Art terms explained
In this glossary we’ve explained some common art terms, and plan to add more terms and more detail. Use the Website feedback page to suggest additional terms to be explained.
paintings that depict scenes from everyday life. Can refer in particular to this type of painting in the Netherlands in the 17th century. See also genres.
in photography, a flat sheet of glass coated with an emulsion of either collodion or albumen, used for making negatives or positives.
primarily a term for the style of architecture common in Europe from the 12th to 16th centuries, it is also used for the art of the same period, including the sculpture used to decorate churches and painting, which took on a more naturalistic form than the Romanesque style before it. In the late 14th century, a style of court art known as International Gothic developed in France. The period known as the Gothic Revival dates from the mid 1700s. The term is sometimes used in a more general sense (often with a lowercase g) to mean barbarous or crude or to describe a style that is dark, foreboding, mysterious, desolate, with an element of violence or the supernatural.
a heavy opaque watercolour paint producing a less wet appearance and a more strongly coloured picture than ordinary watercolour.
generally means any kind of public mark, writing or sign. It gained a high profile in New York in the early 1980s and by the middle of the decade had moved from the street to the art world, with artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) and Keith Haring (1958–1990). An English street artist going by the name Banksy is probably the most famous graffiti artist in the world today.