AP Art History : Understanding terminology that describes Gothic 2D art

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Gothic 2 D Art

A painting of a crucified Christ laying across the Virgin Mary is called __________.

Possible Answers:

a pietà

an arma Christi

a salvator mundi

the ecce homo

Correct answer:

a pietà

Explanation:

The pietà was a common theme among Gothic and Medieval artists who were Christians and used religious themes because it was one of the most dramatic moments of Christ's crucifixion story. The pietà depicts a dead Jesus who has just been taken down from the cross laying across the Virgin Mary's lap, with Mary looking extremely sorrowful.

Example Question #2 : Gothic 2 D Art

A stained-glass window in a cathedral depicting a variety of scriptural scenes is known as __________.

Possible Answers:

Rose Window

The Tree of Jesse

The Golden Legend

Poor Man's Bible

Correct answer:

Poor Man's Bible

Explanation:

The Poor Man's Bible was a way for the largely illiterate Medieval peasantry to be able to learn Bible stories despite their inability to actually read the Bible. In many cathedrals, most notably at Canterbury Cathedral in England, the Poor Man's Bible was a giant stained-glass window that had dozens of Biblical stories that could be easily referenced by priests and parishioners alike.

Example Question #1 : Gothic 2 D Art

In Christian art, a painting of the three kings visiting the Christ child is known as __________.

Possible Answers:

"The Adoration of the Magi."

"The Annunciation."

"The Nativity."

"The Road to Emmaus."

Correct answer:

"The Adoration of the Magi."

Explanation:

"Adoration of the Magi" is an Anglicization of the Vulgate Latin phrase "a Magis adoratur,a phrase found in the Gospel of Matthew. The scene, which features three distinguished men from the East visiting the newborn Jesus, was a popular one in Medieval art, thanks to its portrayal of precious gifts, ostentatious figures, and the Christ child in one scene.

Example Question #2 : Gothic 2 D Art

_________________ is a style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray.

Possible Answers:

Grisaille

Encaustic

Engraving

Pointillism 

Correct answer:

Grisaille

Explanation:

Grisaille is a type of painting done entirely in shades of gray or another neutral, monochromatic shade. By reducing the color palette to shades of gray, the artist can emulate the appearance of sculpture. It's also much less demanding on the artist, and is often used for sketches. 

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