Art Terms and Definitions — K

art reference

This is an art reference starting with the letter “K”. It includes more than 10 art-related terms, ranging from KAOLIN to KOUROS.

Quick links to more art reference words are located at the end of the list.

Art Reference: “K” Words


A fine, soft white clay formed when feldspar or other clays naturally decompose. It is used in the manufacture of porcelain and china, as a filler in paper and textiles, and in medical absorbents. Also known as china clay.


Used in typography to reduce or adjust the amount of space between letters or characters to give them the appearance of more even spacing, so those characters appear better fitted together. Also referred to as kerning. Letters most often benefiting from kerning include the letters i, l, and t.

Key (low- or high-)

A phrase used to express the predominant values of a painting or drawing. “Low key” refers to a work that primarily consists of darker values, whereas “high key” describes a work that stays to a large extent in lighter values.

Khartoum School

A modernist art movement in Sudan, emerged in 1960 to create a unique visual vocabulary reflecting the nation’s identity. This movement, characterized by primitive and Islamic imagery, played a significant role in Africa’s modern art growth, particularly in its use of calligraphic writing, simplifying Arabic script into abstract shapes.


(Pronounced “kill”) refers to an oven or furnace burning, baking, or drying, especially for firing pottery or ceramic.

Kinetic Art

A form of art that has mechanical parts that can be set in motion. Wind, a motor, or hand pressure are commonly used to power the moving parts. Kinetic art was established as a significant artistic movement in the 1950s.

Kitchen Sink Painters

A British cultural movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s, were a group of artists called the “Beaux Arts Quartet” who were known for their depictions of ordinary people in scenes of everyday life.


A term of German origin used to categorize art or design considered to be in poor taste, lacking the sense of creativity and originality displayed in genuine art, because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

Kneaded Eraser

art reference

A tool used by artists to remove graphite and charcoal particles from a paper drawing. It is made from a pliable material that is similar to putty or gum and can be formed into any shape by hand-kneading it. This allows for precise erasing, highlighting, and detailing tasks.


Ancient Greek statues of nude male youths. They are often depicted beardless, in advancing postures, and standing erect.

You May Also Like

This art reference is provided as a valuable resource for art enthusiasts. If you like the information here and find it helpful, please consider purchasing a painting. Your support helps to cover the cost of keeping this art reference dictionary online. Simply click or tap the thumbnail link of any Teresa Bernard oil painting to view additional details.

garden flowers
King Protea Flower (2020)
6″ w x 6″ h
Kokomo beach
Kokomo Beach
6″ w x 6″ h
Ladybug insect art
Ladybug #2 – Almost Perfect Camouflage (2016) 6″ w x 6″ h

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Contributing to The Art Dictionary

The art reference 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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