Author: Sam Bruton

A to Z of Art Terms

Want to know a bit about the art on your walls? Our A to Z of all things art is what you need. From types of prints to art movements, brush up on your knowledge with our handy guide.


3D ART - three dimensional art, also known as 3D art, is any artwork that is created in three dimensions instead of just two. This can be sculptures, skate decks, art objects amongst other creations.


ABSTRACT ART - an art form that shuns figural representation, instead using shapes, colours, and gestural marks to achieve its effect. The depiction of real objects is entirely discarded.

ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM - a genre of art that emerged in the 1940s and 50s, characterised by expressive brush strokes and spontaneous mark making. Notable artists of this movement include Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

ACRYLIC PAINT -  Water-based plastic paint consisting of pigments bound in an acrylic resin mixture. Less textured and more of a matte finish than oil. This has been a popular art medium for artists since the 1960s.

ACTIVIST ART - art, often performative, that addresses political, social and economic issues in society.

ANIMATION - animation is a sequence of static imagery displayed in rapid succession to create the illusion of movement.

ARCHIVAL PRINT - the materials used to create this type of print meet permanence criteria such as alkaline buffering, pH neutral and stability in light.

ARTIST - the creator of an artwork.

ARTIST PROOF - this is a standalone print outside the regular edition of the artwork, typically printed first in order for the artist to review the quality of the artwork before mass-printing it. These often remain the property of the artist.


BAROQUE - an art style developed in the seventeenth century that focused on accurate depiction, ornamentation and theatricality. 

BAUHAUS - a design school founded in the early 20th Century. Their goal was to combine ergonomics, commercial need and the aesthetics of design.

BIENNIAL - international art exhibitions held every two years. An example of this would be the Venice Biennale.


CALLIGRAPHY - a type of handwriting that is often rhythmic, free-flowing and highly stylised.

CANVAS - a woven cloth that is used as a base for paintings.

CARBON PRINT - Introduced in 1864.  A sheet of paper was coated with a layer of light-sensitive gelatin which contained a permanent pigment (often carbon). It was then exposed to daylight under a negative. Carbon prints have a matt finish and can be produced in a variety of colours, ranging from rich sepia tones to cooler shades of grey and blue. Because of their resistance to fading they were much used in the 1870s and 1880s for book illustration and commercial editions of photographs. 

CARTOON - a simplistic drawing that is often witty and satirical.

CHROMOGENIC PRINT - Developed in 1930, the most common type of colour photograph, created using at least three emulsion layers of light sensitive silver salts. Each layer is sensitised to a specific primary colour. As a result, each layer records different information for the colour make up of an image. Also known as a C-Print.

COLLAGE - a technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other ephemera are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface.

COMPOSITION - the arrangement of objects, elements and lines within a work of art.

CONTEMPORARY ART - this term refers to art created in the present day and the recent past. Often classified as art from the second half of the twentieth century to present.

CUBISM - a revolutionary approach to portraying reality, combining abstraction and fragmentation to create cube-like figures and landscapes. This technique was originated by Georges Braques and Pablo Picasso.


DADA - an art movement formed during the First World War in Switzerland. Often nonsensical in nature, many artworks in this movement were in response to the horrors of war.

DIGITAL PRINTS - digital prints refers to electronically captured images composed of digital values, or pixels. Iris prints, giclee prints, and digital archival prints are three examples of popular digital printing methods.

DIPTYCH - an artwork consisting of two panels.

DRAWING - A work of art created with a pen/ink, pencil, crayon, chalk, or pastel, which is composed of lines rather than areas of colour to delineate form.


EDITION OF AN UNKNOWN SIZE - this means that an artwork is limited edition, but the size of said edition is unknown. This is most common for secondary market products.

ENGRAVING - the most popular of the intaglio methods of printmaking, an engraved print is created by scratching or cross-hatching into the surface of a polished metal plate. The plate is then inked, covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press. The areas of the plate which are incised print, transferring the final image to paper.

ETCHING - etching refers to the process of using acid to cut into a metal plate. After the plate has been “etched”, it is covered with ink and run through the press revealing the etched image on paper.

EXCLUSIVE PRINT - our exclusive artworks are limited edition prints and sculptures that can only be found at Art Republic, making them all the more sought after. These unique editions are made with care and consideration by talented artists from across the globe.


FIGURATIVE ART - art that strongly references real life, especially the human figure.

FORM - the appearance of a work of art.

FRAME TYPES - our variety of framing options can be found here.


GEOMETRIC ART - artworks consisting of lines that create geometric mathematical shapes.

GESTURAL ART - the application of paint in freeform, stroking gestures.

GOUACHE - type of watercolour with chalk added for a more opaque image.

GOTHIC ART - a style of art and architecture that was particularly popular from the 12th to the 15th century. Characterised by religious imagery, stained glass, dark colours and ostentatious features.

GRAPHITE - a medium known for its greasy texture and metallic grey colour which can be easily removed with an eraser. Also known as pencil.

GRAFFITI ART - images or typography usually painted onto the sides of buildings using spray paint. Originated in New York in the 1970s, particularly on the exterior of subway trains.


HYPER REALISM - a work of art that is accurately representative of its subject. The depiction of real life in a striking and unusual manner.


ICONOGRAPHY - the imagery and story within a work of art.

IMAGE SIZE - the size of a work of art without the bare margins surrounding the piece.

INK - ink is a liquid medium composed of a variety of pigments and dyes used to colour a surface. It is often used for drawing or writing with a pen or brush.

INSTALLATION - a site-specific three-dimensional artwork, which makes up a complete unified experience as opposed to a display of separate art objects.

ILLUSTRATION - an interpretation or visual explanation of a text or action, often used in mass media.



KITSCH - the German word for ‘trash’, this word is now used to describe artworks or objects that are often garish, in poor taste or overly sentimental, but appreciated in an ironic way. Often seen as the opposite of high art.

KINETIC ART - art that moves.


LANDSCAPE ART - the depiction of natural scenery and surroundings.  

LEAD TIME - how long an artwork takes to complete and be shipped to the customer.

LIMITED EDITION -  limited editions are original artworks that an artist creates in a particular print medium, such as a giclée print, screen print or photograph. Our limited edition artworks are specifically created by our talented artists with a maximum edition number in mind. The term ‘limited edition’ refers to the total number of artworks that are available for that particular piece. The edition size can vary widely between artworks, however most of the time our artists create editions in small numbers ranging from 10 to a few hundred.

LINOCUT - the linocut is a 20th century variation on the woodcut. It is created in the same manner, except that a piece of linoleum, which is soft and pliable, is used instead of wood.

LITHOGRAPH - Lithography is a method of printmaking based on the repulsion of oil and water. In this process, the artist uses a grease-based chalk to draw an image on stone. An oil-based ink is then applied to the stones surface allowing the ink to stick to the greased areas of the stone. The stone is then inked, and the image is transferred to paper, after being run through a press.


MARGIN - the area of white space around an artwork.

MEDIUM - the type of artwork as well as what an artwork is made from.

MEMORABILIA - Letters, playbills, etc. items that are usually ephemeral.

MINIMALISM - a form of art developed in the 1960s in the USA. A minimalist artwork typically consists of simple geometric shapes, line and colour. They are often recognised for their sparsity and emptiness.

MIXED MEDIA - an artwork in which more than one medium or material has been employed.

MIXED MEDIA SCULPTURE - a mixed media sculpture employs multiple media to create a final piece. For example, the artist might have utilised wood, plastic, wax and metal to create the work.

MODERN ART - a global movement started in the early 20th century that was partially triggered by the influx of technology and rapid development of industrialism. Artists created artworks that were a more accurate reflection of the hopes and aspirations of modern society.

MONOTYPE OR MONOPRINT - the monotype/monoprint incorporates both printmaking and painting, producing a single impression by using pressure to transfer a painted image to paper.

MULTIPLES - multiples, like prints, are not unique and come in editions of more than one. They are three-dimensional artworks that can be reproduced based on a mould created to duplicate an original.


NATURALISM - a major trend in the nineteenth century that aimed to depict surroundings in a more realistic and true-to-life way. 

NAIVE ART - simplistic artworks that have been historically made by artists with no formal art school training.

NEGATIVE SPACE - the blank space around an object in an artwork.

NEUTRAL - an artwork that has no hue, often sticking to black, white, grey or beige colours.


OIL PAINT - a thick and slow drying paint that is ground pigments and oil.

OP ART - short for Optical Art, this was a style of art that became popular in the 1960s for exploring optical illusions using geometric forms.

OPEN EDITION - open editions can be produced an unlimited amount of times. Unlike limited edition prints, there is no set number of artworks produced, meaning the artist has the ability to produce as many  impressions of that one print as they would like. Our artists use their discretion to determine how long the print will be produced for, meaning that there are no restrictions on the quantity of the edition.


PAINTINGS - flat surfaces covered with colours commonly applied with brushes, but other tools such as palette knives, sponges, and airbrushes can be used. Paintings have areas of colours, which differentiates them from ink drawings, which are composed of lines. Paintings are unique.

PAPER - a thin sheet made of the pulp of wood.

PERFORMANCE ART - art created through the movements and participation of the artist and other contributors.

PHOTOGRAPHY - an image captured through the use of light and a light-sensitive material, usually with a camera. Photography has continuously been redefined by new technologies and formats, proving itself to be a timeless art form.

PHOTO MONTAGE - a collage created from photographs.

PLASTER - plaster is a dry powdery medium which, when mixed with water, forms a hardened paste. In the visual arts, it is most often used to cast clay models for sculpture.

POLAROID - a unique, instant colour photograph. Polaroid refers to the synthetic plastic sheet used to polarise light, typically associated with the instant camera and self-developing film.

PORTRAIT ART - an artistic depiction of a person or group of people to record appearance. This art form dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt.

POP CULTURE - information and imagery made popular by the mass media. It is often circulated and consumed by the younger generation.

POP ART - an art movement that gained popularity in the UK and USA in the 1960s. Taking inspiration from advertising, product packaging, comic books and popular culture, Pop Art produced world famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Peter Blake.

POSTER - publicly-displayed design that is intended for commerce and industry. Posters typically advertise an event or exhibition.

POSTMODERNISM - a reactionary art movement against the ideas of Modernism.

PRINTS - also known as Editions, Prints are not unique but produced within a quantity called an edition. Prints are physically printed through a variety of processes. Prints are usually printed on paper, but can also be printed on canvas, depending on the method.

PRINTERS PROOF - a test print created before the main edition so the printer can see what the official edition will look like.



REALISM - artworks that are an accurate representation of their subjects. Originated in the nineteenth century when artists painted objects, scenes and people from everyday life in a naturalistic manner.

RENAISSANCE - a period in Europe spanning the 14th to 16th centuries that saw a resurgence in interest for Classicism, history, literature and architecture. The word directly translates to “Rebirth” from Italian, the country in which Renaissance art was founded.

REPLICA - a copy of an artwork that is practically identical to the original.

RESIN - a synthetic polymer often used by artists for sculptures or 3D creations.

ROCOCO - an art movement known for its ostentatious style, pastel colours and romantic quality. 


SCREENPRINT - created from a special type of stencil. A screen is made of porous fabric and stretched over a wood or aluminium frame. Parts of the screen are covered with non-permeable material forming a stencil. The areas which allow ink to pass freely create the final image, which can be printed on a number of different grounds, including fabric and paper.

SCULPTURES - three-dimensional work of art created through carving, modeling, casting and construction; usually unique, but can also be in a numbered edition, like bronze sculptures.

SECONDARY MARKET - From rare limited edition prints to hard-to-find original artworks, our selection of secondary market sourced artworks provides you with easy access to in-demand pieces from esteemed artists. Supplied to us by trusted third-party sellers that are carefully vetted, you’re sure to find artworks you’ll love by celebrated contemporary and modern artists. We are dedicated to helping people to find original art that they can relate to and secondary market artworks span limited edition prints to sculptures and original artworks.

SIGNATURE ON RECTO - signature to the right of the print/on the front of the print.

SIGNATURE ON VERSO - signature to the left of the print/on the back of the print.

SKATE DECK - the deck of a skateboard that has been embellished or painted on by an artist.

SKETCH - the preliminary drawing of an artwork. Can also be seen as a standalone piece.

STILL LIFE - an artwork that depicts a collection of objects. Popular still life paintings are often of fruit and flowers.

STONE - stone is a hard medium composed of aggregate minerals such as marble, limestone or sandstone, used to produce three-dimensional objects. For the most part, sculptors use a hammer and chisel as the basic tools in the carving of stone.

STREET ART - derived from the graffiti art movement, street art disregards rules and embraces freedom of expression. Often taking inspiration from current events and popular culture, street art is often graphic and bold in nature.


TABLEAU - an artwork in which people are deliberately posed for dramatic effect, often to tell a story.

TOY - artist-designed toy, manufactured in large editions.

TRIPTYCH - a series of three artworks.

TYPOGRAPHY ART - artworks that consist of words, lyrics and letters.


UNIQUE - another word for original, if a work of art is unique then only one has ever been made.


VANISHING POINT - the point of perspective where all the lines in a painting emerge. This gives a 3D effect to an artwork.

VANITAS - still life artworks that consist of a variety of objects that hold a deeper meaning. These artworks were often created to remind the observer of their own morality.


WATERCOLOUR - pigments dissolved in water to produce a brilliant translucent image.

WORKS ON PAPER - painting on paper, often created with acrylic, watercolour, oil, or gouache applied directly to any variety of paper.

WOODCUT - woodcut is a printmaking method in which the artist works on a plank of wood, cutting away the parts of the design which are not to be printed. The wooden surface is then inked, covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press.

WOOD ENGRAVING - wood engraving is a variation on the woodcut. Differing from a woodcut, it is done using the cut end of a piece of wood, as opposed to the plank side. Harder wood is typically employed to create a finer line in comparison to the soft, heavy lines associated with woodcuts.



YOUNG BRITISH ARTISTS (YBA’s) - a group of artists that rose to fame in the late 1980s for their radical new approaches to art. They became known for their astute attitude to entrepreneurship, shock tactics and their controversial use of materials. The group, many of which studied at Goldsmiths University, consists of names such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Angus Fairhurst.

YELLOWING - a process that often occurs to older oil paintings, often occurred by an accumulation of dirt on the varnish layer.



Space Cadet - Magma by RYCA
Arrives by christmas
Space Cadet - Magma £180


13 x 26cm

Limited edition of 12

Gamebuoy by Nick Chaffe
Arrives by christmas
Gamebuoy £100

Nick Chaffe

29.7 x 42cm

Limited edition of 50

Pikachu by Mr. Wu
Arrives by christmas
Pikachu £85

Mr. Wu

40 x 40cm

Limited edition of 50

Armour by Will Blood
Arrives by christmas
Armour £170

Will Blood

50 x 50cm

Timed edition of 305

NYC - Let's Go Get Lost -... £395

Dave Buonaguidi

72.5 x 100cm

Limited edition of 75

Set Your Sails - Blue & Gold by Donk
Arrives by christmas
Set Your Sails - Blue & Gold £150


60 x 70cm

Limited edition of 30

Sunday Morning is a Feeling - Variant 1 by Phoebe Boddy
Arrives by christmas
Electric Blue £650

Nathalie Kingdon

76 x 76cm

Limited edition of 30

Care Bears - 4 Print Set £300 £175

Louise McNaught

21 x 30cm

Limited edition of 100

Always Remember The Things That Brought Us... £195

Adam Bridgland

42 x 59.4cm

Limited edition of 50

Small Steps £250

Joe Webb

55 x 75cm

Limited edition of 70

Jasmine Garden £150

Hannah Adamaszek

42 x 60cm

Limited edition of 20

Home Plate by RYCA
Arrives by christmas
Home Plate £50


27 x 27cm

Limited edition of 30

White Dove by Dan David
Arrives by christmas
White Dove £220

Dan David

10 x 10cm

Limited edition of 30

Space Vader - Yellow by The Thomas Brothers
Arrives by christmas
Space Vader - Yellow £95

The Thomas Brothers

40 x 40cm

Limited edition of 25

Mickey (Orange Stripe) by Carl Stimpson
Arrives by christmas
Mickey (Orange Stripe) £100

Carl Stimpson

35 x 35cm

Limited edition of 20

Pacman by Haus of Lucy
Arrives by christmas
Pacman £65

Haus of Lucy

20.32 x 20.32cm

Limited edition of 30

Paloma by Maria Rivans
Arrives by christmas
Paloma £80

Maria Rivans

25.5 x 34cm

Limited edition of 75

Light Through Trees by Billy Childish
Light Through Trees £300 £225

Billy Childish

56 x 42cm

Limited edition of 50

Cat Pyramids - Gold by Memori Prints
Cat Pyramids - Gold £65

Memori Prints

29.7 x 42cm

Limited edition of 38

A Light Melody from £225

Emma Reynolds

Various sizes

Sunny Sunbirds £230

Charlotte Farmer

42 x 59.4cm

Limited edition of 100

The Strip - Mini by Bonnie and Clyde
Arrives by christmas
The Strip - Mini £200 £150

Bonnie and Clyde

42 x 30cm

Limited edition of 60

Yesterday Never Seems To End by Rob Draper
Yesterday Never Seems To End £100

Rob Draper

42 x 59.4cm

Limited edition of 15

Meet Me In Matisse's Garden by Benjamin Thomas Taylor
Arrives by christmas
Meet Me In Matisse's Garden £195

Benjamin Thomas Taylor

50 x 70cm

Limited edition of 25

I'm in the Bush - Canvas Edition by Babak Ganjei
Arrives by christmas
I'm in the Bush - Canvas Edition £350 £250

Babak Ganjei

50 x 70cm

Limited edition of 15

Eastbound Again £145

Gerry Buxton

40 x 60cm

Limited edition of 75

Wonders of the Natural World - Box Set of four prints by Magnus Gjoen
Arrives by christmas
Wonders of the Natural World - Box... £250 £125

Magnus Gjoen

20 x 20cm

Limited edition of 250

Nike Air Mag Plate by Haus of Lucy
Arrives by christmas
Nike Air Mag Plate £65

Haus of Lucy

20.32 x 20.32cm

Limited edition of 30