Intaglio - The
process of incising a design beneath the surface of a metal or stone. Plates
are inked only in the etched depressions on the plates and then the plate
surface is wiped clean. The ink is then transferred onto the paper through an
etching press. The reverse of this process is known as relief printing.
Planographic - The
process to print impressions from a smooth surface rather than creating incised
or relief areas on the plate. The term was devised to describe lithography.
Relief - All
printing processes in which the non-printing areas of the block or plate are
carved, engraved or etched away. Inks are applied onto the projected surface
and transferred onto the paper. The reverse process is known as intaglio
Aquatint – A
printing technique capable of producing unlimited tonal gradations to re-create
the broad flat tints of ink wash or watercolor drawings. This is achieved by
etching microscopic cracks and pits into the image on a master plate, typically
made of copper or zinc. Spanish artist Goya used this technique.
Printing using an uninked plate to produce the subtle embossed texture of a
white-on-white image, highlighted by the shadow of the relief image on the
uninked paper. This technique is used in many Japanese prints.
Printing technique in which proofs are pulled from a block on which the artwork
or design is built up like a collage, creating relief.
Printing technique of intaglio engraving in which a hard, steel needle incises
lines on a metal plate, creating a burr that yields a characteristically soft
and velvety line in the final print.
Printing technique in which an intaglio image is produced by cutting a metal
plate or box directly with a sharp engraving tool. The incised lines are inked
and printed with heavy pressure.
Printing technique in which a metal plate is first covered with an
acid-resistant material, then worked with an etching needle to create an
intaglio image. The exposed metal is eaten away in an acid bath, creating
depressed lines that are later inked for printing.
Iris or Giclée - A
computerized reproduction technique in which the image and topography are
generated from a digital file and printed by a special ink jet printer, using
ink, acrylic or oil paints. Giclée printing offers one of the highest degree of
accuracy and richness of color available in any reproduction techniques.
Printing technique using a planographic process in which prints are pulled on a
special press from a flat stone or metal surface that has been chemically
sensitized so that ink sticks only to the design areas and is repelled by the
non-image areas. Lithography was invented in 1798 in Germany by Alois
Mezzotint - A
reverse engraving process used on a copper or steel plate to produce
illustrations in relief with effects of light and shadow. The surface of a
master plate is roughened with a tool called a rocker so that if inked, it will
print solid black. The areas to be white or gray in the print are rubbed down
so as not to take ink. It was widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries to
reproduce portraits and other paintings, but became obsolete with the
introduction of photo-engraving.
One-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and
transferring the still-wet painting onto a sheet of paper by hand or with an
etching press. If enough paint remains on the master plate, additional prints
can be made, however, the reprint will have substantial variations from the original
image. Monotype printing is not a multiple-replica process since each print is
Offset Lithography - A
special photo-mechanical technique in which the image to be printed is
transferred to the negative plates and printed onto paper. Offset lithography
is very well adapted to color printing.
(Silk-screen) - A printing technique that makes use of a squeegee to force
ink directly onto a piece of paper or canvas through a stencil creating an
image on a screen of silk or other fine fabric with an impermeable substance.
Serigraphy differs from most other printing in that its color areas are paint
films rather than printing ink stains.
Printing technique in which the printing surface has been carved from a block
of wood. The traditional wood block is seasoned hardwood such as apple, beech
or sycamore. Woodcut is one of the oldest forms of printing dating back to the
Common Art Print
Acid-free Paper or
Canvas - Paper or canvas treated to neutralize its natural acidity in
order to protect fine art and photographic prints from discoloration and
Canvas Transfer - Art
reproduction on canvas which is created by a process such as serigraphy,
photomechanical or giclée printing. Some processes can even recreate the
texture, brush strokes and aged appearance of the original work.
Color-variant Suite - A
set of identical prints in different color schemes.
Impression - Fine
art made by any printing stamping process.
Limited Edition – A
limited number of identical prints numbered in succession and signed and
supervised by the artist. Any additional prints have been destroyed.
One-of-a-kind print conceived and printed by the artist and or under the
Montage (Collage) - An
artwork comprising of portions of various existing images such as from
photographs or prints and arranged so that they join, overlap or blend to
create a new image.
Multiple Originals - A
set of identical fine prints in which the artist personally conceived the
image, created the master plates and executed or supervised the entire printing
process. Example: etching.
Reproductions - A set of identical fine prints reproducing the image of an
original artwork created by a non-printing process. Example: serigraph of an
oil on canvas.
Open Edition - A
series of prints or objects in an art edition that has an unlimited number of
Original Print -
One-of-a-kind print in which the artist personally conceived the image, created
the master plates and executed the entire printing process.
Record of ownership for a work of art, ideally from the time it left the
artist's studio to its present location, thus creating an unbroken ownership
Additional enhancements by the artist on some or all of the final prints within
Additional prints made from a master plate, block, lithograph stone, etc. after
the original edition has been exhausted.
Print Proof Types
are prints authorized by the artist in addition to the limited signed and
numbered edition. The total size of an art edition consists of the signed and
numbered prints plus all outstanding proofs. If a set of proofs consists of
more than one print, numbers are inscribed to indicate the number of the prints
within the total number of the particular type of proof, (e.g., AP 5/20 means
the fifth print in a set of twenty identical prints authorized as artist
proofs). Proofs are generally signed by the artist as validation of the prints.
Artist's Proof (AP) -
Print intended for the artist's personal use. It is common practice to reserve
approximately ten percent of an edition as artist's proofs, although this
figure can be higher. The artist's proof is sometimes referred to by its French
épreuve d'artist (abbreviation E.A.). Artist's proofs can be distinguished by
the abbreviation AP or E.A., commonly on the lower left of the work.
Cancellation Proof -
Final print made once an edition series has been finished to show that the
plate has been marred/mutilated by the artist, and will never be used again to
make more prints of the edition.
Hors d'Commerce Proof
(HC) - Print identical to the edition print intended to be used as
samples to show to dealers and galleries. These proofs may or may not be signed
by the artist.
Printer's Proof (PP) -
Print retained by the printer as a reference. Artists often sign these prints
as a gesture of appreciation.
Trial Proof (TP) -
Pre-cursor to a limited edition series, these initial prints are pulled so that
the artist may examine, refine and perfect the prints to the desired final
state. Trial proofs are generally not signed.
Abbreviations Used in
2nd Ed -
Second edition: prints of the same image as the original edition but altered in
some way (as in change of color, paper or printing process).
2nd st -
Second state: prints of proofs which contain significant changes from the
Artist's Proof (see definition)
(Latin, delineavit) He (she) drew it. Generally inscribed next to the artist's
(French, Hors d'Commerce) Prints from an edition intended to be used as samples
to show to dealers and galleries.
Printer's proof (see definition)
Trial proof (see definition)
Abstract - A
20th century style of painting in which nonrepresentational lines, colors,
shapes, and forms replace accurate visual depiction of objects, landscape, and
figures. The subjects often stylized, blurred, repeated or broken down into
basic forms so that it becomes unrecognizable. Intangible subjects such as
thoughts, emotions, and time are often expressed in abstract art form.
Expressionism - 1940's New York painting movement based on Abstract Art. This
type of painting is often referred to as action painting.
Acrylic - A
fast-drying paint which is easy to remove with mineral spirits; a plastic
substance commonly used as a binder for paints.
Action Painting - Any
painting style calling for vigorous physical activity; specifically, Abstract
Expressionism. Examples include the New York School art movement and the work
of Jackson Pollock.
Art Nouveau - A
painting, printmaking, decorative design, and architectural style developed in
England in the 1880s. Art Nouveau, primarily an ornamental style, was not only
a protest against the sterile Realism, but against the whole drift toward
industrialization and mechanization and the unnatural artifacts they produced. The
style is characterized by the usage of sinuous, graceful, cursive lines,
interlaced patterns, flowers, plants, insects and other motifs inspired by
Bauhaus - A
design school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 in Germany. The Bauhaus
attempted to achieve reconciliation between the aesthetics of design and the
more commercial demands of industrial mass production.
Chiaroscuro - In
drawing, painting, and the graphic arts, chiaroscuro (ke-ära-skooro) concerns
the rendering of forms through a balanced contrast between light and dark
areas. The technique that was introduced during the Renaissance, is effective
in creating an illusion of depth and space around the principal figures in a
composition. Leonardo Da Vinci and Rembrandt were painters who excelled in the
use of this technique.
Classical Style - In
Greek art, the style of the 5th century B.C. Loosely, the term “classical” is
often applied to all the art of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as to any art
based on logical, rational principles and deliberate composition.
Cubism - An
art style developed in 1908 by Picasso and Braque whereby the artist breaks
down the natural forms of the subjects into geometric shapes and creates a new
kind of pictorial space. In contrast to traditional painting styles where the
perspective of subjects is fixed and complete, cubist work can portray the
subject from multiple perspectives.
Dadaism - An
art style founded by Hans Arp in Zurich after WW1 which challenged the
established canons of art, thoughts and morality etc. Disgusted with the war
and society in general, Dadaist expressed their feelings by creating
Expressionism - An
art movement of the early 20th century in which traditional adherence to
realism and proportion was replaced by the artist's emotional connection to the
subject. These paintings are often abstract, the subject matter distorted in
color and form to emphasize and express the intense emotion of the artist.
short-lived painting style in early 20th century France, which featured bold,
clashing, arbitrary colors - colors unrelated to the appearance of forms in the
natural world. Henri Matisse was its best-known practitioner. The word fauve
means “wild beast.”
Fine Art - An
art form created primarily as an aesthetic expression to be enjoyed for its own
sake. The viewer must be prepared to search for the intent of the artist as the
all-important first step toward communication and active participation.
Futurism - Art
movement founded in Italy in 1909 and lasting only a few years. Futurism
concentrated on the dynamic quality of modern technological life, emphasizing
speed and movement.
-Opaque watercolors used for illustrations.
Hard-Edge Painting -A
recent innovation that originated in New York and was adopted by certain contemporary
painters. Forms are depicted with precise, geometric lines and edges.
Harmony - The
unity of all the visual elements of a composition achieved by repetition of the
Hatching - A
technique of modeling, indicating tone and suggesting light and shade in
drawing or tempera painting, using closely set parallel lines.
Loosely, the “story” depicted in a work of art; people, places, events, and
other images in a work, as well as the symbolism and conventions attached to
those images by a particular religion or culture.
Impasto - A
thick, juicy application of paint to canvas or other support; emphasizes
texture, as distinguished from a smooth flat surface.
Impressionism - An
art movement founded in France in the last third of the 19th century. The
artist's vision was intensely centered on light and the ways it transforms the
visible world. This style of painting is characterized by short brush strokes
of bright colors used to recreate visual impressions of the subject and to
capture the light, climate and atmosphere of the subject at a specific moment
term sometimes applied to art of late 16th early 17th century Europe,
characterized by a dramatic use of space and light and a tendency toward
Maquette - In
sculpture, a small model in wax or clay, made as a preliminary sketch, presented
to the client for approval of the proposed work, or for entry in a competition.
The Italian equivalent of the term is bozzetto, meaning small sketch.
Medieval Art - The
art of the Middle Ages ca. 500 A.D. through the 14th century. The art produced
immediately prior to the Renaissance.
Medium - The
material used to create a work of art. Also, a term used for the binder for
paint, such as oil.
Minimalism - A
style of painting and sculpture in the mid 20th century in which the art
elements are rendered with a minimum of lines, shapes, and sometimes color. The
works may look and feel sparse, spare, restricted or empty.
Mixed Media -
Descriptive of art that employs more than one medium – e.g., a work that
combines paint, natural materials (wood, pebbles, bones), and man made items
(glass, plastic, metals) into a single image or piece of art.
Having only one color. Descriptive of work in which one hue - perhaps with
variations of value and intensity - predominates.
Monotype - A
one-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet or slab of glass and
transferring the still-wet painting to a sheet of paper held firmly on the
glass by rubbing the back of the paper with a smooth implement, such as a large
hardwood spoon. The painting may also be done on a polished plate, in which
case it may be either printed by hand or transferred to the paper by running
the plate and paper through an etching press.
Montage - A
picture composed of other existing illustrations, pictures, photographs,
newspaper clippings, etc. that are arranged so they combine to create a new or
original image. A collage.
Mosaic - An
art form in which small pieces of tile, glass, or stone are fitted together and
embedded into a background to create a pattern or image.
Mural - Any
large-scale wall decoration done in painting, fresco, mosaic, or other medium.
Museum - A
building, place or institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study,
exhibition and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical
or artistic value. The word Museum is derived from the Latin muses, meaning
"a source of inspiration," or "to be absorbed in one's
Narrative Painting - A
painting where a story line serves as a dominant feature.
Descriptive of an artwork that closely resembles forms in the natural world.
Synonymous with representational.
Negative Space - The
space in a painting around the objects depicted.
“New” classicism - a style in 19th century Western art that referred back to
the classical styles of Greece and Rome. Neoclassical paintings have sharp
outlines, reserved emotions, deliberate (often mathematical) composition, and
“New” expressionism - a term originally applied to works done primarily by
German and Italian artists, who came to maturity in the post-WWII era; and
later expanded (in the 1980’s) to include certain American artists. Neo-
Expressionist works depict intense emotions and symbolism, sometimes using
unconventional media and intense colors with turbulent compositions and subject
Having no hue; black, white, or gray; sometimes a tannish color achieved by
mixing two complementary colors.
Op Art -
Short for Optical Art, a style popular in the 1960s that was based on optical
principles and optical illusion. Op Art deals in complex color interactions, to
the point where colors and lines seem to vibrate before the eyes
Overlap Effect -
Spatial relationships are achieved by placing one object in front of another.
The object closest to the viewer blocks out the view of any part of any other
object located behind it (or, where the two objects overlap, the one in back is
Descriptive of paintings in which forms are defined principally by color areas,
not by lines or edges. Where the artist's brushstrokes are noticeable. Any
image that looks as though it may have been created with the style or
techniques used by a painter.
“Pep Art” – An
amalgamation of Pop Art and energy painting, pioneered by modern American
artist David Willardson.
Perspective - The
representation of three-dimensional objects on a flat surface so as to produce
the same impression of distance and relative size as that received by the human
eye. In one-point linear perspective, developed during the fifteenth century,
all parallel lines in a given visual field converge at a single vanishing point
on the horizon. In aerial or atmospheric perspective, the relative distance of
objects is indicated by gradations of tone and color and by variations in the
clarity of outlines.
Photorealism - A
painting and drawing style of the mid 20th century in which people, objects,
and scenes are depicted with such naturalism that the paintings resemble
photographs – an almost exact visual duplication of the subject.
Pictoral Space - The
illusory space in a painting or other work of two-dimensional art that seems to
recede backward into depth from the picture plane, giving the illusion of
Picture Plane - An
imaginary flat surface that is assumed to be identical to the surface of a
painting. Forms in a painting meant to be perceived in deep three-dimensional
space are said to be “behind” the picture plane. The picture plane is commonly
associated with the foreground of a painting.
Pointillism - A
branch of French Impressionism in which the principle of optical mixture or
broken color was carried to the extreme of applying color in tiny dots or
small, isolated strokes. Forms are visible in a pointillist painting only from
a distance, when the viewer's eye blends the colors to create visual masses and
outlines. The inventor and chief exponent of pointillism was George Seurat
(1859-1891); the other leading figure was Paul Signac (1863-1935).
Having many colors, as opposed to monochromatic which means only one hue or
Pop Art - A style
of art which seeks its inspiration from commercial art and items of mass
culture (such as comic strips, popular foods and brand name packaging). Pop art
was first developed in New York City in the 1950's and soon became the dominant
avant-garde art form in the United States.
Post Impressionism - A
term applied to the work of several artists - French or living in France - from
about 1885 to 1900. Although they all painted in highly personal styles, the
Post-Impressionists were united in rejecting the relative absence of form
characteristic of Impressionism and stressed more formal qualities and the
significance of subject matter.
Prehistoric Art - Art
forms predating recorded history, such as Old, Middle, and New Stone Ages.
Pre-Columbian - Art
created in the America's by native people that pre-dates the discovery of the
Primary Colors - Any
hue that, in theory, cannot be created by a mixture of any other hues. Varying
combinations of the primary hues can be used to create all the other hues of
the spectrum. In pigment the primaries are red, yellow, and blue.
Print - An
image created from a master wood block, stone, plate, or screen, usually on
paper. Prints are referred to as multiples, because as a rule many identical or
similar impressions are made from the same printing surface, the number of
impressions being called an edition. When an edition is limited to a specified
number of prints, it is a limited edition. A print is considered an original
work of art and today is customarily signed and numbered by the artist.
Primitive Art -
Paintings and drawings of and by peoples and races outside the influence of
accepted Western styles. Also, works by artists with a "naive" style
often due to little, if any, training (or works intentionally made to look this
Realism - Any
art in which the goal is to portray forms in the natural world in a highly
representational manner. Specifically, an art style of the mid 19th century,
which fostered the idea that everyday people and events are worthy subjects for
Renaissance - The
period in Europe from the 14th to the 16th century, characterized by a renewed
interest in Classical art, architecture, literature, and philosophy. The
Renaissance began in Italy and gradually spread to the rest of Europe. In art,
it is most closely associated with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and
Works of art that closely resemble forms in the natural world. Synonymous with
Rococo - A
style of art popular in Europe in the first three quarters of the 18th century,
Rococo architecture and furnishings emphasized ornate but small-scale
decoration, curvilinear forms, and pastel colors. Rococo painting has a
playful, light-hearted romantic quality and often pictures the aristocracy at
Romanesque - A
style of architecture and art dominant in Europe from the 9th to the 12th
century. Romanesque architecture, based on ancient Roman precedents, emphasizes
the round arch and barrel vault.
Romanticism - A
movement in Western art of the 19th century generally assumed to be in
opposition to Neoclassicism. Romantic works are marked by intense colors,
turbulent emotions, complex composition, soft outlines, and sometimes heroic
Fashionable gathering of artists, writers, and intellectuals held in a private
Scale - Size
in relation to some “normal” or constant size. Compare with proportion.
Sculpture - A
three-dimensional form modeled, carved, or assembled.
Secondary Colors - A
hue created by combining two primary colors, as yellow and blue mixed together
yield green. In pigment the secondary colors are orange, green, and violet.
Sfumato - From
the Italian work for “smoke,” a technique of painting in thin glazes to achieve
a hazy, cloudy atmosphere, often to represent objects or landscape meant to be
perceived as distant from the picture plane.
Simultaneous Contrast - The
tendency of complementary colors to seem brighter and more intense when placed
side by side.
Still Life - A
painting or other two-dimensional work in which the subject matter is an
arrangement of objects - fruit, flowers, tableware, pottery, and so forth -
brought together for their pleasing contrasts of shape, color, and texture.
Stippling - A
pattern of closely spaced dots or small marks used to create a sense of
three-dimensionally on a flat surface, especially in drawing and printmaking.
See also hatching, cross-hatching.
Study - A
detailed drawing or painting made of one or more parts of a final composition,
but not the whole work.
Style - A
characteristic, or a number of characteristics that we can identify as
constant, recurring, or coherent. In art, the sum of such characteristics
associated with a particular artist, group, or culture, or with an artist’s
work at a specific time.
Surrealism - A
painting style of the early 20th century that emphasized imagery and visions
from dreams and fantasies, as well as an intuitive, spontaneous method of
recording such imagery, often combining unrelated or unexpected objects in
compositions. The works of Magritte and Dali, and Picasso are included in the
Symbol - An
image or sign that represents something else, because of convention,
association, or resemblance.
Symbolism - An
art style developed in the late 19th century characterized by the incorporation
of symbols and ideas, usually spiritual or mystical in nature, which represent
the inner life of people. Traditional modeled, pictorial depictions are
replaced or contrasted by flat mosaic-like surfaces decoratively embellished
with figures and design elements.
Triptych - A
three-part work of art; especially a painting, meant for placement on an altar,
with three panels that fold together.
Trompe-L’oeil - A
French term meaning "deception of the eye." A painting or other work
of two-dimensional art rendered in such a photographically realistic manner as
to ‘trick’ the viewer into thinking it is three-dimensional reality.
Underpainting - The
traditional stage in oil painting of using a monochrome or dead color as a base
for composition. Also known as laying in.
Value - The
relative lightness or darkness of a hue, or of a neutral varying from white to
Vanishing Point - In
linear perspective, the point on the horizon line where parallel lines appear
Vehicle - The
entire liquid contents of a paint.
Wash - Used
in watercolor painting, brush drawing, and occasionally in oil painting and
sculpture to describe a broad thin layer of diluted pigment, ink, glaze or
patina. Also refers to a drawing made in this technique.
Watercolor - A
painting medium in which the binder is gum arabic. Water is used to thinning,
lightening or mixing.