Biddington's Home & Search

PEDIGREE & PROVENANCE--art words and terms.


Paolo Uccello Battle of San Romano
Paolo Uccello "Battle of San Romano", 1452

What does this term mean when applied to a work of art?

When a painting is called "architectonic" this suggests that its composition is rhythmic, structured & controlled.

Cezanne still life

Paul Cézanne "Compotier, Pitcher & Fruit", 1892

Don't nearly all paintings have these organizing elements?

Yes, but it becomes a question of degree. Artworks termed "architectonic" have structure as a predominant element.

Marsden Hartley Blueberry Hill
Marsden Hartley "Blueberry Hill", 1931
So, an "architectonic" work is about ordered space--like a Matisse painting is about color or an Ingres painting is about line.

In other creative fields, what works might be called "architectonic"?

Piet Mondrian Broadway Boogie Woogie
Piet Mondrian "Broadway Boogie Woogie", 1942
A Bach fugue (audio clip) or a boogie woogie tune (video/audio clip) exhibits repetitious elements and abides by strict formal constraints to an extraordinary extent. The parallel is so strong that Piet Mondrian--a most architectonic painter--entitled one of his paintings "Broadway Boogie Woogie".

Are "architectonic" works typical of a specific period or style?

Graham Nickson Guardians
Graham Nickson "Guardians", 1992
The importance of structure, rhythm & control varies with different artistic periods and cultures. For instance, both French Neo-classical painting and 16th century Persian miniatures rely heavily on a geometric framework.

As the paintings on this page show, an architectonic quality has emerged in various works and genres over the past 600 years of European painting. A focus on organized space--whether based on mathematics or intuition--seems to be a manifestation of the particular compositional concerns of the individual artist.

View 21st century cityscape paintings with architectonic qualities.
Biddington's Contemporary Art Gallery--REALISM Cityscapes

P&P: Abstract Expressionism
P&P: architectonic
P&P: Arte Povera
P&P: Ash Can School
P&P: bronze patina
P&P: citrine
P&P: Colorfield painting
P&P: Greek columns
P&P: Conceptual Art
P&P: coromandel
P&P: depression glass
P&P: enamel
P&P: encaustic
P&P: etching
P&P: faux
P&P: foreshortening
P&P: gouache
P&P: Iconography & Iconology
P&P: New Image painting
P&P: Newcomb pottery
P&P: parfleche
P&P: Pop Art
P&P: porcelain
P&P: realism
P&P: Senufo
P&P: Surrealism
P&P: turquoise


In the art & antiques world, experts bandy about arcane words as though they were part of everyone's standard vocabulary. To a fledgling collector, this practice can be maddening. In PEDIGREE & PROVENANCE, BIDDINGTON'S picks a word or phrase and gives it a good, hard going over: defining it, explaining it and showing how to use it.

Glance regularly at PEDIGREE & PROVENANCE, and soon you'll be able to toss those obscure phrases back at the experts with confidence and agility and be fully prepared to bid on items at BIDDINGTON'S upmarket, online art & antiques auctions.

CREATIVE PROCESS--Artists' Studio Visits   JAKE BIDDINGTON'S INVESTING--Financial Advice for Art Collectors
BIDDINGTON'S BENTLEY--Travel for the Art & Antiques Connoisseur   MY ART--Art for Kids

Biddington's Auction Home & Search