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.
a group of 19th-century French painters, named after the village that was their base. Their landscapes and images of peasant life were painted outdoors (en plein air), directly from nature. Artists include Théodore Rousseau (1812–1867), Charles-François Daubigny (1817–1878) and Narcisse Diaz de la Peña (1807–1896). See also plein air.
the art style of the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century in Europe, where artists sought emotion, movement and variety in their works. Can also refer to art of other times that shares these qualities. Artists include Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610).
low relief. See relief.
German school of art and design founded in 1919 that hoped to bring simplified and elegant forms to mass-produced products.
before the Common Era. Used instead of BC (‘before Christ’).
an Italian word meaning an event that occurs every two years. It has come to mean a festival, held once every two years, that showcases contemporary visual art.
literally ‘Blue Rider’ in German. A highly influential German Expressionist group founded in 1909. Artists include Franz Marc (1880–1916), Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944). See also expressionism.
literally 'The Bridge’ in German. A German Expressionist group founded in 1905. Artists include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938). See also expressionism.
sometimes called printing-in. A darkroom process in photography that gives additional exposure to part of the image to make that area of the print darker.
a general term to describe art during the medieval period (approx 500CE–1500), which preceded the Renaissance.