Kandinsky: A Retrospective Glossary

Abstraction–Artworks that do not represent a being, place, or thing. Abstraction can also refer to the depiction of a being, place, or thing in a simplified, generalized manner, such as using a circle to represent the sun.

Biomorphic/Geometric Shape–A painted, drawn, or sculpted form or design that suggests the shape of a living organism.

Canvas–A heavy and strong plain-weave fabric made from cotton, hemp, or linen. Canvas is used for tents, sails, awnings, and bags, and as a support for embroidery and paint. The canvases artists use for paintings are usually made from linen, which is stretched on a rigid frame and then coated with preparatory layers.

Color Theory–A practical guide to organizing color and understanding their relationships; addresses color mixing and the visual effects of specific color combinations.

Geometric Shapes–Circles, rectangles, squares, triangles, and so on—an enclosed space with distinct edges.

Line–As an art element, line pertains to the use of various marks, outlines, and implied lines in artwork and design. A line has width, direction, and length. A line’s width is sometimes called its “thickness.” Lines are sometimes called “strokes,” especially when referring to lines in digital artwork.

Musicality–Awareness of music and rhythm, especially in dance.

Non-Objective Art–Another way to refer to abstract art or nonrepresentational art. Essentially, the artwork does not represent or depict a person, place, or thing in the natural world. Usually, the subject of the work is its colors, shapes, brushstrokes, size, scale, and, in some cases, its process.

Oil Paint–A paint made by grinding pigments with a drying oil such as linseed oil. After 1940, many oil paints contained alkyd binders to provide faster drying times.

Tempera Paint–Also known as egg tempera, is a permanent, fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium.

Tint–Is a color to which white has been added to make it lighter.

Shade–What one ends up with when black (or some other dark color) is added to a pure hue.

Primary Colors–The colors red, yellow, and blue, which yield other colors when one is mixed with another.

Secondary Colors–A color that is produced when mixing two primary colors; for example, yellow + blue = green.

Symbolism–The use of symbols to express or represent ideas or qualities in literature, art, etc.
The particular idea or quality that is expressed by a symbol.

Synesthesia–A perceptual condition of mixed sensations: a stimulus in one sensory modality (e.g., hearing) involuntarily elicits a sensation/experience in another modality (e.g., vision).