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Glossary of Art Terms: 'I-J'

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The pursuit of things in an ideal form. In philosophy, any of several theories (principally of Berkeley, Hegel, and Kant), which hold that reality has no objective existence but is produced in some way by the mind.


A thick application of stiff paint, as distinguished from a flat, smooth paint surface. Oil paintings are more typically associated with impasto works since oil paints are inherently stiff, however acrylic paints can offer similar working properties if mixed with the right medium. Impasto painting techniques are often used in modern art styles such as Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and other Abstract Art movements.


The collective term for several graphic processes in which prints are made from ink trapped in the grooves in an incised metal plate. Etchings and engravings are the most typical examples. It may also refer to imagery incised on gems or hardstones, seals, and dies for coins, or to an object decorated in this way, which when pressed or stamped into a soft substance, produces a positive relief in that substance.


A major 19th century art movement which aimed to record only the "impression" of a scene with a strong concern for light and its interaction on common everyday subjects. It is also characterized by indistinct outlines and by small brushstrokes of different colors, which the eye blends at a distance.