Art Terms and Definitions — D

Decaptych     |     Drawing

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

An artwork consisting of ten panels or parts where each panel depicts a different but related depiction. The panels can be hinged together or presented side-by-side to make one large image.
Decorative Arts
Art Terms and Definitions -- D
Decorative Art

Collective term for such art forms as ceramics, enamels, furniture, glass, ivory, metalwork, and textiles, especially when they take forms used as interior decoration.

A French word meaning “paste-up.” The Victorian craft of cutting out motifs from paper, gluing them to a surface, and covering the glued-on paper with as many layers of varnish as is required to give a completely smooth finish.
Depth of Field 
In photography, the area in front of and behind the focused point that is sharp. A shallow depth of field is used in portraits to provide a soft backdrop, while a greater depth of field is useful for landscapes to ensure everything from the foreground to the background is in focus. Shorter (wide-angle) lenses and smaller apertures increase the depth of field.
The arrangement of the design elements to create a single effect. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and design principles have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity.
The process of relating the elements, whether similar or contrasting and visually arranging an interesting unity with them using the design principles.
Digital Art
example of computer art
Computer Art

Artworks created using software on a computer platform. This includes images done entirely on a computer or photographs and hand-drawn illustrations that have been scanned into a computer and manipulated or finished using software programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Other terms used to describe this art-making process include computer art, multimedia art, and new media art.

(Pronounced dip-tick). A work of art consisting of two painted or carved panels where each panel depicts a different but related scene. The panels can be hinged together or presented side-by-side.
The emphasis placed on a particular area or characteristic of a work, with other areas or aspects given subordinate or supporting roles.
A drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines.
To draw or sketch aimlessly, especially when preoccupied.
Double Exposure 
A technique used in film and photography to expose two images onto one negative or sheet of photographic paper.
Double Loading
Refers to loading a brush with two colors side by side. This is a technique typical of tole and other kinds of decorative painting. Also known as “sideloading.”
The act of representing an image on a surface by adding lines and shades, as with a pencil, crayon, pen, chalk, pastels, etc. It also refers to a hand-drawn illustration.

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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: 13 March 2023

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