Art Terms Glossary beginning with P

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Palladium print
A less-expensive version of the platinum print, made on paper coated with a palladium compound.
A broad, sweeping view of subject matter. Commonly used in landscape, seascape, and cityscape photography, panoramic images have a greatly enlarged lateral field. Panoramic cameras, wide-angle lenses, or ordinary cameras can be used to produce a panoramic photograph. Many varieties of panoramic cameras were invented from the Daguerrean era onward.
The most common support used by artists for drawing, paper is made from plant fibers, usually derived indirectly from rags, beaten and turned into a soupy pulp (slurry) which is then scooped into a mold with a wire screen, drained, and then dried on felt into individual sheets. There are two main types of paper in the West: laid and wove, and the main difference is the type of screen used to strain the liquid paper pulp.
The skin of animals (cattle, sheep, or goats) used as manuscript leaves, prepared by soaking and stretching. See also vellum, with which it is often used interchangeably.
The skin of a sheep or goat prepared as a writing surface.
Parmelian print
A type of gelatin silver print. The term was coined by publisher Jean Chambers Moore to describe works in a 1927 portfolio by Ansel Adams (1902-1984). At the time, creative photography was not considered a fine art, and parmelian print suggested that a portfolio consisted of fine art prints instead of photographs.
Made by blending dry, powdered pigments with a non-greasy, water-soluble binding medium, traditionally a plain gum. The resulting paste is then usually rolled into a stick and dried. Pastels were first used at the end of the 1400s, but they became especially popular in the 1700s and have their own tradition as a medium. A wide spectrum of colors is possible with pastel, and they were often collected and displayed more like paintings than drawings. In the 1800s, pastels were commercially manufactured much as they are today. The term colored chalk is often used interchangeably with pastel. In this black chalk drawing, Millet added pastel at the request of one of his friends, who thought the work would be easier to sell if it had color.
Three basic kinds of pen were used before the 20th century: quill, reed, and metal nib. Most old master drawings with pen are in quill pen, an instrument made from the scraped and cut feathers of birds. Reed pen, made from hollow reed grass, is much less common and produces a shorter, blunter stroke than the more durable and versatile quill. Metal nib pens were not widely used until the 1800s, when advanced techniques for manipulating steel were available.
Pen and Ink
Before metal was available, artists typically used quill pens made from bird feathers, and dipped the nubs in ink in order to draw. Pen lines can be loose and scratchy, as in the detail on the left, from a sheet by Fra Filippo Lippi, or careful and regular: in the second detail, we see how Degas tested his pen before he drew.
The leader of the twelve Apostles, the companions of Jesus.
A unique photograph created without a camera by placing opaque or translucent objects on the surface of light-sensitive paper. When the objects and paper are exposed to light, the resulting image is created. Flat white areas appear where opaque objects had been, midtones from translucent objects and various shadow patterns, and darker areas where the paper was exposed to light. After exposure, the image is developed and fixed. While shadow images have been captured on paper throughout the history of photography, photograms are best known as an avant-garde expression used by artists in search of an abstract vocabulary just after World War I. Rediscovered independently by Christian Schad (1894-1982), Man Ray (1890-1976), and László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), photograms are also known as Schadographs or Rayographs after Schad and Man Ray, who practiced the technique in the 1920s.
The art and science of producing images on a sensitized surface by the action of light energy.
A photomechanical process (heliogravure in French) using an etching method to reproduce the appearance of a continuous range of tones in a photograph. A copper plate dusted with fine granular resin is heated, covered with a sheet of bichromate gelatin tissue, and contact-printed with a positive transparency. The gelatin, which hardens on exposure to light, protects certain areas. After the soft gelatin is washed away, the plate is then etched to varying depths in an acid bath, according to the tonality of the original image. Thus the highlights are protected from the acid, whereas the shadow area becomes deeply etched. When printed, the ink fills the etched area and the tonality and details of the original positive transfer onto paper. Invented by Karel Klí (1841-1926) in 1879, the photogravure process is well-suited for reproducing images in large editions. This improvement on the technique of producing a printing plate from a photograph evolved from the traditional printmaking process of etching, as well as Talbot's photoglyphic engraving, an early photogravure process. Pictorialist photographers in particular liked the grainy tones of photogravures, and most of the photographs in Camera Work are reproduced by this process.
Photomechanical Reproduction
Any of a variety of printmaking processes in which the imagery is established photographically.
Photomechanical transfer print
An image printed in a printing press with the use of a camera. Beginning in the 1870s, the photomechanical process produced permanent, multiple reproductions of photographs in ink using printing plates. A photographic plate is inked and the image transferred to paper. The three general categories of photomechanical processes are intaglio, relief, and planographic. Collotypes, photogravures, and woodburytypes are popular photomechanical prints.
The (usually) powdered substance mixed with a binding media (egg, oil, or water) which gives paints their color.
Pinhole camera
A lensless camera with a pinhole through which light passes. The image of the view outside the camera is not as sharp as one produced through a camera with a lens.
The design is created on a flat surface which has no perceptible variation in depth. The image is created on the surface of a stone or plate which is altered chemically (as in lithography) rather than dimensionally (i.e. by carving out or incising into).
Plate Tone
Tone created in intaglio prints by leaving a film of ink on the plate when it is wiped before printing.
Platinum print
An image contact-printed in daylight or ultraviolet light on paper that has been sensitized with iron salts and a platinum compound and then developed in potassium oxalate. Photographers favored its broad range of subtle, silvery-gray tones. Because platinum is a more stable metal than silver, platinum prints are more permanent than photographs that use silver to form the image. The process was invented and patented by the Englishman William Willis (1841-1923) in 1873. Prepared platinum papers were available commercially as early as 1878. During World War I, the raw materials for platinum papers became expensive and their popularity waned. Commercial production was discontinued in 1937. An alternative, cheaper process using the metal palladium replaced the comparable platinum print process. Palladium prints also have a subtle silver-gray tonality, but are warmer toned. Today, some photographers are again making platinum and/or palladium prints by coating their own papers.
Polychromed faience
Faience decorated by multicolored glazes that are inlaid or painted. Ground glaze, ground glass, efflorescent frits, and prefired elements were used for inlays.
Holes formed by a stylus along the edge of a sheet of vellum or parchment; used as an aid in ruling in preparation for copying.
Printing-out paper
Light-sensitive, photographic paper that permits contact-printing in sunlight, without the use of chemicals.
A book containing all 150 Psalms.