7-11 years old

abstract

action painting

allover composition

assemblage

autobiographical

impasto

impressionism

self-portrait

collage

composition

cultural identity

globalised

post-impressionism

naïve

Renaissance

silver nitrate patina

monumental

oil paint

pop art

printmaking

industrial revolution

romanticism

found objects

still life

portrait

abstract

Not showing people or things in a realistic way; abstract art can show recognisable pictures or nothing in particular. (The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson.)

action painting

This describes artists who, instead of using brushes to apply paint to a canvas, throw, drip and splash paint onto the surface. This was most famously done by the American artist Jackson Pollock.

allover composition

A term mainly used to describe paintings - especially ones made by abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock - where paint is used equally all over the canvas.

assemblage

A form of art where artists join together an assortment of found or made objects to create an individual work of art.

autobiographical

Autobiographical art is art which tells the viewer something about the artist's life or personal experiences.

impasto

A type of oil painting in which the paint is applied in very thick layers. (The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson.)

Impressionism

An art movement created in the late 19th Century in France by a group of artists who painted scenes from the modern world they lived in, instead of from history or mythology. They mainly painted using loose quick brushstrokes to capture a moment in time.

self-portrait

A picture of yourself - like a selfie, but painted, drawn or sculpted.

collage

A way of making a picture where you cut-out images from magazines or shapes from paper and arrange them to create a new image.

composition

A fancy word for how everything is arranged in a picture.

cultural identity

The group or culture we see ourselves belonging to. This includes what nationality, religion, generation, class, sexuality, etc. that we most associate ourselves with.

globalised

A term used to describe how people and countries across the world are all connected. 

post-impressionism

An art movement from the late 19th century that used colour to show emotions. It often only refers to the art of four artists: Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and Paul Cézanne.

Naïve

A term for an artist who didn’t have any formal training in art. 

Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period of European history which began in about 1400. The word itself means "rebirth" and the period was called this because many artists, writers and philosophers became influenced by ancient Greek and Roman thinking. Leonardo da Vinci is probably the most well-known Renaissance artist.

silver nitrate patina

Used on bronze sculptures to make the surface shiny.

monumental

A term used to describe a sculpture that is very, very big. These are often public works of art, displayed outside, as they can’t fit inside a gallery.

oil paint

A type of paint that is very popular with artists because it dries slowly.

Pop art

An art movement from the 1950s and 60s where artists were inspired by adverts, tv, magazines, supermarkets, celebrities - anything that was popular!

printmaking

A form of art where artists create a design, often using wood or metal, which is then covered in ink or paint and printed onto paper.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a period of history during which manufacturing (making things) moved from small workshops to big factories. It began in the 18th century in Britain, when many people moved from the countryside to cities to find work in factories.

Romanticism

Romanticism is the name for a style of art which was popular in the late 18th and early 19th century in Europe. Romanticism often depicted intense scenes from the natural world, like Turner's, The Fighting Temeraire.

found objects

Artists often use found objects in their art - these can be any items that the artist has found (or sometimes bought) which has some meaning to them, which they then include in their artwork. Salvador Dalí's Lobster Telephone is a great example of this.

still life

A genre or type of painting, which represents objects - often flowers, books or food.

portrait

A painting, sculpture, photograph or drawing, of a person. Traditionally this just includes the head and shoulders.

11-14 years old

abstract

abstraction

venus pudica

classical

composition

conceptual art

contrapposto

installation art

negative space

abstract expressionism

american modernism

drip technique

texture

western art

pop art

symbolism

ben day dots

motif

extractive technique

additive technique

renaissance

propaganda

imperialism

primary colour

colossal

proportion

pedestal

nude

body art

abstract

not showing people or things in a realistic way; abstract art can show recognisable pictures or nothing in particular. (The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson.)

abstraction

A style in art that moved away from painting things realistically.

venus pudica

Venus Pudica is a term used to describe a particular type of classical female nude sculpture, sometimes also known as a "modest venus".

classical

Classical art is the name of art which came from the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome.

composition

Composition is a term used to describe the placement of different elements in a work of art to make up the whole picture.

Conceptual art

Conceptual art, or conceptualism is art in which the idea, or conception, of it holds more importance than the actual artwork itself. Conceptual artworks are often called installations.

contrapposto

The Italian word for "counter" or "opposite" contrapposto is a pose used in sculpture where one leg is bent and one is standing straight - thought to copy the natural standing position.

installation art

an artwork (often a large one) that has been specially designed to change the way people experience a place. (The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson.)

negative space

the empty or open space around an object in a painting or sculpture. (The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson.)

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism was an art movement which emerged in the 1940s in New York. Artists Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock were both abstract expressionist painters. They focused on colour and emotions rather than representing real things.

American Modernism

A cultural movement in America in the early 20th century that moved away from artistic conventions and towards abstraction.

drip technique

A type of action painting which artists began to use in the early 20th century but which came to prominence in the 1950s and 60s, most notably used by American artist Jackson Pollock - he would drip paint onto the canvas, often using sticks, brushes and other objects.

texture

An important visual element in art - texture usually describes how something feels to touch, but in art it can describe how something looks like it might feel.

Western art

The term, Western Art, defines art which comes from European countries, and later from the USA and Canada.

Pop art

Pop Art was a movement in the 1960s which was influenced by popular culture such as celebrities, television and everyday, mass-produced objects. Andy Warhol is the most well-known Pop artist.

symbolism

Symbolism was an art movement which emerged during the late 19th Century. Artists such as Redon and Gauguin were using dreams and mythology as inspiration for their work.

Ben Day dots

A printing and engraving process, named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Henry Day Jr. in which images were made up of tiny dots. The effect was famously used by the Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, who enlarged the dots in his paintings.

motif

A motif is an element of an image which can be repeated in patterns - for example a star or a flower shape.

extractive technique

A technique used in sculpture where the artist takes away from the starting material, such as carving a shape from a piece of wood.

additive technique

A technique used in sculpture where the artist adds to or builds up from the starting material, such as clay.

Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period of European history which began in about 1400. The word itself means "rebirth" and the period was called this because many artists, writers and philosophers became influenced by ancient Greek and Roman thinking. Leonardo da Vinci is probably the most well-known Renaissance artist.

propaganda

Propaganda is a term used for the spreading of false or misleading information in order to influence the general public.

imperialism

Imperialism is the practice of a large or politically powerful country taking control of poorer or weaker countries who might have important resources.

primary colour

Primary colours are colours which cannot be made by mixing other colours together, for example red, yellow and blue.

colossal

Often used to describe large sculpture, colossal simply means gigantic or very large.

proportion

Proportion is a design principle or idea, which relates to how different elements in a composition relate to each other.

pedestal

A pedestal is a solid base which usually holds a sculpture or work of art.

nude

The tem nude refers to a human figure in an art work without any clothing on.

body art

Body Art is a type of art in which the human body is the main focus and often the medium - very closely linked with performance art.

14-18 years old

baroque

cantilever

chiaroscuro

colonisation

conceptual art

concetto

confucianism

contrast

counter-reformation

drypoint

emblematic

engraving

entablature

etching

figura serpentinata

french colonialism

high renaissance

hybridisation

industrial revolution

installation art

japonisme

narrative

pediment

pilaster

polychromatic

psychological lines

pyramidal

ukiyo-e

reductive technique

reclining nude

realism

site-specific installation

mannerism

symbolism

organic architecture

trellis

tenebrism

woodblock

Baroque

A style of art and architecture dominant in predominantly Catholic European countries during the 17th century. It is notable for the dynamic and theatrical treatment of subject and form.

cantilever

A rigid architectural element, such as a beam or a roof, that extends horizontally but is only supported at one end.

chiaroscuro

From Italian, literally meaning ‘light-dark’, the creation of form in drawing and painting through the contrast of light and shade.

colonisation

The dominance and control of a state, or country, over the people and land of another region. Modern colonialism began in the 15th century with advancements in maritime technologies that extended the reach of European countries, including the enhanced possibility of passage across the Atlantic to the Americas. The late 19th century saw vast colonial expansion across Africa as the established Empires of Europe vied for control of its natural resources.

Conceptual art

Art in which the idea is equally, or more significant, than the physical artwork as image or object. Increasingly influential from the late 1960s onwards, it can take many forms including text, photography and film.

concetto

An Italian term often applied to Renaissance and Mannerist art that refers to the underlying idea or concept that gives the painting meaning.

Confucianism

A philosophical and ethical system of beliefs founded in China in the 6th century BCE. Promoting a respect for ancestors and tradition, it shaped political and spiritual life in China for thousands of years.

contrast

The use of markedly different tones or colours often to create visual interest.

Counter-Reformation

The renewal and strengthening of the Catholic Church across Europe during the 16th and 17th Century to counter the spread of the Protestant Reformation. Art played an important role in upholding and reasserting the Catholic faith.

drypoint

Form of engraving in which the design is directly engraved into the metal plate using a sharp needle. The technique is sometimes used to add detail to an etching.

emblematic

Symbolic or representative of a quality, person or thing.

engraving

A form of printmaking in which the design is incised into a metal plate using a pointed tool known as a burin. Ink is applied to the plate, before the surface is wiped with a cloth so that ink is only retained in the incised lines. The plate is passed through a press with a sheet of paper onto which a mirror image of the inked design is transferred.

entablature

etching

Printmaking process in which a design is incised into a metal plate using acid. The plate is first covered with a resistant substance, into which the design is drawn. The plate is submerged in an acid bath resulting in the corrosion of the exposed design. Ink is applied to the cleaned plate and wiped with a cloth so that the ink is only retained in the incised lines. The plate is passed through a press with a sheet of paper onto which a mirror image of the design is transferred.

figura serpentinata

A dynamic representation of the human body in which a figure, or figures, are shown in a twisted or spiralling pose. It is generally associated with the sculpture and painting of the Mannerist period.

French colonialism

French colonialism would result in one of the largest of the European Empires beginning with the colonisation of parts of North America and the West Indies in the 16th century. By the start of the 19th century the majority of these territories had been lost, however this decline was followed by a second colonial expansion which saw France take control of large parts of North and West Africa, as well as Indochina.

High Renaissance

Period covering the four decades leading up to the sacking of Rome in 1527, generally considered to have witnessed the creation of some of the most remarkable works in the history of western art, including those by Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. 

hybridisation

The coming together and merging of different cultures resulting in cultural transformation. It is often recognised as a result of increased globalisation.

Industrial Revolution

The transformation of society in Europe and America beginning in the late 18th century that resulted in a shift away from a predominantly rural agricultural system to one which is urban and industrial. This was initially driven by the development of steam power and was enhanced by later technological discoveries including electricity, steel and the petrol engine.

Installation Art

A large-scale artwork consisting of multiple parts and often constructed from a variety of materials. Installation art tends to be immersive, designed for the viewers to walk through, or around, the work.

Japonisme

A French term coined in the late 19th century to refer to the growing fashion for Japanese art and design in Europe following the opening up of trade in the 1850s. It would play a significant role in the development of modern art, influencing a range of artists associated with Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.

narrative

A story conveyed by a painting or sculpture.

pediment

A triangle gable end positioned above the portico of a Classical temple, sometimes containing sculptural elements.

pilaster

A rectangular column-like architectural feature that protrudes from a wall, serving a decorative rather than structural function.

polychromatic

Many-coloured.

psychological lines

Imaginary lines within an image created in the mind of the viewer. They may be evoked by the gaze of the subject, or the implied movement of an object or figure.

pyramidal

A compositional arrangement based on the form of a pyramid. As an underlying structure, order - by means of the solid base – is balanced with a sense of upward movement as the pyramidal shape diminishes towards the apex.

ukiyo-e

Popular Japanese art form from the 17th to the 19th century. Translated as ‘pictures of the floating world’, this relates to the theatre and brothel districts of Japan’s cities populated with courtesans and actors that appear in some ukiyo-e. Also depicting landscapes and folktales, ukiyo-e were widely available as relatively inexpensive woodblock prints.

reductive technique

The process of making by the removal of material, such as carving.

reclining nude

Or recumbent nude. The depiction of a naked human body in art, often as an expression of ideal beauty and taste.

realism

site-specific installation

An artwork in which the concept and/or structure is intrinsically linked to its location.

Mannerism

Style in art dating from the 16th century characterised by complex and sophisticated compositions.  Although influenced by the paintings of the High Renaissance, artists of this later period tended to reject balance and harmony in favour of asymmetry and exaggerated arrangements of human figures.

symbolism

The use of symbols to represents things or concepts.

organic architecture

A form of architecture designed to fit in with its surroundings and embody the forms and principles of nature. The term was coined by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 20th century.

trellis

tenebrism

A painting that employs chiaroscuro, often dramatically, to create a contrast between light and shadow or the appearance of night.

woodblock

A type of print made by cutting a design in relief into a block of wood. The inked block is pressed onto the paper or cloth producing a mirror image of the design. To create coloured designs multiple blocks are used.

advanced

aerial perspective

allegorical

antiquity

apollonian

avalokiteshvara

avant-garde

baroque

bodhisattva

centering

chiaroscuro

christendom

chryselephantine

classical

colossal

commission

complementary colours

composition

contrapposto

counter-reformation

corinthian

cross-section

dionysian

doric

drum

dutch golden age

early modern period

entablature

entasis

fauvism

florentine renaissance

fluting

flying buttress

foreshortening

frieze

gothic

hellenistic

hemispherical

humanism

haussmannisation

impressionism

lantern

linear perspective

lost-wax technique

metopes

naturalism

neo-platonic

orders

orthogonals

paragon

patronage

pediment

peripteral

pinnacle

plinth

primitivism

realism

recumbent nude

relief

renaissance

rococo

romanticism

single point perspective

spectral palette

still life

tonal value

triglyphs

vanishing point

vanitas

vault

varadamudrā

venus pudica

aerial perspective

The formation of pictorial space through the modulation of colour and clarity. Also known as atmospheric perspective, by rendering distant forms in less detail and with little tonal contrast, the illusion of depth is created.

allegorical

The depiction of an arrangement of symbolic figures or objects in order to convey a moral, political or philosophical meaning or comment.

Antiquity

Relating to the Mediterranean regions dominated by Greek and Roman civilisations, and pre-dating the 5th Century AD.

Apollonian

Displaying qualities of reason, harmony and restraint, associated with the Greek god of knowledge, beauty and healing, Apollo. The term was used by the German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche as the antithesis of Dionysian.

Avalokiteshvara

A powerful Buddhist deity known as a bodhisattva, who personifies compassion. 

avant-garde

Baroque

A style of art and architecture dominant in predominantly Catholic European countries during the 17th century. It is notable for the dynamic and theatrical treatment of subject and form.

bodhisattva

A Buddhist deity who has reached the peak of enlightenment, but has put off becoming a Buddha and entering paradise to help others achieve enlightenment.  

centering

A temporary wooden structure used to hold the materials in place when constructing an arch.

chiaroscuro

From Italian, literally meaning ‘light-dark’, the creation of form in drawing and painting through the contrast of light and shade.

Christendom

Countries and regions where Christianity was the dominant religion and was central to shaping the wider culture. In European history it is generally applied to the Medieval and Early Modern periods.

chryselephantine

Sculpture made from gold and ivory.

Classical

Dating from ancient Greece and Rome, or later examples of art and architecture that conform to the style and examples of these earlier periods. Characterised by order, balance and clarity, the Classical model has remained a major source of reference throughout the history of western art.

colossal

An extremely large-scale statue.

commission

The act of appointing and paying an artist to produce a particular artwork. 

complementary colours

The placement of a primary colour (red, yellow, blue) next to a secondary colour composed of the other two primary colours, which results in it appearing stronger or brighter.

composition

The arrangement and combination of elements within a painting or sculpture that creates the overall appearance of the artwork. 

contrapposto

A representation of the human form that positions the body in such a way that the upper and lower parts of the torso are orientated to face slightly opposing directions to create a sense of asymmetry and balance. Its development in the statues of ancient Greece was a major contribution to a greater naturalism in art.

Counter-Reformation

The renewal and strengthening of the Catholic Church across Europe during the 16th and 17th Century to counter the spread of the Protestant Reformation. Art played an important role in upholding and reasserting the Catholic faith.

Corinthian

One of the Classical Orders of architecture characterised by volute and acanthus leaf adorned capitals that crown the fluted columns of a building.

cross-section

The view of an object seen as if it had been cut through.

Dionysian

Displaying qualities of passion, irrationality and debauchery, associated with the Greek god of wine, fertility and religious ecstasy, Dionysus. The term was used by the German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche as the antithesis of Apollonian.

Doric

One of the Classical Orders of architecture, characterised by fluted columns, often without a base, and a simple, geometric capital. One of the finest examples of the Doric order is the Parthenon in Athens.

drum

Cylindrical horizontal section of a column.

Dutch Golden Age

Period of great wealth, power and prosperity following the formation of the Dutch Republic in 1588. Lasting for almost one hundred years, the era would see a great expansion of secular art linked to the patronage of the growing mercantile class.

Early Modern period

The era between the end of the Medieval period and the arrival of the industrial and political revolutions of the late 18th century.

entablature

The upper horizontal section of a classical building that rests on the capitals of columns. It consists of the architrave, frieze and cornice.

entasis

The slight convex curvature applied to the shape of a column. It serves an aesthetic purpose by countering the optical illusion of a concave curve which is seen when viewing a perfectly straight column.

Fauvism

Group of early 20th century French modern painters, including Henri Matisse, Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, known for their non-naturalist use of bright colours and painterly approach to composition. The term Fauves – meaning ‘wild beasts’ – was coined by the critic Louis Vauxcelles on seeing their work exhibited together in Paris in 1905.

Florentine Renaissance

Also known as the Early Renaissance, the Florentine Renaissance refers to the origins of the Renaissance in the republican city state of Florence. The wealth and independence of the city saw wide patronage of the arts.

fluting

A recessed vertical grove carved into the shaft of a classical column.

flying buttress

A wall-supporting structure prevalent in Gothic architecture. In contrast to a solid buttress, a Flying Buttress incorporates a series of half arches which provide greater vertical support, as well as adding a decorative potential.

foreshortening

The use of perspective to create the illusion that an object or person, when positioned at an angle to the picture plane or disappearing into the distance, is longer than it has actually been depicted.

frieze

The central section of the entablature. It is often carved in relief.

Gothic

Relating to the medieval period, particularly in architecture, typified by tall pointed arches, flying buttresses and elaborative decoration. It was seen as a derogatory categorisation during the Renaissance, equated with barbarianism. By the mid 18th century however there was a revival of interest that would continue to influence contemporary architecture and design up until the early 20th century.

Hellenistic

Period in the ancient Greek world dating from 323 BCE, with the death of Alexander the Great, to the emergence of the Roman Empire in 31 BCE. In architecture there was an increased popularity in the Corinthian order which had first appeared during the preceding Classical period.

hemispherical

Humanism

A system of beliefs and philosophical thought centred on the importance and influence of humans and their actions, rather than that of divine or supernatural forces.

Haussmannisation

The radical transformation and modernisation of Paris in the mid 19th century by Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann. Commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III, the project lasted almost 20 years and saw large areas of the medieval city levelled and replaced with wide tree-lined avenues, grand squares and parks. The new open layout of the city was in part designed to enable the quelling of any future public disorder in a city that had experienced notable uprisings.

Impressionism

Influential art movement originating in France in the 1870s. Epitomised by the work of Claude Monet, artists associated with the group aimed to capture in paint the transient quality of light and its effects on the changing appearance of colour and form in nature. 

lantern

An open structure on the top of a dome designed to let in light or let out smoke.

linear perspective

Pictorial system that creates the illusion of depth through the convergence of parallel lines at a single vanishing point at the centre of the horizon. First documented by Leon Battista Alberti in his 1435 treatise De Pictura (On Painting), the system based on mathematical principles would become central to the development of Renaissance art.

lost-wax technique

A method of casting a sculpture, usually in bronze, by pouring molten metal over a wax mould. 

metopes

A sometimes-decorated block of stone that is placed alternatively alongside the triglyphs in a Doric frieze creating a sense of order and rhythm.

naturalism

An accurate rather than stylised or idealised, representation of nature in art.

Neo-Platonic

Far reaching Philosophy indebted to the ancient writings of Plato that suggests the world we experience is an inferior version of an ideal reality. Originating with the theories of Plotinus in the 3rd century AD, Neo-Platonism argues that the achievement of beauty in art has the potential to replicate this ideal.

orders

The classical orders, or styles of architecture recognisable by their differing forms of columns and entablature. There are five main orders, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite.

orthogonals

Lines that are perpendicular, creating a right angle where they intersect.

paragon

patronage

The provision of financial support to an artist by a group or individual. This can be by means of commissioning a single artwork or assisting them over longer periods throughout their career.

pediment

A triangle gable end positioned above the portico of a Classical temple, sometimes containing sculptural elements.

peripteral

A Classical temple that is surrounded by a row of columns on all four sides.

pinnacle

A pointed vertical architectural decorative feature often located high up on a building. Commonly used in Gothic architecture.

plinth

A base that holds a sculpture. 

Primitivism

Perceived as providing more authentic or genuine forms of expression, modern artists looked for inspiration among the art and artefacts of non-western tribal cultures, such as those of sub-Saharan Africa, South America and the Pacific islands. European folk art, and the art of children and psychiatric patients were also valued for its naivety and unsophistication.

Realism

An art form that depicts the reality of life, as opposed to idealism and romanticism. It specifically applies to the 19th-century French movement associated with Gustave Courbet, which took as its subject matter the daily lives of ordinary people depicted in a detailed, sombre manner. 

recumbent nude

Or reclining nude. The depiction of a naked human body in art, often as an expression of ideal beauty and taste.

relief

A three-dimensional artwork or design that projects from a flat surface.

Renaissance

Inspired by the Classical past, the Renaissance – or rebirth ­– was shaped by a growing awareness of humankind’s pivotal position in the world. In the arts this led to a prioritising of human anatomy and the development of perspective. The Renaissance occurred from the late 14th century to the end of the 16th century.

Rococo

A period of opulent frivolity in the arts associated with the 18th century reign of the French king Louis XV. In the decorative arts it is recognisable for its use of natural motifs, scrolls, serpentine lines and asymmetry. Rococo painting often prioritised themes of love and playfulness depicted in soft pastel colours and a gentle atmospheric light.

Romanticism

Form of art that favours subjectivism, and the expression, or evocation of emotions and feelings. It is usually viewed as a rejection of the ordered balance and rationality of Classicism.

single point perspective

The illusion of three-dimensional space or volume on a two-dimensional surface suggested through the depiction of objects which decrease in size towards a single imaginary vanishing point. It is a form of perspective that assumes that the scene is viewed from a fixed, single point.

spectral palette

The range of colours used by an artist that avoids the use of black. Light and shadow is created through the modulation of colour rather than ranges of grey.

still life

A genre of painting that depicts an arrangement of inanimate manmade, or natural, objects or things. Throughout the history of art items have been painted for their symbolic meaning, although modern artists have tended to use it as a rather neutral subject in order to forefront the formal qualities of their work.

tonal value

The range of light and dark in a painting, drawing or print. White being the lightest value, and black the darkest.

triglyphs

A block of stone carved with three vertical bars that sits alongside the metopes in a Doric frieze. They decoratively represent the ends of wooden beams that would have been present in earlier wooden structures.

vanishing point

In painting or drawing, the imaginary horizon point where the receding lines of perspective converge.

vanitas

An allegorical still life, which might include depictions of skulls, hour glasses, flowers or food, that acts as a reminder of the transience of life and human mortality.

vault

A ceiling or roof structure consisting of an arrangement of arches.

varadamudrā

A gesture common in Buddhist iconography, where the right hand is positioned down the side, with the palm uppermost and fingers outstretched. It symbolises the offering of help. 

Venus Pudica