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Article

Ralph Hyde

Prints, drawings or paintings that incorporate high-level perspective: the viewer has the sensation of looking at the ground from the clouds. Views taken from just above roof-level and map-views—pictorial maps that have a consistent scale—fall outside this category. Bird’s-eye views have also been called ‘aeronautical views’, ‘balloon views’ and ‘aero-views’. The advantage of the high angle is that more detail can be displayed, as the foreground does not obscure the background. This has made the bird’s-eye view the ideal medium for representing battlefields, a purpose for which it was first used in the Classical period (see Rome, ancient, §IV, 1, (iv), (b)). It has also been found useful for depicting proposed urban developments, such as estates, docks and railways, and for landscape garden plans. It has been widely used for depicting palaces and country houses and, in the 19th century, for individual factories, the choice of the bird’s-eye medium being motivated by landlords’ and capitalists’ pride of ownership. Civic pride has contributed to the even more widespread use of the method for depicting towns and cities....

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Tool with a hard, smooth, tip, mounted in a wooden handle, used for smoothing or polishing. In water gilding, a burnisher of polished agate is used to smooth the underlying gesso and bole after the gold is applied, giving a highly reflective surface. Burnishers used to burnish ancient pots are depicted in Egyptian wall paintings from the 14th century ...

Article

Shirley Millidge

[Fr. contre preuve; offset]

Reversed image of a print or drawing. It is made by pressing a blank sheet of paper against the original, both being dampened slightly and then run through a rolling press together. The counterproof image, usually fainter than the original, is transferred on to the second sheet in reverse. A counterproof is often made as part of the working process: after gauging the effects of the reversal, the printmaker or draughtsman is able to revise, correct or introduce new elements to the original as seems appropriate.

The process of pulling a counterproof is especially useful in between states of a print, since the counterproof is in the same direction as the printing-plate on which the artist is working. Such a counterproof can only be made from a newly printed proof that still has wet ink. The proof itself is damaged by the process: the intense pressure used to transfer the image removes ink from the original print and smooths out the impression marks....

Article

Christian Rigal

[electrophotography; xerography.]

Term for processes involving the interaction of light and electricity to produce images and for the production of original works of art by these processes. Since these processes are used by nearly all photocopiers, the production of such works has also been referred to as ‘copy art’, although this is misleading, since it suggests the mere replication of already existing works. Artistic photocopies were made in California in the late 1950s, but electrography proper as an international art form dates from the early 1960s, when electrographers developed its basic techniques. Bruno Munari’s pioneering works, workshops and publications, starting in 1963, foreshadowed the preponderant role played by Europe in the history of electrography, to which important exhibitions at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (1980) and in Valencia (1988) later testified. Electrographs vary widely in size and can be over 1 km in length; materials used include not only paper but also canvas and leather. In the mid-1970s ...

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Method of suggesting relief by shading in closely set parallel lines. It is used in linear styles of drawing, engraving and etching, and sometimes in painting. In egg tempera, the paint was sometimes applied in hatched single strokes so that it did not blend with the layer below. Crosshatching consists of two layers of parallel lines, crossing at an angle....

Article

Ink  

John Winter

Imprecise term applied to a number of more or less fluid materials that are used for either writing or printing the written word or have evolved for a variety of illustrative and artistic purposes. Most inks for the written and printed word have always been black, or nearly so, but coloured inks also evolved for some writing, for embellishment and for pictorial work.

See also Pigment, especially §§II and IV.

A primary distinction can be made between inks used for writing and drawing and those used for printing. The former are usually water-based and are sometimes barely distinguishable from watercolour paints, especially in the case of coloured inks. Printing inks may be water-, oil- or solvent-based. Ink for writing and drawing must flow freely from the pen or brush and must be of adequate tinting strength. These properties can be provided by black pigments held in suspension or by solutions that are or become black, but in each case only a few preparations have been found adequate, at least before modern times. ...

Article

Joan H. O’Mara

Japanese paintings or woodblock prints depicting famous poets and poetesses often accompanied by the inscription of their names, with or without additional biographical information, and representative verses. By integrating calligraphy, poetry and painting in a single format, kasen’e (‘pictures of poetic immortals’) illustrate well the close interrelationship between these three art forms.

Originally the poets and poetesses designated in kasen’e as sages or ‘immortals’ (kasen) were accomplished masters of waka, the 31-syllable Japanese poetic form (also called tanka). According to tradition, a debate over the merits of various waka poets led the poet and critic Fujiwara no Kintō (966–1041) to name 31 men and 5 women from the Nara (ad 710–94) and Heian (794–1185) periods as ‘poetic immortals’. Although the kasen were selected, canonized and anthologized during the Heian period, the earliest surviving depictions date from the Kamakura period (1185–1333...

Article

Alan Donnithorne, Andrew Thompson and Sheila R. Canby

Attachment of a work of art to a support or setting, or the application of accessories or decoration as embellishment. In many types of mount, these two distinct concepts may be combined, and the mount serves both a functional and decorative purpose.

Alan Donnithorne

Although the term ‘mounting’ may apply to the support or fixing of three-dimensional art, this article is concerned with the description and history of the mounting of two-dimensional or flat format pictorial and other graphic material. In East and Eastern Central Asia this includes paintings and calligraphy in scroll, screen, fan, album and banner formats, as well as prints of various sorts; in India and the Islamic world, calligraphy, painted decoration, miniatures and various kinds of banner painting; in the West, mainly prints, drawings and watercolours. The chief substances used in the fabrication of these works of art are such materials as paper and woven silk. These form the original, or primary, support for the pigment with which the pictorial image or script is created. The pigment, usually mixed with a binding medium, may be applied directly to the surface of the support, as in an East Asian scroll painting or European engraved print, or the support may first be coated with a preparation or ground as in a Renaissance metalpoint drawing, an Indian or Islamic miniature painting or a Tibetan tangka. In their unmounted state, all these works of art are fragile and vulnerable to damage from handling and other environmental effects of unprotected storage or display, and adequate physical support in the form of a mount became necessary once people sought to preserve them. In some civilizations mounting evolved with the art form itself, as in the case of East Asian scrolls; elsewhere methods evolved from the need to organize and display collections, initially in the form of albums and later by fixing into a cut-out cardboard surround or ‘window’ mount (USA: mat). In the West this practice developed when collections of drawings and prints began to be assembled from the 15th century onwards. Since then, the ‘window’ mount style of mounting has evolved in conjunction with the increasing practice of framing and displaying graphic art....

Article

Sandra Sider

Abbreviation for ‘optical art’, referring to painting, prints, sculpture, and textiles exploiting the optical effects of visual perception. The term entered American art vocabulary in 1964, referring especially to two-dimensional structures with strong psychophysiological effects. The reasons for these effects had been explained in three 19th-century treatises: Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s Zur Farbenlehre (The Theory of Colors; 1810); Michel-Eugène Chevreul’s De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs (Simultaneous Contrast of Colors; 1839); and Hermann von Helmholtz’s Physiologische Optik (Physiological Optics; 1855–66).

See also Op art.

Painting was transformed after the mid-19th century, once artists understood the three-receptor theory of vision, and how the mind—not the eye—creates colour. The optical experiences in Op art include after-images, line interference, reversible perspective, chromatic vibration, ambiguous forms, and sculptural superimpositions. Op art awakens questions in the viewer concerning the perceptive processes: ‘As we stand before Op paintings that resist our understanding, we introduce ourselves to our unconscious selves’ (exh. cat. ...

Article

Kendall Taylor

Term used to describe images and information produced and disseminated for social, ideological or religious purposes. For some scholars almost any art, including monumental art (see Public monument) and even entire cities, can be regarded as a form of propaganda. The word is most commonly associated, however, with the deliberate manipulation of narrative art and graphic symbols to alter public opinion, a strategy adopted in modern times particularly by totalitarian regimes in the Western world seeking to engineer democratic support. This article therefore concentrates mainly on painting and the graphic arts as vehicles for propaganda in Western art, and in particular on the techniques used in empire-building, social and political reform, revolution and war.

The concept of persuasion through techniques of imagery can be traced back to the ancient world, where the earliest civilizations used propaganda art to evoke images of power and superiority and to dispel the fear from their warrior class or instil fear into the enemy. The images of animals in the ...

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

Satire  

Paul von Blum

Term applied to intentionally hyperbolic representations in art that are designed to denounce and ridicule the voluminous vices, follies, stupidities and evils of the human species. Using humour, parody and irony, satirical artists aim to criticize or attack these human foibles for many reasons: to express their personal irritation, anger and frustration; to entertain their audiences; to agitate for social and political reform; and to educate the public to a deeper if more depressing understanding of the human condition. Virtually every feature of personal, social and political life has been assaulted by satirical artists for thousands of years. In the process, satire has become one of the most universal, enduring and popular forms of artistic expression.

Satire appears in almost every medium of human expression, including literature, visual art, film and music. Western literary satire is rooted in the Classical world of ancient Greece and Rome. The comedies of Aristophanes, for example, satirized ancient Greek society 2400 years ago. The Roman writers ...

Article