Art Terms and Definitions — V

Value     |     Volume

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

The lightness or darkness of a color; contrasts between light and dark. For more information, see the blog article titled Basic Art Element — Value.
Art Terms and Definitions -- VVanishing Point 
In perspective, the point on the horizon in the distance where two parallel lines appear to converge, and visibility ends.
example of VanitasA style of still life painting made popular in the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th centuries. Vanitas is a Latin term meaning “vanity.” Compositions include objects or symbols of mortality to remind people that life is fleeting and material things and worldly pleasures are temporary. A typical vanitas still life is characterized by and may contain symbolic images like skulls, extinguished candles, rotting fruit, bubbles, smoke, watches, hourglasses, musical instruments, wine, and books.
Vector Graphic 
A graphic made up of mathematically defined curves and line segments called vectors. Vector graphics can be edited by moving and resizing the entire graphic or the lines and segments that compose the graphic. Vector graphics can be reduced and enlarged (zoomed in and out) with no loss of resolution.
Art Terms and Definitions -- VA scarlet red pigment of variable color that is vivid red but sometimes with an orange tinge. Initially, the vermilion pigment was made from a highly toxic mineral called cinnabar, which contains mercury. However, a synthetic pigment called cadmium red was developed to replace vermilion because of the toxicity of mercury.
Vertical Balance
The distribution of visual weights in a piece, so that top and bottom seem to be in equilibrium.
Video Art
A genre of art involving moving imagery and audio-visual technology to produce videotapes for viewing on a television screen. This form of art gained rapid popularity in the ’60s and ’70s with the widespread availability of inexpensive videotape recorders.
viewfinder graphicA tool used to look through to compose an image. This tool helps select the most interesting composition to be found in a larger image by cropping out unwanted perimeters. In photography, a viewfinder is what the photographer looks through to compose, and in many cases to focus, the picture (see illustration). For more information, see the article titled Making and Using a Viewfinder to Compose Better Paintings.
An image or painting where the borders are undefined and seem to fade away gradually until it blends into the background.
violetOne of the secondary colors that is created when the two primary colors of red and blue are mixed. See “Secondary Colors.” The complement or opposite of the color yellow. The color of violet is named for the violet flower from which the color is derived.
ViridianA darker blue-green pigment composed of more green than blue falling between teal and green on the color wheel. Viridian takes its name from the Latin Viridis, meaning “green.”
Visionary Art
Art that transcends what lies beyond the boundary of the physical and scientific world to portray a broader vision of awareness, including themes of spiritual, mystical, or inner awareness as seen or experienced in the images of dreams or trances.
Visual Art
A form of artwork, such as painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics, crafts, or sculpture, created primarily for visual perception and exists in permanent form.
Visual Artist
A practitioner of one or more of the visual arts.
Visual Communication
The communication of ideas through the graphical display of information. Primarily associated with two-dimensional images, it includes alphanumeric, art, signs, and electronic resources. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability.
Visual Economy
As used in art, a paring down to only the essential elements required to achieve the desired effect; a.k.a. simplicity. See Principles of Good Design: Visual Economy for more information.
The mass of three-dimensional shapes in space.

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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 20231

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