Painterly is a term which describes a standardised set of qualities which are perceived as being distinct to the art of painting. These qualities include the use of color, stroke and texture.
The term was popularised by Swiss art historian Heinrich Wölfflin, who used the term to standardise the way art historians at the time described the characteristics of paintings.
A painting may be described as being painterly when the illusion of form is created by utilising colors, strokes, textures and any other techniques unique to the art of painting, rather than a linear method involving skillful drawing. In simple terms, it is used to describe a painting which looks like a painting.
Artists with a painterly style include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent and Richard Schmid.
On the other hand, artists with a linear style include Michelangelo, Botticelli and Ingres.