Notebook, 1993-


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


Sacra conversazione


St. Ives Painters



School of Paris

Scientific Curiosity [Gottlieb, Carla. Beyond Modern Art. New York: E.P. Dutton. 1976]

Scottish Colourists



Section d'Or

Sélection - "An avant-garde art shop and exhibition gallery opened in Brussels by A. De Ridder and P. G. Van Hecke in 1920 and operative until 1931. Their bulletin, also named S&eactue;lection, developed into the most important avant-garde art magazine of Belgium and the last 12 numbers, between 1928 and 1931, took the form of monographs. From 1927 to 1931 most of the leading Belgian Expressionists, including De Smet, Van den Berche and Tytgat, were under contract to submit half their output to S&eactue;lection.[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]


Semantic Art


Education in Sensibility [Gottlieb, Carla. Beyond Modern Art. New York: E.P. Dutton. 1976]


Serial Art

Group of Seven

Seven and Five Society

Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove - "Educated men of the third century A.D. who rejected society and all its rules and conventions, finding personal freedom in self-expression, wine, and unspoiled nature. It was believed that the seven men --Ji Kang, Liu Ling, Ruan Qi, Ruan Xiao, Shan Tao, Wang Rong, and Xiang Xiu --regularly met in a bamboo grove to drink wine and discuss lieterature."[Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. Yale University and Foreign Language Press. 1997]

Severe Style - "A term applied to the style characteristic of much Greek sculpture in the period c.480 BC-c.450 BC, transitional between the Archaic and the Classical periods. Winckelmann had used the term 'severe' of work of the time before Phidias, but the term 'severe style' did not come into general usage until Vagn Pousen's book Der strenge Stil of 1937. The characteristics of the severe style include simplicity and severity of form, grandeur and elevation of spirit, and an increase in charcterization compared with the Archaic period. . . . "[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]


Sezessionstil [See Art Nouveau]



Significant form


Simultanism [Simultanisme]



Six Masters of the Early Qing

Six Principles of Xie He - "The principles of painting set forth by the art critic Xie He [active ca. 500?] concerning the "spirit consonance" of painted forms, brushwork, shape, color, composition, and copying as a means of training."[Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. Yale University and Foreign Language Press. 1997]



Socialist Realism

Social Realism

Sociedad Pro-Arte Moderna [Spam]

Société Anonyme, Inc [or A Museum of Modern Art]

Society of Artists

Society of Independent Artists

The Society of Sculptors and Associates

Soft Art

Soft Sculpture, Anti-Form, Solidified Shadow [Gottlieb, Carla. Beyond Modern Art. New York: E.P. Dutton. 1976]

Sotto in su

The Use of Sound [Gottlieb, Carla. Beyond Modern Art. New York: E.P. Dutton. 1976]

Spanish Realists

Spazialismo [or Spatialism]

Spectacle as an Article of mass Consumption

De Sphinx



Stained Glass





De Stijl

Stile Liberty [See Art Nouveau]

Stipple Engraving

Stochasticism - [Ancient Greek stochastikos from the verb stochazesthai: 'to aim' with the subsidiary meaning 'to guess' or 'conjecture'. Stochasticos as an adjective meant either 'skilful at aiming' or 'proceding by conjecture'.] The word 'stochastic' was introduced into mathematics by Jacob Bernouilli in his great treatise on the theory of probability, Ars Conjectandi [1713], and it has come into general use as a technical term for describing situations governed by probabilities. The English word'stochastic', described by The Oxford English Dictionary as 'rare or obsolete', meant 'pertaining to conjecture'. It was adopted about the middle of the 20th c. as a technical term in music and the visual arts to describe new styles of composition wiich involve an element of randomness, depending on chance or aleatoric procedures either in the creation or in the performance or in the behaviour of the finished work. For example some Kinetic works embody a chance element within predetermined sequences of movement, some non-kinetic works make use of moiré or other effects to cause striking changes of appearance according to chance changes in the position of the spectator in relation to the work.

The theoretical justification for the introduction of chance into aesthetic structure has not been worked out, but its use seems to have been a symptom of a pretty general, though not clearly formulated, change in the concept of aesthetic order which took place in the decades following the Second World War. The concept of 'structure' carries with it the ideas of uniformity, stasis and invariability. It involves coherence and the mutual dependence or interrelation of the parts within a whole. In this sense structure is a prerequisite of any organizational activity, any continuity of thought and any perceptual process, for the complete absence of structure would reduce any object of thought or sensation to an incomprehensible aggregate of unconnected elements. In the visual arts 'structure' denotes a principle of formal organization underlying the purely optical phenomena and making the presented whole visually acessible as a system of relations among heterogegneous parts. It is a structure in this sense --often called 'form' --which enables a work to be 'perceived' as an aesthetic entity rather than as an assemblage of theoretically related elements, and it is generally accepted that aesthetic form, so understood, can be perceived to an extent beyond what is theoretically demonstrable. The opposite of structural order is 'randomness' or 'chaos', and it used to be taken for granted that any weakening of structural order by the introduction of random features was an aesthetic demerit. The new attitude considers structural order and complete randomness as limiting cases on a sliding scale of 'orderliness', so that an aesthetic structure must necessarily be regarded as a system with a determinable position on the scale. Therefore, it may be argued, it is possible, and may be desirable, to introduce features of controlled disorder, controlled aleatoric or chance processes, within the aesthetic structure.

One of the oldest aesthetic theories maintained that the excellence or 'beauty' of any aesthetic structure may be regarded as a function of 'unity' and 'variety'. It might be argued that the introduction into aesthetic structures of random processes controlled according to principles of probability falls within this ancient formula. But the theoretical arguments for aesthetic randomness for the use of aleatoric methods, and for stochasticism in general, remain still to be worked out. Some artists have for many years insisted upon the psychological importance of chance in the creation of works of art. But the incorporation of chance elements in performance or behaviour of works of art remains a novelty and a challenge which will doubtless have to justify itself further in practice before a sound aesthtetic basis is likely to emerge.

The term 'aleatory' is also used of chance or random elements [Latin: aleatorius, depending on the throw of a die].

The early constructivists repudiated the element of chance, wishing to exexrcise complete control over their works. But the Mobile, from Calder to Julio Le Parc, which relies on air currents for its motive force is obviously dependent on chance. SInce the development of kinetic art chance has often been incorporated within a system of programmed movement. Arp was one of the first to bring in chance as a major element in the construction of abstract works of art, letting scraps of paper fall at random on a surface and making a Collage by gluing them down where they fell.

Since the 1950s there have been several motives which have encouraged a more serious attention to chance in the formation of art works. The reaction from Abstract Expressionism, Action Painting and Tachism brought with it an attitude of objectivity and a desire for the 'depersonaliization' of the art work. Chance, it was felt, meant the complete abrogation of the artist's authority and the ultimate in 'objectivity'. Largely for these reasons chance has featured importantly in the Arte Programmata of Italy. Furthermore, where spectator participation becomes a main purpose of the art work, some element of chance is obviously to be desired, since if the reaction of the spectator is completely controlled, he no longer 'participates'. In Concrete Art, however, where the work is contstructed according to, or by means of, a mathematical formula, the introduction of random elements, though practised, seems to be out of place. For the object of such works is the elimination of ambiguity and a full intellectual understanding of the principle according to which the work is constructed. But chance features interrupt or render impossible such understanding and conflict with the basic principle of Concrete Art." [Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]

Story Telling


Streu-Komposition [See All-Over Painting]




Der Sturm [The Storm]






Sydney Group

Sydney 9


Sympathetic Magic




Systemic Art - "Term originated by the critic Lawrence Alloway in 1966 when he organized an exhibition 'Systemic Painting' at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, to refer to a type of abstract art characterized by the use of very simple standardized forms, usually geometric in character, either in a single concentrated image or repeated in a system arranged according to a clearly visible principle of organization. The Chevron paintings of Noland are examples of Systemic art. It has been described as a branch of Minimal art, but Alloway extxended the term to cover Colour Field painting."[Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988.]

Systemic Art: Reiteration, Multiplication, Permutation, Modularity [Gottlieb, Carla. Beyond Modern Art. New York: E.P. Dutton. 1976]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].