For Crafts
Ivory- Elephant Tusk
Jade- Valuable Mineral
Lacquer- Hardened sap/amber mixture.
Shell System
Building material provides structural support and sheathing. For example: brick, stone, adobe, and log cabins. These were popular prior to the 19th century.
Skeleton and Skin System
Rigid skeleton supports the frame with fragile skin for sheathing. For example: steel and glass skyscrapers, modern houses. This is popular today, and was popular post 19th century.
Tensile Strength
Tensile strength refers to the amount of stretching stress a material can withstand before it bends or breaks.
Load-Bearing Construction
A simple primitive stack and pile method that relies on a strong foundation to support the structure. As height increases, durability decreases. A disadvantage of a load-bearing construction is that there are limited opening space or windows, as this cuts into the direct support, possibly causing damage to a structure.
Post & Lintel
In architecture, a structural system based on two or more uprights (posts) supporting a horizontal crosspiece. Looks like TT.
Hypostyle
An interior space filled with rows and columns that serve to support the roof.
Round Arch
A revolutionary concept to architecture that allowed for stronger structures to become erected. The round arch works by distributing pressure via a curvature. Fully developed by the Romans, the round arch enables architects to open up large spaces. Looks like ∩.
Romanesque
A style of architecture and art dominant in Europe from the 9th to the 12th century. Romanesque architecture, based on ancient Roman precedents, emphasizes the round arch and the barrel vault.
Keystone
A wedge-shaped, central stone in an arch. Inserted last, the keystone locks the other stones in place.
Barrel Vault
A half-round arch extended in depth.
Pointed Arch
An even more sturdier arch when compared to the round arch. A pointed arch looks like ^. Instead of a keystone, a pointed arch has a joint.
Gothic
Style of art and architecture that flourished in Europe, especially northern Europe, from the mid-12th to the 16th century. Gothic architecture found its finest expression in cathedrals. Which are characterized by soaring interiors and large stained glass windows, features made possible by the use of the pointed arch and the flying buttress.
Flying Buttress
In architecture, an exterior support that counteracts the outward thrust of an arch, dome, or wall. A flying buttress consists of a strut or arch segment running from the freestanding pier to an outer wall.
Dome
In architecture, a convex, evenly curved roof; technically, an arch rotated 360 degrees on its vertical axis. Like an arch, a dome may be hemispherical or pointed.
Coffer
A recessed, geometrical panel in a ceiling, often used in multiples as a decorative element.
Oculus
A circular opening in a wall or at the top of a dome.
Drum
In architecture, a cylindrical wall used as a base for a dome.
Pendentive
In architecture, a curving triangular section that serves as a transition between a dome and the four walls of a rectangular building.
Corbelling
In architecture, a construction, technique in which each course of stone projects slightly beyond the one below. Corbelling can be used to create space spanning forms that resemble the arch, the vault, and the dome, thought they do not bear weight in the same way.
Balloon-Frame
Method of wood construction that utilizes long continuous framing members (studs) that run from the sill plate to the top plate, with intermediate floor structures let into and nailed to them.
Steel Frame
Steel frame usually refers to a building technique with a "skeleton frame" of vertical steel columns and horizontal I-beams, constructed in a rectangular grid to support the floors, roof and walls of a building which are all attached to the frame. The development of this technique made the construction of the skyscraper possible.
International Style
A style that prevailed after World War II as the aesthetic of earlier Modernist movements such as de Stijl and the Bauhus spread throughout the West and beyond. International styles buildings are generally characterized by clean lines, rectangular geometric shapes, minimal ornamentation, and steel & glass construction.
Suspension
A structural system in architecture, most common in bridges, in which the weight of a horizontal member is suspended from steel cables supported by uprights called pylons.
Reinforced Concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars ("rebars"), reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension.
Geodesic Domes
An architectural structure invented by R. Buckminster Fuller, based on triangles arranged into tetrahedrons (four-faceted solids).
Cantilever
In architecture, a horizontal structural element supported at one end only, with the other end projecting into space.
Prehistory
The period before recorded history.
Mesopotamia
Greek for "between the rivers", Mesopotamia was the world's first civilization, established between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in present day Iraq. Mesopotamia was also the first civilization to experience the Neolithic revolution.
Ziggurat
In ancient Mesopotamian architecture, a monumental stepped structure symbolically understood as a mountain and serving as a platform for one or more temples.
Continuity
In the Art World, continuity is marked by consistency of certain qualities, styles, and characteristics present in artworks. Continuity is most associated with ancient Egyptian art due to the little change in the works and overall retention of the artistic traits.
Order and Stability
A quality found in ancient Egyptian artwork denoted by neat and organized compositions as well as minimal portrayal of emotions.
Funerary
A quality found in ancient Egyptian artwork that expresses features such as tombs and organ preservation in addition to emphasis on the afterlife, which was galvanized by concepts in Egyptian mythology.
Ra/Aten
Ra, the Sun God (who was depicted with great elaboration in Egyptian art), was the dominant "God of Gods" in Egyptian mythology due to the influence of the Sun in Egypt. During the Amarna period, in which Akhenaten took rule, the concept of Ra was subsequently changed to Aten, a sun disc who held the same influence as Ra did.
Palette
A slab of stone (usually siltsone, a grey soft rock) used for grinding cosmetics that were usually applied to serve as a shield against the harsh sun, or for beauty purposes. The most notable palette found in ancient Egypt was the Narmer Palette, a votive palette that many historians believed held symbolical purpose (due to the depiction of King Narmer uniting upper and lower Egypt) as opposed to functional purpose.
Ka
The Egyptian equivalent of a soul that was believed to return to its owner some time after death to assimilate back into his or her body, and resume activity in the afterlife. The concept of the Ka served as the exigence for mummification and statue representations of pharaohs and significant Egyptian figures.
Hatshepsut
The world's first major female ruler that held significant influence over Egypt and it's respective power in the world. Hatshepsut is believed by many historians to be the most successful leading Egyptian pharaoh. Although she was a female, she was depicted in the same image as males were in statues and other arbitrary displays (recurring idea of continuity, the ideal image of a pharaoh was supposed to be "set in stone").
Amarna Period
It is characterized by a sense of movement and activity in images, with figures having raised heads, many figures overlapping and many scenes busy and crowded. Also, the human body is depicted more accurately as opposed to past glorification of pharaohs via preferable portrayal.
Howard Carter
An English archaeologist and Egyptologist, noted as a primary discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Aegean
A section of the Mediterranean Sea located between Greece and Turkey that harbors an archipelago of islands such as Crete and Sporades. Art from this region is characterized by ceramics or pottery depicting basic humanistic outline with emphasis on facial shapes and illustrations of animals.
Minotaur
A mythological Greek monster who was half man and half bull, to whom legend has it that young Athenian men and women were sacrificed in a labyrinth under King Minos of Crete until a Greek hero named Theseus slayed the Minotaur.
Techne
A Greek principle that can be translated as a craftsmanship or art. Techne requires skill, and utilizes logic to create something or accomplish a task. Rhetoric is techne in the same way pottery may be techne in the sense that both have a rational layout and process to achieve an objective.
Humanism
A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome. This straying away of religion resulted in art with a more diverse subject matter than religion.
Krater
A wide, two-handled bowl used in ancient Greece and Rome for mixing wine and water. Made of clay and glazed on the interior for aesthetic and wine holding purposes, Kraters were usually quite large and placed in the middle of dining halls and symbolized the typical elaborate Greek banquets and festivities. Kraters usually depicted glorification of Greek values, such as a strong military or the Gods.
Kouros
Greek for "youth" or "adolescence", were Greek sculptures that represented nude young males standing in an upright, orderly position exhibiting perfect symmetry and anatomical fidelity. They were produced in abundance during the Archaic period (around 800-480 B.C.E.). Kouros were similar to Egyptian depictions of pharaohs, and faded away upon introduction of the contrapposto stance.
Archaic Period
A period of time around 800-400 B.C.E that symbolized the ending of the Greek Dark Ages and introduced the mainstream introduction of poetry, theatrical performances, philosophy, and art. Artistically speaking, more fine sculptures of marble and limestone that exhibited free standing postures (such as Kouros) and reliefs were introduced. In ceramics, more fluid and curvy pottery was utilized as opposed to a bland, geometric style in the Dark Ages of Greece. Archaic architecture was denoted by monolithic column and lintel based structures in temples for the Gods.
Classical Period
Known as the "middle period" of ancient Greek civilization, beginning around 480 B.C.E and ending around 350 B.C.E. Due to a stronger influence of democracy, Classical Greek art was denoted by emphasis on rational order, balance, harmony, and restraint- especially if it looks to the art of ancient Greece and Rome for models. Sculptures began to use more natural stances (like contrapposto) as opposed to upright rigid stances as suggested by the Archaic period and late Dark Ages or Geometric periods.
Hellenistic Period
Literally "Greek-like" or "based in Greek culture." Descriptive of the art produced in Greece and in regions under Greek rule or cultural influence from 323 B.C.E until the rise of the Roan Empire in the final decades of the 1st century B.C.E. Hellenistic art followed three broad trends: a continuing classicism; a new style character by dramatic emotion and turbulence; and a closely observed realism (portrayal of natural forms via art).
Entasis
In Classical architecture, the slight swelling or bulge built into the center of a column to make the column seem straight visually.
Thomas Bruce (Lord Elgin)
Ambassador of England to the Ottoman appointed in 1799. Upon visiting the Parthenon after Venetian forces had fired on the Parthenon earlier during the 17th century, Lord Elgin had plans to make plaster copies of the Parthenon sculptures to send back to England, but later became convinced that they needed to be removed and preserved for posterity, so he shipped all the sculptures to England by 1817. Subsequently, the Greeks have asked for the sculptures return, to which the British have denied to this day.
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water.
Pompeii
A partially buried city near present day Naples that was engulfed in volcanic ash due to an eruption by Mount Vesuvius, a nearby volcano, erupting for two days straight. In artistic context, plaster models of the remains of the people of Pompeii have resulted in perfect recreations of their position during the volcano. Other artifacts, such as pottery and erotic Roman art were also extracted from the Pompeii grounds by archaeologists.
Arch
In architecture, a curved structure, usually made of wedge-shaped stones, that serve to span an opening. An arch may be semicircular or rise to a point at the top.
Concrete
A heavy, rough building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, that can be spread or poured into molds and that forms a stonelike mass upon hardening.
Constantine
Roman Emperor who ruled from 306 A.D. to 337 A.D. He is known for becoming the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. His conversion was galvanized upon seeing a cross in the sky prior to winning a battle in which he was deemed as a major underdog. He also passed the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. , which prohibited persecution for religious beliefs in the Roman Empire. Constantine has his marble triumphal arch in his honor behind the Colosseum.
Christian Calendar
Also known as the Gregorian Calendar, the Christian Calendar is the internationally accepted civil calendar implemented by Pope Gregory XIII. The Christian Calendar is our basic calendar consisting of 12 months and 365.25 days per year.
Mosaic
The technique of creating a design or image by arranging bits of colored ceramic, stone, glass, or other suitable materials and fixing them into a bed of cement or plaster.
St. Peter's
A Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world and was designed by many prominent architects and artists, including Raphael and Michaelangelo. St.Peter's follows a Renaissance and Baroque style.
Basilica
In Roman architecture, a standard type of rectangular building with a large, open interior. Generally used for administrative and judicial purposes, the basilica was adapted for early church architecture. Principle element of a basilica are nave, clerestory, aisle, and apse.
Apse
The semicircular, protruding niche at one or both ends of the nave of a Roman basilica. In basilica-based church architecture, an apse houses the altar and may be elongated to include a choir.
Nave
In an ancient Roman basilica, the taller central space flanked by aisles. In a cruciform church, the long space flanked by aisles and leading from the entrance to the transept.
Aisle
Generally, a passageway flanking a central area. In a basilica or cathedral, aisles flank the nave.
Clerestory
The topmost part of a wall, extending above flanking elements such as aisles, and set with windows to admit light. In a basilica or church, the clerestory is the topmost zone of the nave.
Transept
The arm of a cruciform church perpendicular to the nave. The transept of ten marks the beginning of the apse.
Narthex
In early Christian architecture, the porch or vestibule serving as an entryway to a church.
Byzantium
An ancient Greek city founded north of the Aegean sea in 667 B.C., in what is now present day Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. Byzantium art is denoted by the utilization of rare materials such as gold, silver, and jewels, while focusing the subject matter on pious and eternal subjects.
Pantokrator
A very specific depiction of Jesus Christ in Christian iconography. Pantokrator is another name for Jesus Christ. The typical portrayal of Christ as a wise figure with long hair, a beard, bronzed skin did not come until roughly the 6th century in Eastern Europe, while the West followed this template much later.
Icon
In Bzantine and later Orthodox Christian art, a portrait of a sacred person or an image of a sacred image.
Sutton Hoo
Located north of London in Suffolk, Sutton Hoo is the site of two 6th and 7th century English burial site and an unidentified 7th century East Anglican King. Among the finds, is a ship burial full of ancient artifacts, most notably a superb gold and enamel purse cover with designs and a ceremonial helmet set with a sword, shield, and lyre.
Animal Style
A style in European and Western Asian art in ancient and medieval times based in linear, stylized animal forms. Animal style is often found in metalwork.
Interlace
Patterns formed by intricately interwoven ribbons and bands. Usually associated with animal style works. Bands or portions of other motifs can be looped, braided, and knotted in complex geometric patterns, often to fill a space.
Illuminated
To furnish with illustrations and decorations. Usually done with texts copied by Monks during the early Middle Ages.
Carolingian
The period in medieval European history dominated by the Frankish rulers of the Carolingian dynasty, roughly 750-850 A.D. In art, the term refers especially to the artistic flowering sponsored by Charlemagne (King of the Franks, a West German tribe, and Emperor of Rome from 800-840 A.D.
Ambulatory
In church architecture, a vaulted passageway for walking (ambulating) around the apse. An ambulatory allows visitors to walk around the altar and choir areas without disturbing devotions in progress.
Tapestries
Elaborate textiles meant to be hung from a wall and featured images and motifs produced by various weaving techniques.
Warp
Interlaced thread running parallel to the length of a woven work.
Weft
Interlaced thread running parallel to the width of a woven work.
Rose Window
Large, radiating circular groups of windows that branched out from a center point and increased in overall size to look like a flower projecting from a center point. The rose window is an element in church decoration defined by the Gothic art style.
Embroidery
A technique of needlework in which designs or figures are stitched into a textile ground with colored thread or yarn.
Abbot Suger
A Frankish abbot (head of a monastery) statesmen (governmental official or affluent political figure), a historian, and the influential first patron of Gothic architecture.
Mullion
A vertical structure that divides adjacent windows.
Tracery
A stonework structure that supports the glass in a Gothic window.
Classical Humanism
An approach in study distinguished by a heavy focus on philosophy and way of life, written codes of virtues, ethics, and moral standards, and the introduction of literature and art in society. It is generally the philosophy of a privileged aristocracy.
Rebirth
A ritual in Christianity representing spiritual cleansing and purification.
Secular
Being separate from religion. Secularism in art came hand in hand with rising democratic societies such as Greece and Rome that placed more emphasis on philosophy and society than on the expression of piety. Secular art however, was relatively limited to the aristocratic class who had the time and money to patronize in the arts that deviated away from religion.
Perspective
In art, a system for portraying the visual impression of three-dimensional space and objects in it on a two-dimension surface. Deviating away from art, perspective describes how something portrayed is seen or interpreted by a certain individual or group.
Sfumato
From the Italian word for "smoke", a technique in painting in thin glazes to achieve a hazy, cloudy, atmosphere, often to represent objects or landscape meant to be perceived at distant from the picture plane.
Age of Kings
A historiographical term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites.
Baroque
The period of European history from the 7th through the early 18th century, and the styles of art that flourished during it. Originating in Rome and associated at first with the counter-reformation of the Catholic Church, the dominant style of Baroque art was characterized by dramatic use of light, bold colors, and value contrasts, emotionalism, a tendency to push into the viewer's space and overall theatricality. Pictorial composition often emphasized a diagonal axis, and sculpture, painting, and architecture were often combined to create ornate and impressive settings.
Rococo
A style of art popular in Europe in the first three quarters of the 18th century. Rococo architecture and furnishings emphasized ornate but small-scale decoration, curvilinear forms, and pastel colors. Rococo painting leans toward the use of pastels, has a playful lighthearted, romantic quality and often pictures the aristocracy at leisure.Generally described as "fluffy".
Neoclassical
Literally "new classicism," a Western movement in painting, sculpture, architecture of the late 18th and early 19th centuries that looked to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. Neoclassical artists worked in a variety of individual styles, but in general, like any art labeled classical, Neoclassical art emphasized order, clarity, and restraint.
Artemesia Gentileschi
Early Baroque painter, who was one of the most accomplished painters of her generation. Brought innovation to the female world of arts. She painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible - victims, suicides, warriors - and made a speciality of the Judith story.
Genre
The daily lives of ordinary people, considered as subject matter for art. Also, genre painting, painting that takes daily life for its subject.
Elizabeth Lebrun
A French painter, who recognized as the most prominent female painter of the 18th century. Her style is generally considered Rococo and shows interest in the subject of neoclassical painting.
Islamic Art
Art galvanized by the religion of Islam, an Abrahamic faith that arose during the early 7th Century on the Arabian Peninsula. Islamic Art is denoted by the lack of visual represenMihrabtation by illustrations (due to the notion of modesty in Islam). Innately, Islamic art revolves primarily on architecture and calligraphy (visual art and "fancy" lettering).
Hijra
According to Islam, the Hijra is the year in which Muhammad (the central religious figure in Islam, their main prophet) emigrated from the city of Mecca northward to the city of Medina during the year of 622. This move marks the year 1 in the Islamic calendar, the beginning of a new era.
Mihrab
Any object or form of indication (usually an exedra or apse in the form of a niche) in a Mosque (the Islamic place of worship) that points towards the Qibla.
Qibla
In Islam, the direction that should be faced towards when praying. The Qibla points towards Mecca.
Minaret
In Islamic architecture, a distinct architectural structure shaped like a spire. A minaret may be free standing or may be connected towards a building from the side. Minarets are utilized as a focal point to indicate the location of a Mosque from far distances, and as a call to prayer.
Calligraphy
Visualized writing, written in elaborate and ornate form. In Islamic Art, calligraphy is denoted by the inscription of Quranic verses.
Minkisi
In African Art, Minski are containers. They hold materials that allow a ritual specialist to harness the powers of the dead in the service of the living. The living then consult the Minski to make a request.
Nkondi
The most affluent and widely consulted Minski. These are statues of ferocious hunters that hunt down and punish witches as well as wrongdoers. A nkodi begins its life as a plain carved figure, commissioned from a sculptor like any other. To empower it, the ritual specialist adds packets of materials to its surface, materials linked to the dead and to the dire punishments the nkodi will be asked to inflict upon others.
Nowo
A figure delineated by a masked figure who serves as the guiding spirit of a women's organization called Bondo, which regulates female affairs. Bondo prepares young girls for initiation into adult status and afterward presents them to the community as fully mature women. They are then told adult secrets, have obligations towards the community, and undergo physical ordeals.
Ijele
A personified spirit in mask form that appears at the funeral of an especially important man, welcoming his spirit to the other world and easing his transition from one stage of life to the next.
Kush
An ancient civilization that was located in Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. The Kingdom of Kush, also referred to as the Nubian Kingdom was mostly recognized for their vast opulence, wealth, and possession of gold. The burials of their leaders resembled that of Egyptian leaders, marked by concern for the afterlife (the Kushites often decorated their leaders with copious amounts of gold).
Ashanti
A West African civilization indigenous to Ghana. The Ashanti civilization is mostly noted for its Kente cloth, a type of interwoven fabric of silk and cotton. Kente cloth comes in an array of colors, with each color symbolizing social status, a phase in life, or other social meanings.
Lakshana
The 32 bodily symbols used to denote Bhudda. Some of which are webbed fingers and toes, long eyelashes, and golden skin.
Mudras
A symbolic or ritual gesture marked in Hindu and Bhuddist art. With the exigence of spirituality and zen, mudras are a seal of "authenticity" in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions.
Stupa
A solid Earthern mound faced with stone. Most stupas come paired with a stylized parasol that symbolically stores, shelters, and honors relics buried inside.
Garbha Grita
A structure that is said to house a deity in Indian religions.
Confucianism
A pragmatic approach to life and philosophy. Confucius beliefs were centered with a primary concern of establishing a peaceful society.
Daoism
A Chinese philosophy concerned with bringing human life into harmony with nature. A dao is a "way" or "path".
First Emperor Qin
The first emperor of China. China comes is a derivative of the name, "Qin". Emperor Qin was noted for his democratic approach to job attainment and moving up the social ladder. Qin also served as a primary paragon for the portrayal of immortality via art. The Terra Cotta Army, a tomb filled with thousands of soldiers was Qin's method of bringing in his soldiers with him to his grave instead of killing them all and burying them.
Tumuli
A mound of earth or stone raised over a grave or a graveyard.
Haniwa
Terracotta clay figures which were made for ritual use and buried with the dead as funerary objects during the Kofun period (3rd to 6th century AD) of the history of Japan.
Koan
A fundamental part of the history and lore of Zen Buddhism. It consists of a story, dialogue, question, or statement, the meaning of which cannot be understood by rational thinking but may be accessible through intuition or lateral thinking.
Haboku
The abstraction of landscapes by oversimplification and freedom in brush strokes.
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica, or Middle America, is a region that extends from north of the Valley of Mexico through the western portion of modern Honduras.
Olmec
A civilization that flourished between 1500 and 300 B.C.E. The Olmecs are often referred to as the mother civilization of the region, for it seems that they have institutionalized that mark later civilizations of the region.
Teotihuacan
An enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Apart from the pyramidal structures, Teotihuacan is also known for its large residential complexes, the Avenue of the Dead, and numerous colorful, well-preserved murals. Additionally, Teotihuacan produced a thin orange pottery style that spread through Mesoamerica.
Quetzacoatl
A fundamental in Mesoamerican art. Quetzacoatl is a deity who is portrayed in many artworks as a "snake with petals" or a "feathered serpent".
Popul Vuh
A large collection of texts that offers some mythological and historical accounts of events and ideologies in Mesoamerican culture.
Bloodletting
A principle in Mesoamerican based on the premises that blood was the most divine matter on this moral Earth and that this was the most appropriate offering one could give (coupled with human souls). Therefore, the incising of one to release blood was seen as a way with communicating with the Gods (which was also a core duty and source of power for Mesoamericans).
Machu Picchu
An Incan site located high in the Andex Mountains overlooking a hairpin turn in the Urubamba River thousands of feet below. Builders leveled off the site to create a small plateau and constructed terraces for houses and agriculture. Machu Picchu is a testament to the Ican philosophy of sensitive landscape.
Tumbaga
A gold and copper alloy (gold was used for beauty, and copper for strength as gold was too soft) used in many Incan and Pre-Colombian artifacts as the staple material.
Kivas
Large, round chambers, mostly underground and originally roofed, used for religious or other ceremonial purposes.
Mimbres
Ceramic vessels decorated with geometric designs or stylized figures of either animals or humans. Mimbres can be dated back to 1,000 C.E.
Kachina
Supernatural beings personified by dancers or dolls (similar to the Nowo or Ijele). The kachinas hold the duty of bringing blessings or teaching about the roles in life to children and adolescents.
Sublime
A word used to describe something of decadence, grand connotation, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. "The best of the best".
Romanticism
An art period serving as the rebellion of the "Age of Reason". Romanticism is marked by emotion, intuition, individual experience, and imagination. Romantic art is characterized by awe-inspiring landscapes, picturesque ruins, and dramatic human experiences.
Realism
The first art movement of the 19th century. Realism arose as a reaction to both Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Realists sought to depict the everyday and the ordinary rather than the historic, the heroic, or the exotic. Their concerns were very much rooted in the present.
Theory Of Uncertainty
The notion of which the future as an aggregate is unpredictable, and anything could happen. This led to experimentation amongst artists to explore the next wave or period of art and its respective style.
Abstraction
The principle of no longer creating an artwork that portrays the real world accurately. Abstraction is marked by the distortion of artworks to leave an ambiguous meaning, and make the viewer think.
"Make It New"
The notion that an artist's obligation was to innovate the world of art and mimicry of the mainstream scene was cowardice and therefore frowned upon by some. In essence, "art should be completely new", and this led to a wave of experimentation between artists.
Cubism
Spanish painter Pablo Picasso's experimentation with abstraction that led him to break down the most elaborate and complicated objects into very basic geometric figures of triangular and rectangular form.
Impressionism
Art movement denoted by a quick impression, a blurred perspective (resulting in abstraction), and outdoor painting scenes. Impressionism was unconcerned with details. Impressionist artwork was mostly about the moment and the feel.
Fauvism
French for "wild beasts", Fauvism focuses on color and form, not detail. Sharp colors create a strong emotion.
The colors utilized portray feelings, and place more emphasis on hue. The hue is where the iconography lies.
Dada
Parody art that sought to mock the art world while attempting to become facetious at the same time.
Nihilism
The ideology that we are all meaningless and life in itself is a useless state of being. We will all die and that is it. Nihilism served as the primary notion that galvanized Dada art.
Surrealism
Inspired by the theories of Sigmund Freud, a prominent psychologist who investigated the theory of the subconscious, surrealist art aimed at capturing the mysterious, bizarre, incongruous, and marvelous side of art. In a sense, surrealism was making visualizing the impossible.
De Stijl
Dutch for "the style", De Stijl art was in essence making the most complicated things into rudimentary obsolete works that meant nothing. Imagine magnifying something by a factor of a million and you will get the atmosphere of De Stijl
Conceptual Art
Conceptual art is art created according to the belief that the essence of art resides in a motivating idea, and that any physical realization or recording of this idea is secondary. Conceptual art arose during the 1960's as artists tried to stray away from producing objects that could be bought and sold. Conceptual works are often realized physically in materials that have little or no inherent value, such as a series of photographs or texts that document an activity. They are often ephemeral.
Information Age
The notion of an idea-based economy (no longer industrial or agricultural economy). Technology is central to all aspects of the developed world. This resulted in an increasing focus on creativity, not tradition, technique, craftsmanship (all of those things are OLD!)
Abstract Expression
The spontaneous approach to creating art that required no thought, no planning, only subconscious instinct. All about uncertainty. No chance.
Harlem Renaissance
A new, Democratic aspects of Modern Art helped open the doors for people previously excluded from the elite academic art world. The Harlem Renaissance strove towards building a better society by harnessing creative energy. Public murals were built to benefit the community. Fundamentals of the Harlem Renaissance were the merging and recording three distinct experiences central to African American culture in the United States (Rich heritage of Africa, legacy of slavery, and modern urban life).
Minimalism
Opposite from Abstract Expressionism. Minimalism was not all about the artist and subconscious (free from the individualism of the artist's touch). It was simple, universal, and more about the idea than it is about the object.
Pop Art
Influenced by mass consumerism rampant in the US int he 1960's (and still today). Pop Art was based on ideas of advertising- multiple images, over and over, bright colors, simple, and superficial images. It was quick, fast, and cheap. It was also based on the views of society. Again, the concept of this type of Art was not about the product, but about the idea.
Idea Art
Conceptual art is almost entirely about the idea, not the object.