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Glossary of dating terms

Alabaster In Antiquity, a carbonate of lime used in Egyptian sculpture, especially for small portable pieces.

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Greek and Roman sculpture was admired during the Renaissance as an ideal art, and study of The Antique formed the basis of the curriculum in most art academics.Alla prima Technique, commonly used in painting since the 19th century, whereby an artist completes a painting in one session without having provided layers of underpainting.Allegory An allegory is the description of a subject in the guise of another subject.Airbrush Instrument for spraying paint, propelled by compressed air.Invented in 1893, it has been much used by commercial artists, whether for fine lines, large areas, or subtle gradations of colour and tone.The term is frequently used to differentiate this type of work from the fine arts (painting, drawing, sculpture) whose value is primarily aesthetic.

Applique Textile decoration in which cut fabric shapes are stitched to a fabric ground as a design.

It refers to paintings where there is no focal point but where everything on the canvas has the same degree of importance.

Altarpiece In Christian church architecture, the picture or decorated screen behind the altar.

Could be applied to drawings done by children, people who are mentally ill or anyone who is does not describe themselve as an "artist" or who are not painting commercially.

Art Critics Commentators and analysts of the visual arts.

Archaic Greek art Greek art of the mid 12th century BCE to c.480 BCE; one of four convenient divisions of Greek art, the others being Geometric, Classical and Hellenistic. Exhibits included the work of the more Avant-Garde US artists and of the School of Paris.