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Art History Vocab

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Composite Image/Twisted Perspective
An image formed by combining different images or different views of the subject
Cromlech
A prehistoric monument consisting of monoliths encircling a mound
Dolmen
A structure formed by 2+ large, upright stones capped by a horizontal slab. Thought to be a prehistoric tomb
Neolithic
Denoting the later part of the stone age, where ground or polished stone implements prevailed
Paleolithic
Denoting the early phase of the stone age, lasting about 2.5 mil years, when primitive stone implements were used
Post and Lintel
A basic system of construction in which 2+ uprights, the posts, support a horizontal member, the lintel. The lintel may be the topmost element or support a wall or roof
Arcade
A series of arches supported by piers or columns
Blind Arcade
When a series of arches supported by piers or columns are attached to a wall
Ziggurat
A pyramidal mound or tower built of mudbrick forming the base for a temple. It was often stepped or had a broad ascent winding around it, which gave the appearance of steps
Lamassu
An Ancient Near Eastern guard of a palace, often shown in sculpture as a human headed bull or lion with wings
Orthostats
Upright slabs of stone constituting or lining the lowest courses of a wall, often in order to protect a vulnerable material, such as mudbrick
Stele
An upright stone slab or pillar, sometimes with a carved design or inscription
Stylus
An ancient writing implement, consisting of a small rod with a pointed end for scratching letters on wax tablets, and a blunt end for obliterating them
Hieroglyph
A symbol often based on a figure, animal, or object standing for a word, syllable, or sound. These symbols form the early Egyptian writing system and are found on ancient Egyptian monuments, as well as in records.
Hypostyle
A hall whose roof is supported by columns
Mastaba
An ancient Egyptian tomb, rectangular in shape, with sloping sides and a flat roof. It covered a chapel for offerings and a shaft to the burial chamber
Necropolis
Greek for "city of the dead". A burial ground or cemetery
Obelisk
A tall, tapering 4-sided stone shaft with a pyramidal top (ex. Washington monument)
Pylon
Greek word for "gateway". (1) The monumental entrance building to an Egyptian temple or forecourt consisting either of a massive wall with sloping sides pierced by a doorway or 2 such walls flanking a central gateway. (2) A tall structure at either side of a gate, bridge, or avenue marring an approach or entrance
Sarcophagus
A large coffin, generally of stone, and often decorated with sculpture or inscriptions. The term is derived from Greek "flesh" and "eating".
Sphinx
A mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and the head of a human or cat. It was used at the site of Egyptian tombs/pyramids.
Tholos
A building with a circular plan, often with a sacred nature
Megaron
From the Greek word for "large". The central audience hall in a Minoan or Mycenaen palace or home
Heraldic Pose
A pose where 2 figures are mirror images of one another, sometimes flanking a central object
Buon Fresco
Technique of painting on WET plaster with pigments ground in water so that the paint is absorbed by the plaster and becomes part of the wall itself
Ashlar Masonry
Carefully finished stone that is set in fine joints to create an even surface
Pronaos
In a Greek or Roman temple, an open vestibule in front of the cella
Peristyle
(1) In a roman house or domus, an open garden court surrounded by a colonnade (2) A colonnade around a building or court
Triglyphs
A tablet in a doric frieze with 3 vertical grooves. Triglyphs alternate with metopes
Metopes
The element of a doric frieze between 2 consecutive triglyphs. They were sometimes left plain, but often decorated with paint or relief sculpture
Frieze
(1) A continuous band of painted or sculptured decoration (2) In a classical building, the part of the entablature between the architrave and the cornice. A doric frieze consists of alternating triglyphs and metopes, the latter often sculptured. An ionic frieze is usually decorated with continuous relief sculture
Pediment
(1) In classical architecture, a low gable, typically triangular, framed by a horizontal cornice below and 2 raking cornices above, frequently filled with sculpture (2)A similar architectural member used over a door, window, or niche. When pieces of the cornice are either turned at an angle or interrupted, its called a broken pediment
Flute
The vertical channels or grooves in Classical column shafts sometimes though to imitate the faceting of a hewn log