Painting terminology

Sarah Egan
Flashcards by Sarah Egan, updated about 1 month ago
Sarah Egan
Created by Sarah Egan about 5 years ago


terms used in painting for revision

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Sfumato Painting technique that gives a soft hazy effect. The word comes from the Latin for smoke. Leonardo DaVinci often used it, e.g. in the Mona Lisa
Gouache Paint like a watercolour, but opaque, so it can be layered and you can't see the paper or canvas underneath.
Impasto Applying paint to a canvas in a very thick layer so that it has a raised texture. Sometimes the paint is mixed directly on the canvas. Examples include work by Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.
Triptych A painting on three hinged panels, often used as altarpiece art. An example is Giotto's Stefaneschi Triptych
Chiaroscuro Technique that uses contrasting light & shadow, for bold effect. E.g Caravaggio. (Italian: chiaro=light, scuro=dark)
Fresco Type of mural (wall painting) where paint is applied directly on wet plaster. (fresco = fresh). Difficult to repair e.g. Ecce Homo
Stippling Applying small dots of paint with the point of a brush. The closer the dots, the darker the shade appears
Tempera A permanent, fast drying paint. Usually egg is used to bind the pigment.
Trompe l'oeil A painting that tricks the eye with an optical illusion, e.g. many of Salvador Dali's paintings
En plein air En plein air means that the artist painted outside (in the fresh air) rather than in a studio. They paint the landscape as they look at it rather than use photographs or memory.
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