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Texture!

Texture!

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will explore texture as an element of composition.

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Tutorial

Exploring texture as an element of a composition.

Video Transcription

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[INTRO MUSIC PLAYING] Hello. I'd like to welcome you to this episode of Exploring Art History with Ian. My name is Ian McConnell, and today's lesson is about texture. As you're watching the video, feel free to pause, move forward, or rewind as many times as you feel is necessary. As soon as you're ready, we can begin.

Today's objectives or the things you're going to learn today are listed below. By the end of the lesson today, you will be able to identify and define today's key terms, explain how artists use texture in works of art. The big idea for today is that texture is an important element of composition. In certain artistic movements, texture is a defining characteristic of that movement.

Key terms as always are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. First key term is brushstroke, the visible mark of the paintbrush on the surface of a painting. Impasto is the thick buildup of paint, usually oil or acrylic, on the surface of a painting. Painterly is a style of painting such as impressionism, that emphasizes the brushstroke, an action of applying paint to surface. Mixed media is any type of art that combines different artistic media. Texture is how the surface of a work of art would feel if one could touch it or its visible, tactile qualities.

We'll begin with the keyword painterly, which refers to a style of painting that emphasized the brushstroke in the application of paint. Historically, painters were trained how to hide or eliminate the appearance of brushstrokes. The painterly style, however looked at the brushstroke and application of paint as a major feature of the painting. This painting, titled "Starry Night," by Vincent van Gogh is a really good example of impasto, which is a thick buildup of paint on the surface of the painting as seen in this closeup.

As I mentioned before, the impressionistic painters often made the brushstroke itself an important feature of the painting. And this painting of the Waterloo Bridge by Claude Monet if you look closely, showcases individual brushstrokes. You can actually see where the brush applied a dollop of paint. This was an important aspect of Monet's work as he was out of the studio painting on site and trying to capture natural phenomenon like the way light plays on the water.

Texture and tactility refer to the way in which the work of art would feel if a person could touch it. Northern Renaissance painters like Jan van Eyck really made an effort to convey the texture of materials in their works of art. This painting by Van Dyke, titled "The Arnolfini Wedding," has several great examples of rendering texture, such as a soft fur trim on the gentleman's clothing, the wiry fur of the little dog at the bottom of the painting, and even the smoothness of the mirror at the very back of the painting.

And finally mixed media is an art form that incorporates different types of media like paper, paint, found objects, et cetera, into one work of art. And this is an example of mixed media. This is a painting/collage titled "Das Undbild" by Kurt Schwitters.

So before we end today, I'd like to just talk briefly about sculptural texture, and there's a picture on the right of one of my favorite sculptures, the Pieta by Michelangelo. And why do we care? Well were you ever curious as to why stone sculptures are often in marble? It has to do with the fine grain texture of marble. And there's a certain type of marble many of the sculptures of the Renaissance era and I believe Baroque were rendered in Carrera marble, which is a special type of marble from Italy.

But it has a really fine grained texture to it, and it allows the sculpture to be polished as well as it allows artists to really achieve those fine details that would be difficult on another type of stone. The fine details I'm talking about would be like musculature in the veins and you could see some examples of that in that closeup I have the right. Marble has a translucency in the upper layer. It allows light to penetrate and reflect back or refract, and the translucency of the marble mimics the translucency of human skin in that it appears more lifelike.

So let's look at our objectives and see how we did today. Now that you've seen the lesson, are you able to identify and find today's key terms? Can explain how artists used texture in works of art? The big idea again for today is that texture is an important element of composition. In certain artistic movements, texture is a defining characteristic of that movement.

And that's it. Thank you for joining me today. I will see you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Mixed Media

    Any type of art that combines different artistic media.

  • Impasto

    The thick buildup of paint, usually oil or acrylic, on the surface of a painting.

  • Painterly

    A style of painting (such as Impressionism) that emphasizes the brushstroke and action of applying paint to surface.

  • Brushstroke

    The visible mark of the paintbrush on the surface of a painting.

  • Texture

    How the surface of a work of art would feel if one could touch it, or its visible tactile qualities.