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Earth colours: Pigments obtained by mixing, eg. yellow, ochre and umber. 

Easel: Frame to support a picture. 

Ecriture Automatique: A creative process based on Freudian psychoanalysis, based on an unreflective, trance-like manner of painting, drawing or writing. 

Egg Tempera: A type of emulsion. 

Emulsion: The mixing of two substances, which generally repel each other like water soluble glue and oil to form a completely new, inseparable liquid. 

Encaustic: A type of wax painting. 

Environment: Artistic form of the second half of the 20th century. 

Etching: A gravure technique, wherein metal plates are engraved with acids to produce drawings. 

Expressionism: Artistic movement in the first half of the 20th century, stressing subjective experience. 


Finishing Varnish: This gives the surface of a painting a uniform sheen and protects the penetration of dust into the unevenness of the paint. 

Fantastic Realism: Art movement of the early 60s. 

Fauvism: A loose association of French Artists which constructed its paintings, ignoring representational precision. 

Figuration, Figurative Painting: Representational painting. 

Figurative: Describes artwork representing the form of an animal, a thing or a human.  

Figurative art/painting: An art form which is inspired by the visible world. It takes visible objects as its base and then distorts or changes them to convey its message. The human form is the most common base for these paintings.  

Figure: The form of a human, a thing or an animal. 

Fontainebleau School: Group of mostly Italian Artists who were commissioned to decorate the Chateau of Fontainebleau near Paris. 

Form: The basis of the anatomy of human body and of animals, the principles of growth in plants, the methods of construction used in buildings, and the factors underlying the phenomena of landscape etc. 

Flat: A type of block printing which exploits the mutual repulsion of water and grease. 

Fresco: Wall painting, in which paint is applied to wet plaster, and blends with it as it dries. 

Frottage: Technique in which the structures of materials (e.g wood) are made visible on paper through rubbing. 

Futurism: Italian art movement founded by the writer F. T. Marnetti, with the publication of the "Futurist Manifesto". 


Gallery: A room, building or institution where paintings and other artworks are exhibited; and often where they are also sold. A place reserved for the display of paintings and other work of art. 

Garbhagriha: ‘Garbha’ means the womb and ‘griha’ house. In Indian temples, it is the innermost part or the cella of the sanctuary. It is the holy of holies. 

Garuda: The vehicle of Vishnu. He is half-eagle and half-man. He devours serpents and occupies an important place in Indian mythology. Depicted in Indian sculpture with Vishnu or even as an individual deity. 

Genre Painting: Art showing scenes from daily life. 

Geometrical Abstraction: A reduction of the pictorial composition to clear geometrical forms. 

Gestural Painting: In Modernism, a style in which the process of creation of the work is recorded in the marks on the canvas. 

Glaze: Thin, transparent application of paint on dried layers of paint or on a ground. 

Glue Colors: These produce a dead mat effect and looks distinctly darker when wet than when dry. 

Golden Section: A proportion in which a line is divided into two so that the smaller part is to the larger as the larger is to the whole. 

Gopuram: A gateway in medieval Indian temples which had a pyramidal structure at the top.  

Gothic: The art of the Middle Ages, which developed over various periods in all the arts in Europe. Starting with the architecture of the 12th century, Gothic was almost entirely dominated by religious tasks. 

Gouache: A painting technique using water based colors, which are opaque when dry. 

Graphic Art: Blanket term for drawings and print based works.(e.g. etching, woodcut, engraving, etc.) on paper. 

Grhya sutras (grihya sootras)—Text on domestic religious ceremonies and finally manuals of human conduct compiled between 600-300 BC. 

Gum Arabic: It is extracted from Arabian and Indian acacias. Both gums are very light and almost colorless in solution. 

Guru: A spiritual mentor. It can also mean a teacher. 

Grattage: A method of scratching and scrapping a thick layer of paint to produce changes in the layers of paint. 

Gum Tragacanth: It is extracted from bruising the branches of the tragacanth bush. It provides the most important binder for watercolors and for gouache and other opaque colors. 


Happening: An art form chiefly from the 1960s, in which the artwork is an action. 

Hard-Edge: Abstract trend of the 1960s and 70s, featuring cleanly defined, often geometrical areas of color. 

Harihara: ‘Hari’ is a name of Vishnu. ‘Hara’ is another name of Shiva. When they are united as one God they are called Harihara. 

Harmika: The top of a stupa in the form of a pedestal in which the shaft of the holy umbrella is placed. 

Hasta: Hand. An ancient linear measure from elbow to finger tip (cubit). 

Hasya rasa: ‘Hasya’ means laughter. In Indian poetics hasya rasa means humour or humourous. It is one of the nine rasas (navarasa). 

Hinayana: ‘Hina’ – little; ‘Yana’ – vehicle. Literally - ‘The Little Vehicle’.
An early form of Buddhism that emphasized concentration on the doctrines of Buddhism. In sculpture instead of the figure of the Buddha, the Hinayana icons depicted his umbrella, slippers and other things to indicate his presence. It is also known as Theravada Buddhism. It is rather dogmatic and austere. 

History Painting: The illustration of historical events, mythological, Biblical and literary themes which are either realistic or idealized. 

Historicism: A revival of earlier artistic styles, to make a new style. 

Hyperrealism:  Art movement based on the principle of the illusion of reality and the reality of illusion. 


Icon: A type of panel painting of the Greek Orthodox Church. 

Iconography: Meaning of the form and content of picture-signs. Also a term for the academic discipline devoted to the investigation and classification of picture content. 

Idealism: Philosophy and artistic mode in which reality is not shown as it is, but in the spirit of a particular idea. 

Illusionism: Painting which, with perspective and painterly devices, generates the optical appearance of three-dimensionality and spatiality. 

Impasto: Application of paint (with spatula or large brush) in which the paint creates the three-dimensional effect in the paint itself. 

Impressionism: An art movement formed around 1870 in France, concerned with capturing the object in its momentary dependency on lighting.   

Imprimitura: A nice spreadable glaze. 

Indra: Most important of the Vedic gods. He is also called Purandara or breaker of forts. He is personified as the Aryan war-lord leading them to victory against demons. 250 Rig Vedic hymns are devoted to him. Regarded as the rain-god, people prayed to him for adequate rain. 

Informel: Non-figurative painting of the second half of the 20th century. 

Installation: Large artistic arrangement in contemporary art. 

Instant Images: Term for the works of F.Stella, which are to be recognized immediately. 

Intaglio: A type of printing in which the blocks are made by engraving the lines in metal and then filling it with ink. 

Interior Painting: Representation of interiors, or of scenes taking place in interiors. 

Intermediate colour: They are produced by mixing unequal amounts of two primary colours. Intermediate colours are located between the primary and secondary colours on a colour wheel. Also known as tertiary colours. 

ISOA: Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta, INDIA.

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