Art Terms and Definitions — B

Background     |     Bust

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

The area of a painting or design that serves as a backdrop for the main figures or objects in the composition; also the area that appears farthest away from the viewer.
One of the Good Design Principles. Balance in art is a feeling of equality in weight, attention, or attraction of the various elements within a composition to accomplish unity. Read more.
Barbizon School 
An art movement of the 19th century formed by a group of French landscape painters who sought to promote a more realistic and informal approach in their nature paintings. They were heavily influenced by 17th-century Dutch genre painting and proponents of outdoor painting.
An art movement of the 17th and 18th centuries Europe whose artworks, music, and architecture were characterized by exaggerated ornate detail. The style, which was popular with and supported by the Catholic Church, began around 1600 in Rome, Italy, and spread throughout most of Europe.
Ben-Day Dots
Ben-Day DotsTiny colored dots (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) used in the commercial printing industry to create shading and secondary colors in images. Benjamin Henry Day, an illustrator and printer, invented this method in 1879.
A paint component that ensures consistent uniformity or cohesiveness.
Birds-Eye View 
Seeing from the point of view from an altitude or a distance; a comprehensive view in a downward direction; also called an “aerial view.”
Bitmap Image
A pixel-based image (.BMP) with one bit of color information per pixel, also known as a bitmapped image. The only colors displayed in a bitmapped image are black and white. Its quality decreases when the image is enlarged.
An achromatic color, without hue, that results from the absence or complete absorption of any visible light. The darkest of all colors and the opposite or complement of white. It is often argued that black is not a color because it lacks any hue or wavelength of light. However, since color is the result of human perception, many commonly perceive black as a color. One of four primary ink colors used in the printing industry (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black).
Art Terms and Definitions -- BOne of the three primary colors of pigments used in painting and the complement or opposite of the color orange. In painting, blue is used to create a multitude of colors when mixed with other hues.
Body Art
A type of contemporary art that uses the human body as the “canvas.” The most common forms of body art are tattoos and body piercings.
Bright Brush
bright art brushRefers to a brush with the same shape as a “flat”; however, the hairs are not as long as those on the flat brush. (See illustration).
Bristol Board
A high-quality heavyweight drawing paper, sometimes made with cotton fiber prepared or glued together, usually with a caliper thickness of 0.006″ and up, used for many types of two-dimensional artwork, including lettering.
A tool used to apply paints and inks to a surface, consisting of hairs or bristles held in place by a ferrule attached to a handle. The quality of the hair determines the brush’s quality and cost. Each type of brush has a specific purpose, and different fibers are used for different mediums.
The mark left by a loaded (filled) brush on a surface. Brushstrokes can be distinguished by their direction, thickness, TEXTURE, and quality. Some artists purposefully obscure individual brushstrokes to achieve a smooth surface. Other artists make their brushstrokes obvious to reveal the process of painting or to express movement or emotion.
The distinctive technique in which an artist uses to apply paint with a brush onto a medium, such as canvas.
In sculpture, a representation of the upper part of the human figure, including the head, neck, and part of the shoulders and breast. The bust is a portrait intended to record the appearance of an individual and usually (but not always) is mounted on a base or column.

Art Glossary Links

A     |     B     |     C     |     D     |     E     |     F     |     G

H     |     I       |     J     |     K     |     L     |     M     |     N

O     |     P     |     Q     |     R     |     S     |     T     |     U

V     |     W     |     X     |     Y     |     Z

Contributing to The Art Dictionary

This art dictionary is a work in progress. New terms and definitions are added on a regular basis. If you know of an art term and definition that isn’t already listed in it, but you believe it should be, send it to us and we’ll consider adding it. We’ll let you know if we do. Thanks!

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UPDATED: 24 July 2023

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