Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll learn 9 phrases containing 8+ vocabulary to describe a work of art.

This topic also comes up in Writing Task 2, and may be the subject of a Listening section or Reading passage.

Whether you’re into art or not, you have to prepare for anything you might face on exam day.





Here’s an activity to include in your IELTS study plan:

1. Choose a museum

This could be in the city you are currently living in, or in a city you hope to inhabit in future.

2. Go to its website

Choose one or two pieces that catch your eye, for any reason.

3. Research

Look up the title for the artwork, perhaps on Wikipedia. Read about it, and add some of the specific vocabulary to your vocabulary notebook.

8+ Vocabulary to Describe a Work of Art:


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Marble bust– A depiction of a person from the stomach up, made of the stone material called marble.

Elegant– graceful; refined

Restrained– simple; straightforward without a lot of detail or decoration

Classical sensibility– in a style of Greek, Roman, or Renaissance art

Oil on canvas– oil paint on a cloth material

Mural– very large picture, indoors or outdoors, often covering an entire wall (i.e. Picasso’s Guernica)

Utilizes a palette of grays and blacks– all the colors consist of grays and blacks

Moving– making you feel something

Prominent in the composition– the main features of the artwork

Now it’s your turn!

Choose 3-4 of these phrases to describe your own favorite artwork.

How would you use these phrases?

Share your examples sentences in the comments section below!

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