Art Term Paper

• The paper must be typed. Please submit a photograph of your chosen artwork along with your term paper. Use D2L Word.

• 3 Page, 750 word minimum, using MLA format. (There is no maximum limitation) Use Feldman-Mittler process as described in the outline I provided.

• Include Basic info listed above, tell me where you found your artwork (name of museum and gallery), List Works Cited and/or Bibliography. Do not plagiarize. Appropriately credit quotes. Keep quotes to a minimum.

Elements of Art – Vocabulary for Museum Paper (from Chapter 2)


Regular – consistently the same, even thickness with no variation creates a flat 2-dimensional effect.

Contour – changes thickness…thick and thin variations create a 3-dimensional, sculptural effect.

Horizontal – indicates calm, peacefulness.

Vertical – indicates strength, stability, and inspiration.

Diagonal – indicates energy and movement.

Gestural – indicates action and emotion.

Implied – Visible or invisible lines created by other elements, such as a finger pointing somewhere, that direct our attention around the artwork.

Shapes (2 dimensional forms):

Geometric – edges progress evenly… Examples: triangles, squares, rectangles, circles.

Organic/Biomorphic – edges progress unevenly… Example: clouds

Mass (3-dimensional Form that takes up space)

Volume – the space inside a mass

Color (also Hue or Chroma)

Achromatic – neutral tones only: black, white and grays

Monochromatic – only one color, plus black and white

Warm colors – red, orange, yellow

Cool colors – blue, green, purple

Primary colors – red, yellow, blue

Secondary colors – green, orange, purple (All secondary colors are made by mixing primary colors)

Complementary colors – are across from each other on the color wheel & make each other stand out

Analogous colors – are next to each other on the color wheel

Saturation – intensity or brightness of a color

Value (Tone determined by neutrals)

Shade – darkness determined by the amount of black added

Tint – lightness determined by the amount of white added

Chiaroscuro – Latin for light and dark


Actual – Tactile, Real (relating to 3-dimensional surface variations that can actually be touched and felt)

Simulated – Illusionary, Visual (relating to the imaginary textures we perceive in 2-dimensional artworks)


2-Dimensional – a flat surface or picture plane… Examples: a drawing on paper

3-Dimensional – The space we occupy… Examples: an artwork with protrusions, or a free-standing sculpture.

Principles of Design – Vocabulary for Museum Paper (from Chapter 3)


Symmetrical – elements arranged in a mirror image on both sides of an axis

Relieved Symmetry – symmetry that is imperfect

Asymmetry – uneven arrangement of elements

Radial Symmetry – elements that are symmetrical in all directions… Example: Mandalas

Figure-Ground Ambiguity – the artist purposely makes it unclear which part of the artwork we should focus on (figure/positive space), and which part we should not focus on (ground/negative space)

Ex: Yin Yang symbol


High – extreme differences between dark and light elements

Muted – little difference between dark and light elements, many shades of gray

Emphasis – what we Focus on, Figure, Positive space, Revealed

Subordination – what we Do Not Focus on, Ground (background), Negative Space, Veiled

Pattern – elements that are repeated in an artwork, such as colors or shapes

Rhythm – the way the repetition of patterns occurs

Regular – even repetition of patterns (calming, classical)

Irregular – uneven or chaotic repetition of patterns (hectic, jazzy)

Unity – elements that are similar or the same hold the composition together

Variety – elements that are different keep the composition interesting and exciting

Proportion – compares the parts of one thing to each other (think of when you sprain your ankle and it swells up out of proportion to your leg)

Scale – refers to the normal size of images or objects which may be exaggerated (think of “Alice in Wonderland” when she drank from a bottle that made her grow too big for the room. Later she shrank smaller than a mouse. In both cases her body stayed in correct proportion to herself, but her scale was changed in relation to the objects around her)

Iconography (Secondary Symbolism) – symbols that are specific to a culture, era or religion

Iconoclasm – the destruction, defacement, or shaming of an icon