Art Glossary


Regular art buyers and art website users mostly know basic visual art terms, though sometimes simple visual art phrases are obfuscated by the use of heavy literary jargon. We, at, are trying to simply commonly used terms in visual art for online art website users. The art glossary may help read artworks and facilitate to reach deeper insights while exploring the art history section and specialized art blog on The effort is to present basic comprehensible description in simple language.


Art is an expression that reflects the thoughts and musings of an artist, either imaginative or realistic, expressed through the visual art elements – line, color, and form. Fine artworks that have no functional value as such include paintingsdrawings, and graphic printssculptures and ceramics that artists have to mold and shape by hand are called ‘Plastic Art’. However, in a broader sense, all visual arts sometimes referred to as ‘Plastic art’. There are applied and decorative arts, which have the utilitarian value like industrial designs, craft or ornament items. Though ancient Indian scriptures mention 64 forms of Indian fine arts, seven are considered major fine art branches, which include Paintings, Sculptures, Literature, Music, Dance, Theatre (Drama) and Architecture.

Abstract Painting Prafulla Dahanukar_300x300
Semi Abstract Painting Yusuf Arakkal_300x300
Abstract Painting Vilas Shinde_300x300

(Abstract Art images of Prafulla Dahanukar, Yusuf Arakal, and Vilas Shinde are used only for illustration purpose)

Contemporary Art

In a literary sense, contemporary art is the art, which is produced in current times. We refer Indian contemporary art to the art of ‘our times’ that echoes prevailing Indian Socio-cultural values, political & religious beliefs, and our cultural diversities and its interactive, synergetic and at times contradicting expression. The span of current times in discussion then defines what is contemporary. In the art world, generally, art produced postmodern art era that is post-1960s onwards is considered as contemporary art.

Abstract Art

Abstract art or abstract paintings are the un-representational form of art that does not portray any identifiable object or place in a realistic style. The real images are abstracted, distorted or simplified in the abstract paintings or even abstract sculptures for that matter.  Art critics interpret abstract art Psychoanalytically vis-a-vis the artist who produced it. In the abstract paintings, artists do not paint ‘subject’ but capture only ‘essence’ of the subject. Such abstract paintings can be figurative but still ‘abstract in nature’ as subject portrayal is not done realistically.