This reference page features an ever expanding list of classroom vocabulary and art history timeline listings (to be added throughout the school year).


POP Art Movement: New York City

c. Mid 1950's - 1970's

The Case for Andy Warhol (3:43)

Oldenburg, Floor Cake (3:29)

James Rosenquist, "F-111," 1964-65 (1:41)

Lichtenstein, Rouen Cathedral Set V (3:08)

  • Pop art has become one of the most recognizable styles of modern art.
  • The Pop Art movement was started by several New York artists: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtnstein, James Rosenquist, and Claes Oldenburg.
  • The majority of Pop artists began their careers in commercial art: Andy Warhol was a highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer; Ed Ruscha was also a graphic designer, and James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter. Their backgrounds in the commercial art world trained them in the visual vocabulary of mass culture as well as the techniques to seamlessly merge the realms of high art and popular culture.
  • Pop's reintroduction of identifiable imagery (drawn from media and popular culture) was a major shift for the direction of modernism. Instead of focusing on traditional "high art" themes of morality, mythology, and classic history, Pop artists celebrated commonplace objects and people of everyday life, elevating popular culture to the level of fine art.


Abstract Expressionism: The New York School

c. Late 1940's - 1965

The Case for Abstraction (9:18)

The Painting Techniques of Mark Rothko (3:31)

The Painting Techniques of Jackson Pollock (4:01) 

The Painting Techniques of Barnett Newman (3:48)

The Painting Techniques of Franz Kline (3:54) 

The Painting Techniques of Ad Reinhardt (4:58)

  • Political instability in Europe in the 1930s drove several leading Surrealists to relocate to New York City. 
  • Many American artists were heavily influenced by Surrealism's focus on mining the unconscious.
  • Abstract Expressionism officially emerged in the United States in the years following World War II.
  • In 1950, 18 like-minded artists mounted a boycott of an exhibition titled "American Painting Today: 1950", claiming that the selected jury was “notoriously hostile to advanced art.” LIFE magazine nicknamed the artists "The Irascibles" and popularized the term Abstract Expressionism, giving the movement a sense of identity and purpose.
  • As the term suggests, the work was primarily characterized by non-objective imagery that appeared emotionally charged with personal meaning. The artists, however, insisted their subjects were not simply “abstract,” but rather primal images, deeply rooted in society’s collective unconscious.
  • The Abstract Expressionists were championed for being emphatically American in spirit, monumental in scale, romantic in mood, and expressive of a rugged individual freedom.
  • Throughout the 1950s, The New York School became the dominant influence on artists both in the United States and abroad. The U.S. government embraced the distinctive style of Abstract Expressionism as a reflection of American democracy, individualism, and cultural achievement, and actively promoted international exhibitions of Abstract Expressionism as a form of political propaganda during the years of the Cold War.


Surrealism: Europe

c. 1924-1966

The Case for Surrealism (10:17)

Magritte, The Treachery of Images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) (3:40) 

Dali, The Persistence of Memory (6:27)

Giacometti, The Palace at 4am (3:27)

  • Disdaining rationalism and literary realism, and powerfully influenced by psychoanalysis, the Surrealists believed the rational mind repressed the power of the imagination, weighing it down with taboos.
  • Influenced by Karl Marx, they hoped that the psyche had the power to reveal the contradictions in the everyday world and spur on revolution.
  • Surrealists attempted to bypass reason and rationality by accessing their unconscious mind, which allowed them to forgo conscious thought and embrace chance when creating art.
  • The work of Sigmund Freud was profoundly influential for Surrealists, particularly his book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899).
  • Surrealist imagery is probably the most recognizable element of the movement, outlandish, perplexing, and even uncanny, as it is meant to jolt the viewer out of their comforting assumptions.


Dada Movement: Switzerland

c. 1916-1924

”3 Standard Stoppages," Marcel Duchamp (2:27) 

  • Dada was an artistic and literary movement that began in Zürich, Switzerland, which arose as a reaction to World War I and the nationalism that many thought had led to the war.
  • Influenced by other avant-garde movements (such as Cubism), Dada artists produced wildly diverse artwork ranging from performance art to poetry, photography, sculpture, painting, and collage.
  • Dada artists are known for their use of ‘readymade’ objects (everyday objects that could be bought and presented as art with little manipulation by the artist), such as Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ (1917). The use of the readymade forced questions about artistic creativity and the very definition of art and its purpose in society.
  • The movement dissipated with the establishment of Surrealism, but the ideas it gave rise to have become the cornerstones of various categories of modern and contemporary art.


Cubism: France

c. 1907-1920's

Braque, The Viaduct at L’Estaque (3:50)

Picasso, Guitar (4:16)

Conservation: Picasso's Guitars (3:16)

Fernand Léger, "Contrast of Forms” (2:19)

Robert Delaunay, "Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon” (2:00) 

  • Cubists turned away from the realistic modeling of figures and abandoned traditional artistic perspective (used to depict space since the Renaissance).
  • Cubist painters rejected the concepts that art should copy nature, or that artists should adopt the traditional composition techniques, instead emphasizing the two-dimensionality of the canvas. They reduced and fractured objects into geometric forms, and then realigned these within a shallow, relief-like space. They also used multiple or contrasting vantage points.
  • Proto-Cubism (1907): A major catalyst in the development of Cubism was Paul Cézanne's posthumous exhibition in 1907. Cézanne's abridged depictions of nature inspired Pablo Picasso to paint one of the earliest examples of Cubism: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907).
  • Cubism was introduced to the public with Georges Braque's one-man exhibition in 1908. It was this exhibit that led French art critic Louis Vauxcelles to describe them as "bizarreries cubiques," thus giving the movement its name.
  • Analytic Cubism (1910-1912): As Cubism evolved it initially became more abstract, often reducing figures to unidentifiable shapes. Some historians have argued that these innovations represent a response to the changing experience of space, movement, and time in the modern world (especially leading up to the start of WWI).
  • Synthetic Cubism (1912-1914): In 1912 both Picasso and Braque began to introduce foreign elements into their compositions, continuing their experiments with multiple perspectives. Picasso's experiments with sculpture are also included as part of the Synthetic Cubist style as they employ collaged elements.


POST-Impressionism: Europe

c. 1880's-1914

Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (6:41)

Van Gogh, Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (2:47)

  • Many up-and-coming artists of the 1870s and 1880’s found fault in the Impressionists' focus on style rather than subject matter.
  • Post-Impressionism is characterized by a subjective approach to painting, as artists opted to evoke emotion rather than realism in their work.
  • Aiming to shake up the contemporary art world, this group of stylistically dissimilar artists (including Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and Henri Rousseau) formed the Post-Impressionists.
  • Like the Impressionists, the Post-Impressionists shared their work with the public through independent exhibitions across Paris.
  • In 1910, noted art critic, historian, and curator Roger Fry coined the term “Post-Impressionism” with his show, Manet and the Post-Impressionists. Much like the Post-Impressionists themselves, Fry believed that the beauty of art is inherently rooted in perception. Today, these ideas help us to understand the common thread between these artists.
  • Defining characteristics: emotional symbolism, evocative color and distinctive brushstrokes


Impressionism: France

c. 1867-1886

Degas, The Dance Class (5:08)

Monet, Water Lilies (6:20)

Renoir, Moulin de la Galette (5:05)

  • Impressionist painting was primarily produced between 1867 and 1886 by a group of artists who shared a set of related approaches and techniques.
  • This group of artists (who became known as the ‘Impressionists’) did something ground-breaking... They established their own art exhibition (in Paris at that time, there was one official, state-sponsored exhibition and very few art galleries). The artists we know today as Impressionists: Claude Monet, August Renoir, Edgar Degas, and several others, pooled their money, rented a studio and set a date for their first collective exhibition. They called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Printmakers and their first show opened in May 1874.
  • The most common characteristic of Impressionism painting was an attempt to accurately (and quickly) record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and color.
  • Impressionists layered small painted dots and/or dashes of pure color. When viewers stood at a reasonable distance their eyes would see a mix of individual marks; colors that had blended optically. This method created vibrant color effects.



c. 1850-1910's

Homer, The Fog Warning / Halibut Fishing (4:16)

Millet, The Gleaners (3:49)

  • Realism was an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, after the 1848 Revolution
  • Artists joined the fight for democratic reform, rebelling against the elite art academies of the time
  • Realism is broadly considered the beginning of modern art (due to a conviction that everyday life and the modern world were suitable subjects for art)
  • Realism was based on direct observation of the modern world… Realist artists focused on the side of "reality" which had previously been excluded, the unflattering truth of the underside of elite culture
  • Realist artists often depicted pious hard work and self-reliance



c. 1830's-Today

Before Photography: Photographic Processes Series Chapter 1 (6:22)

Early Photography: Making Daguerreotypes (5:43)

The Wet Collodian Process (6:07)

  • The basic concept of photography has been around since about the 5th-century B.C.E. 
  • It wasn't until an Iraqi scientist developed something called the camera obscura in the 11th-century that the art was born. Even then, the camera did not actually record images, it simply projected them (upside down) onto another surface. The images could be traced to create accurate drawings of real objects.
  • It was not until the 17th-century that the camera obscura became small enough to be portable. Basic lenses to focus the light were also introduced around this time.
  • Photography, as we know it today, began in the late 1830s in France. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used a portable camera obscura to expose a copper plate coated in silver and pewter plate to light. This early photograph required a very long exposure, in this case about 8 hours.
  • Niépce's success led to a number of other experiments and photography progressed very rapidly.
  • Daguerreotypes: a copper plate was coated with silver and exposed to iodine vapor before it was exposed to light. To create the image on the plate, the earlier daguerreotypes had to be exposed to light for up to 15 minutes.
  • Emulsion Plates (or wet plates): were less expensive and took only 2-3 seconds of exposure time. Much more suited to portrait photography, which was the most common photography at the time. (Many photographs from the Civil War were produced on wet plates).
  • Dry Plates: in the 1870s, photography took another huge leap forward. Richard Maddox improved on a previous invention to make dry gelatine plates that were nearly equal with wet plates in speed and quality. Dry plates could be stored rather than made as needed. This allowed photographers much more freedom. Cameras were also able to be smaller and could be hand-held.
  • Photography was only for professionals and the very rich until George Eastman started a company called Kodak in the 1880s. Eastman created a flexible roll film that did not require the constant changing of solid plates. Using his new film he developed a self-contained box camera that held 100 film exposures. The consumer would take pictures and send the camera back to the factory for the film to be developed and prints made, much like modern disposable cameras. This was the first camera inexpensive enough for the average person to afford.



c. 1790s-1850

Allston, Elijah in the Desert (4:37)

  • Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical, cultural and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850.
  • The word "Romanticism" was first used to define new musicians and literary artists (such as the poetry of Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and William Wordsworth and the scores of Beethoven, Richard Strauss, and Chopin)
  • Romanticism emerged as a response to the disillusionment with the Enlightenment values of reason and order in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789
  • Romantic artists were concerned with the spectrum and intensity of human emotion


Baroque Art: Europe

c. 1600-1700

How to recognize Baroque Art (9:30)

Gentileschi, Judith and Holofernes (4:01)

The work that distinguishes the Baroque period is stylistically complex, even contradictory, the desire to evoke emotional states by appealing to the senses, often in dramatic ways, underlies its manifestations.

Key Elements: Grandeur, Sensuous richness, Drama, Vitality, Movement, Tension, Emotional exuberance, A tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts.

Rembrandt van Rijn: 1606-1669

  • Dutch Baroque painter and printmaker
  • One of the greatest storytellers in the history of art, possessing an exceptional ability to render people in their various moods and dramatic guises
  • Known as a painter of light and shade
  • Favoured an uncompromising realism that would lead some critics to claim that he preferred ugliness to beauty
  • The core of Rembrandt’s work consisted of biblical and, to a much lesser extent, historical, mythological, and allegorical “history pieces”
  • Rembrandt quickly achieved renown among Dutch art lovers and an art-buying public for his history paintings and etchings, as well as his portraits and self-portraits
  • Early in his career and for some time, Rembrandt painted mainly portraits (roughly one-tenth of his painted and etched works consist of studies of his own face
  • Rembrandt’s etchings brought him international fame during his lifetime, and his drawings, which were done as practice exercises or as studies for other works, were also collected by contemporary art lovers.
  • Etching = a technique of printmaking in which an artist scratches a waxy resin from the surface of a metal plate and the plate is then dipped in acids to “carve” the exposed metal to create the image on the plate.  The etched plate is then inked and run through a printing press.


Mannerism: Italy & Europe

c. 1520-1600

Bronzino and the Mannerist Portrait (10:30)

Ross Fiorentino, The Dead Christ (4:22)

  • The term mannerism derives from the Italian maniera, meaning simply “style”
  • Emphasis on self-conscious artifice over realistic depiction
  • Excellence in painting demanded refinement and a richness of invention that emphasized the artist’s intellect
  • Mannerism’s acidic color pallet, elongated proportions and exaggerated anatomy of figures in convoluted, serpentine poses — frequently creates a feeling of anxiety.
  • Mannerism coincided with a period of upheaval that was torn by the Reformation, plague, and the devastating sack of Rome. After its inception in central Italy around 1520, mannerism spread to other regions of Italy and to northern Europe


North America: Pueblo Pottery

c. 1050-1300 A.D. to present day

Nampeyo (Hopi-Tewa), polychrome jar (6:34)

  • Clay vessels have been made for storage and household use in stationary Native American societies for at least two thousand years
  • Each pueblo has developed a style of form and decoration indigenous to its needs and beliefs
  • These varying styles have been historically documented and attributed to particular pueblos since the Spanish conquest
  • Ancestral Pueblo pottery is called Black-on-White, the white is from the color of the clay and the black paint used for the designs was made from boiled plants or from crushed rock with iron in it (such as hematite)
  • Today, Southwestern pottery made in the existing twenty pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona, remains one of the greatest expressions of ceramic art in the world


Ashanti Nation (Ghana) Africa: Kente Cloth

17th Century to present day

Ashanti Kente Cloth Slide Show

Sika dwa kofi (Golden Stool), Ashanti People (7:55)

  • Kente cloth is one of the most immediately recognizable forms of African textiles
  • Kente cloth is deeply intertwined with the history of the Ashanti nation
  • The Ashanti Empire or Confederacy (which was located in what is today Ghana) first emerged in West Africa during the 17th century  
  • The word “Kente” which means basket comes from the Akan or Ashanti dialect. Akans also refer to Kente as nwentoma, which means woven cloth.
  • Kente cloth was traditionally made from silk during the 17th and 18th centuries but is now made mostly of cotton, as well as rayon, making it affordable for a much wider reach of the population.
  • Kente was originally worn by royalty, wealthy, or highly respected people.Today it is worn by all, particularly for special occasions.


Islamic Art

7th Century to present day

Why is Writing so important in Islamic Art? (2:56)

Sinan, Süleymaniye Mosque (6:36)

Two Royal Figures Saljuq Period (5:16)

  • Islamic art is a modern concept created by art historians in the 19th century to facilitate categorization and study of the material first produced under the Islamic peoples that emerged from Arabia in the seventh century.
  • The term Islamic art describes the art created specifically in the service of the Muslim faith (for example, a mosque and its furnishings)
  • Also characterizes the art and architecture historically produced in the lands ruled by Muslims, produced for Muslim patrons, or created by Muslim artists
  • The rule of the Umayyad caliphate (661-750) is often considered to be the formative period in Islamic Art
  • The 4 Basic Components of Islamic Ornamentation: calligraphy, vegetal patterns, figural representation, geometric patterns 


Northern Europe: Still life painting

1600-1800 A.D.

Willem Kalf, Still Life with a Silver Ewer: 1660 (4:03)

Rachel Ruysch, Fruit and Insects: 1711 (4:03)

  • Still-life painting = depiction of inanimate objects for the sake of their qualities of form, colour, texture, and composition.
  • Still-life painting as an independent genre flourished in the Netherlands during the early 1600s
  • Early Netherlandish still-life paintings often used imagery as allegories for “Vanitas” collections of objects symbolizing the inevitability of death and the vanity of earthly pleasures; they remind the viewer to consider mortality and to repent.
  • Standard Still Life Imagery: symbols of arts and sciences (books, maps, and musical instruments), wealth and power (purses, jewelry, gold objects), earthly pleasures (goblets, pipes, and playing cards), symbols of death or transience (skulls, clocks, burning candles, soap bubbles, and flowers), and sometimes symbols of resurrection and eternal life (ears of corn or sprigs of ivy or laurel)


Early Renaissance Art

1350-1600 A.D. (begins with the fall of the Roman Empire)

How to Recognize Italian Renaissance Art (video link)

Link to slideshow of artist's timelines for Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael

Italian Renaissance vs. Northern Renaissance: 

  • Italian: love of rational perspective, natural bodies, frescoes, and religious subjects
  • Northern: love of texture, stylized anatomy, use of oil paint, everyday life subject

Works of art reviewed in class:

  • Giotto Adoration of the Magi, c. 1305
  • Masaccio Holy Trinity, 1427
  • Fra Angelico The Annunciation, 1438-47
  • Fra Filippo Lippi Madonna and Child, 1460-65
  • Domenico Ghirlandaio Birth of the Virgin, 1485-90
  • Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus, 1483-85 (Not Religious Subject)
  • Jan van Eyck Arnolfini Portrait, 1434 (Northern Renaissance)


Medieval Europe

476 - 1500 A.D. (begins with the fall of the Roman Empire)

Early Middle Ages: 476-1000

High Middle Ages: 1000-1300

Late Middle Ages: 1300-1500 (Black Death began in 1347, Decimated populations, slowed growth) 

Chartres Cathedral: (video link) 

  • Early Gothic
  • Featuring small windows, one large rose window, large piers support vaulted ceiling, visible from a distance, 
  • Church was center of village life

Illuminated manuscripts:

  • Handwritten and decorated books
  • Manuscript = manus (hand) and scriptus (to write)
  • Illuminated = illuminare (to light up), denotes the glow created by the radiant colors of the illustrations, as well as by real gold and silver.
  • Illuminations took the form of decorated letters, borders, and independent figurative scenes, also called miniatures.
  • Primarily made by Monks: copied books for worship, also commissions (historical records, Greek & Roman literature), worked in scriptorium, after 12th century, scribes weren’t always monks
  • Made from: Vellum (calf skin) or parchment (goat or sheep skin), written with ink using a quill pen from goose or swan feather
  • After the scribe was done with the writing an illuminator took over and Silver & gold leaf was added, then pictures, border decorations and ornamented letters were added, and finally the pages were folded, sewn together and bound between covers of wood or leather.
  • Originally most illuminated texts were Religious (The Bible, The Gospels, Choral Books, Prayer Books), but by the 14th Century other types of books were also being created (cookbooks, stories & legends, travel books, and histories)
  • The Book of Kells: created in the 9th Century and named for monastery of Kells, County Meath, Ireland, brought there after Viking raid on Iona, at least three different scribes and four artists worked on the Book of Kells which was made for display & ceremonial use, 13” x 10”, Hiberno-Saxon style featuring Curvilinear motifs, Elaborate initials and Zoomorphic interlacing
  • Book of Hours of Isabella of Spain: C. 1495-1500, 9” x 6”
  • Prayer Book of Claude de France: C. 1517, 2 ¾” x 2”
  • Prayer Book of Catherine of Cleves: C. 1440, 7 ½” x 5 ⅛”


China & Indonesia: Batik of Java

Developed in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618)
(video link)

  • Batiks origins can be traced back to Asia, India and Africa. Some say the word is of Malay roots and translates "to write" or "to dot”.
  • Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth, made either by drawing dots and lines in wax with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap.
  • Batik was practiced in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618). These were silk batiks and were traditionally decorated with trees, animals, flute players, hunting scenes and stylized mountains.
  • Indonesia, most particularly the island of Java, is the area where batik has reached the greatest peak of accomplishment. The Dutch brought Indonesian craftsmen to teach the craft to Dutch warders in several factories in Holland from 1835. The Swiss produced imitation batik in the early 1940s.
  • The tradition of making batik can be found in dozens of countries today, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nigeria; the batik of Indonesia, however, is the best-known. 


Japan: Sumi-e Brush Painting

Developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960-1274 A.D.)
Brought to Japan in the mid-14th Century

Ogawa Ryu - Sumi-e Bamboo Painting for Student Level 1 (3:29)

  • Sumi-e means: ‘Black Ink Painting’
  • Monochrome ink painting first developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960–1274). 
  • In the mid-14th century, Zen Buddhist monks took ink painting to Japan & other parts of Asia (the artists of Japan, Korea and Malaysia learned from the Chinese and then developed their own versions of East Asian brush painting).
  • Emphasis is placed on the beauty of each individual stroke of the brush.
  • The Four Treasures = the tools which are essential to East Asian painting: the ink stick, ink stone, brush and paper.
  • The 4 Basic Brush Strokes = the pulling stroke, pressure stroke, side stroke and smooshing stroke
  • An integral part of the composition is the red seal, which signifies the artist's name. Additional seals may be added to indicate a location or philosophy.


INDONESIA: Shadow Theater

Pre: 10th Century A.D.

Balinese Shadow Theater (5:00)

  • Wayang Kulit: elaborately decorated puppets made from perforated leather
  • Wayang Kruchil: wooden puppets in low relief
  • Wayang Golek; Three dimensional wooden figures manipulated by rods
  • Wayang Wong: Pantomime by live actors


JAPAN: Kofun Culture

250 - 552 A.D.

  • Highly organized aristocratic society, able to command huge numbers of workers & large region
  • This period was characterized by large earthen key-hole shaped burial mounds (kofun) surrounded by moats, some Kofun are as large as the Pyramids at Giza
  • Haniwa SculptureJapanese Haniwa warrior in keiko armor (5:02)


CHINA: Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army

228 - 210 B.C.E.

Discoveries in Chinese Archaeology (4:17)

  • Emperor Qin ordered work to start on his mausoleum shortly after taking the throne (he died in 270 BC and work halted)
  • Over 700,000 workers involved
  • Discovered in 1974
  • Four Pits: 1. 6,000 Soldiers, 2. Cavalry & Infantry, 3. Officers & Chariots, 4. Empty


JAPAN: Yayoi Culture

4th Century B.C.E. - 3rd Century A.D.

  • Created pottery with clean, functional shapes using coil method with surface smoothed and clay slip added to seal
  • Pottery at this time was used for storage, cooking and offerings (preference for imperfect, natural style)
  • Metallurgy developed during this time - bronze and iron used to make weapons, armor, tools and bells (dotaku)


Imperial Rome

27 B.C.E. - 476 A.D.
(video link)

  • Powerful Army
  • Advanced city planning - plumbing, dams, aqueducts, roads
  • Acknowledged & adopted previous cultures
  • Over-extended & infighting


Greek Architecture

5th Century B.C.E.

The Classical Orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian (video link)

The Parthenon

  • All horizontal architectural elements arch slightly in the center. This means there are no true straight horizontal lines in the Parthenon. These architectural refinements made the Parthenon look alive and flawless to the human eye. This curvature is repeated in Nashville's Parthenon.
  • Nashville's Parthenon: brick, stone, structural reinforced concrete, and cast concrete aggregate; 10 years to build, 1921-1931
  • Parthenon in Athens: Pentelic marble; 10 years to construct the building, 447-438 B.C.
  • East Pediment sculptures: including Helios, Horses and Dionysus (video link)


Ancient Near East: Standard Of Ur

2,600-2,400 B.C.E.
(video link)


Egyptian Art

3,000 B.C.E. to 30 A.D.
(video link)

  • Saqqara (First True Pyramid) ca 27th Century BCE
  • Pyramids at Giza ca 2560 BCE.
  • Sphinx at Giza: ca 2,500 BCE, Lion with head of Egyptian King, 240 feet long, 66 feet high, “Very embodiment of antiquity and of mystery itself.”
  • Hatshepsut: ca. 1,450 BCE, daughter of Thutmose I, crowned herself pharaoh, successful, booming economy, many public works projects (video link)
  • Nefertiti: ca. 1,350 BCE, created at time of artistic and cultural shift, Akhenaten (shift to monotheism with he and his wife sole recipients of divine wisdom), new ideal of beauty to go with new religion
  • Tutankhamun: ca. 1,300 BCE, re-established religions from before Akhenaten’s reign, crowned with only six years old and died at eighteen, tomb found in 1922
  • Ramses II: ca. 1250 BC, reigned after his father (Ramses I), 30 years into reign, ritually transformed into a god during Sed festival


Sumeria: Cylinder Seals

3,500 B.C.E.

  • WHERE: Sumeria (Modern day Iraq)
  • WHY: Religious / Administrative Tool / Ownership / Jewelry


Paleolithic Cave Paintings

30,000-15,000 B.C.E.

The oldest known representational imagery comes from the Aurignacian culture of the Upper Paleolithic period (Paleolithic means old stone age). Archeological discoveries across a broad swath of Europe (especially Southern France, Northern Spain, and Swabia, in Germany) include over two hundred caves with spectacular Aurignacian paintings, drawings and sculpture that are among the earliest undisputed examples of representational image-making. (resource link)

  • Archeologists believe that the paintings discovered in the cave at Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc in France, are more than 30,000 years old. 
  • The images found at Lascaux and Altamira are more recent, dating to approximately 15,000 B.C.E. (video link)
  • The paintings at Pech Merle date to both 25,000 and 15,000 B.C.E.





5 elements of shape: straight line, curved line, angled line, circle, and dot.

Color Theory: is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of specific colors

  • Primary Colors: there are 3 primary colors (red, blue and yellow) that cannot be created through the combination of any other colors (the roots of all other colors) 
  • Secondary Colors: there are 3 secondary colors (orange, green and purple) which are the combinations of two primary colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel
  • Tertiary Colors: there are 6 tertiary colors (magenta, vermilion, amber, chartreuse, teal, and violet) which are created when one primary color is mixed with one of its nearest secondary colors

Complementary Colors: colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green). The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation. Complementary colors are tricky to use in large doses, but work well when you want something to stand out.

Grattage: developed during the Surrealist movement, grattage involves taking a painted canvas and scraping off some of the paint. The method introduces elements of chance and unpredictability to the work.

Fresco painting: method of painting water-based pigments on freshly applied plaster, usually on wall surfaces. The colours, which are made by grinding dry-powder pigments in pure water, dry and set with the plaster to become a permanent part of the wall. Fresco painting is ideal for making murals because it lends itself to a monumental style, is durable, and has a matte surface. 

Hue: the name we give to a color (red, blue, etc.). / one of the 3 properties of color

Intensity: refers to the strength/vividness of the color, for example "royal" blue or "dull" gray / one of the 3 properties of color

Monochromatic color schemes: derived from a single base hue and extended using its shades, tones and tints (tints are achieved by adding white and shades and tones are achieved by adding a darker color, grey or black).

Oil painting: a medium consisting of pigments suspended in drying oils. First created during the Renaissance. Slower drying and a more stable alternative to Tempera paints..

Perspective: is the technique used to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface (a piece of paper or canvas ) in a way that looks natural and realistic. Perspective is used to create an illusion of space and depth on a flat surface (or the picture plane). There are three basic types of perspective: one-point, two-point, and three-point. The one/two/three refers to the number of vanishing points used to create the perspective illusion.

  • Linear perspective: a system of creating an illusion of depth on a flat surface. All parallel lines (orthogonals) in a painting or drawing using this system converge in a single vanishing point on the composition’s horizon line. At the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, early in the 15th century, the mathematical laws of perspective were discovered by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who worked out some of the basic principles, including the concept of the vanishing point, which had been known to the Greeks and Romans but had been lost. 
  • Foreshortening: method of rendering a specific object or figure in a picture in depth. The artist records, in varying degrees, the distortion that is seen by the eye when an object or figure is viewed at a distance or at an unusual angle. In a photograph of a recumbent figure positioned so that the feet are nearest the camera, for instance, the feet will seem unnaturally large and those body parts at a distance, such as the head, unnaturally small. 
  • One-point perspective: contains only one vanishing point on the horizon line. This type of perspective is typically used for images of roads, railway tracks, hallways, or buildings viewed so that the front is directly facing the viewer.
  • Two-point perspective (is the most commonly used): one vanishing point on either side, is used when the corner of a building is facing you.
  • Three-point perspective: (consisting of three vanishing points), is used when your subject is viewed from above or below and therefore the effects of perspective occur in three directions.

(Photography) Aperture: refers to the opening in the lens that light shines through when a photo is taken

(Photography) Exposure: the amount of light recorded on the film or sensor

(Photography) Negative: An image is projected onto unexposed film when light enters the camera and a picture is captured. When the film is developed, it is a long strip of small negative images.

(Photography) Resolution: the clarity of the image

(Photography) Shutter: a device that opens and closes to expose the “film” in a camera

Pigment: Any of a group of compounds that are intensely coloured and are used to colour other materials. Pigments are insoluble and are applied not as solutions but as finely ground solid particles mixed with a liquid. In general, the same pigments are employed in oil- and water-based paints, printing inks, and plastics. Pigments may be organic (i.e., contain carbon) or inorganic. Organic pigments made from natural sources have been used for centuries, but most pigments used today are either inorganic or synthetic organic.

Tempera Painting: painting executed with pigment ground in a water-miscible medium. The word tempera originally came from the verb temper, “to bring to a desired consistency.” Dry pigments are made usable by “tempering” them with a binding and adhesive vehicle. True tempera is made by mixture with the yolk of fresh eggs, although manuscript illuminators often used egg white and some easel painters added the whole egg. 

Value: meaning a color's lightness or darkness (shade and tint are in reference to value changes in colors) / one of the 3 properties of color