GLOSSARY OF ART TERMS

Art Terms Beginning with I

  • By Jacqui Thomas
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Art Terms Beginning with I

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Icon

An important and enduring symbol, an object of great attention and devotion.

Iconic

Having the character of an icon.

Iconography

Subject matter in visual art instilled with symbolic meanings.

Idol

An image used as an object of worship; one that is adored, often blindly or excessively.

Illusion

An unreal, deceptive, or misleading appearance or image.

Illustration

An image that accompanies written text and aids in its interpretation.

ILLUSIONISM

A image that creates the illusion of a real object or scene, or a sculpture where the artist has depicted a figure in such a realistic way that they seem alive.

Image

A representation of a person or thing in a work of art.

Impasto

An Italian word meaning ‘paste’ or ‘mixture’, that describes a painting technique where paint is thickly laid on a surface, so that the texture of brush strokes are clearly visible.

Impressionism

A 19th century art movement, associated especially with French artists, whose works are characterised by small, thin, visible brushstrokes that form a single scene and emphasise movement and the changing qualities of light. 

Improvisation

To make, compose, or perform on the spur of the moment with little or no preparation; Also the name given to the performance.

Indian ink

A waterproof ink made from lampblack.

In situ

In position or place.

INK

An ancient writing and drawing medium in liquid or paste form. While traditionally black or brown, modern inks are available in a myriad colours.

INSTALLATION ART

Large-scale, mixed-media constructions, often designed for a specific place or for a temporary period of time.

INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE

An act of critiquing an institution as artistic practice, the institution usually being a museum or an art gallery.

Intaglio

A printmaking technique where an image is produced by cutting into the printing plate to create cuts which retain the ink that forms the printed image.

INTERACTIVE ART

Interactive art describes art that relies on the participation of a spectator.

Interior Design

A discipline of design that focuses on the functional and aesthetic aspects of indoor spaces.

INTIMISM

A French term applied to paintings and drawings of quiet domestic scenes

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