Art Terms and Definitions — M

A dictionary of art terms and definitions that begin with the letter M.

Macramé
Art Terms and Definitions -- MAn old craft form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot and forms of hitching (full hitch and double half hitches). Sailors use it, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to decorate anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships (see illustration).
Magenta
M is for MagentaOne of the four process colors, or CMYK, the M is for magenta. A color also known as fuchsia and hot pink; a moderate to vivid purplish-red or pink.
Mannerism
An artistic movement developed in the sixteenth century as a reaction to the classical rationality and balanced harmony of the High Renaissance; characterized by the dramatic use of space and light, exaggerated color, elongation of figures, and distortions of perspective, scale, and proportion. El Greco was a prominent practitioner of this style.
Marbling
The art or process of producing specific patterns of a veined or mottled appearance to imitate the look of marble.
Maritime Art  
Any art that gets its inspiration from the sea. It is a genre of art that often depicts ships and life out on the open sea. Also referred to as marine art. Click for more information about maritime art or nautical art.
Masterpiece 
A work done with extraordinary skill, especially a work of art, craft, or intellect, an exceptionally outstanding achievement.
Medium
Material or technique an artist works in, oil paint and watercolor are examples; also, the component of paint in which the pigment is dispersed.
Mineral Spirits 
An inexpensive paint thinner that cleans brushes, thins paint, cleans furniture and removes wax often used as a substitute for turpentine.
Miniature 
A representational work of art made on a significantly reduced scale.
Minimal Design 
Omitting all non-essential or unimportant elements and details which don’t contribute to the essence of the overall composition to emphasize what is important.
Minimalism 
A movement and style of art from the 20th century which attempts to reduce art to the basic geometric shapes with the fewest colors, lines, and textures. Minimal art does not seek to be representative of any object. Also known as ABC art.
Mixed Media 
The art technique where an artist employs different physical materials such as ink and pastel, painting and collage, etc., and combines them in a single work.
Model 
A person who poses for an artist.
Monochromatic
Having on only one color. A color scheme limited to variations of one hue, a hue with its tints and shades.
Monochrome 
A painting done in different shades of a single color.
Montage 
montage imageAn artwork comprised of seemingly unrelated shots or scenes that combine various existing images, such as photographs or prints, and arranged so that they join, overlap, or blend to create a new image that achieves meaning. See the illustration.
Mosaic  
An art medium in which small pieces of colored glass, stone, or ceramic tile called tessera are embedded in a background material such as plaster or mortar. Also, works made using this technique.
Motif
An important and noticeable element or feature that is repeated throughout the composition or design.
Movement
As it applies to art, the path that our eyes follow when we look at a work of art. One of the Good Design Principles. See more info.
Multimedia Art 
An artwork that uses a combination of electronic media, which could include video, film, audio, and computers.
Multimedia Artist 
An artist who uses technology to create designs and special effects for electronic media.
Mural
muralA large painting that has been painted on walls or ceilings, often executed in fresco. See illustration.

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UPDATED: 29 March 2021

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