What Is Texture in Art History?

Art|Art History

Texture in art history is the physical characteristics of a work of art and how it affects the way it is perceived by viewers. It is an important element of visual art, as it can create a sense of depth, movement and mood in an artwork. Texture can be used to communicate a message, create an atmosphere and evoke emotions from viewers.

Texture in art can be created through many different mediums such as paint, clay, fabric and metal. Texture can be represented through a variety of methods including brush strokes, sculptural elements and 3-dimensional objects.

In painting, texture is often achieved through the use of different types of paints or the application of various techniques. For example, a painter may use thick oil paints to create texture on canvas or watercolor paints to achieve texture on paper.

In sculpture, texture can be created by carving into materials such as stone or wood or by adding layers of clay or other materials to create reliefs or other three-dimensional forms. Texture in fabric arts such as quilting or weaving can be achieved through the manipulation of yarns or threads while metalworking involves using tools to shape metals into unique forms with interesting textures.

Texture also plays an important role in photography as it helps to bring out details that may not otherwise be visible. By manipulating light and shadow on the subject matter, photographers are able to create textures that are visually appealing and full of depth.

Texture is also used for practical purposes such as providing traction for walkways and helping reduce noise within interior spaces. In architecture, texture is often used to add visual interest to walls, floors and other surfaces within a building.

Texture has been used throughout art history by artists from all cultures and time periods as a way to express themselves creatively and convey their messages in meaningful ways. From ancient cultures who incorporated textured elements into their pottery designs to modern day street artists using textured elements in their graffiti artworks, texture has been an integral part of creating works that both captivate viewers and communicate ideas effectively.


Texture in art history is an essential element that provides visual interest, conveys emotion and communicates messages effectively when used appropriately. Throughout centuries artists have relied on texture to make their works more powerful visually and emotionally.