all'anticą: an Italian term meaning "from the antique"; it is used to refer to works of art that are inspired by ancient art and/or literature (example: Donatello's David and Botticelli's Birth of Venus).

altarpiece: a devotional work of art placed behind or above a Christian altar (examples: Masaccio's Trinity, Michelangelo's Pieta, Titian's Pesaro Madonna, Bernini's St. Teresa).

atmospheric perspective: a device used by painters to suggest atmosphere between the viewer and distant objects by 1) gradually blurring the outlines of objects closer to the horizon and 2) gradually shading the color of objects closer to the horizon in a hazy shade of greyish-white (examples: Piero della Francesca's Portraits, Leonardo's Last Supper and Mona Lisa).

chiaroscuro: from the Italian meaning light (chiaro) + dark (scuro); refers to the contrast between light and dark used to create effects of modeling. Certain Baroque painters are famous for their dramatic use of chiaroscuro effects. Chiaroscuro is the opposite of sfumato (example: Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas).

classical (or antique): a term used to describe the ancient Greek and Roman period between the 5C BCE and the 1C CE.

donor portrait: a depiction of the patron (or patrons) of an altarpiece in the attitude of prayer; usually a husband and wife (example: Masaccio's Trinity and Campin's Annunciation) or an entire family (example: Titian's Pesaro Madonna).

horizon line: the "line" where the sky meets the land (see also scientific perspective and atmospheric perspective).

iconography: the art-historical study of subject matter or symbolism.

impasto: raised brushstrokes of thick oil paint, often in pure color (examples: Titian's Rape of Europa, Velazquez's Las Meninas, and Rembrandt's Bathsheba).

Madonna and Child: refers to a representation of Christ as an infant sitting in the lap of his mother, the Virgin Mary (also known as the Madonna or "mother" of Christ).

oil glazes: a technique of painting with oil-based pigments, where thin, transparent layers of diluted oil paint are applied to create highly illusionistic representations (examples: Campin's Annunciation, Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding, Leonardo's Mona Lisa, Titian's Venus of Urbino or Pesaro Madonna, Maria van Oosterwyck's Vanitas).

orthogonals: the converging diagonal lines that meet at the vanishing point in scientific perspective.

painterly: a painting technique where the artist's large brushstrokes are visible (examples: all the same as "impasto").

picture plane: the flat surface of a picture in scientific perspective.

poesia (plural is poesie): an Italian term that refers to paintings whose subject matter is drawn from a mythological poem, such as the Metamorphoses by the ancient Roman poet Ovid (example of poesia: Titian's Rape of Europa, which was based on the story from Ovid's Metamorphoses).

portrait (or portraiture): a type subject matter for a work of art where the artist focuses on representing the likeness of an individual (examples: Jan van Eyck's "Arnolfini Wedding," Piero della Francesca's portraits of Battista Sforza and Federigo da Montefeltro or Leonardo's Mona Lisa).

pyramidal composition: a popular device Renaissance artists used to draw the viewer's attention to a figure or to give an impression of stability. To construct a pyramidal composition, an artist places objects and figures within the outline of an imaginary triangle or pyramid on the picture plane (examples: Masaccio's Trinity, Leonardo's Last Supper, Michelangelo's Pieta, or Titian's Pesaro Madonna).

Renaissance: a French term for "rebirth"; it refers to the rebirth of classical Greek and Roman literature and art. The term Renaissance refers to the historical period between 1400-1600 in Europe, which saw a re-birth of ancient literature and art.

scientific perspective: a method of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional picture plane. In scientific perspective all parallel edges and lines converge as orthogonals toward a vanishing point (examples: Masaccio's Trinity, Leonardo's Last Supper).

sfumato: an Italian word meaning "smoky"; it refers to a painting technique, where thin oil glazes are used to soften the gradation from light to dark in the modeling a form; sfumato is the opposite of chiaroscuro (example: Leonado's Mona Lisa).

still life: a type of subject matter where the artist represents a variety of inanimate objects, such as fruit, flowers or ordinary household items (example: Maria van Oosterwyck's Vanitas or Rachael Rusch's Still Life with Flowers).

tempera: a technique of painting where ground pigments are suspended in an egg based vechicle. Tempera is an opaque medium, which means that it is not as luminous as oil-based pigments (example: Botticelli's Birth of Venus).

triptych: an altarpiece made from three separate wood panels, which are usually framed or hinged together (example: Roger Campin's Annunciation Triptych).

vanishing point: in scientific perspective, the place where all the converging orthogonals meet (the vanishing point is usually on the horizon line).

vanitas (or "momento mori"): a type of still life showing objects that are meant to remind the viewer of the impermanence of life, such as skeletons, skulls, withering flowers or clocks (examples: Masaccio's Trinity and Maria van Oosterwyck's Still Life with Vanitas).