Glossary: A


Abstract - A 20th-century style of painting in which non-representational lines, colors, shapes, and forms replace accurate visual depictions of objects, landscapes, and figures. The subject is often stylized, blurred, repeated, or broken down into primary forms to become unrecognizable. Intangible subjects such as thoughts, emotions, and time are often expressed in abstract art forms.

Abstract Expressionism - (1940s - 1960s) was an artistic movement that emerged in New York City and was regarded by many as the golden age of American art. This movement was marked by its use of texture and brush strokes with the act of chance on large canvases. This art conveyed powerful emotions within the act of the painting itself to create the freedom of individual expression.

Academic - Having to do with the affairs or ways of academies or works of art that were done according to established, traditional ways.

Accent - A distinctive feature that accentuates or complements the overall design of a work of art.

Actual Texture - A texture that can be perceived through touch.

Acid - A chemical substance that has a pH of less than 7.0. Acids can react with photographs, paper memorabilia, metals, and scrapbook products, shortening their life span and causing corrosion, discoloration, brittleness, or other problems.

Acrylic - Paint composed of pigments bound by acrylic resin, a type of plastic. Acrylic paints are water-soluble before they dry.

Additive Mixture - Mixing of colored illumination, including blending color in the eye rather than in pigments.

Aerial or Atmosphere Perspective - The change in the appearance of objects as they are viewed at increasing distances through layers of illuminated air.

Aesthetics - The theory of the artistic or the beautiful, about work philosophically pleasing to the emotional nature of humans.

Afterimage - A visual sensation that remains after an external stimulus has ended.

Alla Prima - Alla Prima, the Direct Method or "wet into wet," is an oil painting technique where the work is completed in one session. The term "Alla Prima" is Italian for "at first attempt," which is why it refers to this face-paced technique in which the work is completed before the first layer of the painting has dried up or is still wet. This technique was opposite the traditional oil painting technique or Indirect Method where the artist has to wait for one layer of paint to dry before applying the next one, with the "Alla prima" method, wet painting is applied over still-wet painting. Impressionists loved to use this technique because they could paint outside and complete the painting in one sitting instead of weeks. The primary benefit of this is the speed at which the work can be finished: hours instead of weeks.

Ambient Light - A generalized and relatively directionless illumination that remains when the key light is removed.

Amorphous - Without definite form.

Analogous Colors - Hues adjacent to each other along the outer edge of the color wheel.

Archival - A term used to describe museum-quality material (acid-free) that will protect your art for extended periods. Usually describes a framing procedure where all materials are completely acid-free. Also referred to as conservation framing.

Armature - A frame made of wire or other materials and used to hold up a sculpture.

Art Deco - (1920 - 1930) was a movement involving various modern decorative art styles. This is a kind of panting wherein the subjects are not moving. Usually, food, fruits, flowers, pottery, etc., exhibited the aspects of Cubism, Russian Constructivism, and Italian Futurism to celebrate the rise of commerce, technology, and speed. It was popularly considered an elegant style of relaxed sophistication in architecture and the applied arts.

Art History - Study of the historical and cultural contexts of art.

Art Nouveau - A painting, printmaking, decorative design, and architectural style developed in England in the 1880s. Art Nouveau, primarily an ornamental style, protested against sterile Realism but against the drift toward industrialization, mechanization, and the unnatural artifacts they produced. The style uses sinuous, graceful, cursive lines, interlaced patterns, flowers, plants, insects, and other motifs inspired by nature.

Artifact - An object created by human beings. Most artifacts are produced initially to serve a function. They acquire aesthetic value over time.

Artistic Elements - Visual properties of color, line, shape, form, texture, and value. Sensory properties are immediately visible in a work of art.

Artwork - An object or image resulting from imaginative conception and creation that invokes a feeling of pleasure or another emotional response in the viewer that may convey meaning.

Assemblage - A type of three-dimensional art built by combining and connecting various objects and found materials to create a unified whole.

Aestheticism - Supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than socio-political themes for literature, fine art, music, and other arts, this movement was popular in Europe during the 19th century. The Aesthetics wanted artistic freedom, not just from the rules of the classic art academies but also from the public's expectations. They felt that their art did not need to fulfill any particular purpose or satisfy any edifying, utilitarian, or moral function. They believed that art only required to be beautiful. Their slogan was "l'art pour l'art," which translates to"art for art's sake," from a review by French novelist and critic Théophile Gautier.

Asymmetric Balance - A type of balance in which two sides of an artwork are not alike but carry equal or nearly equal visual weight. Also known as informal balance.

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