Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Distortion in art refers to the ‘incorrect’ or unusual representation of things when compared with traditional naturalist representation.

explanatory context

This may occur as part of a stylisation process (for example, Burne-Jones, El Greco, Modigliani, etc.) or in order to meet particular expressive ends (for example, Moore, Bacon, Epstein, De Chirico).

analytical review

The website lists several definitions of distortion in art including the following:

Any change made by an artist in the size, position, or general character of forms based on visual perception, when those forms are organized into a pictorial image.

distortion. Condition of being twisted or bent out of shape. In art, distortion is often used as an expressive technique.
dominance. The importance of the emphasis of one aspect in relation to all other aspects of a design.
distortion - the modification and exaggeration of visual qualities to enhance expressive impact.


Cortes Distortion, Oil on Canvas by Michael Longhofer. [source:, no longer available 23 January 2013]

associated issues


related areas


Sources, 2011, Distortion available at, accessed 22 January 2013, still available 3 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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