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  • Writer's pictureAccessible Art History

10 Terms to Know for the AP Art History Test

Welcome back to the Accessible Art History Blog! With the AP Art History coming up in just a few months, I thought it would be helpful to write a few posts with my best tips, tricks, advice and knowledge. First up, are ten key terms. They can apply to almost every art work and period, making them a great starting point for any written response questions. With these terms in your back pocket, it should make it easier to craft an answer!

I hope you find this list helpful! Good luck with the big test!


Form - How the artwork appears. In some cases, can be used to describe the medium.(painting, sculpture, etc)

Function - Why was the art created and what purpose did it serve?

Composition - How the elements of the work are arranged.

Foreground - The elements of a painting that are closest to the viewer.

Background - The elements of a painting that are farthest from the viewer.

Narrative - The story behind the work.

Perspective - The creation of three dimensionality within a flat surface.

Iconography - The subject of the work, especially through symbolic means.

Canon - The works and artists that exemplifies a field or period.

Culture - The customs and social structures of a specific group of people.


There are many other terms in the art history world, but these ten are great for opening up discussions. I hope they help and good luck again!


For even more terms:

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