Abacus- The flat slab at the top of a capitol directly under the entablature.
Absolute Dating- A method of assigning a precise historical date to periods and objects on known and recorded events in the region as well as technically extracted physical evidence.
Abstract- Any art that does not represent observable aspects of nature or transforms visible forms into a stylized image.
Acanthus- A leafy plant whose foliage inspired architectural ornamentation used in the Corinthian and Composite orders and in the relief scroll know as the rinceau.
Acroterion- An ornament at the corner or peak of a roof.
Acrylic- fast drying synthetic paint popular since the 1950s. Michael Arnold Art features paintings done in acrylic paint, such as "Girl on the Beach."
Action painting- Style of abstract painting emphasizing the active and spontaneous handling of paint practiced by New York avant-garde artists, such as Jackson Pollock, during the late 1940s and 1950s.
Allegory- In a work of art, an image or images that symbolically illustrates an idea, concept or principle, often moral and religious.
Andachtsbild- German for devotional image. Often a painting or sculpture that depicts themes of Christian grief and suffering such as the pieta, intended to encourage meditation.
Aniconic- A symbolic representation without images or human figures, very often found in Islamic art.
Anticlassical- A term that designating any image, idea or style that opposes the classical norm.
Apotheosis- Deification of a person or thing. In art often shown as an ascent to heaven or glory born by an eagle or angels.
Appliqué- A piece of any material applied to another. This technique was used in both "Miss Pierce" and "Blue Rose" with cloth applied to the canvas under the paint.
Appropriation- A term used to describe an artist's practice of borrowing from another source for a new work of art. The idea for "Lilies in Window" was appropriated from a photo in a magazine.
Aquatint- A type of printmaking developed in the eighteenth century that produces an area of even tone without laborious cross hatching. When printed the end result has a granular, textual effect.
Arabesque- A type of linear surface decoration based on foliage and calligraphic forms, usually characterized by flowing lines and swirling shapes.
Archaic Smile- The curved lips of an ancient Greek statue, usually interpreted as an attempt to animate the features.
Art Brut- French term meaning "raw art", introduced by Jean Dubuffet to denote the often vividly expressive art of children and the insane, which he considered un contaminated by culture.
Assemblage- Artwork created by gathering and manipulating two and/or three dimensional found objects.
Atelier- The studio or workshop of a master artist or craftsperson, often including junior associates and apprentices.
Automatism- A technique by artists such as Oscar Dominguez, whereby the usual intellectual control of the artist over his or her brush or pencil is foregone. The artist's aim is to allow the subconscious to create the artwork with rational influence.
Avant-garde- term derived from the French military word meaning "before the group", or vanguard. Avant-garde denotes those artists or concepts of a strikingly new, experimental or radical nature of the time such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, and Stuart Davis.
Axial- A term used to describe a plan or design that is based on a symmetrical, linear arrangement of elements along a central axis.