Art Terminology

WAR ARTISTS

War artists are artists who are commissioned through an official scheme to record the events of war. In Britain official government-sponsored schemes were established for artists to record both the First and Second World Wars. The Imperial War Museum has continued to commission artists to record the events of war in more recent conflicts. As …

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WASHINGTON COLOR SCHOOL

The Washinton Color School was an art movement founded by Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland that emerged in the late 1950s in Washington DC and flourished in the 1960s, promoting a form of abstract art developed from colour field painting. The Washington Color School was founded in response to the abstract expressionism of the New …

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WATERCOLOUR

Refers both to the medium and works of art made using the medium of watercolour – a water soluble paint with transparent properties. Watercolour paint consists of fine pigment particles suspended in a water-soluble binder (adhesive substance). It is usually used on paper. As watercolour is semi-transparent, the white of the paper gives a natural …

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WATERMARK

An image or mark in a sheet of paper (usually the papermaker’s trademark) visible when viewed by transmitted light. It is created using a pattern of wire sewn into the mould on which the sheet of pulp is dried – the paper which settles above the wires is thinner, and so more translucent. The image …

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WHITE CUBE

Refers to a certain gallery aesthetic characterised by its square or oblong shape, white walls and a light source usually from the ceiling. The aesthetic was introduced in the early twentieth century in response to the increasing abstraction of modern art. With an emphasis on colour and light, artists from groups like De Stijl and …

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WOOD ENGRAVING

A printmaking method distinct from woodcut in that the line is incised into the woodblock, rather than the background being cut away to leave a line in relief. Wood engraving is a relief form of printmaking. It is usually done on the end grain of a block of boxwood, which is very hard, and so …

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WOODCUT

A method of relief printing from a block of wood cut along the grain. The block is carved so that an image stands out in relief. The relief image is then inked and paper placed against its surface before being run through a press. It is possible to make a woodcut without a press (Japanese …

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