Collage is an art method in which a flat material is adhered to the surface of a larger work. The term collage is simply the French word for "gluing." The use of diverse materials distinguishes collage from papier collé, which uses paper exclusively. Collage is a relatively recent invention, having been developed by the cubists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the early twentieth century. Picasso's Still Life With Chair Caning (1911-12), an oil painting with a caning-patterned fragment of oil cloth, is often cited as the earliest example.
A collage is similar to a mosaic in that fragments or pieces are arranged in such a way to create a more complete or central image. In a collage, however, many different image sources or materials may be used; a mosiac uses the same type of material throughout. A collage may have a central theme or idea, or may be an actual depiction of something.
The typical collage is assembled from samples taken from magazines, newspapers, artwork, books, or other print sources. The samples usually contain a texture or an image which is employed as a part of the collage as something else or as that image in it's context. For example, a collage may use a picture of a mountain to create the illusion of a mountain without actually making a mountain shape. Alternatively, a sample of a picture of animal fur may be cut out in the shape of a hat or gloves in order to represent gloves actually made of fur. More creatively, many different sources of fur images may be assembled in such a way that the total collection represents a depiction of a furry animal.