Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Test your knowledge of art history by naming these famous paintings. Take this simple 25 question test by writing your answers on paper, then check your answers at the end of the quiz. Don’t peek!

What is the name of each famous painting pictured below?

Famous Paintings From History quiz

1.  __________ (1503 – 1506) by Leonardo da Vinci

A. Portrait of Lisa Gherardini
B. Mona Lisa
C. Ma Donna
D. My Lady

famous paintings history test

2.  __________ (1511–1512) by Michelangelo

A. The Creation of Adam
B. God Reaches Out
C. Genesis of Man
D. The Touch of God

Famous Paintings test

3.  __________ (1665) by Johannes Vermeer

A. Girl with a Blue Headscarf
B. Girl with an Exotic Dress
C. Girl with a Pearl Earring
D. Girl with an Oriental Turban

The Scream by Edvard Munch

4.  __________ (1893) by Edvard Munch

A. The Ghost
B. The Tormented
C. The Traveler
D. The Scream

Famous Paintings From History

5.  __________ (1931) by Salvador Dali

A. Time Keeps Slipping
B. The Persistence of Memory
C. The Soft Watches
D. The Melting Watches

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

6.  __________ (1876) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

A. Dance at the Moulin De La Galette
B. Dance in the Country
C. Dance at Bougival
D. Luncheon of the Boating Party

Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

7.  __________ (1888) by Vincent van Gogh

A. Roses and Sunflowers
B. Paris Sunflowers
C. Nothing But Sunflowers
D. Sunflowers

Grainstacks at Giverny by Claude Monet

8.  __________ (1888-1889) by Claude Monet

A. Grainstacks at Giverny, Sunset
B. Haystacks as Sunset
C. The Harvest
D. Haystacks in a Field

Dance Class by Edgar Degas

9.  __________ (1871) by Edgar Degas

A. Dance Recital
B. Ballet Rehearsal
C. Dance Class
D. Fin d’Arabesque, with Ballerina

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

10.  __________ (1495-1498) by Leonardo da Vinci

A. Jesus and the Twelve Disciples
B. The Last Passover
C. The Final Communion
D. The Last Supper

Poppy Field by Claude Monet

11.  __________ (1873) by Claude Monet

A. Summer Days
B. Poppy Field
C. Country Stroll
D. A Walk in the Park

Famous Paintings test

12.  __________ (1936) by American artist Georgia O’Keeffe

A. Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1
B. Portrait of a White Flower
C. No. 13 – Special
D. White Blossom – Special

Portrait of Claude Monet by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

13.  __________ (1875) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

A. Self Portrait
B. Portrait of Vincent van Gogh
C. Portrait of Claude Monet
D. Portrait of Paul Cézanne

Famous Paintings quiz

14.  __________ (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

A. Self Portrait
B. Portrait of Claude Monet
C. Portrait of Pierre-Auguste Renoir
D. Portrait of Paul Cézanne

The Church at Varengeville by Claude Monet

15.  __________ (1882) by Claude Monet

A. City on a Hill
B. Impression Sunrise
C. Cliffs of Dover
D. The Church at Varengeville, Against the Sunset

Vase of Sunflowers by Henri Matisse

16.  __________ (1898) by Henri Matisse

A. Vase of Sunflowers
B. Vase with Flowers
C. Still Life with Yellow Flowers
D. Yellow Blossoms

Eilif Peterssen Laksefiskeren (1889)

17.  __________ (1889) by Eilif Peterssen

A. The Fisherman
B. Summer Evening
C. Laksefiskeren, The Salmon Fisher
D. Canal Grande

Ballet Rehearsal on Stage by Edgar Degas

18.  __________ (1874) by Edgar Degas

A. The Rehearsal
B. Ballet Dancers on Stage
C. The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse)
D. Ballet Rehearsal on Stage

Henri Rousseau's The Repast of the Lion

19.  __________ (c. 1907) by Henri Rousseau

A. The Hungry Lion
B. The Repast of the Lion
C. The Jungle
D. King of the Jungle

Famous Paintings From History

20.  __________ (1803) by J.M.W. Turner

A. The Jetty of Calais
B. Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama
C. Ships at Le Havre
D. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West

21.  __________ (1770) by Benjamin West

A. Battle of the Plains of Abraham
B. The Seven Years’ War
C. Battle of Quebec
D. The Death of General Wolfe

Country Wedding by John Lewis Krimmel

22.  __________ (1820) by John Lewis Krimmel

A. Merry Company
B. Country Wedding
C. The Marriage of Krimmel’s Daughter
D. The White Dress

Children on a Farm by Camille Pissarro

23.  __________ (1887) by Camille Pissarro

A. Children at Play
B. Two Young Peasant Girls
C. Children on a Farm
D. Kids in a Courtyard

Fugue in Two Colors by František Kupka

24.  __________ (1912) by František Kupka

A. Amorpha, Fugue en deux couleurs (Fugue in Two Colors)
B. Untitled (First Abstract Watercolor)
C. Dances at the Spring
D. The Procession

Famous history Paintings quiz

25.  __________ (1912) by Robert Delaunay

A. Formes Circulaires
B. Soleil n°2
C. Colored Rhythm
D. Windows Open Simultaneously

How did you do on the “Famous Paintings from History” quiz? Check your answers below to find out.

More Quizzes to Test Your Knowledge of the Fine Arts

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?You are here.

Do You Know The Definition Of These Art Terms?   

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting

Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for taking this quiz!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


Answers: 1B, 2A, 3C, 4D, 5B, 6A, 7D, 8A, 9C, 10D, 11B, 12A, 13C, 14A, 15D, 16A, 17C, 18D, 19B, 20A, 21D, 22B, 23C, 24A, 25D

UPDATED: 07 October 2021

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Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Color schemesWe looked at the basics of color and its relationship on the color wheel in the previous lesson, “Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1.” Color harmony (also known as color schemes) will be discussed in part 2 of this lesson on the basic art element called color.

What is Color Harmony?

Color harmony is the relationship of colors that work well together. It can be a simple relationship involving only one color with several shades (monochromatic) or two complementary colors, or it can be a more complex relationship involving multiple colors. There are many ideas for achieving harmony in our color palettes. These harmonies are based on the color wheel. A color wheel is a handy tool to have around as it helps the artist understand which colors work well together. Following are some illustrations and descriptions introducing some of the more popular color harmonies.

Color Relationships

Monochromatic

Monochromatic refers to the use of a single color from the color wheel. A monochromatic color scheme can be made using this single color.

A monochromatic color scheme is created by using that single color along with its various tints, shades, and tones. All the variances of the single color work well together to produce a harmonizing and soothing effect.

monochromatic color scheme
An example of a monochromatic family.

Complementary

Basic Art Element — Color relationshipsComplementary colors (a.k.a. color opposites) are located directly opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, violet is complementary to yellow because it is located opposite yellow on the color wheel.

The complementary or color opposites are:

    • Red and green
    • Yellow and violet
    • Blue and orange
    • Yellow-green and red-purple
    • Yellow-orange and blue-violet
    • Red-orange and blue-green
    • Red-violet and yellow-green
    • Red-orange and blue-green
    • Blue-violet and yellow-orange

Painting tips regarding color opposites:

1) When equal amounts of color opposites are mixed, they will cancel each other out, resulting in a drab neutral gray.

Basic Art Element — Color2) When color opposites are placed next to each other, especially when fully saturated, they create the strongest contrast between them. They will even create the optical illusion of appearing to vibrate. This illusion is most evident between red and green.

Split-Complementary

split-complementary color schemeA variation on the complementary color scheme is the split-complementary color scheme. Split-complementary takes the two colors directly on either side of the complementary color, rather than the color opposite the key color on the wheel. So, for example, if your main color is yellow, you would select the two colors on either side of violet instead of violet to make up this harmony of colors.

This scheme allows for a wider range of colors while remaining true to the basic harmony between the key and complementary colors. It has the same visual appeal as the complementary color scheme but with less contrast and tension. Split-complementary color schemes are a safe choice for almost any design because they are nearly impossible to mess up and always look good.

Analogous

colorwheel-AnalogousAnalogous colors are groups of three colors that sit next to one another on the color wheel. One is the dominant color and two supporting colors. The effect of this color scheme can be pretty dramatic as these hues usually work very well together in creating a sense of unity or harmony within the composition.

Using this color scheme, choose one as the dominant color (usually a primary or secondary color), a second color to support, and a third as an accent.

Accented Analogous

accented analogous colorsAn accented analogous scheme (also called analogous complementary) combines analogous and complementary color schemes. It consists of colors next to each other on the color wheel and the color directly opposite these. The direct complement then becomes the accent color to create a dynamic contrast against the dominant color grouping. This is a great way to add warmth to a cool analogous color pallet or a cool accent color to an otherwise warm color scheme.

Painting tips using this color scheme:

1) This color scheme works best when the number of colors used is limited to four.

2) A good time to use this scheme is when three closely related colors dominate a design. Then, adding the contrasting color provides a surprising accent for the composition.

Triadic (Triad)

triadic color schemeA triadic color scheme comprises three colors that are equally spaced from one another on the color wheel, forming an equilateral triangle. Thus every fourth color on the color wheel will make up part of a triad.

Some examples of triadic color schemes could be:

    • Red / Yellow / Blue
    • Orange / Green / Violet
    • Yellow-Orange / Blue-Green / Red-Violet
    • Yellow-Green / Blue-Violet / Red-Orange

Painting tips for mixing triad colors:

1) Work with only the three selected colors in your triad and their mixes.
2) Make one of your colors dominant, with the other two acting as subordinates.
3) Add variety to your design by including different shades, tints, and tones of your triad colors.

Test your knowledge of color theory. Take this simple test.

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2 — You are here.

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value

More Art Lessons

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for reading this art lesson!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


UPDATED: 25 June 2021

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Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Knowledge of Art AppreciationHow much do you know about art appreciation? Test your knowledge of art appreciation by taking this simple 50 question quiz. Write your answers on paper, then check them at the end of the quiz. Don’t peek!

1. __________ is the expression of human creative skill and imagination.

A.    Emphasis
B.    Contour
C.    Art
D.    Dominance

2. In what way is art important in daily life?

A.    It has personal significance.
B.    It reflects our society.
C.    It records history.
D.    It is used for marketing and advertising.
E.    It is a form of self-expression.
F.    All of the above.

3. The way to do an art critique is to __________.

A.    describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate the piece
B.    talk to the artist
C.    decide if it’s good
D.    write an artist statement

4. A person learning a trade or an art from a skilled worker is called __________.

A.    an apprentice
B.    a mentor
C.    a foreman
D.    a laborer

5. A rule used by artists when planning a good composition.

A.    “Rule of Sketch”
B.    “Rule of Placement”
C.    “Rule of Perspective”
D.    “Rule of Thirds”

6. Andy Warhol, an American painter and filmmaker, is best known for his depiction of what grocery store item?

A.    Apples
B.    Bacon
C.    Tomato Soup
D.    Onions

7. Andy Warhol’s work can best be classified as __________.

A.    realism
B.    pop art
C.    splatter paint
D,    cubism

8. A style of artwork created using many geometric shapes, often not resembling any object.

A.    Surrealism
B.    Favauvism
C.    Cubism
D.    Baroque

9. An art style where the artist tries to paint a picture exactly how it looks in real life, with as many details as possible.

A.    Impressionism
B.    Pointillism
C.    Realism
D.    Favauvism

10. A style of art where the artist attempts to convey as much of their emotion into the artwork as possible, often using distortion and emphasis.

A.    Expressionism
B.    Surrealism
C.    Cubism
D.    Impressionist

11. The way artwork is arranged is called __________.

A.    emphasis
B.    contour
C.    composition
D.    stylus

12. Surrealism is an art movement that used dream-like images.

True | False

13. An art style where artwork is extremely detailed and ornate.

A.    Surrealism
B.    Baroque
C.    Favauvism
D.    Expressionism

14. Pablo Picasso is from the country of __________.

A.    Germany
B.    Italy
C.    Spain
D.    United States of America

15. What is the title of the style of painting that Picasso invented?

A.    Realism
B.    Impressionism
C.    Cubism
D.    Art Nouveau

16. Where is the “Mona Lisa” hanging in France?

A.    Gargoyle square
B.    The Louvre
C.    The Eiffel Tower
D.    Chartres Cathedral

17. Van Gogh’s most famous work of art to this day __________.

A.    “The Mona Lisa”
B.    “The Scream”
C.    “Starry Night”
D.    “Poppies”

18. What country was Van Gogh born in?

A.    Holland
B.    France
C.    Spain
D.    United States of America

19. Georgia O’Keeffe was an __________ artist.

A.    English
B.    Italian
C.    American
D.    Australian

20. O’Keeffe is best known for her paintings of  __________.

A.    the sea and marine animals
B.    enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes
C.    native American Indians
D.    the Australian Outback

21. Salvador Dali is considered a Surrealist artist.

True | False

22. Salvador Dali was born in India.

True | False

23. Rembrandt is known as an artist of what style?

A.    Impressionists
B.    Baroque
C.    Modern
D.    Prehistoric

24. Rembrandt, considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art, was born in what country?

A.    Netherlands
B.    Switzerland
C.    France
D.    Spain

25. Monet is the father of which movement?

A.    Realism
B.    Impressionism
C.    Cubism
D.    Art Nouveau

26. Where did Monet grow up?

A.    Holland
B.    England
C.    France
D.    United States of America

27. Georges Seurat, the artist who created the painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” used which method of art?

A.    Cubism
B.    Pointillism
C.    Abstract
D.    Dadaism

28. “Mona Lisa” was painted by __________.Art Appreciation quiz

A.    Vincent van Gogh
B.    Claude Monet
C.    Picasso
D.    Leonardo da Vinci

29. “Sunflowers” was painted by __________.test about Art Appreciation

A.    Pierre-August Renoir
B.    Vincent van Gogh
C.    Johannes Vermeer
D.    Michelangelo

30. “Poppies in a Field” was painted by __________.quiz about Art Appreciation

A.    Claude Monet
B.    Leonardo da Vinci
C.    Rene Magritte
D.    Johannes Vermeer

31. “The Scream” was painted by __________.The Scream

A.    Vincent van Gogh
B.    Pierre-August Renoir
C.    Edvard Munch
D.    Claude Monet

32. “The Last Supper” was painted by __________.The Last Supper

A.    Leonardo da Vinci
B.    Pierre-August Renoir
C.    Edvard Munch
D.    Michelangelo

33. “Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette” was painted by __________.Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette

A.    Rene Magritte
B.    Picasso
C.    Pierre-August Renoir
D.    Johannes Vermeer

34. “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was painted by __________.Girl with a Pearl Earring

A.    Picasso
B.    Johannes Vermeer
C.    Michelangelo
D.    Edvard Munch

35. “Dance Class” was painted by __________.Dance Class

A.    Claude Monet
B.    Leonardo da Vinci
C.    Edgar Degas
D.    Rene Magritte

36. “Creation of Adam” was painted by __________.Creation of Adam

A.    Michelangelo
B.    Johannes Vermeer
C.    Pierre-August Renoir
D.    Leonardo da Vinci

37. “The Persistence of Memory” was painted by __________.The Persistence of Memory

A.    Johannes Vermeer
B.    Pierre-August Renoir
C.    Salvador Dali
D.    Leonardo da Vinci

38. What does a color wheel show?

A.    Complementary colors
B.    Analogous colors
C.    Primary colors
D.    All of the above

39. Movement in art where hundreds of dots are used to create a picture or painting.

A.    Pointillism
B.    Impressionism
C.    Realism
D.    Abstract

40. The artist Edgar Degas was best known for his paintings of waterlilies.

True | False

41. Edward Degas was a nineteenth-century French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings.

True | False

42. Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement that mainly focused on the __________.

A.    study of geometric form
B.    study of negative and positive space
C.    study of light on the surface of an object
D.    study of value

43. Art that emerged in the mid-1950s that used imagery from popular culture is termed __________.

A.    Impressionism
B.    Realism
C.    Minimalism
D.    Pop Art

44. A twentieth-century non-representational painting style in which artists applied paints freely to express feelings and emotions.

A.    Abstract Expressionism
B.    Fauvism
C.    Pop Art
D.    Cubism

45. Jackson Pollock’s paintings were classified as what?

A.    Realism
B.    Grotesque
C.    Surreal
D.    Splatterpaint

46. Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter and a central figure in what movement?

A.    American Modernism
B.    Pop Art
C.    Abstract Expressionist
D.    Minimalism

47. An English landscape painter of the late eighteenth century, known for his pastoral scenes.

A.    John Constable
B.    Willem de Kooning
C.    Pablo Picasso
D.    Vincent van Gogh

48. Cityscapes, or as it is sometimes called Urban Landscapes, are paintings whose subject matter is the physical aspects of the city and urban life.

True | False

49. A collection of meaningless shapes, texture, and colors thrown haphazardly onto a canvas. Its purpose is to let the viewer interpret its meaning for him/herself.

A.    Still Life
B.    Grotesque
C.    Collage
D.    Abstract

50. Naïve Art is art characterized by a childlike simplicity that possesses minute detail, bright saturated colors, disproportionate figures, and a lack of perspective.

True | False

Additional Reading

Know Your Art Painting Styles: 7 Most Popular

What Is Art Appreciation?

Classification Of Fine Art Paintings By Genre

More Quizzes to Test Your Knowledge of the Fine Arts

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Do You Know The Definition Of These Art Terms?

Test Your Knowledge of Art AppreciationYou are here.

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting

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Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for taking this quiz!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


Answers: 1C, 2F, 3A, 4A, 5D, 6C, 7B, 8C, 9C, 10A, 11C, 12T, 13B, 14C, 15C, 16B, 17C, 18A, 19C, 20B, 21T, 22F, 23B, 24A, 25B, 26C, 27B, 28D, 29B, 30A, 31C, 32A, 33C, 34B, 35C, 36A, 37C, 38D, 39A, 40F, 41T, 42C, 43D, 44A, 45D, 46C, 47A, 48T, 49D, 50T

UPDATED: 07 October 2021

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Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting

fine art painting testTest your knowledge of fine art painting. Take this simple quiz by writing your answers on paper, then check your answers at the end of the quiz. Don’t peek!

1. The primary colors are __________.

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

2. Which of the following are examples of cool colors?

A.    Orange, green, and purple (or violet)
B.    Blue, green, and violet (or purple)
C.    Yellow, blue and red
D.    White, black and brown

3. Which of the following are examples of warm colors?

A.    Yellow, red, and orange
B.    Yellow, red and blue
C.    Yellow, green and blue
D.    Orange, purple and green

4. What color is the result of mixing red + yellow?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

5. What color is the result of mixing red + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

6. What color is the result of mixing yellow + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

7. What color is the result of mixing red + yellow + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

8. A self-portrait is when an artist creates a painting of someone else.

True | False

9. A landscape is a depiction of natural outdoor scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, forests, etc., as the main subject.

True | False

10. A still life painting is a work of art that depicts an arrangement of inanimate objects (such as food, household items, flowers, plants, rocks, and seashells, for example).

True | False

11. A seascape is a work of art that portrays the sea and marine or sea life. It can also include views of the sea and geographical locations with good views of the sea.

True | False

12. A painting done of wild or domestic animals can be classified as a wildlife painting.

True | False

13. The placement of line, shape, color, and value in a work of art; basically, the complete design.

A.    Value
B.    Composition
C.    Emphasis
D.    Sketch

14. Creating dominance or importance in an artwork is called __________.

A.    Emphasis
B.    Value
C.    Art
D.    Composition

15. The the first step in painting a still life is __________.

A.    drawing contours
B.    shading your objects
C.    choosing a composition
D.    adding visual texture

16. Which technique can be used to show the illusion of depth?

A.   Linear perspective
B.   Shading/Value
C.   Overlapping
D.   All the above

17. When creating depth, objects that are farther away should be __________ in size than closer objects.

A.   fatter
B.   smaller
C.   larger
D.   taller

18. Objects that appear in the center of an artwork are called __________.

A.    foreground
B.    middle-ground
C.    background
D.    horizon

19. The center of interest in a work of art is the area that attracts the viewer’s eye. It is also called __________.

A.    focal point
B.    texture
C.    form
D.    balance

20. A tool used by an artist to obtain proper proportion and placement of a drawing is called a __________.

A.    calculator
B.    grid
C.    line
D.    protractor

21. The background is the portion of the art that is in front of the objects.

True | False

22. The horizon line is a natural line where the land meets the sky.

True | False

23. How can an artist show unity in their artwork?

A.    By drawing happy people
B.    By using principles of design that work together to create harmony
C.    By using many different elements and principles in their artwork
D.    By drawing everything close together

24. Negative space is the background or space around the subject of the artwork.

True | False

25. As a rule in painting, objects in the background are usually made lighter to show __________.

A.    distance
B.    detail
C.    emphasis
D.    movement

26. Perspective is used in art to create __________.

A.    a vivid painting
B.    the illusion of depth
C.    create pattern
D.    create balance

27. The aesthetic center of interest is located directly in the middle of the format.

True | False

28. The point on the horizon line where parallel lines appear to disappear.

A.    Tonal Range
B.    Proportion
C.    Vanishing Point
D.    Linear Perspective

29. Two lines that eventually come together are converging.

True | False

30. What essential tool is necessary to create linear perspective?

A.    Compass
B.    Projector
C.    Ruler or straight edge
D.    Calculator

31. An object in the foreground should be drawn small and toward the top of the paper.

True | False

32. Objects in the middle ground of an artwork should be drawn larger than objects in the background.

True | False

33. The way we show objects in proportion to one another as they recede to a distant point.

A.    Contrast
B.    Foreshortening
C.    Linear Perspective
D.    Form

34. The placement of the horizon line depends on the artist’s point of view.

True | False

35. Flat, filbert, round, and bright are all standard art brush shapes used for oil painting.

True | False

36. When artists think about their composition, they are thinking about __________.

A.    a technique used by modern artists to make designs by attaching two and three-dimensional objects to a flat surface
B.    lines that show the edges of forms and shapes in the simplest way
C.    ordered arrangement of elements in a work of art, usually according to the principles of design
D.    a system of drawing to give the illusion of depth on a flat surface

37. The area on a surface that reflects the most light is a _________.

A.    shadow
B.    highlight
C.    tone
D.    hue

38. The three basic properties of an artwork are composition, content, and __________.

A.    principles of art
B.    subject
C.    elements of art
D.    perspective

39. When you paint, you should always clean your brush to __________.

A.    know what brush you are using
B.    share it with your friends
C.    keep it looking new
D.    keep it clean, so your colors stay beautiful

40. The rule of thirds dictates __________.

A.    that three colors should be used in an artwork
B.    the design be limited to three objects
C.    where the main subjects in a work of art should be placed
D.    the canvas should be divided into three main sections

How did you do on this “Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting” quiz? Check your answers below to find out.

More Quizzes to Test Your Knowledge of the Fine Arts

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Do You Know The Definition Of These Art Terms?  

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: PaintingYou are here.

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Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for taking this quiz!

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Answers: 1D, 2B, 3A, 4B, 5A, 6D, 7C, 8F, 9T, 10T, 11T, 12T, 13C, 14A, 15C, 16D, 17B, 18B, 19A, 20B, 21F, 22F, 23B, 24T, 25A, 26B, 27F, 28C, 29T, 30C, 31F, 32T, 33C, 34T, 35T, 36C, 37B, 38B, 39D, 40C

UPDATED: 07 October 2021

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Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Knowledge of COLOR TheoryA knowledge of color theory is something every artist should have. Find out where you stand on this subject by testing your knowledge of color as it applies to fine art.

Write your answers to this simple 50 question quiz on paper, then check your them at the end of the quiz. Don’t peek!

1. Color is  _______.

A.    a design principle
B.    an element of art
C.    a value
D.    none of the above

2. What color can not be made by mixing any other color?

A.    Yellow
B.    Green
C.    Purple
D.    Gray

3. What are the primary colors?

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

4. The choice of colors used in a design plan is called a _______.

A.    color spectrum
B.    color wheel
C.    color scheme
D.    color mix

5. A circular chart used to show color relationships is called a _______.

A.    color ray
B.    color wheel
C.    color circle
D.    color scheme

6. Secondary colors are created by mixing two _______.

A.    neutral colors
B.    complementary colors
C.    primary colors
D.    intermediate or Tertiary colors

7. Colors that are different in lightness and darkness are said to be _______.

A.    contrasting
B.    light in value
C.    dark in value
D.    bright and intense

8. What are the secondary colors?

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

9. Which of the following are examples of cool colors?

A.    Orange, green, and purple (or violet)
B.    Blue, green, and violet (or purple)
C.    Yellow, blue and red
D.    White, black and brown

10.  Which of the following are examples of warm colors?

A.    Yellow, red, and orange
B.    Yellow, red and blue
C.    Yellow, green and blue
D.    Orange, purple and green

11. Yellow-orange, red-orange, and yellow-green are examples of _______ colors.

A.    intermediate or tertiary
B.    secondary
C.    primary
D.    triadic

12. _______ is another word for the brightness of a color.

A.    Value
B.    Intensity
C.    Hue
D.    Complementary

13. What are the tertiary colors?

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

14. Monochromatic colors are all the colors (tints, tones, and shades) of a single hue.

True | False

15. Complimentary colors are side by side on the color wheel.

True | False

16. To make a shade, you would add _______ to a color.

A.    black
B.    white
C.    brown
D.    yellow

17. What words are used to describe color temperature?

A.    Light and Dark
B.    Hot and Cold
C.    Black and White
D.    Warm and Cool

18. Which colors will give you the greatest contrast?

A.    Red and blue
B.    Blue and green
C.    Red and green
D.    Green and yellow

19. How many colors are on the basic color wheel?

A.    Three primary and three secondary colors
B.    Three cool and three warm colors
C.    Three pairs of complementary colors
D.    All of the above

20. Analogous colors is another term for complementary colors.

True | False

21. Red and green are examples of complementary colors.

True | False

22. The color plan of red, yellow, and blue is an example of a triad color scheme.

True | False

23. A related color scheme would be colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

True | False

24. Tints of colors may be created by adding white. Pink is a tint of red.

True | False

25. Intensity refers to the purity of a hue.

True | False

26. Blue and orange are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

27. Red, yellow, and blue are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

28. Yellow, yellow-orange, orange are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

29. Red and green are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.   complementary

30. Orange, green and violet (or purple) are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

31. Purple, blue, and red-violet are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

32. Colors that are across from each other on the color wheel are called ________.

A.    intermediate or tertiary colors
B.    analogous colors
C.    color triad
D.   complementary colors

33. Three colors that are equal distance apart on the color wheel are called ________.

A.    intermediate or tertiary colors
B.    analogous colors
C.    color triad
D.    complementary colors

34. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel are called  ________ .

A.    intermediate or tertiary colors
B.    analogous colors
C.    color triad
D.    complementary colors

35. ________ are obtained by mixing secondary colors and primary colors.

A.    Intermediate or Tertiary colors
B.    Analogous colors
C.    Color triad
D.    Complementary colors

36. ________  are obtained by adding white to a hue.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

37. ________ are obtained by mixing two primary colors.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

38. ________ are obtained by adding black to a hue.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

39. Colors that go with all color plans — white, black, gray, and brown — are called _______ .

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

40. Blue, green, and purple are cool colors.

True | False

41. All colors are made from red, blue, and yellow.

True | False

42. Yellow, red, and orange are cool colors.

True | False

43. Purple is an example of a primary color.

True | False

44. The lightness or darkness of a color is referred to as the _______ .

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

45. The brightness or dullness of a color is referred to as the _______ .

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

46. The pure hue is at its brightest _______ right from the bottle.

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

47. What color is the result of mixing red + yellow?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

48. What color is the result of mixing red + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

49. What color is the result of mixing yellow + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

50. What color is the result of mixing red + yellow + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

How did you do on the “Knowledge of COLOR Theory” quiz? Check your answers below to find out.

Additional Reading

For more information on color theory, see the art article titled “Basic Art Element — Color.”

More Quizzes to Test Your Knowledge of the Fine Arts

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Do You Know The Definition Of These Art Terms?  

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR TheoryYou are here.

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting

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Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for taking this quiz!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


Answers: 1B, 2A, 3D, 4C, 5B, 6C, 7A, 8B, 9B, 10A, 11A, 12B, 13A, 14T, 15F, 16A, 17D, 18C, 19D, 20F, 21T, 22T, 23T, 24T, 25T, 26D, 27A, 28B, 29D, 30C, 31B, 32D, 33C, 34B, 35A, 36B, 37C, 38D, 39A, 40T, 41T, 42F, 43F, 44B, 45C, 46C, 47B, 48A, 49D, 50C

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Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

fine art testTest your knowledge of fine art with regard to the elements and principles of good design.

Take this simple quiz by writing your answers on paper, then check your answers at the bottom of the webpage. Don’t peek!

1. The principles of good design are _______.

A.    color, depth, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value
B.    balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, proportion, repetition, simplicity, space, and unity
C.    all of the above
D.    none of the above

2. The elements of design are _______.

A.    color, depth, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value
B.    balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, proportion, repetition, simplicity, space, and unity
C.    all of the above
D.    none of the above

3. A type of balance in which both sides of a composition are balanced yet different is called _______.

A.    asymmetrical
B.    radial
C.    symmetrical
D.    geometric

4. Formal balance is another word for _______ balance.

A.    asymmetrical
B.    radial
C.    symmetrical
D.    geometric

5. Another word for “center of interest” is _______.

A.    focal point
B.    emphasis
C.    dominance
D.    all of the above

6. The choice of colors used in a design plan is called a _______.

A.    color spectrum
B.    color wheel
C.    color scheme
D.    color mix

7. A circular chart used to show color relationships is called a _______.

A.    color scheme
B.    color wheel
C.    color ray
D.    color circle

8. Colors that are different in lightness and darkness are said to be _______.

A.    contrasting
B.    light in value
C.    dark in value
D.    bright and intense

9. Which of the following can be used to create contrast in a composition?

A.    Smooth and rough textures
B.    Large and small shapes
C.    Plain areas against areas of patterns
D.   All of the above

10. _______ is another word for the brightness of a color.

A.    Value
B.    Intensity
C.    Hue
D.    Complementary

11. _______ is an element of art that refers to the sense of touch.

A.    Value
B.    Pattern
C.    Texture
D.    Shape

12. Negative space is the background or area surrounding an object in a composition.

True | False

13. Rhythm is created when various visual elements are repeated.

True | False

14. Variation is the use of the same lines, shapes, textures, and colors within an artwork.

True | False

15. Unity is obtained when all parts of a design are working together as a team.

True | False

16. Blue and orange are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

17. Red, yellow, and blue are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous colors
C.    secondary colors
D.    complementary colors

18. Visual _______ is achieved when all parts of a composition have equal weight and appear stable.

A.    focal point
B.    unity
C.    balance
D.    pattern

19. _______ is a three-dimensional geometrical figure showing height, width, and depth.

A.    Space
B.    Form
C.    Balance
D.    Line

20. Various art elements, like lines, colors, or shapes, that are repeated over and over in a planned way create a _______.

A.    focal point
B.    unity
C.    balance
D.    pattern

21. The lightness or darkness of a color is referred to as the _______.

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

22. _______ may be geometric or organic.

A.    Shape
B.    Value
C.    Intensity
D.   Texture

23. _______ is the suggestion of action or direction, the path our eyes follow when we look at a work of art.

A.    Proportion
B.    Simplicity or visual economy
C.    Rhythm
D.    Movement

24. _______ is the relation of two things in size, number, amount, or degree within a design.

A.    Proportion
B.    Simplicity or visual economy
C.    Rhythm
D.    Movement

25. _______ is the elimination of all non-essential elements or details to reveal the essence of a form.

A.    Proportion
B.    Simplicity or visual economy
C.    Rhythm
D.    Movement

26. Symmetry, asymmetry, and radial are all types of _______.

A.    Texture
B.    Balance
C.    Patterns
D.    Form

27. Creating a sense of visual oneness in a work of art is called _______.

A.    Form
B.    Value
C.    Unity
D.    Texture

28. _______ is a mark with greater length than width. They can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, straight, curved, thick, or thin.

A.    Color
B.    Shape
C.    Texture
D.    Line

29. Shapes and forms similar to those found in nature are _______.

A.    geometric
B.    pattern
C.    organic
D.    texture

30. The element of art referring to the emptiness or area between, around, above, below, or within objects:

A.    color
B.    shape
C.    form
D.    space

31. Space is the element of art that helps create the illusion of a foreground, middle ground, and background.

True | False

How did you do on this “Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design” quiz? Check your answers below to find out.

Additional Reading

For more information on this subject, see:

Principles of Good Design

The Basic Elements of Art

More Quizzes to Test Your Knowledge of the Fine Arts

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Do You Know The Definition Of These Art Terms?  

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of DesignYou are here. 

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting

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Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for taking this quiz!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


Answers: 1B, 2A, 3A, 4C, 5D, 6C, 7B, 8A, 9D, 10B, 11C, 12T, 13T, 14F, 15T, 16D, 17A, 18C, 19B, 20D, 21B, 22A, 23D, 24A, 25B, 26B, 27C, 28D, 29C, 30D, 31T

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Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Space
A good example of positive and negative space. Painting by Teresa Bernard.

Space is a basic art element that refers to the distance between the area around and within shapes, forms, colors, and lines. Space can be positive or negative. It includes the background, foreground, and middle ground. Both positive and negative space can play essential roles in the overall success of a work of art. By understanding the difference between the two, you will:

    • Become better at designing unified compositions.
    • Be more successful in visually communicating your story.
    • Gain important clues about the meaning of an art piece.

Two types of space exist within art — positive space and negative space. Positive space is the actual objects or shapes within an artwork, and negative space is the space around and between those objects. An excellent way to demonstrate positive and negative space is by utilizing Rubin’s vase. (Refer to illustration.) As you can see, the vase occupies what would be referred to as positive space, and the space surrounding the vase is negative space. Notice how the negative space is forming silhouettes of two faces in profile.

Basic Art Element Space

Positive Space

Positive space is the area or part of the composition that an object or subject occupies. It is usually the main focus of the painting, such as a vase of flowers, fruit, or candle in a still life, a person’s face in a portrait, or an animal in a wildlife painting, or a building, trees, and hills in a landscape. When used skillfully, positive space will add interest by enhancing and balancing the negative space in a composition.

Negative Space

Negative space is that empty or open space that surrounds an object. It helps define the object, gives it some breathing room to prevent the painting from being too crowded, and significantly impacts how the art piece is perceived.

An interesting thing about negative space is that it can prompt viewers to seek out subtly hidden images within the negative space, causing your design to get more attention and be remembered while other less interesting works aren’t.

Why is negative space so important?

  1. It can add interest and is an excellent way to draw attention to your works of art. A good balance between great negative space and intrigue will cause the viewer to desire more time to look at your work of art.
  2. It can draw the viewer in, giving them a sense of inclusion because they discovered a subtle, hidden message or image in the composition. Even though it may be a simple composition, great negative space reveals there is more to the piece than first meets the eye, making it a more rewarding experience for the viewer.
  3. It gives the eye a “place to rest,” thereby adding to the subtle appeal of the composition. The equal amounts of both negative and positive are considered by many to be good design.

Questions

  1. Does a negative space have shape?
  2. In what ways is negative space important to the overall success of a composition?

Additional Information

Principles of Good Design: Space

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space — You are here

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value

More Art Lessons

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for reading this art lesson!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


UPDATED: 07 June 2021

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Basic Art Element — Texture

basic art element texture
A study in texture. Oil painting by Teresa Bernard.

Texture is a basic element of art. Anything that has a surface has texture. Texture is the way a surface looks and feels. It is experienced in two ways — with touch (tactile) and our eyes (visually). Fine artists often use texture in the following ways:

    • Create a focal point.
    • Add interest.
    • Provide contrast.
    • Visually balance their compositions.

Texture is essential in paintings to make objects appear to be real. Even in abstract paintings, texture can enhance the viewer’s experience by suggesting certain feelings or moods regarding the artwork. Texture can also serve to organize and unify various areas of a composition.

Texture can either add to or take away from the overall effect of the composition. When it is used haphazardly or in the wrong way, it can confuse or clutter the painting. However, when used with deliberate skill, texture will bring a composition together, creating the illusion of realism and unity.

The Two Types of Texture — Tactile and Visual

Tactile texture is the real thing. It is the actual way a surface feels when it is felt or touched, such as rough, smooth, soft, hard, silky, slimy, sticky, etc. 3-D art such as sculpture and architectural structures are tactile because they can be felt. Examples of natural texture would be wood, sandpaper, canvas, rocks, glass, granite, metal, etc.

Even the brush strokes used in a painting can create a textured surface that can be felt and seen. The building up of paint on the surface of a canvas or board to make actual texture is called impasto. Painters may choose to apply their paints thickly or thinly depending on the overall effect they wish to achieve.

Visual texture is not actual texture. All textures you observe in photographs are visual textures. No matter how rough objects may seem to appear in a picture, the photograph’s surface is always going to be smooth and flat to the touch.

Artists can create the illusion of texture in their paintings by simulation or implying it through the use of various art elements such as line, shading, and color. It is created by repeating lines, dots, or other shapes to create a pattern. Varying the size, density, and orientation of these marks will produce other desired effects as well.

Common Textures

Although there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of different textures, all textures will fall under two broad categories — rough and smooth. For example:

Rough Smooth
Course Fine
Bumpy Slick
Dry Wet
Flat Wrinkled
Scaly Silky
Glossy Matte
Sandy Slimy
Hairy Bald
Hard Soft
Prickly Velvety
Sharp Dull
Sticky Slippery

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture — You are here

Basic Art Element — Value

More Art Lessons

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for reading this art lesson!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


UPDATED: 07 June 2021

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Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

What is Color?

Basic Art Element — Color, Pt 1Color is a basic element of art that involves light. It is produced when light waves (wavelength) strike an object and are reflected into our eyes. Each light wave has a distinct color. Objects appear to be different colors because some wavelengths are absorbed while others are reflected or transmitted. The wavelengths that are reflected back to our eyes give us the colors we see.

Color consists of three properties:

  • Hue — The name given to a color, such as red, yellow, blue, purple, green, orange, etc.
  • Intensity (or saturation) — The purity or dullness of a color. A color’s purity is determined by whether it has been mixed with another hue and, if so, to what extent. The most vibrant colors are those right from the tube. Colors that have been combined with various hues are thought to be less intense. To reduce the intensity of a color, there are two options:
    1) Mix the color with gray.
    2) Mix the color with its complement.
  • Value — The lightness or darkness of a color. Adding white or black to a hue changes its value. A “tint” is created when white is added, while a “shade” is made when black is added.

Using color effectively in creating art involves understanding three basic areas: the color wheel, color value, and color schemes (or color harmony.)

The Color Wheel

Basic Art Element — ColorThe color wheel is a useful visual aid used by artists and interior designers to understand the relationship between colors. Sir Isaac Newton developed the color wheel in 1666 when he took the color spectrum and bent it into a circle. The color wheel is a circular chart divided into 12 sections, with each sector showing a distinct color. There are three categories of colors in it: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The term “tertiary” means third.

  • basic art element colorThe primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These hues are equally spaced apart on the color wheel. There are only three primary colors, and they are the most basic colors on the wheel. They can only be made from natural pigments and cannot be made by mixing other hues. These three primary colors can be blended to create any other color on the color wheel.
  • secondary colors on the color wheelSecondary colors are orange, green, and purple (or violet). These colors are created by mixing equal parts of any two primary colors.
    • Red + yellow = orange
    • Yellow + blue = green
    • Blue + red = violet (purple)
  • Tertiary colors are red-purple, red-orange, blue-green, blue-purple, yellow-green, and yellow-orange. There are six tertiary colors, and they are the result of mixing equal parts of a primary color with a secondary color. The proper way to refer to tertiary colors is by listing the primary color first and then the secondary color. Tertiary colors are called by their two-word name.
    • tertiary colors on the color wheelRed + violet (purple) = red-violet (red-purple)
    • Red + orange = red-orange
    • Blue + green = blue-green
    • Blue + violet (purple) = blue-violet (blue-purple)
    • Yellow + orange = yellow-orange
    • Yellow + green = yellow-green

Color Values

Color also has value. A color’s value is a measurement that describes how light or dark it is. It is defined by the color’s proximity to white. For instance, lighter colors such as yellow will have lighter values than darker colors like navy blue.

A good way to see the difference in the values of colors is to look at the greyscale. White is the lightest value, while black is the darkest. Middle gray is the value halfway between these two extremes.

basic art element value

A color’s value can be changed by simply adding white or black to it. When you add white to a hue, you get a lighter value. “Tints” are the lighter values. When you add black to a color, the value darkens, creating a “shade” of that color. See the example below.

colorscale_value_art_element

Color Temperature

The temperature of color is how we perceive a particular color, either warm or cool. Warm colors range from red to yellow on the color wheel, whereas cool colors range from blue to green and violet. Each temperature takes up one-half of the color wheel (see images below). Somewhere in the green and violet spectrums, the temperature changes between warm and cool.

The characteristics of warm and cool colors include:

Warm Colors

    • Warm colorsare made with red, orange, or yellow, and combinations of them
    • tend to feel warm, reminding us of heat and sunshine
    • tend to advance into the foreground, i.e., come toward the viewer
    • may feel more energetic, attention-grabbing, and aggressive

Cool Colors

    • Cool colorsare made with blue, green, or violet, and combinations of them
    • tend to feel cool, reminding us of water and sky
    • tend to recede into the background, i.e., move away from the viewer
    • are more calming and soothing

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors do not appear on the color chart and are neither warm nor cool. They are called neutral because they lack color and are derived by mixing equal parts of color opposites (i.e., red + green, blue + orange, or yellow + purple), resulting in drab-looking grays.

Black and white are also considered neutral because they are neither warm nor cool and do not change color.

This lesson on “Basic Art Element — Color” continues in part 2, where color harmony is discussed.

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Test your knowledge of color theory by taking this simple online test.

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1 — You are here.

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value

More Art Lessons

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

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UPDATED: 25 June 2021

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Basic Art Element — Value

Basic Art Element — Value
Value is evident in this painting by Teresa Bernard.

Value is a basic element of art that refers to the gradual change of lightness or darkness of a color. It is created when a light source shines upon an object creating highlights, form shadows, and cast shadows.

Value is most evident on the grayscale, where black is represented as lowest or darkest, and white is represented as the highest or lightest value. Or, more simply said, they are the various shades of grey between white and black. Artists use them to create highlights and shadows (shading) in objects and create depth in their paintings or drawings.

basic art element value

 

Colors have value too. Changing the value of a color is as simple as adding black or white to it. Some colors, like yellow and orange, are naturally light in value.

The Benefits of Values in an Oil Painting

Successful paintings have a full range of value. This means that there are ample amounts of both light values and dark values. Paintings that possess a full range of values tend to stand out more and are more pleasing to the eye.

emphasis in artValue creates contrast and adds emphasis.

The human eye tends to be drawn to areas of high contrast. High contrast occurs when lighter elements are placed directly next to much darker ones, creating a dramatic effect. This technique is used to draw attention to specific areas of a painting that the artist wants to emphasize, thus creating a focal point. For example, a light figure on a dark background will become the center of attention, and a dark figure on a primarily white background will command the eye’s attention as well.

Value creates the illusion of depth.

shading graphicValue is an important tool to suggest roundness or depth. It helps create depth within by making an object look three-dimensional, or a landscape appear to recede into the distance. Light values make elements feel like they are further away, and dark values make them seem closer.

Value creates an opportunity to set the mood.

    • Low Key — These are paintings that exhibit mostly dark values and very few lights. Low-key paintings have very little contrast and seem to communicate a depressing, sad, or mysterious mood. Paintings with predominantly dark values often convey a sense of the nocturnal and secretive, of things hidden just beyond sight.
    • High-key — These are paintings that feature mostly light values and very few darks. There isn’t much contrast in a high-key painting. Usually, these paintings possess a light, happy mood. Female portraits are often high key as they can convey delicacy, innocence, and dreaminess.

Using both high and low key colors in a painting can create contrast which often feels dramatic or exciting.

Additional Reading

Creating Depth in Your Paintings via Atmospheric Perspective

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value — You are here

More Art Lessons

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thanks for reading this art lesson!

Feel free to share this with your friends.


Enjoy this page? Please share it. Thanks!