Art Dictionary

Painting techniques

Painting is the main forms of visual arts, connected with applying paints to a surface. There are several types of painting: panel, mural, decorative, scenic and miniature painting. Blossom of painting as an independent form of art falls on the Renaissance era.

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Graphic arts

Graphic arts is divided into two different methods of creating a picture: drawing and printmaking. Drawings can be created with the help of a pencil, ink, charcoal, red chalk and other media. In printmaking there are a few methods of creating a picture: woodcut, engraving, etching, lithography. The discovery of printed books and the development of book illustrations closely relates to woodcut and engraving methods.

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Styles and Movements in Art

Painting styles and movements reflect the unity of common principles of artistic thinking established throughout history, that was typical for a specified historical period. European art is divided into a number of stylistic periods, that overlap with each other. Broadly these periods are: Prehistoric art, Ancient, Classical art, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, Modern and Postmodern.

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Painting genres

In visual arts, all works of art are usually divided into genres according to their subject matter. In 1667 André Félibien, a secretary of Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, canonized a hierarchy of art genres. These genres in hierarchy order are:

  • History painting, together with narrative religious mythological and allegorical subjects
  • Portrait painting
  • Genre painting
  • Landscape and cityscape
  • Animal painting
  • Still life

The size of paintings also reflected their position in the hierarchy: paintings of the “highest” genre were of a larger size, then those of the “lowest”. Nowadays such hierarchy of genres is not formalized: descendants are usually interested in paintings of the “lowest” genre, and those paintings of the “highest” genre, such as historical paintings they consider to be boring and unentertaining.

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Art Institutions

The development of artistic education as a special form of artist training goes back to the Antiquity. In Medieval major artists trained young artists in their workshops, sharing with them their skills and knowledge. In Europe in the 16th century appeared first schools of painting, where an educational system composed of the main artistic disciplines developed. In Russia icon painters, muralists and gravers trained future artists during the execution of their orders. Establishment of Drawing School in Saint-Petersburg under the wing of Peter I became a significant step ahead in developing artistic education in Russia. Today the leading art institutions in Russia are Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design and Repin Academy of Art.

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Art Museums and Galleries

First art gallery, or pinacotca, appeared in ancient Greece. Originally the name was specifically used for the left wing of the Propylaea on the Acropolis at Athens, where the paintings presented to the goddess Athena as an oblation were collected.
The first art gallery in Russia is considered to be the art gallery in the Monplaisir Palace of the Peterhof Palace Complex (the beginning of the 18th c.), where at that time the collection of West-European paintings was represented.

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Framing, Care and Restoration of Paintings

Useful information about how to care for oil paintings. 

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Framing, Care and Restoration of Graphic Artworks

Graphic artworks are very fragile, and if cared incorrectly, they can lose their original appearance. In order not to spoil them, here are a few pieces of advice for you about how to frame and care for graphic artworks.

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