Art Terms — M

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A glossary of art vocabulary and definitions beginning with M.

Macramé
An 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). It has been used by sailors, 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 that 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 major practitioner of this style.
Marbling
The art or process of producing certain patterns of a veined or mottled appearance in imitation of marble by means of colors so prepared as to float on a mucilaginous liquid which possesses antagonistic properties to the colors prepared for the purpose.
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 marine art.
Masterpiece
A work done with extraordinary skill, especially a work of art, craft or intellect that is an exceptionally great 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 which 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 greatly reduced scale.
Minimal Design
Omitting all non-essential or un-important elements and details which don’t really contribute to the essence of the overall composition in order 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 representational of any object. Also known as ABC art.
Mixed Media
The art technique where an artist employs different types of physical materials such as ink and pastel or 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/or shades.
Monochrome
A painting done in different shades of a single color.
Montage
montage imageAn artwork comprising of seemingly unrelated shots or scenes which, when combined of various existing images such as from photographs or prints and arranged so that they join, overlap or blend to create a new image which achieve meaning (as in, shot A and shot B together give rise to an third idea, which is then supported by shot C, and so on) (see 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 which 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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