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Glossary and Terms

History >> Art History

Collage - Art made by cutting up materials such as colored paper, string, fabric, and newspaper and then gluing them together to make a picture.

Complementary Colors - These are colors that appear on the opposite sides of the color wheel. When placed side by side, these colors can intensify each other.

Fresco - A painting made on wet plaster of a wall or ceiling. As the plaster and paint dry the wall absorbs the paint.

Impasto - A type of oil painting when the paint is applied in very thick brush strokes.

Kiln - A type of hot oven used to bake clay into a hard permanent finish.

Landscape - A painting of nature and the land such as the ocean, mountains, trees, and sky.

Lithography - A method for making prints using a flat stone or a metal plate.

Medium - The materials used in creating a piece of artwork such as paint, marble, clay, or pastels.

Mural - A large painting generally painted on a wall or ceiling.

Palette - A board where colors of paint are mixed so they are the right color for the painting. Can also refer to range of colors an artist has used in an artwork.

Pastels - Coloring sticks that can be made from oil or chalk.

Patron - Someone who helps an artist to live while they work on their art.

Perspective - A way of painting or drawing that makes some objects appear closer than others.

Pigment - The part of the paint that gives it color.

Plein Air - This is French for "open air". This is the term often used for painting outdoors.

Portrait - A drawing or painting of a person or people.

Primary colors - Red, yellow, and blue. All of the other colors can be made from these three.

Relief - A type of sculpture that looks like it is raised from the background.

Sculpture - A three dimensional piece of art often carved, chiseled, or cast from stone, marble, wood, or bronze.

Self-portrait - A painting or drawing that the artist makes of himself.

Series - A number of artworks that are meant to go together. They are often of the same subject.

Still life - A painting or drawing of inanimate objects often placed in an arrangement. Examples include flowers in a vase, fruit in a bowl, and bottles of wine.

Symmetry - The balance of one side to another. In perfect symmetry, one half is an exact mirror of the other.

Texture - The look and feel of the canvas in painting. This can vary on how the paint is applied. Other materials may be added to change the texture.

Watercolor - A water soluble paint that thins as it is mixed with water.

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History >> Art History

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