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French Art Vocabulary

French Art Vocabulary

On this page you’ll find a comprehensive list of French art vocabulary including many painting terms. If you travel to France you’ll soon learn that the country has an extremely rich art history and that the society tends to hold artists in high esteem.

French Art Vocabulary

Painting vocabulary

  • acrylic paint l’acrylique
  • artist un(e) un artiste
  • brush un pinceau
  • canvas la toile
  • charcoal le fusain
  • darkness l’obscurité )(f)
  • exhibition une exposition
  • easel, tripod le chevalet
  • figurative figuratif (adj)
  • fresco painting la fresque
  • landscape un paysage
  • hue la teinte
  • lightness la clarté
  • masterpiece un chef d’oeuvre
  • negative space l’espace négatif, le vide
  • naturalistic naturaliste (adj)
  • oil paints les peintures à l’huile
  • painting un tableau, une toile, une peinture
  • paints, colors les couleurs
  • oil painting oil painting
  • palette la palette
  • pastel un pastel
  • perspective la perspective
  • pigment le pigment
  • portrait un portrait
  • positive space l’espace positif
  • poster paint la gouache
  • watercolor paint l’aquarelle
  • shading le ton
  • shading une nuance
  • still-life une nature morte

Painting verbs

  • to paint peindre
  • to sketch faire des esquisses
  • to frame encadrer
  • to smudge faire une trace
  • teinter to tint

Other art and related terms

  • artist, drawer dessinateur
  • clay l’argile
  • drawing le dessin
  • figurine une figurine
  • fine arts les arts plastiques
  • ink drawing un dessin à l’encre
  • jewelry making la joaillerie
  • modelling tool
  • pottery la poterie
  • printing l’imprimerie
  • sculpting la sculpture
  • sculptor un sculpteur, une femme sculpteur
  • sculpture une sculpture
  • woodworking la scupture sur bois
  • photographer un(e) photographe
  • photography la photographie
  • statue une statue
  • statuette une statuette
  • works of art les oeuvres

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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