Word of the Day!


The ingredient in the vehicle of a paint which adheres the pigment particles to one another and to the ground. It creates uniform consistency, solidity, and cohesion.


A soft pad holding the wax ground used in etching.

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The initial method for creating photographic images, invented by Louis J. M. Daguerre in the early 19th century. An image is projected onto a polished copper plate treated with iodine or bromine vapor.

Example: Louis J. M. Daguerre's Still Life in Studio, 1837

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A coniferous resin used as a varnish, and sometimes as part of a mixed medium.

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dapping block

A concave form used for shaping metal.

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Light-tight room used for processing or printing photographic materials.

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Photographic method used to apply images to a fired glazed surface, before refiring.

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Alkaline substance, such as sodium silicate or sodium carbonate which, when added to a clay with a little water, causes the clay particles to separate and remain in suspension.

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dente di cane

A type of claw chisels having six or so fine notches in its carving edge. Italian for "dog's teeth." (pr. den'teh dee cah'neh)

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To remove oxides. Barium is an example of a deoxidizing substance, because it is used to deoxidize copper, bronze, and some other alloys. Flux is used to deoxidize surfaces in the process of soldering.

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The taking down from the cross the body of Christ. The image of the deposition was popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth-centuries.

Example: Jacopa de Pontormo's Descent from the Cross, 1525-1528

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A distinctive feature of an object or scene which can be seen most clearly close up. Also, a small part of a work of art, enlarged to show a close-up of its features. (pr. dee'tayl or duh-tayl')

Example: Hieronymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, 1505-1510

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A straight line segment passing through the center of a figure, especially of a circle or sphere, and terminating at its edge. The length of such a line. Also, thickness or width.

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An all-over repeat pattern or design, usually on fabric or walls, usually composed of clearly defined geometrical elements, often of diamond-shaped figures.

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A device used for cutting out, forming, or stamping material. Most common types include: a metal piece with a surface having a relief design used for impressing that design onto a softer metal, as in striking coins; each of the cutting elements of a diestock used to cut threads on screws or bolts; a part on a tool that punches shaped holes in, cuts, or forms sheet metal, cardboard or another material; a metal block which has small conical holes through which plastic, metal, or other ductile metal is extruded or drawn.

See Also:  intagliotemplate

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differential focus

A photographic technique in which everything in the foreground shows clearly, while everything in the background is less distinct, or visa-versa.

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diffraction grating

Sheets of glass, plastic, or metal inscribed with grids whose lines or dots diffract any light directed at the gridded surface and break this light up into its color spectra so that the rays may be measured accurately.

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Sheets of glass, plastic, or metal inscribed with grids whose lines or dots diffract any light directed at the gridded surface and break this light up into its color spectra so that the rays may be measured accurately.

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An igneous stone, extremely hard and usually black or dark gray in color.

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A set of two paintings, panels, or sculptural friezes which alone are not the complete work of art. Diptychs are often hinged together.

Example: Diptych of the Nicomachi and Symmachi, c. 380-400

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direct carving

A carving technique in which the form of the sculpture evolves as the artist works into the block, or is suggested by the shape of the block.

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direct casting

In lost-wax casting, a technique in which the original model is lost-- melted out of the mold. If the work is hollow, the wall of metal is generally heavy-- the wax model having been modeled thickly over a core of very simple shape.

See Also:  indirect casting

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Material that is nicked and scratched, or in other ways shows signs of age, received through use, abuse, exposure to the weather, etc., or through artifice.

See Also:  abrasivecarvingpatina

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A low platform on wheels used to move sculpture or heavy materials.

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A rounded architectural vault which sits on a base, often at the highest point of a building.

Example: Filippo Brunelleschi's Florence Cathedral Dome, c. 1420-1436

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One of the three main architectural orders which describes the style of the capital of a column. The Doric order is the oldest, least decorated of the three styles.

Example: The Parthenon, Athens, Greece, 447-438 B.C.

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May refer to the most fundamental mark, one level more fundamental than a line. And it may refer to a particular point, or location. Also, computer term for either a pixel or that punctuation also called a period or point.

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double exposure

In photography, techniques that combine images made at different moments in time.

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double loading

Loading a brush with two colors side by side. This is a technique typical of tole and decorative painting. In order to double load, use a paint of creamy consistency, and drag one edge of the brush through the lighter color as many times as needed to fill that edge with color; then stroke the clean edge of the brush through the darker color in the same manner. Once the brush is loaded this way, blend the colors at the center of the brush by stroking on the palette. Using this technique, each brushstroke (application of color) deposits a gradation of the two blended colors.

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A length of round wood, either as it might naturally be formed or as it can be turned. Also, to insert such round lengths of wood as pegs into drilled holes in place of nails, bolts or screws to secure a joint between pieces of material. In ancient architecture, a wooden or metal pin placed between stones of different courses to prevent shifting.

See Also:  clampmasonry

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downdraft kiln

One in which heat and flames are drawn downwards and out through flues at the base or floor of the kiln.

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drafting film

A dimensionally stable polyester-based, plastic-like sheet used by technical illustrators, architects and engi­neers for drawings or plans. It is not affected by heat or chemicals used in reprographic processes, nor does it become yellow or brittle with age. Drafting film may be clear or have a matte finish on one or both sides. Matte film is more receptive to pencil and ink. Ink specifically formulated for drafting film has greater adhesion to slick surfaces. Some film may be coated so that it is recep­tive to water media. Care must be taken not to disturb this coating. Mylar refers to a specific brand of drafting film, but the term is often used generically for polyester film. Acetate is also a plastic-like sheet, but tends to be more brittle and less heat-resistant than drafting film. Either is available in various weights noted in thou­sandths of millimeters: 0.003 being lightweight, while 0.010 is very heavy.

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An artist who draws sketches and plans of machinery or buildings.

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Skill in drawing.

See Also:  draftsmanpencil

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Applying relatively dry oil paints lightly over a surface, creating an area of broken color-- the new color having attached to the high spots but not to the low, so that irregular portions of the undercolor remain exposed. Also known as scruffing.

See Also:  dry brushoverpainting

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drape mold

A mold in which the outside shape is used.

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Clothing or fabric arranged in folding patterns. In the Renaissance artists participated in competitions centering on the mastery of depicting drapery, and the skill was considered requisite of a master painter.

Example: Perugino's Christ Delivering the Keys to St. Peter, 1481-1483

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Depiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Color and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. The artist's choices of drawing media-- tools and surface-- tend to determine whether a drawing will be more or less linear or painterly in quality. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself-- an independent and finished work of art-- or a preliminary to some other medium or form-- although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. Drawing has been highly appreciated since the Renaissance, greatly because it implies spontaneity-- an embodiment of the artist's ideas. This spontaneous idea has always been used to particular advantage in caricature. The invention of printmaking techniques in the 15th century made possible the duplication and dissemination of drawings, further establishing drawing as a definitive art form. Also see pencil, brush, pen, ink, chalk, charcoal, crayon, pastel, watercolor, wash, hatching, sinopia, abbozzo, computer graphics, and mechanical drawing.

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A metal blade with a wooden handle at both ends used to strip wood.

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To give the final texture to a hard medium, especially wood or stone, with chisels, hammers, points, etc.

See Also:  drovetooth

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A tool that bores a hole when revolved. In the most primitive examples it is revolved between the palms; then it was operated by means of a bow, and later also with a brace. The cutting is generally achieved by a metal point or bit, but in some cases the point of the drill is used with abrasives. There are many types of contemporary drills, including those that bore holes by both rotating abrasion and repeated blows. A drill press is a powered vertical drilling machine in which the point is pressed to the work by hand lever or automatically.

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drip painting

A painting method in which paint is dripped directly onto the surface of the painting. Often this technique requires placing the canvas on the floor instead of painting while the surface is upright.

Example: Jackson Pollock's Lucifer, 1947

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In carving stone, a flat chisel with a broad head generally used only for rough hewing. Also, a stone surface dressed with such a chisel.

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dry brush

Applying relatively dry inks or waterpaints lightly over a surface, creating an area of broken color-- the new color having attached to the high spots but not to the low, so that traces of the paper or undercolor remain exposed. This may be done by holding the brush so that the sides of its bristles lie flat against the paper, or by pulling it rapidly across the surface. In oil painting, dragging stroke or scruffing is the name given to this effect.

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dry foot

The foot of a piece of ceramic work that has been cleared of glaze.

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dry mount

Film applied in a pressing machine with heat in order to adhere one flat surface to another.

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An intaglio printing process in which burrs are left on the plate by the pointed needle (or "pencil") that directly inscribes lines. A kind of engraving which has a soft, fuzzy line because of the metal burrs.

See Also:  intaglio

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A quality ascribed to metals which can be easily molded, or easily shaped-- capable of being hammered thin, or drawn into wire for instance. (pr. duck'tel)

See Also:  malleableplasticitytensile strength

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Cracking of pottery due to a too rapid cooling after firing.

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A cathedral or church in Italy. Duomo means dome in Italian, and therefore a duomo is characterized by its spherical vault.

Example: Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence, Italy, 1420-1436

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