Art Terminology

ÉCOLE DES BEAUX-ARTS

École des Beaux-Arts is a French term meaning school of fine arts. The original École des Beaux-Arts emerged from the teaching function of the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, established in Paris in 1648. In 1816 the Académie Royale school moved to a separate building and in 1863 was renamed the Ecole …

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EDITION

An edition is a copy or replica of a work of art made from a master. It commonly refers to a series of identical impressions or prints made from the same printing surface, but can also be applied to series of other media such as sculpture, photography and video. Since the late nineteenth century the …

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EDUCATIONAL TURN

A theme that emerged in the mid-1990s, educational turn refers to collaborative or research-based art where the impetus is on the process rather than an object-based artwork. Much of the focus is on finding new methodologies for creating art outside the existing traditional educational and institutional structures. Questions are raised about authorship, exhibition display, audience …

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ELECTRONIC MEDIA

The most common examples of electronic media are video recordings, audio recordings, slide presentations, CD-ROM and online content. The term also incorporates the equipment used to create these recordings or presentations – television, radio, telephone, computer. Much of the theory surrounding the use of electronic media by artists is based on Walter Benjamin’s seminal essay …

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ELIZABETHAN

Elizabethan refers to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from 1558 to 1603 which saw a flowering of the arts in Britain. Although the plays of Shakespeare are perhaps the best known example of Elizabethan artistic production, painting – principally in the form of portraiture – also flourished during this period. The Queen herself took …

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EMBOSSED

An embossed surface is a raised or depressed surface created during printmaking processes. In printmaking any process used to create a raised or depressed surface is referred to as embossing. This is sometimes used to create false plate-marks in lithographs or screenprints.

EMULATION

Emulation is the process of recreating a digital art work to ensure it continues to work as technology changes. As technology becomes more sophisticated, the early video cameras, software programs and computers of the 1970s and 1980s are virtually obsolete. Conservators have had to emulate artworks made on outdated technology – such as an old …

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ENGRAVING

Engraving is a printmaking technique that involves making incisions into a metal plate which retain the ink and form the printed image. The design is manually incised into an engraving plate using a burin, an engraving tool like a very fine chisel with a lozenge-shaped tip. The burin makes incisions into the metal at various …

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ENTROPY

Entropy is the inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society. The concept is articulated by the Second Law of Thermodynamics (the tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve towards a state of inert uniformity). In an art context the term became popular in late 1960s New York when the …

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ENVIRONMENTAL ART

Environmental art is art that addresses social and political issues relating to the natural and urban environment. Environmental art often takes the form of installation. The term came into use in the late 1960s and is often closely related to land art.

ENVIRONMENTS

An alternative term for installation art; environments are mixed-media constructions or assemblages usually designed for a specific place and for a temporary period of time. The term environments was first used by artist Allan Kaprow in 1958 to describe his own large-scale artworks which transformed interior spaces.

EPHEMERAL ART

Ephemeral art is art that only lasts for a short amount of time. There are many forms of ephemeral art, from sculpture to performance, but the term is usually used to describe a work of art that only occurs once, like a happening, and cannot be embodied in any lasting object to be shown in …

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ETCHING

Etching is a printmaking technique that uses chemical action to produce incised lines in a metal printing plate which then hold the applied ink and form the image. The plate, traditionally copper but now usually zinc, is prepared with an acid-resistant ground. Lines are drawn through the ground, exposing the metal. The plate is then …

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EUSTON ROAD SCHOOL

The Euston Road School was a British realist group formed in 1938 of artists who either taught or studied at the School of Painting and Drawing at 316 Euston Road in London. The artists of the Euston Road School reacted against avant-garde styles. Instead they asserted the importance of painting traditional subjects in a realist manner. This attitude was …

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EXHIBITIONS

The collective produced two seminal exhibitions that toured for several years: Women and Work, 1975 and Who’s Holding the Baby?, 1978. Women and Work 1975 In 1975 the Hackney Trades Council invited the Hackney Flashers to produce an exhibition of photographs of women at work in the borough as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations. …

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EXPANDED CINEMA

Expanded cinema is used to describe a film, video, multi-media performance or an immersive environment that pushes the boundaries of cinema and rejects the traditional one-way relationship between the audience and the screen. The term was coined in the mid-1960s by the US filmmaker Stan Van Der Beek, when artists and filmmakers started to challenge …

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EXPERIMENTAL ETHNOGRAPHY

Experimental ethnography is an approach to studying and interpreting the cultures of everyday life that uses the techniques of experimental filmmaking, like montage, found footage and surrealism, to create new ways of seeing the world around us. As opposed to traditional ethnographic film, which tended to divide the world into those ‘out there’ being watched …

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EXPRESSIONISM

Expressionism refers to art in which the image of reality is distorted in order to make it expressive of the artist’s inner feelings or ideas. In expressionist art, colour in particular can be highly intense and non-naturalistic, brushwork is typically free and paint application tends to be generous and highly textured. Expressionist art tends to …

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