Skip to Main Content

ARTS 1301 NW Igo: Topic 1

Introduction to Art and Degrees of Representation



Aesthetics - The study and philosophy of the quality and nature of sensory responses related to, but not limited by, the concept of beauty.

Raw Art - Art made by self-taught individuals outside of the established art scene and often motivated by self expression (also referred to as 'outsider art').

Folk Art - Art of people who have learned a traditional artistic trade through apprenticeship from family or community members rather than academic channels, and exhibit a style consistent with their community and that community's traditions.

Form - The total effect of the combined visual qualities within a work, including such components as materials, color, shape, line, and design.

Medium (Media - plural) - A particular material along with its accompanying technique.

Mixed Media - Works of art made from more than one medium.

Found Objects - Describes art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects or products that are not normally considered materials from which art is made, often because they already have a non-art function.

Subject - In representational art, what the artist chooses to depict. It may be a landscape or a mythological scene, or even something the artist invented.

Content - The meaning or message communicated by a work of art, including its emotional, intellectual, symbolic, thematic, and narrative connotations.

Nonrepresentational - Art without reference to anything outside of itself - without representation.

Nonobjective - Without recognizable objects.

Representational Art - Art in which it is the artist's intention to present a particular subject, especially pertaining to realistic portrayal of subject matter.

Abstract Art - Art that depicts natural objects in simplified, distorted, or exaggerated ways.

Trompe L'oeil - French for "fool the eye." A two-dimensional representation that is so naturalistic that it looks actual or real (or three-dimensional).

Hyperrealistic - An artistic depiction of real life with a striking degree of realism. Can be three-dimensional art or two-dimensional art (2D hyperrealism also called photorealism).

Surrealism - Imagery depicting unconscious mind in dream images and thoughts, irrational and fantastic.

Representational Surrealism - Can be realistic textures on abstract forms (often biomorphic) and/or impossibly combinations of objects depicted in realistic detail.

Abstract Surrealism - Uses abstract or fantastic shapes from the sub/unconscious and/or vaguely defined creatures/objects.

Naturalism - An art style in which the curves and contours of a subject are accurately portrayed.

Realism - A type of representational art in which the artist depicts as closely as possible what the eye sees.

Idealism - The representation of subjects in an ideal or perfect state or form.

Images to Review

Francisco Goya

I Saw It (Yo lo vi)




Additional Readings

From Introduction to Art

Images to Review

(Philadelphia Wireman)

Untitled (Watch Face)

c. 1970

Mixed Media

Philadelphia, PA


Auguste Rodin

The Kiss




Maya Lin

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

1980 - 1982

Black granite


Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VI


Oil on canvas