Art Terminology

C-PRINT

A C-print, also known as a C-type print or Chromogenic print, is a photographic print made from a colour negative or slide. Introduction to C-print The colour negative or slide is exposed to Chromogenic photographic paper (wet process paper) that contains three emulsion layers, each of which is sensitised to a different primary colour. After …

C-PRINT Read More »

CADAVRE EXQUIS (EXQUISITE CORPSE)

Cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse) is a collaborative drawing approach first used by surrealist artists to create bizarre and intuitive drawings. Cadavre exquis is similar to the old parlour game consequences – in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold to conceal what they have written, and pass it on to the …

CADAVRE EXQUIS (EXQUISITE CORPSE) Read More »

CAMDEN TOWN GROUP

The Camden Town Group were a British post-impressionist group founded by Walter Sickert in London in 1911. Artists associated with the Camden Town Group painted realist scenes of city life and some landscape in a range of post-impressionist styles. The group is named after the seedy district of north London where Walter Sickert had lived …

CAMDEN TOWN GROUP Read More »

CANVAS

Canvas is a strong, woven cloth traditionally used by artists as a support (surface on which to paint). Commonly made of either linen or cotton thread, but also manufactured from man-made materials such as polyester. Shaped canvas A shaped canvas is a canvas that is not the traditional rectangular shape. Although there have been many …

CANVAS Read More »

CAPITALIST REALISM

Capitalist realism was a movement formed in Berlin in Germany in 1963 to challenge the dominating influence of American pop art in the Western world. Capitalist realism is sometimes thought of as German pop art because the artists associated with it were similarly interested in mass media and the banal. Yet unlike pop art, its …

CAPITALIST REALISM Read More »

CARICATURE

A caricature is a painting, or more usually drawing, of a person or thing in which the features and form have been distorted and exaggerated in order to mock or satirise the subject. The term is originally Italian, ‘caricatura’, and caricature appeared in Italian art about 1600 in the work of Annibale Carracci. The word …

CARICATURE Read More »

CARVING

Carving is a sculptural technique that involves using tools to shape a form by cutting or scraping away from a solid material such as stone, wood, ivory or bone.

CASTING

Casting involves making a mould and then pouring a liquid material, such as molten metal, plastic, rubber or fibreglass into the mould. A cast is a form made by this process. Many sculptures are produced by the artist modelling a form (normally in clay, wax or plaster). This is then used to create a mould …

CASTING Read More »

CHALK

Chalk is a soft powdery white or off-white writing or drawing material in crayon form, generally used on a blackboard or other dark surface. Chalk is an inorganic material composed of calcium carbonate. It is naturally occurring, but has also been produced industrially throughout the twentieth century.

CHARCOAL

Charcoal is a black crumbly drawing material made of carbon and often used for sketching and under-drawing for paintings, although can also be used to create more finished drawings. Charcoal is traditionally made from thin peeled willow twigs which are heated without the presence of oxygen. This produces black crumbly sticks, which leave microscopic particles …

CHARCOAL Read More »

CHIAROSCURO

Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which translates as light-dark, and refers to the balance and pattern of light and shade in a painting or drawing. Chiaroscuro is generally only remarked upon when it is a particularly prominent feature of the work, usually when the artist is using extreme contrasts of light and shade.

CÍRCULO Y CUADRADO

Círculo y Cuadrado is an artist group formed in Paris in 1929 which strongly supported new developments in abstract art and in particular promoted mystical tendencies within it.

CLASSICISM

The term classicism is used to describe art that makes reference to ancient Greek or Roman style. The terms classic or classical came into use in the seventeenth century to describe the arts and culture of the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome. The following of the principles of these ancient civilisations in art, architecture …

CLASSICISM Read More »

COBRA

CoBrA was an artist group formed in 1948 by artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam whose painting style was highly expressionist and inspired by the art of children. The name CoBrA is taken from the first letters of the cities (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam) where the group’s founder members lived. However, they welcomed the coincidental …

COBRA Read More »

COLLAGE

Collage describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other ephemera are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface. The term collage derives from the French term papiers collés (or découpage), used to describe techniques of pasting paper cut-outs onto various surfaces. It was …

COLLAGE Read More »

COLLECTIVE

Loosely defined, an art collective is a group of artists working together to achieve a common objective. Artists working within a collective are united by shared ideologies, aesthetics and, or, political beliefs. In the early modern period, there were roughly two forms of art collective. Those who sought to bring about social change by cultural …

COLLECTIVE Read More »

COLOUR FIELD PAINTING

The term colour field painting is applied to the work of abstract painters working in the 1950s and 1960s characterised by large areas of a more or less flat single colour. The term was originally applied to the work from about 1950 of three American abstract expressionist painters Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still. …

COLOUR FIELD PAINTING Read More »

COMIC STRIP ART

Comic strip art is art that imitates the style, commercial printing techniques and subject matter of comic strips. In the 1960s a group of pop artists began to imitate the commercial printing techniques and subject matter of comic strips. The American painter Roy Lichtenstein became notorious for creating paintings inspired by Marvel comic strips and …

COMIC STRIP ART Read More »

COMMUNITY ART

Community art is artistic activity that is based in a community setting, characterised by interaction or dialogue with the community and often involving a professional artist collaborating with people who may not otherwise engage in the arts. The notion of community art evolved out of the idea of cultural democracy. Cultural democracy emerged after the …

COMMUNITY ART Read More »

COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS

Complementary colours are pairs of colours that contrast with each other more than any other colour, and when placed side-by-side make each other look brighter. In colour theory complementary colours appear opposite each other on colour models such as the colour wheel. The colour complement of each primary colour (primaries are red, yellow and blue) …

COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS Read More »

COMPOSITION

Composition is the arrangement of elements within a work of art. Although in a general sense any piece of music or writing, painting or sculpture, can be referred to as a composition, the term usually refers to the arrangement of elements within a work of art. An artist arranges the different elements of an artwork …

COMPOSITION Read More »

CONCEPTUAL ART

Conceptual art is art for which the idea (or concept) behind the work is more important than the finished art object. It emerged as an art movement in the 1960s and the term usually refers to art made from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. Although the term ‘concept art’ had been used in the early …

CONCEPTUAL ART Read More »

CONCEPTUAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Conceptual photography is photography that illustrates an idea. Since the invention of the photographic camera, artists have explored it as a means to stage a false reality, or capture an idea. This can be seen in one of the first staged photographs, Hippolyte Bayard’s Self Portrait of a Drowned Man, 1840. However, the term ‘conceptual …

CONCEPTUAL PHOTOGRAPHY Read More »

CONCRETE ART

Concrete art is abstract art that is entirely free of any basis in observed reality and that has no symbolic meaning. The term was introduced by artist Theo van Doesburg in his 1930 Manifesto of Concrete Art. The manifesto was published in the first and only issue of the magazine Art Concret. He stated that …

CONCRETE ART Read More »

CONSTRUCTING AND ASSEMBLING

In the twentieth century a new way of making sculpture emerged with the cubist constructions of Picasso. These were still life subjects made from scrap (found) materials glued together. Constructed sculpture in various forms became a major stream in modern art, including in movements such as constructivism or techniques like assemblage. Artists have used techniques …

CONSTRUCTING AND ASSEMBLING Read More »

CONSTRUCTIONISM

Constructionism was an extension of constructivism in Britain from about 1950, with artists using naturally occurring proportional systems and rhythms to underpin their geometrical art. Victor Pasmore, Kenneth Martin, Mary Martin and Anthony Hill are the key figures associated with the movement. They were inspired by the theories of the American artist Charles Biederman and …

CONSTRUCTIONISM Read More »

CONSTRUCTIVISM

Constructivism was a particularly austere branch of abstract art founded by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko in Russia around 1915. The constructivists believed art should directly reflect the modern industrial world. Vladimir Tatlin was crucially influenced by Pablo Picasso’s cubist constructions (Construction 1914) which he saw in Picasso’s studio in Paris in 1913. These were …

CONSTRUCTIVISM Read More »

CONTEMPORARY ART

The term contemporary art is loosely used to refer to art of the present day and of the relatively recent past, of an innovatory or avant-garde nature. In relation to contemporary art museums, the date of origin for the term ‘contemporary art’ varies. The Institute of Contemporary Art in London, founded in 1947, champions art …

CONTEMPORARY ART Read More »

CONVERSATION PIECE

A conversation piece is an informal group portrait popular in the eighteenth century, small in scale and showing people – often families, sometimes groups of friends – in domestic interior or garden settings. Sitters are shown interacting with each other or with pets, taking tea or playing games. Conversation pieces were very different from the …

CONVERSATION PIECE Read More »

COURT

Court painters were artists employed by royal courts to paint portraits of the royal family and their courtiers. Until modern times royal courts were a major focus of artistic patronage. Monarchs employed their own artists giving them titles such as ‘King’s painter’, but they are generally referred to as court painters. They could be among …

COURT Read More »

CRAFT

Craft is a form of making which generally produces an object that has a function: such as something you can wear, or eat or drink from. In the past, craft was considered to be a lesser form of art than painting and sculpture because the objects made had a domestic function. They were also creative …

CRAFT Read More »

CREOLISATION

Originally a Caribbean concept, creolisation describes the mixing together of different people and cultures to become one. The term comes from the word creole, used to describe people born in the New World as opposed to those who were African-born slaves. The idea of creolisation gained prominence during the Second World War, when scholars, such …

CREOLISATION Read More »

CRYPT GROUP

The Crypt Group were a splinter group of the St Ives Society of Artists made up of artists who worked in a modern abstract style that was very different from the traditional approach adopted by the majority of its members. From its foundation in 1927 the St Ives Society of Artists was the dominating exhibition …

CRYPT GROUP Read More »

CUBISM

Cubism was a revolutionary new approach to representing reality invented in around 1907–08 by artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. They brought different views of subjects (usually objects or figures) together in the same picture, resulting in paintings that appear fragmented and abstracted. Cubism was one of the most influential styles of the twentieth century. …

CUBISM Read More »

CURATOR

A curator is someone employed by a museum or gallery to manage a collection of artworks or artefacts. Museums and galleries typically employ numbers of curators whose role it is to acquire, care for and develop a collection. They will also arrange displays of collection and loaned works and interpret the collection in order to …

CURATOR Read More »

Visit our gallery

Enter your contact details below and a member of our team will contact you with an available booking slot.