How to talk about visual arts

In this lesson you will learn vocabulary to talk about visual arts. First, you will learn some useful phrases and questions related to painting, sculpture, architecture and photography.  Let's see this conversation between two friends:

José: ¿Te gusta el arte?  -  Do you like art?

Mariana: ¡Sí, me encanta! ¿Y a ti?  -  Yes, I love it! And you?

José: También a mí me gusta, pero no conozco muchos artistas. ¿Quién es tu pintor favorito?   -   I like it too but I don't know many artists. Who is you favourite painter?

Mariana: Mi pintora favorita es Remedios Varo.  -  My favourite painter is Remedios Varo.

José: ¿Cuál es tu pintura favorita?  -  What is your favourite painting?

Mariana: Mi pintura favorita es "Papilla estelar", de Remedios Varo.  -  My favourite painting is "Stellar porridge", by Remedios Varo.

José: ¿Quién es tu escultor favorito?  -  Who is your favourite sculptor?

Mariana: Mi escultor favorito es Auguste Rodin.  -  My favourite sculptor is Auguste Rodin.

José: ¿Cuál es tu escultura favorita?  -  What is your favourite sculpture?

Mariana: Mi escultura favorita es "El beso", de Rodin.  -  My favourite sculpture is "The kiss", by Rodin.

José: ¿Quién es tu arquitecto favorito?  -  Who is your favourite architect?

Mariana: Mi arquitecto favorito es Antoni Gaudi.  -  My favourite architect is Antoni Gaudi.

José: ¿Y quién es tu fotógrafo favorito?-  And who is your favourite photographer?

Mariana: Mi fotógrafa favorita es Anne Geddes.  -  My favourite photographer is Anne Geddes.

José: ¡Qué interesante! -  How interesting!


Now, here you can find vocabulary related to the visual arts:

acuarela: watercolor

cámara fotográfica: camera

cincel: chisel

edificio: building

galería: gallery

lienzo: canvas

mármol: marble

museo: museum

perspectiva: perspective

pincel: paintbrush

pintura al óleo: oil paint

Now, I invite you to read a poem in which the poet says that it is impossible to make a pinting more beautiful than the woman that he loves.


If to compare your beauty
outside of you I looked for something,
and the Greek Helen made of jasmine, narcissus and rose
the greatest painting,

it wouldn't be taken as madness
to steal the beautiful flame from the sun itself,
and so in fearful hand would stay,
without color, the brush, the dark board.

But so that you don't live with arrogance
that nothing can compete with you,
know that I have the one who competes with you.

That there is no distance from your beauty
to my infinite love of excellence,
that finally equals it because it is born from it.

Lope de Vega


Here you can find a glossary with some words from the poem:

belleza: beauty

jazmín: jasmine

narciso: narcissus

rosa: rose

locura: madness


What is your opinion about this poem?

And what is your favourite painting?