Art Terms — X

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A glossary of art vocabulary and definitions beginning with X.

X-Radiography
A medical diagnostic tool used extensively by conservators to determine how artists applied different layers of paint to create an image. The X-rays penetrate through multiple layers of paint to image on film the atomic weight or density of the various materials that are present. It can easily detect if repairs have been made to tears in the canvas, if there are holes in the panel support, and other such occurrences. This information is extremely valuable to conservators as it helps to determine the best procedures to use in preserving the image. It can also assist art historians in the interpretation of the art work and more specific dating.
Xerography
Photographic process which uses an electrically charged metal plate. On exposure to light the electrical charge is destroyed, leaving a latent image in which shadows are represented by charged areas. A powdered pigment dusted over the plate is attracted to the charged areas, producing a visible image. Also called photocopying or xerocopy, a lesser used term.
Xylography
An early form of wood engraving, was first seen in China in the 1st century. It is the oldest known engraving technique.

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UPDATED: 22 March 2021


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