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Medium

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Definition:

(noun) - In art, "medium" refers to the substance the artist uses to create his or her artwork. For example, the medium Michelangelo used to create David was marble, Calder's stabiles employ painted steel plates and Duchamp's infamous Fountain had porcelain as its medium.

Far more commonly, you'll see notations following the titles of paintings that read along the lines of:

  • "Gouache on paper"
    "Tempera on board"
    "Oil on canvas"
    "Ink on bamboo"
Etc., etc. All of those items listed are media.

 

Heads up: Any other physical material - from used chewing gum to dog hair - is fair game as an artistic medium. Sometimes artists can become extremely creative about this whole media business, and you may run across things in The Art World that defy belief. Though you might be sorely tempted to point, sputter and laugh, well ... first try to gauge the mood of the company you're in. (Just a friendly thought from someone who's made more than her share of faux pas.)

Alternate Spellings: media (plural)

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