GLOSSARY OF ART TERMS

Art Terms Beginning with B

  • By Jacqui Thomas
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Art Terms Beginning with B

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Background

The area of an artwork that appears furthest away from the viewer or an area against which a figure or scene is placed.

Balance

An art principle which refers to the arrangement of elements in an art work. Balance can be either formal / symmetrical with equal weight, elements or importance on each side, informal / asymmetrical with equal weight achieved with different elements o each side or radial where the elements radiate out from a central point and the visual weight is equally distributed.

Baroque

A term meaning extravagant or complex which is applied to a style in art and architecture developed in Europe from the early 17th to mid 18th century. This style put emphasis on dramatic bold curves and elaborate ornamentation.

Batik

A wax-resist dyeing technique that is often used to make patterned cloth.

Bauhaus

A German school of art, design, and architecture, founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. The school’s curriculum aimed to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution.

Belle Époque

A French term meaning ‘beautiful era’, a period in French history from 1890 to the start of World War I in 1914 which was characterised by optimism, relative peace across Europe and new discoveries in technology and science.

Ben-Day dots

Named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Day describes the coloured dots (generally in four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) used to create shading and secondary colours in the printing or mechanical reproduction of images.

Binder

A component of paint that creates consistency or cohesion.

Biomorphic

A term referring to abstract forms or images that evoke associations with living forms such as plants and the human body, derived from the Greek words bios (life) and morphe (form).

Bisque

Clay objects that have been fired one time.

Bitumen

A naturally-occurring, non-drying, tarry substance used in paint mixtures to enrich the appearance of dark tones.

BODY ART

Art in which a human body is the principal medium and focus, including tattooing and body piercing and body painting.

BRICOLAGE

The construction or creation of an artwork from any materials that come to hand.

Brocade

A heavy fabric interwoven with a rich, raised design.

Brush drawing

An image created with a paint brush, typically using Indian ink or watercolour that has a linear quality rather than a painterly finish.

Brushwork

The way a painter applies paint with a brush.

BRUTALISM

An architectural style of the mid 20th Century defined by simple, block-like forms and raw concrete construction.

Built Environment

Human-made surroundings that provide a setting for human activity.

Bust

A sculpture representing only the neck and head of a person

Byzantine Empire

The continuation, from AD395, of the Roman Empire in the Greek-speaking, eastern part of the Mediterranean.

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