This glossary explains some of the techniques, mediums, art movements, and other terms you’ll encounter on our website, along with links to examples in the collection.
Showing 17 of 314 art terms
A practice emerging in the 1960s based on sending and exchanging works of art through the postal service. In the following decades, mail art networks expanded
A public declaration, often political in nature, of a group or individual’s principles, beliefs, and intended courses of action. Manifestos typically materialize
The production of large amounts of standardized products through the use of machine-assembly production methods and equipment.
A drama, such as a play, film, or television program, characterized by exaggerated emotions, stereotypical characters, and interpersonal conflicts. Behavior
A term invented by Dadaist Kurt Schwitters to describe collage and assemblage works he made from scavenged scrap materials. He took the word Merz from
A movement in Japanese architecture of the 1960s reflecting the belief that cities could be designed according to organic paradigms. Metabolist architects
A movement beginning in the early 1920s in Mexico in which the government commissioned artists to make art that would educate the mostly illiterate population
An intaglio printmaking technique that creates soft, velvety gradations of tone. The term comes from the Italian mezzotinto, meaning “half tint.” In this
A primarily American artistic movement of the 1960s, characterized by simple geometric forms devoid of representational content. Relying on industrial
A type of sculpture consisting of balanced, separate parts that move, especially in response to air currents.
A detailed three-dimensional representation, usually built to scale, of another, often larger, object. See also, Architectural Model);
A work of art rendered in only one color.
A unique print, typically painterly in effect, made by applying paint or printing ink to a flat sheet of metal, glass, or plastic. The painted image is
An assembly of images that relate to one another in some way to create a single work or part of a work of art. A montage is more formal than a collage,
A term referring to small-scale, three-dimensional works of art conceived and produced in relatively large editions, and often issued by the same individuals
Munsell Color System
A system developed in Germany around 1910 by painter, professor, and color theorist Albert H. Munsell, who wanted to describe color with the same degree
A large painting applied to a wall or ceiling, especially in a public space.