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Glossary of Art Terms: 'G'

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A room, building or institution where paintings and other artworks are exhibited and often where they are also sold. See Fine Art gallery.


A sculpture depicting grotesque human shapes or evil spirits used in many buildings of the Middle Ages, most notably on Gothic cathedrals. Some of these gargoyles were constructed to drain rainwater, sending it clear of the walls of the building to avoid foundation and other issues.


Genre painting is the depiction of subjects and scenes from everyday life, ordinary folk and common activities. It achieved its greatest popularity in seventeenth century Holland with the works of Jan Steen and Jan Vermeer. The term "genre" is also used for the various categories of subject matter in the traditional academic hierarchy, in descending order of importance: history, megalography, mythology, religion, portraiture, genre (see the first sense above), landscape, still-life and vernacular.


The term "giclee" refers to a fairly recent method of producing fine art prints. Giclee, (pronounced Jhee'clay) is a term derived from a French word meaning to spray or squirt. The process is similar to a standard inkjet printer, although the inks used in giclee printing are archival, pigment-based inks rather than standard inkjet inks, which are dye-based. In Gicleé printing, there is no visible screen pattern as in an offset-lithographic print. The image has tonalities and hues much closer to that of the original painting. The pigments provide a more stable image similar to that of serigraphs or watercolors when printed on high quality archival papers. The process of gicleé printing also allows works to be printed on canvas and then stretched to simulate an actual painting.


A thin, translucent or transparent layer of lightly pigmented paint applied over a certain area of a painting, to add a veil of coloration. It also provides a tonal coherence across the image, especially when the tonal and chromatic contrast is dramatic. The technique of glazing has a long history and is an integral part of many methods of oil painting, including grisaille where the work begins as a monochromatic image. The work is then developed through several layers of glazing and overpaintings.


In European architecture, the dominant style during the late Middle Ages, characterized by slender towers, pointed arches, soaring ceilings, and flying buttresses. Many great cathedrals, including Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris, were built in this style.


A heavy, opaque watercolor paint, producing a matte finish. Also refers to a painting produced with gouache.