Art Terms Glossary beginning with C

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A pouch used by medieval scribes to store pens and related writing instruments such as penknife, stylus, awl, needles, pumice stones.
Calcite may appear as clear colorless crystals, or white or pale shades of color depending on impurities preset. Calcite has been gathered or mined since Paleolithic times. In the form of chalk, calcite was powdered for use as a ground, gesso or pigment and as an ingredient in the manufacture of plaster, mortar, and cement.
Carbon-14 dating
One of a variety of radioactive dating techniques used on organic materials that were once part of living plants or organisms. The amount of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of carbon, contained in a sample is measured enabling the date the material died to be calculated. Carbon-14 is absorbed by living plants along with other carbon as CO2 during photosynthesis. This carbon-14 is transferred to living organisms through the food chain. Only living organisms take in carbon-14. Upon death, the carbon-14 levels diminish because the radioactive isotope is unstable. The date of death can be determined because carbon-14 decays at a known rate.
A formal calling card popular in the 1850s and patented in 1854 by Andre Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri (1819-1889). These 4½ x 2½-inch (11.4 x 6.4 cm) cards of stiff paper stock had a photograph of nearly the same size attached, usually albumen prints from wet collodion negatives. Millions of cartes-de-visite were distributed worldwide in the 1860s and collected in albums by enthusiasts. Subjects were usually portraits and sometimes landscapes, views of local attractions, or reproductions of works of art. The verso of the card was printed with the photographer's name and address.
A preparatory drawing or design for a painting or fresco.
Catalogue Raisonné
A book listing all of the prints by a certain artist. References to it are by the author‘s last name.
The first word or words of a quire written below the textblock on the verso of the last leaf of the preceding quire; they functioned as guides to the scribe and binder.
Chalk Manner Etching And Engraving
An intaglio method which uses tools with toothed points of varying thicknesses set at irregular intervals and angles which imitate the random character of grains of chalk on textured paper.
Champleve enamel
A type of enamel decoration in which the enamel is applied and fired in cells depressed into a metal background.
Made by slowly heating bundles of twigs in an airtight chamber to produce charred wood instead of ash. The resulting charcoal sticks produce a grayer line than black chalk, one that can also be more easily erased and manipulated. Often it is difficult to tell the difference between black chalk and charcoal with the naked eye. In this modern drawing, Modersohn-Becker used a stump to manipulate the charcoal.
The treatment of the light and dark parts of a painting.
Chiaroscuro Woodcut
A print in colors from two or more blocks which provide the overall background tone for the composition while unprinted areas of white paper act as highlights.
Chine Collé
A thin sheet of Oriental paper is pressed to a heavier backing sheet when it is put through the press for printing.
Choral Books
Music manuscripts, chiefly the antiphonary and gradual, containing the chants of the Latin liturgy arranged according to the Church calendar as well as their various functions within the liturgy.
Chromogenic process color print
A color print made from a color transparency or a color negative. Chroma is Greek (color forming). Invented by Leopolde Mannes (1899-1964) and Leopolde Godowsky (b. 1900) in 1935, the process was acquired and perfected by Kodak. First marketed under the name kodachrome, chromogenic prints are composed of light-sensitized dyes (dye couplers) assimilated in at least three layers of gelatin silver emulsion. Each of the three principal layers is sensitized to one of the primary colors of light (red, green, or blue), with a corresponding dye and developing agent sandwiched in between. The dyes within the layers act together to produce a color print. At the time of exposure through a negative, a gelatin silver image is formed in each layer. That colorless image unites the dye couplers with chemicals in the emulsion layers to form the appropriate combination of colors of the object photographed. Any remaining silver is bleached out of the image and dissolved during the fixing process. When the emulsion is seen against white background paper, the layers appear as a single, full-color image. Chromogenic prints, while not as stable as prints from other color process, tend to have the most naturalistic color. Agfacolor, a commercial transparency film, was first available in 1938. As in Kodachrome film, the Afgacolor dye couplers are included in the layers of a single piece of film. Kodak ektacolor, often referred to as Type C is the most common type of commercial chromogenic process color negative film. Introduced in 1942, this dye coupler print process also uses three separate layers of superimposed light-sensitive emulsion. The layers are protected from other colors of light by internal filters. During development, both the silver and dye images are made initially. An acid then removes the silver, and the image is formed on white paper with primary color dyes of cyan, magenta, and yellow.
A glass plate is covered with an opaque ground through which the design is drawn with a sharp instrument. The plate is then placed on a sheet of sensitized paper and exposed to light so that the image is reproduced on the paper.
Another term for all handwritten books (manuscripts) on individual leaves of vellum that can be turned and read in succession. Succeeded the scroll as the main support for handwritten script in Western Europe.
In these techniques, fragments from similar or diverse materials are grouped on a common support. In collage, from the French word coller (to glue), the artistic result relies on the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated objects and textures. Usually, no attempt is made to conceal the edges of neighboring and overlapping materials, and handwork in other media such as painting or drawing may be added as well. Characteristically, the primary concern of collage is an obvious emphasis on method and visual evidence of the hand of the artist at work. Photomontage, which incorporates the French monter (to mount), is an arrangement of photographic material combined to create a new work. Usually edges are more carefully concealed, and the work may even be made with multiple exposures in the darkroom or rephotographed to create a more seamless effect.
Analysis of the makeup or sequential arrangement of the quires (also called gatherings) that constitute a codex.
An ink reproduction of a photograph created photomechanically from a prepared printing plate. The technique encompasses a group of related photographic processes in which the surface of the metal or glass plate is coated first with a base layer of gelatin with sodium silicate and then with a layer of potassium or ammonium bichromate. The layers are dried by heat. A negative is contact-printed on the layers of emulsion. The amount of light striking an area determines the hardness of the second layer of emulsion, and thus some sections are harder than others. The plate is then rinsed, which causes the surface to swell and buckle, producing a pattern called reticulation. The reticulated surface is very fine, visible only under high magnification. The textured surface is inked and printed on paper, as in a lithographic process, to create a delicately detailed image very much like a photograph.
A photomechanical process primarily used for reproducing watercolors, drawings and prints. Like lithography collotype is a planographic process. Planographic prints are obtained from a flat surface and the resulting impression also has no variation in depth. Invented in 1855 and in full commercial use by 1870, collotype remained a widely used process for fine printing until recent years when it was supplanted by screen-less lithography and aquatint photogravure - more commercially viable processes. Today collotype reproductions are made by only a handful of specialty firms. Like lithography the process is based on the fact that water and oil don't mix. Printed impressions are taken from a plate. The plate (typically glass) is first coated with bichromated gelatin then exposed to light through a photographic negative. The sensitized gelatin layer hardens in proportion to the amount of light received - hardened gelatin becomes non-absorbent, whereas non-exposed areas will remain soft and receptive to water. For printing the exposed plate is first moistened so that the soft, non-exposed areas of gelatin absorb water. When printing ink is applied it adheres to the gelatin in inverse proportion to the amount of moisture retained on the surface. With this process a full range of mid-tones are possible; the dry areas accept the most ink and print darkest and the wettest areas hold no ink and yield highlights.
A passage appearing at the end of a manuscript, recording information about the text, place, and date of execution, and occasionally the name of the scribe.
Composite photograph
A work in which multiple images, carefully aligned and registered, are printed on the same sheet of sensitized paper, using multiple exposures to create a single image. This format was first made popular by nineteenth-century English photographers.
The process used by conservators to reattach loose and flaking areas of paint with special adhesives worked beneath the paint.
Contact print
A positive made by exposure to an intense light source with a negative laid directly on top of light-sensitive paper, hence the word contact. Contact exposures are necessary for photographic papers that need exposure to sun or ultraviolet light. Salt, albumen, gum, and platinum prints, among others, require contact exposure. Most modern photographs are enlarged, not contact-printed because the negatives are small. Large-format negatives (4 x 5, 8 x 10, and larger) are often contact-printed. Contact-printing waned when enlargers became available in the 1880s and when emulsions containing silver bromide were developed. Using sunlight was no longer necessary because these new emulsions were sensitive to artificial light sources such as gas or, later, electric light.
A word used to describe the work, language, or church of the Copts, members of a traditional Christian church which originated in Egypt.
a temporary internal support used during working and/or firing to prevent slumping of ceramics. Organic cores burned out during firing. Other cores, such as clay, were removed mechanically.
Colored pigments combined with oily, fatty, or waxy binding media and made into sticks. Crayon has a waxy or greasy quality created by the addition of a binder to the pigment, so the material builds up thickly on raised portions of the drawing surface. This quality allowed Georges Seurat to draw using the texture of the paper.
a copper-bearing compound and the major constituent of Egyptian blue.
A print created by the light sensitivity of iron salts. The process, invented by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) in 1842, creates economical and permanent prints in insoluble Prussian blue paper. A piece of good drawing paper is brushed with solutions of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide and then dried in the dark. The object to be reproduced was placed on top of the prepared paper in direct sunlight for about fifteen minutes or until the image formed. The paper darkens when exposed to light, creating a white image on a blue ground. The paper is then washed and fixed in a bath of water. The cyanotype is a convenient process for reproducing architectural drawings, hence the present-day name, blueprint.