What’s in a Work of Art?

In art, a medium is the material that artists use to create their art. It’s that simple. Whatever a piece of art is made out of is its medium. The plural of medium is media. So, one piece of art can be made of one medium or several media. If you’ve ever been to an art museum or gallery, you’ve probably seen those little signs next to each piece that look something like this:

‘Oil on Canvas’

‘Tempera on Wood’

‘Ink on Silk’

All of these items are media. They describe each item the artist used to make the art. Therefore, oil and canvas are both media used to describe that particular work. Sometimes this can be a very important part of how the piece of art is interpreted. Different materials carry different significance. For example, if a certain wood is considered sacred, then using it indicates that this piece of art is very special, or if an artist uses an uncommon medium, say garbage, it helps that artist make a statement…

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