Identifying Art Types (Art Recognition)



There are different categories of “flat” art. The major categories being;



Originals may include oil paintings, watercolours, acrylic paintings, pencil, pastel, calligraphy, tempera, charcoal, or any one-of-a-kind (unique) art piece. You can include the drawings the kids bring home from school, painting-by-numbers, sand-paintings etc.


Original Prints fall into several sub categories which include Stencil, Intaglio, Planographic, or Relief.


Stencil Prints include silk screen prints and conventional stencil art.

Intaglio includes engraving, mezzotint, etching, aquatint and drypoint.

Planographic prints can be offset lithograph (commonly known as lithos), collotype, or transfer lithographs.

Relief Prints include woodcuts, embossing, collograph and linoleum cuts (lino cuts).

Reproduction covers a large area including postcards, art cards, photographs,open and limited editions, posters, inkjet, laser and giclee prints.

Photographic Art has become difficult to define. Traditionally you could consider an original photograph or cibachrome as photographic art, provided the image originated through a camera lens. However with the large number of users of programmes like Photoshop, Paintshop, Gimp etc, digitally manipulated photographic images can sometimes be classed as photo-art.


Fabric Art can include needlework, cross-stitch, batik, fabric paintings, bunka, silk paintings (often Chinese), lace-work, applique, crochet, woven items, knitting, sequins and embroidery.


Digital Art Usually applied to digitally created images then reproduced as photographic print, inkjet, laser or giclee.


Other Whilst not strictly “art” there are many items which can be framed and decorative, for example cigarette and tea cards, wedding invitations, sheet music, postage stamps, vinyl records and CDs and their covers, film cells, brass rubbing, papyrus, bark paintings, certificates, old documents, legal documents, newspaper cuttings, old maps, book plates, greetings cards, pressed flowers, parchments, theatre tickets..... you name it!


Commonly used terms:

Acrylic Acrylic resin paints, a painting created with acrylic resin paints.

Artist's Proofs are additional proofs (prints) not included in the edition. In theory these are test prints or prints for the artists approval and usually get sold as well.

Apres Meaning “after”. Used when speaking of a piece done in the style of another artist, can be in a different medium. eg “after Monet” could mean “looks like Monet might have done it”.

Aquatint is an intaglio (block print) using heat fused materials to create an etching plate.

Cancelled (plate) Printing plate which has been deliberately defaced to prevent further printing after a limited edition has been created from it.

Collage Art made from items or materials stuck down with glue.

Collograph Print made from an inked plate constructed as a collage.

Collotype A single tone direct transfer print very like a lithograph.

Deckle Edge (deckled edge) an uneven decorative edge on papers, often created with a specially made “deckle” ruler against which the paper can be torn to create the effect.

Drypoint an intaglio method where the image is scratched in to the printing plate.

Edition means the number (quantity) of prints produced. (strictly speaking the plate or block should then be destroyed to make this a truly “limited” edition).

Embossed refers to a relief design, usually on paper.

Engraving intaglio method where the design is cut into the plate using a “graver”.

Etching is another intaglio method where the design is cut into a coated metal plate which is then bathed in acid which exposes the etched areas.

Hand Coloured a printed image which is then coloured using watercolour or acrylic paints.

Hand Pulled a print which the artist personally printed every step in the edition.

Intaglio is a type of print making which includes engraving, drypoint, etching,mezzotint aquatint etc.

Limited Edition A numbered quantity of identical prints.

Lino Cut A block method of printing (relief printing) where the area of the block surrounding the image is cut away.

Lithography is a process where the print is created from a flat (plane) surface on which parts are ink receptive and blank areas are resistant to the ink.

Mezzotint is another intaglio method which uses a special tool called a “rocker” to roughen the printing plate, then other tools are used to smooth off parts of the plate to create the image.

Open Edition. An unlimited edition (no limit on numbers)

Remarque a small original drawing done in the margin of a print

Serigraph a silkscreen print made by the artist


Article by Moonshine Framing, 1 High Street, Penzance TR18 2SX www.frames.uk.com


Permission is granted to reproduce/redistribute this article without alteration providing the credit and web link remains intact. Moonshine Framing 2010