art ielts vocabulary

1. Different Types of Art Vocabulary

The topic of art can appear on the IELTS speaking and writing sections, so it is vital to have an awareness of some general art related words. Below is a list of the different types of art along with definitions. Then there is an activity for you to IELTS practice using the words in context.

  • Arts and crafts – Decorative design and handicraft
  • Contemporary/Modern art – Art produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century
  • Cubism(Cubist) – A movement in art in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned and instead it uses simple geometric shapes
  • Digital art – Art made using software, computers, or other electronic devices
  • Expressionism (Expressionist) – Expressionism refers to art in which the image of reality is distorted in order to make it expressive of the artist’s inner feelings or ideas
  • Figurative art – Any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world, particularly the human figure
  • Fine arts – Art whose products are to be appreciated primarily for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content
  • Graffiti art –A form of visual communication, usually illegal, involving the unauthorised marking of public spaces
  • Impressionism (Impressionist) – A movement in painting characterised by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment
  • Modernism(Modernist) – A style or movement in the arts that aims to break away from classical and traditional forms
  • Performing arts – Forms of creative activity performed in front of an audience, such as drama, music, and dance
  • Plastic arts – Art forms that involve modelling or moulding, such as sculpture and ceramics, or the representation of solid objects with three-dimensional effects
  • Romanticism (Romanticist) – A movement that originated in the 18th century, emphasising inspiration and subjectivity
  • Still-life painting – The depiction of inanimate objects for their form, colour, texture, and composition
  • Surrealism (Surrealist) – A 20th-century avant-garde movement which strives to release creativity, for example,through the irrational juxtaposition of images
  • Visual arts – Art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts and architecture

2. Activity 1 – Different Types of Art activity

Activity 1

Choose the correct word to complete the sentences

1. _____1______ originated in 1970s New York, when young people started spraying paint on subway trains and old industrial buildings.

2. My sister has a _____2_____ gallery on her website, where she is displays the artworks she made on a tablet.

3. In developing countries, ______3________ made in rural communities and sold to tourists can be a vital source of income.

4. Many people think that the government should invest more in encouraging children to take up _____4_______ like dance and theatre.

5. Salvador Dali was one of the most well-renowned ______5_____ artists of the 20th century.

  1. graffiti art
  2. digital art
  3. arts and crafts
  4. performing arts
  5. surrealist

3. General Art Vocabulary

Here are some of the most useful/common words that may come up when discussing art. There is an activity for you to practice using the words in context.

  • Aesthetics – related to beauty and the pleasure given by beauty
  • Art critic – A person who evaluates and criticises art
  • Artist – A person who practices an art or craft, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or musician
  • Canvas – A strong cloth used as a surface for oil painting
  • Composition – The artistic arrangement of the parts of a picture
  • Contrast – Enhancement of the apparent brightness or clarity of a design provided by the difference in colours or textures
  • Curate (Curator) – To select, organise, and care for the items of an exhibition
  • Draw – To produce a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks on paper
  • Exhibition – A public display of works of art; held in an art gallery or museum
  • Gallery – A room or building for the display or sale of art
  • Genre – A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterised by similarities in form or style
  • Landscape – A picture representing an area of countryside or scenery
  • Masterpiece – A work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship.
  • Motif / Pattern – A decorative design or pattern.
  • Oil paint – A type of slow-drying paint that consists of coloured pigment in oil
  • Original – Created directly and personally; not a copy or imitation.
  • Paintbrush – A brush for applying paint
  • Painting – The process or art of using paint for pictures, or to paint/decorate something
  • Photography – The art or practice of taking and processing photographs
  • Portrait – A drawing, painting, or photograph usually depicting the head and shoulders
  • Sculpture – The art of making two- or three-dimensional representations out of stone, wood, metal, or plaster.
  • Sketch – a rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in producing a picture or painting
  • Watercolour – artists’ paint made with a water-soluble binder
  • Work of Art – A painting, sculpture, piece of music, or other product of the creative or fine arts

4. Activity 2 – General Art Vocabulary Activity

Activity 2

Choose the correct word to answer the IELTS question.

Do you think some people are naturally more interested in art than others?

I think that to a certain extent all people are naturally interested in art. However, I think that most ___1______ become successful because they are encouraged when they are young, or they persevere with something they are passionate about. For example, if you are taken to see ____2______ and visit _____3_______ as a youngster, you are more likely to be interested in the arts. On the other hand, if you have never picked up a _______4_________ in your life, or have never been to a museum, you may be able to appreciate the _____5______ beauty of a painting, song, or any other _____6________. However, you are unlikely to be producing the next ________7__________ anytime soon

    1. artists
    2. exhibitions
    3. galleries
    4. paintbrush
    5. aesthetic
    6. work of art
    7. masterpiece

5. Art Collocations and Idioms

Using idioms and collocations correctly will make your answers sound more natural and professional. Below is a list of the some of the most commonly used idioms and collocations related to art. There is an exercise for you to practice using the words and phrases in context.

  • A culture vulture – A person who is very interested in the arts, often obsessively
  • A visual feast – Something that is extremely beautiful
  • Break new ground – Innovate or new
  • Dribs and drabs – Very small or slow amounts
  • Hype – Extravagant or intense publicity
  • It wasn’t much to write home about – Normal, nothing special
  • Lose yourself – Become so involved that you don’t notice anything else
  • Road less travelled – An unconventional path, a choice that leads in a different direction than most people go
  • Think outside the box – To think creatively
  • Thought-provoking – stimulating careful consideration or attention.
  • To have a passion for – To be very enthusiastic about something
  • Up and coming – Soon to be famous, established, noticed, or successful

6. Activity 3 – Art Collocations and Idioms Activity

Activity 3

Answer the sentences by choosing the correct word to fill the gap

1. Governments should provide more funding to young and ______1______ artists who are just starting to make a name for themselves.

2. Lots of modern art pieces are produced to be deliberately _______2________ and controversial.

3. Many modern musicians are taking the _______3_________ and achieving fame via the internet without the help of record companies and distribution deals

4. Ican be hard to live up to expectations once you are a well-established artist because there is always a lot of media _______4____ when you release a new collection of pieces.

5. He released a lot of albums in the 80s, but since then he has only put out ______5__________ every 10 years or so. His last album was _______6__________ either, in fact, it was the worst record he has ever made!

  1. up and coming
  2. thought provoking
  3. road less travelled
  4. hype
  5. dribs and drabs
  6. nothing to write home about

For more practice, Visit IELTS vocabulary for Crime and Policing.

Vocab articles short lists

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