Glossary — Glossary


noun. / ˈvanəˌtäs /

1). Vanitas is a genre of painting that speaks to the transience of life and the certainty of death. Vanitas are usually still-life paintings that contain skulls and other symbols of mortality. They visualize the expression “Momento Mori” or “Remember Death.” Vanitas was a common genre in Northern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, though many contemporary artists have adapted it to the present day.


noun and verb. / ˈvalyo͞o /

1). In color theory, value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color.

2). It also refers to the emotional and financial worth of a work of art. In this case, value is more a verb than a noun. It is more active than passive. It is in flux, not static. Art has value when someone values it.


noun. / ˌtrômp ˈloi /

1). Trompe-l'œil refers to a “triumph over the eye,” the illusion of three-dimensional space in art.


noun. / ˈriT͟Həm /

1). Like other art forms, visual art can have rhythm. It is a visual beat that creates a sense of movement, unity, and harmony.


noun. / ˌreprəˌzenˈtāSH(ə)n /

1). Representational art depicts things in the real world, like trees or the human figure. Representation and abstraction are opposite ends of a spectrum. Representational art can be abstract but the more abstract it is, the less recognizable it is.

2). Artists choose how they want to be “represented” in the art world. Some artists partner with galleries and art dealers to sell art and find new opportunities. Other artists represent themselves.

3). Representation means a diversity of voices. Who is represented in art and how? Who is represented in art collections and who is not? Who is represented in leadership positions in the art world and who is not?