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Art History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
How to Define Art
There are many things that contribute to the definition of art. Learn more about the best way to answer this complex question.
10 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Last...
Facts about Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'. One of the world's most famous religious paintings in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.
What Is Form in Art?
Form is one of the seven elements of art. At its most basic, a form is a three-dimensional geometrical figure as opposed to a shape, which is two-dimensional, or flat.
What Is Abstract Art?
Abstract art can be a painting or sculpture (including assemblage) that does not depict a person, place or thing in the natural world. Even in an extremely distorted or exaggerated way
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About...
Impressionism is about the temporary, the here and now, and not about the timeless, the forever. Its avant-garde technique features short, painterly brushstrokes of bright colors that blend when the eyes view the painting at a distance.
What Does Medium Mean in Art?
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.
Explore the World of Pop Art!
Pop Art was a post WWII reaction to American consumerism. By bridging high and low culture they reflected America's own growing dependence and fascination with mass production and images of celebrities.
What Dada Was and Why It Matters
Dadaism, or Dada Art, was not a movement, it's artists not artists and it's art not art. Why does this non-art movement still matter in the art world?
7 Surprising Facts About the Sistine Chapel...
Discover the answers to some of the most common questions about Michelangelo's The Sistine Chapel ceiling, the most famous ceiling frescoes painting in the world.
What Should You Know About the Elements of Art?
Knowing the 7 Elements of Art (line, shape, form, space, texture, value and color) allows you to analyze, appreciate, write and talk about art, and even create it.
Art History 101: What is Cubism?
Cubism art rebelled against Renaissance one-point perspective and illusionism through an emphasis on geometricity, simultaneity, and passage. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque pioneered Cubism's ideas and style.
How to Really Understand Surrealist Art
Surrealist artists feasted on the unconscious, the exploration of the dream as a valid form of reality, and a willingness to depict images of perverse sexuality, scatology, decay and violence.
How to Define Contrast in the Art World
Contrast art refers to the arrangement of opposite elements (light vs. dark colors, rough vs. smooth textures, large vs. small shapes, etc.) in a piece of art.
What Exactly Is Contemporary Art?
Great question. Contemporary Art just means art that has been and continues to be created during our lifetimes. In other words, contemporary to us. Learn more..
What Is Balance in Art?
Balance in art refers to the ways in which the elements (lines, shapes, colors, textures, etc.) of a piece are arranged. A basic principle of art, specifically of design.
Romanticism - Art History 101 Basics
Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling. - Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
What’s the Difference Between the...
The Northern Renaissance took place across Europe, but outside of Italy, in countries including France, the Netherlands and Germany where most innovative art was created.
The Easiest Way to Understand Representational...
What is Representational Art? The word 'representational', when used to describe art, means that the work depicts something easily recognized by most people.
The 3 Most Important Functions of Art
Let's explore the four main functions of art including its contextual, personal, social and physical attributes.
What Is Texture in Art?
The definition of texture as an element of art, refers to the way a three-dimensional work actually feels when touched, or the visual 'feel' of a two-dimensional piece
What Is Value in Art?
An element of art, Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Value becomes critical in a work which has no colors other than black, white, and a gray scale.
What Does Space Mean in Art?
An element of art, Space refers to distances or areas around, between or within components of a piece.
French Impressionist Painters
Famous French artists and painters and who were the trend setters of the notable Impressionism Art Movement during the mid-to-late 19th century.
The Basics of Post-Impressionism Art
Post Impressionist artists' work comes directly out of the Impressionism or was inspired by the Impressionist movement, but pushes one aspect of the Impressionism to an extreme.
How to Identify Synthetic Cubism
Synthetic Cubism was invented by Picasso and Braque as they simplified a specific repertory of forms derived from their Analytic Cubism period of 1909/10 to 1912. Synthetic Cubism also incorporated collage and papier colle in Picasso and Braque's work.
How to Write an Art History Paper
Advice on how to write an art history paper, written by an art history professor, offering dos and don'ts that will help you complete the assignment on time. Appropriate for high school and college students.
What Is Artistic Unity?
A principle of art, Unity occurs when all of the elements of a piece combine to make a balanced, harmonious, complete whole.
What Is the Definition of Shape in Art?
Shapes in art are limited to two dimensions: length and width. Geometric shapes have the clear edges. Organic shapes have natural, less well-defined edges.
How Is Color Defined in Art?
When artists and art historians define color in art, they are referring to the element that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye.
What Is Nonobjective Art?
A work of art that does not represent or depict a person, place or thing in the natural world. Also called Abstract art or nonrepresentational art.
What Was Analytical Cubism?
Analytic Cubism was developed by Picasso and Braque to refer to real objects in terms of identifiable details that become, through repetitive use, signs that indicate the idea of the object, just like we find in cartoon characters.
What Was the Renaissance, Really?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >We all know what
What You Should Know About the Visual Arts
What is the definition of Visual Art? The visual arts are those creations we can look at, such as a drawing or a painting, and more.
Is Mary Magdalene in "The Last Supper"?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Question: Is that
What You Should Know About Op Art
Take a closer look at Op Art, a 1960s style of art that utilized illusion, contrast and a precise, mathematically-based composition to trick the eye.
What is Emphasis in Art?
Emphasis is a principle of art which occurs any time an element of a piece is given dominance by the artist. Frequently, emphasis is achieved by means of contrast.
The Bloch-Bauer Klimts
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >An Austrian arbitration
Explore the High Renaissance in Italy
The Big Three Names of the High Renaissance were: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio). These are the very first artists that come to mind when ever the term. Page 2.
What Makes Abstract Expressionism?
Abstract Expressionism or. Art History.
What Was Renaissance Art Like in Venice?
During the Renaissance Venice gave birth to a distinct school of painting. There was just something about the light there that begged to be captured on canvas.
The Entire History of Art in 5 Steps
The entirety of art history broken up chronologically into five chunks, beginning with Ancient Art (circa 30,000 B.C. to 400 A.D.) through the present.
Mona Lisa Coloring Page
A line drawing of Leonardo's Mona Lisa for your coloring page fun. You are free to save and print this image for personal, educational and non-commercial purposes.
How Mannerism Signaled the End for the Italian...
Mannerism refers to the art of the Late Italian Renaissance, before the Baroque period began, when artists used clashing colors and many bizarre themes in their work.
Fast Facts About the Great Pablo Picasso
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, was a Spanish painter best known for (co-)inventing Cubism, inspired and invented nearly every art movement in the twentieth century.
tone
Tone is a quality of color. Art History.
What Art Was Like During the Paleolithic Age
Roughly 40,000 years ago marked the start of the Paleolithic Art period, which saw the the rise of Homo sapiens and their ability to create tools, weapons and ultimately, art.
Sleeping Gypsy Coloring Page
A line drawing of Henri Rousseau's Sleeping Gypsy for your coloring page fun. You are free to save and print this image for personal, educational and non-commercial purposes. Page 2.
What Is the Golden Ratio?
Golden Ratio is a term (with an astounding number of aliases) used to describe aesthetically pleasing proportioning within a piece.
What Is Rhythm in Art?
Rhythm is a principle of art that's difficult to summarize in words. Assuming that you've picked up on a rhythm in music before, take what you heard with your ears and try to translate that to something you'd see with your eyes. Rhythm, in art, is a visual beat.
A List of Artists Who Committed Suicide -...
An alphabetical listing of famous departed artists who chose to leave this world by their own hands. Attempted suicides and gradual suicides by substance abuse have not been included.
Walking Man 1, 1960
Art History. Page 4.
American Gothic Coloring Page
A line drawing of Grant Wood's American Gothic for your coloring page fun. You are free to save and print this image for personal, educational and non-commercial purposes. Page 5.
Sunflowers Coloring Page
A line drawing of Vincent van Gogh's Vase with 12 Sunflowers for your coloring page fun. You are free to save and print this image for personal, educational and non-commercial purposes. Page 4.
The Story Behind “Christina’s...
Andrew Wyeth painted this in 1948. His father, N. C. Wyeth, had been killed at a railway crossing just three years earlier, and Andrew's work underwent a significant change after the loss. His palette became muted, his landscapes barren and his figures--if present--seemed plaintive. Christina's World epitomizes these traits.
What Is a Bas Relief?
A French term from the Italian basso-relievo (low relief), bas relief is a sculpture technique in which figures and/or other design elements are just barely more prominent than the (overall flat) background.
La Bella Principessa by Leonardo da Vinci
This little portrait made big news on October 13, 2009 when Leonardo experts confidently attributed it to the Florentine Master based on forensic evidence.
Learn About the Life of Michelangelo
Michelangelo's output was, quite simply, stunning, in quality, quantity and scale. His most famous statues include the 18-foot David (1501-1504) and the Pietà (1499).
How To Photograph Artwork and Paintings -...
Photographing artwork is not as easy as it sounds. Learn some quick tips on how to photograph artwork, paintings, sculptures, and drawings.
How to Understand Performance Art
The term. Art History.
15 Ideas for Art History Papers
A list of art history paper topics with links to writing samples published on About.com Art History.
Test Your Knowledge- A Quiz on the French...
They were an interesting bunch, the French Impressionists, and drew many non-French Impressionists into their orbit. They changed Western art - and the way we view it - forever. I thought it'd be fun to spotlight seven gentlemen and one lady, in order that you could test your knowledge of the group. If you get all 20 questions correct, kudos! Page 2.
Get to Know Andy Warhol
A biographical profile of Andy Warhol (1928-1987), American painter, filmmaker and Pop icon.
Learn About Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci, often referred to by just his first name, was the epitome of the term
Fauvism - Art History 101 Basics
Some art historians have questioned if Fauvism was indeed a movement, but there is no denying that the brief heyday of the Wild Beasts had a huge impact on Modern Art.
Art History Definition: Collage
Collage is an art form that includes glued paper, objects and other foreign matter. Picasso and Braque invented the art form during the the Synthetic Period (1912 and on).
Art History Quiz: Know Your French Impressionists
Art History Quiz: Know Your French Impressionists. 8 Artists, 20 Questions.
What's a Line in Art?
A line is a basic element of art, referring to a continuous mark, made on a surface, by a moving point. A line is long relative to its width. It can define a space, create an outline or pattern, imply movement or texture and allude to mass or volume. Absolutely essential in creating art, the line.
Artists in 60 Seconds: Shepard Fairey
Frank Shepard Fairey (born February 15, 1970), an American contemporary street artist, first began to appear in the news for wheat pasting, sticker tagging, and the numerous accompanying arrests that now comprise his official criminal record.
What Is the Sfumato Painting Technique?
Sfumato means that there are no harsh outlines (as in a coloring book) present; areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes, which makes for a rather hazy, albeit more realistic, depiction of light and color.
The Scream by Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch painted 'The Scream' in 1895 but also created 3 other colored versions, as well as a black and white lithographic stone.
Art History 101 - A Brisk Walk Through the Eras
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Put on your sensible
Artists Birthdays by Month - April
Artists' Birthdays by Month - April     1       2       3       4   Maurice de Vlaminck (1876)     5
Leonardo da Vinci - The Paintings
Leonardo da Vinci's artwork, shown chronologically, as a painter. From his earliest 1470s efforts as an apprentice in Verrocchio's workshop, to his final painted piece, St. John the Baptist (1513-16).
Was Leonardo da Vinci Gay?
Discussion on Leonardo da Vinci's sexual orientation.
Do-It-Yourself Marilyn Monroe Coloring Page
There is no wrong way to go when choosing your own Marilyn color scheme. In fact, Andy Warhol revisited his 'Marilyn Series' several times and made some rather curious choices of his own (think: pumpkin, black-brown and lime green). One is left supposing that your Do-It-Yourself Marilyn could undergo the star treatment with some glitter, sequins and, possibly, a few glued-on feathers. Page 6.
How Do You Define Modern Art?
Learn more about what the art world means by Modern Art, which includes works from the nineteenth century's Impressionists to the end of the 1960s.
Appropriation / Appropriation Art
Appropriation art takes images from well-known contexts and puts these images into other contexts, usually paintings, sculpture, collages, combines or installations. Recontextualizing the image adds meaning and associations to the original image (or real thing) as well as completes the meaning of the Appropriation artist's own work.
What Is a Pattern in Art?
A principle of art - and probably the universe itself - pattern means the repetition of an element (or elements) in a work. An artist achieves a pattern through the use of colors (children playing with Legos® know this instinctively), lines (think: Op Art) or shapes (as with mosaics, tessellations, etc.).
What to Know About Greek Art
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >As happened centuries
The Sistine Madonna by Raphael
She may be 500 years old, but the Sistine Madonna doesn't look a day over 18. How does she do it?
Starry Night Coloring Page
A line drawing of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night for your coloring page fun. You are free to save and print this image for personal, educational and non-commercial purposes. Page 3.
Color Field Painting: Art History 101 Basics
Color Field Painting is a branch of Abstract Expressionism that concentrates on colorful shapes and expanses of color which emphasize the literal flatness of the canvas or paper.
Self-Portrait with Necklace, 1933
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954). Self-Portrait with Necklace, 1933. Oil on metal. 13 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (34.3 x 29.2 cm). The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Modern and Contemporary Mexican Art: Courtesy The Vergel Foundation; Muros; Costco / Comercial Mexicana. © 2007 Banco de México, Trustee of the Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust. Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D.F. Page 4.
Triple Self-Portrait, 1960
Art History. Page 18.
Neolithic Art - Art History 101 Basics
After the rather ho-hum art of the Mesolithic era, art in the Neolithic (literally:
Why Should I Study Art History?
Students may take Art History because it is required, or it seems like a good choice for AP credit in High School, or even because it is the only elective that fits into that semester's class schedule. When one of the latter three scenarios apply, questions invariably arise: how come I took this class? What's in it for me? Why should I study art history? Here are five compelling reasons.
Outline of Art History - Modern Art - Visual...
Outline of Art History - Modern Art Visual Arts Movements - 1880-1970 After Impressionism proved it only
assemblage
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The Birth of Day III, 1964
Art History. Page 5.
The First Impressionist Exhibition - 1874
The first Impressionist exhibition, when the group was given this name, took place in 1874 and included 30 artists and 165 works of art. The idea for this independent exhibition was radical for this time in French art history and its opening day changed the course of art history forever.
Artists in 60 Seconds Index - Visual Artist...
In this large index, famous (and not-so-famous) names from the world of art are arranged alphabetically by last name. Also known as Artists in 60 Seconds, each profile contains pertinent facts about an individual name and links to further resources whenever applicable.
Florence's Importance to the Early Renaissance
Learn five key reasons Florence, Italy became center stage for Early Italian Renaissance art and the place where many artists launched their careers during in the 15th-century.
ignudi
The Ignudo is the phrase coined by Michelangelo to describe the twenty seated male nudes he incorporated into the Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes.
Art History Definition: Action Painting
Abstract artworks that emphasize the process of or gesture in the creative act through various techniques of application, including dripping, smearing and flinging paint.
What Is Proportion in Art?
Proportion is a principle of art that describes the size, location or amount of one element to another (or to the whole) in a work. It has a great deal to do with the overall hamrony of an individual piece.
vanitas painting
A vanitas painting was a particular type of still life immensely popular in the Netherlands (and Paris, to a lesser extent), beginning in the 17th century.
Was Leonardo a Vegetarian?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Increasingly,
What Is a Landscape Painting?
Landscape is an academic category that refers to works of art which feature views of nature, including seascapes, cityscapes and waterscapes.
The Essential Impressionism Bibliography
If you are writing a paper, or simply wish to gain more knowledge for your own satisfaction, you may rely upon this annotated list of titles to assist you. Page 3.
The Double Life of Artist Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot was among the few women in the original French Impressionist circle. She was married to Eugene Manet and was the sister-in-law of Edouard Manet. Her daughter was Julie Manet, also an artist.
Outline of Art History - Ancient Art - Visual...
Outline of Art History - Ancient Art Visual Arts Movements - ca. 30,000 B.C.-ca. 400 A.D. Prehistory
The Vitruvian Man - Leonardo Da Vinci - About.com
Leonardo Da Vinci squared the circle. The secret solution in the Vitruvian Man decoded.
Art History Definition: Academy, French
The French Academy was founded in 1648 during the reign of King Louis XIV as the Academie Royale de peinture et de sculpture. After the French Revolution it became the Academie de peinture et de sculpture and then it was merged with the Academie de musique and the Academie d'architecture to form the Academie des Beaux-Arts. The annual government-sponsored exhibition called the Salon was controlled by the Academie des Beaux-Arts.
Art History Definition: Abstraction
An artwork that does not represent or depict a being, place or thing; or a simplified, generalized depiction of a being, place or thing.
Outline of Art History - Contemporary Art -...
Outline of Art History - Contemporary Art Visual Arts Movements - 1970s-Present 1970 Post-Modernism - 1970s-mid
Art History Definition: Portrait and Portraiture
Portraits are recorded likenesses of humans or animals which are living or have lived. Portraiture is the category for this subject matter. Single images of the Virgin Mary are not portraits; they are devotional images.
Realism - Art History 101 Basics
Realism - Art History 101 Basics
Artists in 60 Seconds: Frida Kahlo
A biographical profile of Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón (1907-1954), Mexican painter.
Art History Glossary - Definitions for Art...
An alphabetized index of Art and Art History definitions for words and terms.
impasto
A painting technique, impasto is a thick application of paint (usually oil) that makes no attempt to look smooth.
The Two Fridas, 1939
Art History. Page 12.
Outline of Art History - Renaissance to Early...
Outline of Art History - Renaissance to Early Modern Art Visual Arts Movements - 1400-1880 Fifteenth
Art History Definition: Gestural Abstraction
Abstract artworks that emphasize the process of or gesture in the creative act through various techniques of application, including dripping, smearing and flinging paint.
Art History Jobs - Fellowship and Internship...
Art history job openings, Fellowships and Internships, stipends and grant competitions. The most recent entries are at the top of the page. Please note this page is no longer being updated.
Neo-Impressionism - Art History 101 Basics
Neo-Impressionism was a movement and style that applied tiny points of color in tightly packed areas so that the viewer's eye mixed the colors to form another color, rather than the artist mixing the colors on the palette. It is also called Divisionism, Pontillism and Chromoluminarism. The effect is radiant. Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Camille Pissarro, Henri-Edmond Cross, and many others practiced this labor-intensive systematic approach to capturing light in modern settings.
The Proto-Renaissance - Art History 101 Basics
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >As mentioned in
Numbers in Color, 1958–59
Art History. Page 11.
Free Art History Coloring Pages
A series of art-historic line drawings for your coloring page fun. You are free to save and print these for personal, educational and non-commercial purposes.
Odalisk, 1955-58
Art History. Page 8.
Leonardo da Vinci's Lost Masterpiece: The...
Leonardo da Vinci's Lost Masterpiece: The Battle of Anghiari. Had it been completed, it would have been by far the largest and greatest work that Leonardo ever made. All that remains today of this legendary work of art is a collection of small preparatory sketches and paintings that copied the incomplete mural. While the painting itself is generally thought to be lost, some believe that it may still lie concealed behind a counter wall in the Palazzo Vecchio.
symmetry
Symmetry is what occurs when one side of something balances out or mirrors the other.
Artists in 60 Seconds: Mary Cassatt
Cassatt (1844-1926) was an American painter and printmaker working in Paris, best known for her tender portrayals of mothers with children.
photomontage
Photomontage is a specific kind of collage made of primarily of photographs from newspapers, magazines and similar media.
Funk Art - Art History 101 Basics
Funk Art's heyday was in the mid- to late-1960s. Naturally, its beginnings were much earlier; the (very) late-1950s seem to be the point of origin. By the end of the 1970s, things were pretty much over as far as artistic movements go. To include all possibilities, we can say Funk Art was produced for no more than two decades -- and 15 years would be more realistic. It was fun while it lasted, but Funk did not have a long life.
What Is the Definition of “Salon”?
A salon, based on the French word living room, is a conversational gathering of intellectuals, artists and politicians. The French Salon was the official annual exhibition sponsored by the French government from 1667 to 1890; it continues under the private stewardship of the Societe des Artistes Francais.
Robert Indiana Biography
Learn more about Robert Indiana, an American painter, sculptor and printmaker best known for his Love sculpture series.
Before You Write an Essay on Impressionism
There are a few common misconceptions about Impressionism that you may want to avoid including. There are also a few truisms that you should include.
Minimalism or Minimal Art - Art History 101...
Minimalism or Minimal Art is a form of abstraction that pares its forms down to the simplest and most elemental shapes. Often the surfaces are monochromatic. Barbara Rose in her landmark article
Raphael Timeline
A chronological timeline of Raffaello Sanzio's life, year by year, from his birth in 1483 to his death on April 6, 1520.
Artists in 60 Seconds: Norman Rockwell
A biographical profile of Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), American painter and illustrator.
Venus pudica
: ( noun ) - "Venus pudica" is a term used to describe a classic figural pose in Western art. In this,
My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family...
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954). My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree), 1936. Oil and tempera on metal. 12 1/8 x 13 5/8 in. (30.8 x 34.6 cm). Gift of Allan Roos, M.D., and B. Mathieu Roos. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY. © 2007 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust. Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D.F. Page 5.
Artists in 60 Seconds: Tezuka Osamu 手&#2...
The Japanese artist (1928-1989) created more than 700 manga series with about 170,000 pages of drawings, and 200,000 pages of anime storyboards and scripts.
Convergence, 1952
Art History. Page 8.
What Is Artistic License?
If you wish to be polite, artistic license means taking liberties with reality. Conversely, you may be the blunt sort and thus able to call it cheating. Either way, artistic license is usually harmless and entertaining.
nonrepresentational art
An artwork that does not represent or depict a being, place or thing in the natural world.
Monogram, 1955-59
Art History. Page 9.
contrapposto
An art term which describes one particular pose a sculpture or painting of a human has been given by the artist.
binder
A binder is the agent in paint that serves - on the molecular level - to make the paint stick to the support.
Artists in 60 Seconds: J. M. W. Turner
A biographical profile of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), English Romantic painter.
The Lowbrow Movement - Art History 101 Basics
An artistic movement slowly gaining momentum that pokes fun at convention, and doesn't necessarily care if The Art World recognizes it.
ready-made
ready-made. Art History.

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