Glossary of Art Terms - D


Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in neutral Zürich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1920. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature (poetry, art manifestoes, art theory), theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti war politic through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. Dada activities included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals. Passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture filled their publications. The movement influenced later styles, movements, and groups including Surrealism, Pop Art and Fluxus.


From the French word decoller, which means unstick. Decollage is the opposite of collage, which is building up of layers. Decollage is the tearing away of layers of paper or other fine art materials to expose underlayers to create an effect. It is associated with New Realism, especially Poster Art based on the temporary and the principal of intentional and spontaneous destruction. Poster artist Wolf Vostell edited a magazine he named "Decollage".


A diptych is any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge. Devices of this form were quite popular in the ancient world, types existing for recording notes and for measuring time and direction. The term is also used figuratively for a thematically-linked sequence of two books.

Drip Painting

This is acheived by painting, dripping or pouring paint onto a piece of canvas spread on the floor, enabling long, continuous lines impossible to get by applying paint to a canvas with a brush. For this technique a paint with a fluid viscosity (one that would pour smoothly)is required. Like synthetic resin-based paints on the market ‘gloss'.This style was made famous by the American Jackson Pollock.

Dry Mounting

Dry Mounting is the use of a dry tissue adhesive that is activated by heat from a heat press or an iron to bond artwork or a piece of fabric to a mounting board. The tissue is placed between the object to be mounted and the board. A high temperature is used to liquefy the tissue. Depending on the type of tissue used, the bonding occurs in the press or after removal. Dry mounting is primarily used to mount photographs, posters, and any art-work that is water-sensitive. This system of mounting flattens the artwork to give a clean look. It is easier, faster, and more versatile than wet mounting. The disadvantages of dry mounting are that it is not reversible in some cases and not easily reversible in other cases. If it is reversible, it is not reversible in water. The high temperatures often attained in dry mounting may cause bubbling and may prematurely age photographs as well as scorch fabrics. Dry mounting is not generally considered an archival method of mounting. (Photographs dry mounted to museum board are considered an exception to the rule by some conservators of photography collections.)

Dry Point

In drypoint, the artist "draws" directly on a copper plate with a sharp stylus. No etching is involved. The point of the stylus creates a "burr" of copper on either side as it is scored through the metal. In the printing process, the burr holds additional ink, giving the finished print a velvety richness unique to this method.

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