AP Art History: Art Terms

Flashcard maker : Darren Farr
action painting
Definition: an abstract painting in which the artist drips or splatters paint onto a surface like a canvas in order to create his or her work
allegory
Definition: art that has symbolic meaning beyond literal interpretation. In literature, a fable is an allegory.
Amphora
Definition: A two-handled jar used for the storage and transport of wine, oil, dried fish, and other commodities
Anamphoric image
Definition: an image must be viewed by a special means, such as a mirror, to be recognized. In this example the scull can only be seen if a mirror is held up to the picture.
animal style
Definition: Animals depicted in a stylized and often complicated pattern, often seen fighting with one another
apotheosis
Definition: a painting where the figures are rising heavenward. Often used in church ceilings.
arabesque
Definition: a flowing, intricate, and symmetrical pattern deriving from floral motifs. Frequently used in Islamic art.
assemblage
Definition: 3-D work in mixed media. Could be wall art or a sculpture. (2) an artwork composed of objects, parts of objective materials originally intended for purposes other than art
bas relief
Definition: a sculptural relief in which forms extend only slightly from the background; often called low relief
benday dots
Definition: (named for Benjamin Day) Printing process using pointillist dots and limited color palette placed close together to achieve subtle shading. This example is by Lichtenstein in the 1960’s.
black figure technique
Definition: In early Greek pottery, the silhouetting of dark figures against a light background of natural, reddish clay, with linear incised details.
bust
Definition: sculpture head, neck, and upper chest
Period: Very common in Roman period
Calligraphy
Definition: decorative handwriting, often used in religious art and manuscripts.
calotype
Definition: early type of photography, grainy.
Cartouche
Definition: The oval-shaped symbol in which the names of kings and queens of Egypt were written on the walls of the temple.
chiaroscuro
Definition: a gradual transition from light to dark in a painting. Forms are not determined by sharp outlines, but by the meeting of lighter and darker areas. The lighter areas are used to emphasize the subject. Very common in 15-17th century European paintings. Rembrandt is a master of this style.
cire perdue
Definition: (Lost wax) process of making sculpture; a clay mold is covered in wax, which when heated produces a void where metal can be poured in.
cloisonne
Definition: enamel work technique; colored bands are separated by bands of metal. Sometimes the bands are flush with the enamel, sometimes the bands protrude.
Contraposto
Definition: A figure pose which shows the human body twisted usually the shoulders and chest face a different direction than hips and legs. Done to add motion to works of art.
encaustic
Definition: An ancient method of painting that uses colored waxes burned into a wooden surface.
Foreshortening
Definition: The use of perspective to represent in art the apparent visual contraction of an object that extends back in space at an angle to the perpendicular plane of sight.
found relief
Definition: The projection of figures or forms from a flat background, as in sculpture, or the apparent projection of such shapes in a painting or drawing.
fresco
Definition: Wall and ceiling painting on fresh (moist) lime plaster. Pigments ground in water and absorbed into plaster.
Grisaille
Definition: painting done in neutral shades of gray to simulate the look of sculpture.
groundline
Definition: in paintings and reliefs, a painted or carved baseline on which figures appear to stand. For example, In Egyptian work the figures and objects are placed on the ground line without reference to their actual spatial relationship.
Haut Relief
Definition: a form of sculpture that is carved from, or attached to, its background. Depth of carving equal to more than half the natural circumference of the object carved
hierarchy of scale
Definition: represents a person’s relative importance by the size of his depiction
hieroglyphics
Definition: Egyptian writing using symbols or pictures as characters
horror vacui
Definition: a type of artwork in which the entire surface is filled with objects, people, designs, and ornaments in a crowded, sometimes congested way
icon
Definition: a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface
iconography
Definition: the images and symbolic representations that are traditionally associated with a person or a subject
iconoclasm
Definition: a challenge to or overturning of traditional beliefs, customs, and values, any movement against the religious use of images
Illuminated Manuscript
Definition: A hand written book decorated with bright colors and precious metals. Monks created the illuminated manuscripts.
in situ
Definition: in the original or natural place or site. Artwork or sculpture that resides in the location where the materials to make that artwork is found.
Krater
Definition: An ancient Greek wide-mouthed bowl for mixing wine and water.
Kylix
Definition: A Greek drinking cup, but very wide and flat with handles..
mandorla
Definition: an almond-shaped nimbus surrounding sacred figures., an almond-shaped nimbus surrounding the figure of christ or other sacred figure
mask head
Definition: An animal head employed in conjunction with interlace or foliage motifs.
Perspective
Definition: the appearance of things relative to one another as determined by their distance from the viewer
Perspective: atmospheric perspective
Definition: the illusion of depth and distance created by using the weather in a landscape and dull, pale colors with hazy details in the background of a painting.
Perspective: Overlapping Perspective
Assumes the object in front is closer than items in back.
Perspective: One-point perspective
Definition: A method of realistic drawing in which the part of an object closest to the viewer is a planar face, and all the lines describing sides perpendicular to that face can be extended back to converge at one point, the vanishing point
Perspective: Two-point perspective
A realistic way of drawing objects in three dimensions using a horizon line, a key edge, and two vanishing points.
Perspective: Multipoint Perspective
Definition: Uses more than 2 vanishing points; different objects have different vanishing points. This is marked if the lines aren’t parallel to each other. This effect gives the viewer a disjointed effect.
Perspective: Twisted Perspective
Definition:a convention of representation in which part of a figure is shown in profile and another part of the same figure is shown frontally (a composite view)
Perspective: Vanishing Point
Definition: A point in space, usually located on the horizon, where parallel edges of an object appear to converge.
Perspective: Vertical Perspective
Items are stacked either diagonally or vertically. Things that are placed higher are portrayed farther away.
red figure technique
Definition: In later Greek pottery, the silhouetting of red figures against a black background, with painted linear details; the reverse of the black-figure technique.
Repousse
Definition: a technique in which a relief is formed on the front by hammering a metal plate from the back.
Secco
Definition: Pigment on dry, rather than wet plaster.
Stele
Definition: an ancient upright stone slab bearing markings
Sunk Relief
Definition: image carved not area around it. Used in Egyptian art.
Stylized
Definition: Simplified or exaggerated visual form that emphasizes particular or contrived design qualities.
tessera(e)
Definition: a small piece of stone, glass,etc. used in making a mosaic.
veristic
Definition: sculptures from the Roman Republic characterized by extreme realism of facial features
Perspective: Scientific Perspective
Definition: An approximate representation on a flat surface of an image as perceived by the eye. Foreshortening and getting smaller the farther away. The use of perspective that made artwork so life-like that viewers wanted to reach out and touch it; before this art was flat.
Maniera Greca
Definition: \”greek style\” of the 13th century that demonstrated both Italian and Byzantine influences. Frontal, lack of modeling (flat forms), extensive use of gold leaf.
engraving
Definition: Printmaking process where a tool (burin) is used to carve into a metal plate. Ink passed into the crevasses make the drawing on the paper.
etching
Definition: printmaking technique in which a metal plate is covered with an acid-resistant medium (wax) and worked with an etching needle to create an image. The plate is then put in acid, exposing the carved areas. Ink is then poured into the exposed areas. Etching gives the finest details.
woodcut
Definition: A printmaking technique where the parts of a wooden block are cut away — only the raised parts left on the surface are shown in the finished print. It generally has the thickest lines and the least detail of the printmaking techniques.

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