Art Terms and Definitions — E

Easel     |     Expressionism

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

Art Terms and Definitions -- E
Artists’ Easel

An upright support (generally a tripod) used for displaying something. It is most often used to hold up an artist’s canvas while the painter works or to hold a completed painting for exhibition.

Ecological Art
A contemporary art genre and artistic practice created by artists worldwide concerned about local and global environmental situations. Artworks made from recycled and natural materials. Also called “eco-art.”
The deletion of non-essential details to reveal the essence of a form. Also regarded as an element of good design. Click here for more information about this art principle.
EcruA color similar to that of unbleached linen. Once considered a shade of beige, now it has become more precisely defined as “a grayish-yellow that is greener and paler than chamois or old ivory.” Ecru comes from the French word écru, which means “unbleached.”
Egg Tempera 
A medium created by mixing pure, ground pigments with egg yolk. This was a very common medium before the invention of oil paints.
Elements of Art
Basic components of art-making. These fundamental elements are color, form, line, shape, texture, and value. In any form of art, at least one of these elements is used. For more information about this subject, please see the discussion on the basic elements of art.
A process in printing to create a raised surface during the printmaking processes by means of engraved dies or plates.
The stress placed on a single area of a work or a unifying visual theme. For more information, see Good Design Principle: Emphasis.
En Plein Air
French for “in open air” used to describe paintings that have been executed outdoors rather than in the studio. Also called “Plein air.”
An artistic work consisting of nine panels or canvases where each panel depicts a different but related scene. The panels can be hinged together or presented side-by-side to make one large image. Also, see “polyptych.”
Environmental Art
Artistic works intended to enhance or become part of the environment or make a statement on conservation issues. Art which forces us to consider the consequences of our behavior on the environment.
An impression made from an etched plate; an intaglio process in which an image is scratched through an acid-resistant coating on a metal plate. The plate is then dipped in acid, which eats into the exposed surface.
Ethnographic Art
See “Tribal Art.”
A public showing of a piece or a collection of artwork. Also called an exhibit.
Post-World War I European art movement that emphasized the expression of inner experience rather than a solely realistic portrayal. This art form emphasizes subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in the artist rather than objective reality. It is characterized by distorted lines and shapes and exaggerated colors for emotional impact. Vincent van Gogh is esteemed as the forerunner of this particular movement.

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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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