Art Terms — V

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A glossary of art vocabulary and definitions beginning with V.

The lightness or darkness of a color; contrasts between light and dark. For more information see blog article titled “Basic Art Element — Value“.
linear perspectiveVanishing Point
In perspective, the point on the horizon in the distance where two parallel lines appear to converge and visibility ends.
example of VanitasA style of still life painting made popular in the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th centuries. Vanitas is a Latin term meaning “vanity”. Compositions include objects or symbols of mortality to remind people that life is fleeting and material things and worldly pleasure are temporary. A typical vanitas still life is characterized by and may contain symbolic images like skulls, extinguished candles, rotting fruit, bubbles, smoke, watches, hourglasses, musical instruments, wine and books.
Vector Graphic
A graphic made up of mathematically defined curves and line segments called vectors. Vector graphics can be edited by moving and resizing either the entire graphic or the lines and segments that compose the graphic. Vector graphics can be reduced and enlarged (zoomed in and out) with no loss of resolution.
VermilionA scarlet red pigment of variable color that is vivid red but sometimes with an orange tinge. Originally, the vermilion pigment was made from a highly toxic mineral called cinnabar, which contains mercury. However, because of the toxicity of mercury, a synthetic pigment called cadmium red was developed to replace vermilion.
Vertical Balance
The distribution of visual weights in a piece in such a way that top and bottom seem to be in equilibrium.
Video Art
A genre of art involving moving-imagery and audio-visual technology to produce videotapes for viewing on a television screen. This form of art gained rapid popularity in ’60s and ’70s with the widespread availability of inexpensive videotape recorders.
viewfinder graphicA tool used to look through to compose an image. This tool is helpful in selecting the most interesting composition to be found in a larger image by cropping out unwanted perimeters. In photography a viewfinder is what the photographer looks through to compose, and in many cases to focus, the picture (see illustration). For more information see article titled “Making and Using a Viewfinder to Compose Better Paintings“.
An image or painting where the borders are undefined and seem to fade away gradually until it blends into the background.
violetOne of the secondary colors that is created when the two primary colors of red and blue are mixed together. See Secondary Colors. The complement or opposite of the color yellow. The color of violet is named for the violet flower from which the color is derived.
ViridianA darker blue-green pigment composed more of green than blue falling between teal and green on the color wheel. Viridian takes its name from the Latin viridis meaning “green”.
Visionary Art
Art that transcends what lies beyond the boundary of the physical and scientific world to portray a wider vision of awareness including themes of spiritual, mystical or inner awareness as seen or experienced in the images of dreams or trances.
Visual Art
A form of artwork, such as painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics, crafts or sculpture, created primarily for visual perception and exists in permanent form.
Visual Artist
A practitioner of one or more of the visual arts.
Visual Communication
The communication of ideas through the visual display of information. Primarily associated with two dimensional images, it includes: alphanumeric, art, signs, and electronic resources. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability.
Visual Economy
As used in art, a paring down to only the essential elements required to achieve the desired effect; a.k.a. simplicity. See “Principles of Good Design: Visual Economy” for more information.
The mass of three-dimensional shapes in space.

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UPDATED: 22 April 2021

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