Notebook, 1993-


Oxford Art Online - [By Subscription] . . . . . Art Term Glossaries - Mulitple References . . . . . Glossary - 'Artist's on Art' / Dore Ashton . . . . . Dimensions - (Forms, Contexts, Perspectives) . . . . . Modes



Barbizon School


Baroque - "A term used in the literature of the arts with both historical and critical meanings and as both an adjective and a noun. The word has a long, complex, and controversial history [it possibly derives from a Portuguese word for a misshapen pearl, and until the late 19th century it was used mainly as a synonym for 'absurd' or 'grotesque'], but in English it is now current with three principal meanings. Primarily, it designates the dominant style of European art between Mannerism and Roccoco, the characteristics of which are discussed below. Secondly, it is used as a general label for the period when the style flourished, broadly speaking, the 1th century. Hence such phrases as 'the age of Baroque', 'Baroque politics', 'Baroque science', and so on. This usage is probably more confusing than helpful, particularly as, for example, what literary historians call 'Baroque' more often shows characteristics that the art historian would label 'Mannerist'. Thirdly, the term 'Baroque' [often written without the initial capital] is applied to art of any time or place that shows the qualities of vigorous movement and emotional intensity associated with Baroque art in its primary meaning. . . . "[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]

Belgium - "At the back of the modern painting in Belgium towers the dominant figure of James Ensor, most of whose best work was done before1900 but whose influence persisted unassailed. He was a powerful link with Symbolism, one of the main formative influences on Flemish Expressionism and was claimed by the Surrealists as one of their forerunners . . . . "[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]



Biblia Pauperum


Biomorphic - "A term applied to forms in abstract art that derive from organic rather than geometric shapes, as, for example, in the sculpture of Henry Moore."[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]

Black-figure vase painting

Blast [See Vorticism]

Der Blaue Reiter [The Blue Rider]

Blaue Vier [The Blue Four]


Blot drawing

Blue-and-Green Landscape Style


Body Art

Bloomsbury Group

Bochen School - "Beginning in the Ming dynasty [1368-1644] with Zeng Jing and his followers --Xie Bin among them --the artists in this school were lauded for their realistic, illusionistic portraits. Zen Jing's style was highly influential on portrait painters of the Qing dynasty and later."[Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. Yale University and Foreign Language Press. 1997]

Bohemian School

Boneless [meigu] Method or 'Bone-immersing' [mogu] Method - "Painting in color and washes without black ink outlines or structure ["bones]."[Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. Yale University and Foreign Language Press. 1997]

Book of Hours



Broken Ink [pomo]

Brotherhood of Ruralist

Die Brücke

Bucchero ware

Bucranium - "A decorative motif based on the horned head or skull of an ox. It is of immense antiquity, representing the ox that was killed in religious sacrifices, and often appears carved on Classical altars, replacing the actual heads which were hung there in more primitive times. Later it was taken over as a decoration for friezes, etc., on buldings."[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]

Byzantine Art - "Art associated with the Eastern Roman Empire, founded in AD 330 by the emperor Constantine and ending in 1453 when his capital Constantinople [formerly named Byzantium] was captured by the Turks and under the name of Istanbul became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. During these eleven centuries the Byzantine territories varied greatly in extent: at one time they embraced almost the whole Mediterranean basin, but from the 7th century onwards many provinces were lost --first to the Arabs and later to the Turks.

Byzantine art, however, cananot be defined adequately in political or geographical terms. It did not come suddenly into being, and for a long time it might as properly have been called Roman as Byzantine. Nor did it cease in 1453, for during the second half of the 15th century and a good part of the 16th the art of those regions where Greek Orthodoxy still flourished --such as Mount Athos --remained in the Byzaintine tradtion. And Byzantine art passed far beyond the territorial limits of the empire, to penetrate for instance, into the Slav countries.

Byzaintine art is, above all, a religious art. Not that it treated religious subjects only. There was a fine efforescence of the 'minor arts' of metal-work, textiles, carved ivories, enamels, jewellery, etc. Secular paintings and mosaics also adorned the imperial palaces. But these, which have largely disappeared, were few in comparison with the subjects taken from the Old and New Testaments, form the aprocryphal books [Gospels of the childhood of Christ or of the Virgin, of Joseph the Carpenter, etc.] and the lives of the saints. It is also a theological art, in the sense that the Byzantine artist did not aspire to freedom of individual interpretation but was the voice of orthodox dogma and subject to the Church which established the dogma. His function was to translate into the language of art, for the instruction and edification of the faithful, the thought of the theologians and the decisions of Councils. Consquently this art was impersonal and traditoinal. The artist's personality was supspressed, and indeed very few Byzantine masters are known to us by name. The arrangement of mosaics or paintings in a church, the choice of subjects, even the attitudes and expressions of the characters, were all determined according to a traditional scheme charged with the o logical meaning. If the artist attempted innovation, he risked incurring the guilt of heresy or sacrilege. His role was akin to that of the priesthood and the exercise of his talent a kind of liturgy --liturgy in a sense almost sacramental --rather than a didactic function. It is this which differentiates the essentially theological art of Byzantium from the more didactic art of the West in the medieval period.

Even when it was imperial, Byzantine art hardly diverged from this theocratic and religious character. There was indeed a form of art responsible for glorifying the emperor; but at Byzantium the emperor was an oriental sovereign, an earthly image of the Deity. His court with its carefull contrived hierachy reflected the hierachy of heaven. The ceremeonies of the Great Palace, meticulously regulated, were a kind of liturgy.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Byzantine art was an art of stylization. It was fundamentally opposed to the spirit of ancient Greek art, whose theme was man and his natural likeness. Byzantium shuns earthly man, the individual, and aspires to the superhuman, the divine, the absolute. By stylization it destroys humanity in art and transfuses forms with the numinous quality of symbols. It is not naturalistic but ritutalistic. The conventions of Byzantine art were eventually challenged by the more naturalistic ideals of artists such as Giotto and Duccio."[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]



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