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Glossary of Art Terms: 'M'

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A type of stone traditionally used in sculpture and architecture. A metamorphic rock (metamorphosed calcite or dolomite), finely grained, dense, with a non-directional structure, capable of taking a high polish, and often irregularly veined and colored by impurities. White marble has been quarried in Greece, Italy, Turkey, India, China, and the US. Among the most renowned sources have been the quarries of Carrara in the Apuan Alps of Italy.


A work done with extraordinary skill, especially a work of Fine Art, craft or intellect that is an exceptionally great achievement. To some, this means the best piece of work by a particular artist or craftsperson. Historically, the term referred to a piece of work presented to a medieval guild as evidence of an apprentice's qualification to attain the rank of master.


The material or technique used by an artist to produce a work of art. It may also refer to the vehicle or solvent with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint of the proper consistency. There are many recipes developed over centuries which target certain working properties and finishing results, like matte, semi-gloss, or a glossy finish.


A twentieth century art movement and style where the main idea is to reduce images to the lowest degree of simplicity in color and form. The Minimalist movement was a reaction to Abstract Expressionism.

Modern Art

An art movement characterized by the absolute departure from tradition and formalities and to employ the use of new and innovative forms of expression.


A consistent or recurrent conceptual element, usually a figure or design. In an architectural or decorative pattern, a motif is employed as the central element in a work, or it is repeated either consistently or as a theme with variations.


A building, place, or institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition, and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical, or artistic value. The word museum is Latin, which is derived from the Greek "mouseion", which refers to a place or temple dedicated to the Muses, the patron divinities in Greek mythology of the arts.