Art Terms Glossary
Art terms are used by artists, students, and educators. Educators use the terms to help students better understand the art world and in particular the styles artists work in and the way in which they work. Students often have to memorize these terms for future reference and use on quizzes and tests. Artists often learn the terms so well that they use them every day without pausing to think about what the words mean.
There are many art terms that individuals should be aware of, starting with specific types or styles of art. For example, abstract art refers to a type of work that uses real life objects and presents them in a way that's barely recognizable on the canvas. Cubism is an offshoot of abstract art, where cubic shapes are used together to create a larger image.
There are other terms associated with art that are worth noting. Balance is used by artists working in all mediums, and applies to the way in which elements work together. They can be used to create a symmetrical look or an asymmetrical look. Texture is another important term, and it actually has several meanings in terms of art. Texture applies to other items added to the work to create a raised surface such as sand. It also refers to the way paint is applied to a canvas, which can result in varying layers on the canvas. It also means the way in which paint is added to the canvas to make the painting look exactly like the real life object.
There is also the term trim, which applies to the border or edging of the painting. In some cases, trim also refers to the frame placed around the painting, especially in older pieces where the frame may be as important and significant as the work. Students should also know chop. Chop is a seal or impression made by the artist or printer to identify the work.
There are many websites offering definitions of art terms such as Artists Web. They list the more popular terms associated with the art world. ArtLex was created for students and educators of art and art history. They have an easy to use dictionary that contains descriptions and definitions for hundreds of different terms.
A major resource for art students is ArtCyclopedia, which lists biographies and examples of artists work. They also have a glossary of fine art terms that includes definitions of specific styles as well as definitions of terms. The Glossary of Art Terms also has an in depth listing of hundreds of art terms.
There are also a few glossaries that focus on a specific type of artwork rather than generalized terms. Vintage Ink & Paint has a listing of art terms that apply to film and animation cells created in the past. Watercolor Painting has their own glossary of terms too, which apply to the world of painting and in particular watercolor painting.
The Modern Sculpture website has a glossary of art terms that include general definitions, as well as definitions of specific terms relating to sculpture. Fine Art Touch has a full listing of art terms, including types of materials used in the creation of art.
Once a student learns the basic art terms, they can try their luck at the Art Terms Quiz. Though it was originally intended for kids in high school and elementary school, it's now used by many college students prior to taking a test.
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