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507 terms

AP Art History Exam- Terms

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composite view
A convention of representation in which part of a figure is shown in profile and another part of the same figure is shown frontally; also called twisted perspective.
Composition
The way in which an artist organizes forms in an artwork, either by placing shapes on a flat surface or arranging forms in space.
Course
In masonry construction, a horizontal row of stone blocks.
Freestanding Sculpture
Freestanding figures, carved or modeled in three dimensions.
Ground line
In paintings and reliefs, a painted or carved baseline on which figures appear to stand.
Incise
To cut into a surface with a sharp instrument; also, a method of decoration, especially on metal and pottery.
Landscape
A picture showing natural scenery, without narrative content.
Lintel
A horizontal beam used to span an opening.
Mural
A wall painting
Palette
A thin board with a thumb hole at one end on which an artist lays and mixes colors; any surface so used. Also, the colors or kinds of colors characteristically used by an artist. In ancient Egypt, a slate slab used for preparing makeup.
post-and-lintel system
A system of construction in which two posts support a lintel.
relief
In sculpture, figures projecting from a background of which they are part. The degree of relief is designated high, low (bas), or sunken. In the last, the artist cuts the design into the surface so that the highest projecting parts of the image are no higher than the surface itself.
Sculpture in the round
Freestanding figures, carved or modeled in three dimensions.
apadana
The great audience hall in ancient Persian palaces.
arch
A curved structural member that spans an opening and is generally composed of wedge-shaped blocks (voussoirs) that transmit the downward pressure laterally.
blind arcade
An arcade having no actual openings, applied as decoration to a wall surface.
cella
The chamber at the center of an ancient temple; in a classical temple, the room (Greek, naos) in which the cult statue usually stood.
city-state
a self-governerning, independent body
conceptual representation
The representation of the fundamental distinguishing properties of a person or object, not the way a figure or object appears in space at a specific moment.
Cuneiform
Latin, wedge-shaped. A system of writing used in ancient Mesopotamia, in which wedge-shaped characters were produced by pressing a stylus into a soft clay tablet, which was then baked or otherwise allowed to harden.
cylinder seal
A cylindrical piece of stone usually about an inch or so in height, decorated with an incised design, so that a raised pattern was left when the seal was rolled over soft clay. In the ancient Near East, documents, storage jars, and other important possessions were signed, sealed, and identified in this way. Stamps seals are an earlier, flat, form of seal used for similar purposes.
foreshortening
The use of perspective to represent in art the apparent visual contraction of an object that extends back in space at an angle to the perpendicular plane of sight.
frieze
The part of the entablature between the architrave and the cornice; also, any sculptured or painted band in a building.
hierarchy of scale
An artistic convention in which greater size indicates greater importance.
lamassu
Assyrian guardian in the form of a man-headed winged bull.
pictograph
A picture, usually stylized, that represents an idea; also, writing using such means; also painting on rock. See also hieroglyphic.
register
One of a series of superimposed bands or friezes in a pictorial narrative, or the particular levels on which motifs are placed.
stele
A carved stone slab used to mark graves or to commemorate historical events.
stylus
A needlelike tool used in engraving and incising; also, an ancient writing instrument used to inscribe clay or wax tablets.
votive offering
A gift of gratitude to a deity.
ziggurat
In ancient Mesopotamian architecture, a monumental platform for a temple
ashlar masonry
Carefully cut and regularly shaped blocks of stone used in construction, fitted together without mortar.
atlantid
A male figure that functions as a supporting column.
axial plan
The horizontal arrangement of the parts of a building or of the buildings and streets of a city or town, or a drawing or diagram showing such an arrangement. In an axial plan, the parts of a building are organized longitudinally, or along a given axis; in a central plan, the parts of the structure are of equal or almost equal dimensions around the center.
bilateral symmetry
Having the same forms on either side of a central axis.
block statue
In ancient Egyptian sculpture, a cubic stone image with simplified body parts.
Canon
A rule, for example, of proportion. The ancient Greeks considered beauty to be a matter of correct proportion and sought a canon of proportion, for the human figure and for buildings.
Canopic jar
In ancient Egypt, the container in which the organs of the deceased were placed for later burial with the mummy.
Capital
The uppermost member of a column, serving as a transition from the shaft to the lintel. In classical architecture, the form of the capital varies with the order.
Caryatid
A female figure that functions as a supporting column
clerestory
The fenestrated part of a building that rises above the roofs of the other parts. The oldest known clerestories are Egyptian. In Roman basilicas and medieval churches, clerestories are the windows that form the nave's uppermost level below the timber ceiling or the vaults.
Colonnade
A series or row of columns, usually spanned by lintels.
column
A vertical, weight-carrying architectural member, circular in cross-section and consisting of a base (sometimes omitted), a shaft, and a capital.
course
In masonry construction, a horizontal row of stone blocks.
dressed masonry
Stone blocks shaped to the exact dimensions required, with smooth faces for a perfect fit.
engaged column
A half-round column attached to a wall
facade
Usually, the front of a building; also, the other sides when they are emphasized architecturally.
fluting
Vertical channeling, roughly semicircular in cross-section and used principally on columns and pilasters.
fresco
Painting on lime plaster, either dry (dry fresco or fresco secco) or wet (true or buon fresco). In the latter method, the pigments are mixed with water and become chemically bound to the freshly laid lime plaster. Also, a painting executed in either method.
fresco secco
Painting on lime plaster, either dry (dry fresco or fresco secco) or wet (true or buon fresco). In the latter method, the pigments are mixed with water and become chemically bound to the freshly laid lime plaster. Also, a painting executed in either method.
hieroglyphic
A system of writing using symbols or pictures.
hypostyle hall
A hall with a roof supported by columns.
ka
In ancient Egypt, the immortal human life force.
mastaba
Arabic, _ench. An ancient Egyptian rectangular brick or stone structure with sloping sides erected over a subterranean tomb chamber connected with the outside by a shaft.
molding
In architecture, a continuous, narrow surface (projecting or recessed, plain or ornamented) designed to break up a surface, to accent, or to decorate.
mortuary temple
In Egyptian architecture, a temple erected for the worship of a deceased pharaoh.
mummification
A technique used by ancient Egyptians to preserve human bodies so that they may serve as the eternal home of the immortal ka.
necropolis
Greek, city of the dead. A large burial area or cemetery.
nemes
In ancient Egypt, the linen headdress worn by the pharaoh, with the uraeus cobra of kingship on the front.
papyrus
A plant native to Egypt and adjacent lands used to make paperlike writing material; also, the material or any writing on it.
pillar
Usually a weight-carrying member, such as a pier or a column; sometimes an isolated, freestanding structure used for commemorative purposes.
pylon
The wide entrance gateway of an Egyptian temple, characterized by its sloping walls.
scarab
An Egyptian gem in the shape of a beetle.
serdab
A small concealed chamber in an Egyptian mastaba for the statue of the deceased.
sphinx
A mythical Egyptian beast with the body of a lion and the head of a human.
stucco
A type of plaster used as a coating on exterior and interior walls.
subtractive sculpture
A kind of sculpture technique in which materials are taken away from the original mass; carving.
sunken relief
In sculpture, figures projecting from a background of which they are part. The degree of relief is designated high, low (bas), or sunken. In the last, the artist cuts the design into the surface so that the highest projecting parts of the image are no higher than the surface itself.
valley temple
The temple closest to the Nile River associated with each of the Great Pyramids at Gizeh in ancient Egypt.
corbel
A projecting wall member used as a support for some element in the superstructure. Also, courses of stone or brick in which each course projects beyond the one beneath it. Two such walls, meeting at the topmost course, create a corbeled arch or corbeled vault.
cyclopean masonry
A method of stone construction, named after the mythical Cyclopes, using massive, irregular blocks without mortar, characteristic of the Bronze Age fortifications of Tiryns and other Mycenaean sites.
dome
A hemispherical vault; theoretically, an arch rotated on its vertical axis. In Mycenaean architecture, domes are beehive-shaped.
dromos
The passage leading to a tholos tomb.
faience
A low-fired opaque glasslike silicate.
krater
An ancient Greek wide-mouthed bowl for mixing wine and water.
labyrinth
Maze. The English word derives from the mazelike plan of the Minoan palace at Knossos.
megaron
The large reception hall and throne room in a Mycenaean palace, fronted by an open, two-columned porch.
minotaur
The mythical beast, half man and half bull, that inhabited the Minoan palace at Knossos.
relieving triangle
In Mycenaean architecture, the triangular opening above the lintel that serves to lighten the weight to be carried by the lintel itself.
repoussee
Formed in relief by beating a metal plate from the back, leaving the impression on the face. The metal sheet is hammered into a hollow mold of wood or some other pliable material and finished with a graver.
tholos
A temple with a circular plan. Also the burial chamber of a tholos tomb.
abacus
The uppermost portion of the capital of a column, usually a thin slab.
acropolis
Greek, high city. In ancient Greece, usually the site of the city's most important temple(s).
agora
An open square or space used for public meetings or business in ancient Greek cities.
amphiprostyle
A classical temple plan in which the columns are placed across both the front and back, but not along the sides.
amphora
An ancient Greek two-handled jar used for general storage purposes, usually to hold wine or oil.
antae
The molded projecting ends of the walls forming the pronaos or opisthodomos of an ancient Greek temple.
apse
The molded projecting ends of the walls forming the pronaos or opisthodomos of an ancient Greek temple.
archaic
The artistic style of 600-480 BCE in Greece, characterized in part by the use of the composite view for painted and relief figures and of Egyptian stances for statues.
archaic smile
The smile that appears on all Archaic Greek statues from about 570 to 480 BCE. The smile is the Archaic sculptor's way of indicating that the person portrayed is alive.
architrave
The lintel or lowest division of the entablature.
base
In ancient Greek architecture, the molded projecting lowest part of Ionic and Corinthian columns. (Doric columns do not have bases.)
bilingual vases
Experimental Greek vases produced for a short time in the late sixth century bce; one side featured black-figure decoration, the other red-figure.
black figure painting
In early Greek pottery, the silhouetting of dark figures against a light background of natural, reddish clay, with linear details incised through the silhouettes.
cantaur
In ancient Greek mythology, a creature with the front or top half of a human and the back or bottom half of a horse
chiton
A Greek tunic, the essential (and often only) garment of both men and women, the other being the himation, or mantle.
lost wax technique
A bronze-casting method in which a figure is modeled in wax and covered with clay; the whole is fired, melting away the wax and hardening the clay, which then becomes a mold for molten metal.
Classical
The art and culture of ancient Greece between 480 and 323 BCE. Lower case classical refers more generally to Greco-Roman art and culture.
Contrapposto
The disposition of the human figure in which one part is turned in opposition to another part (usually hips and legs one way, shoulders and chest another), creating a counterpositioning of the body about its central axis. Sometimes called weight shift because the weight of the body tends to be thrown to one foot, creating tension on one side and relaxation on the other.
Corinthian Capital
A more ornate form than Doric or Ionic; it consists of a double row of acanthus leaves from which tendrils and flowers grow, wrapped around a bell-shaped echinus. Although this capital form is often cited as the distinguishing feature of the Corinthian order, there is, strictly speaking, no Corinthian order, but only this style of capital used in the Ionic order.
Cornice
The projecting, crowning member of the entablature framing the pediment; also, any crowning projection.
Cult Statue
The statue of the deity that stood in the cella of an ancient temple.
Daedalic
The Greek Orientalizing sculptural style of the seventh century bce named after the legendary Daedalus.
Dipteral
In classical architecture, a colonnade all around the cella and its porch(es). A peripteral colonnade consists of a single row of columns on all sides; a dipteral colonnade has a double row all around.
Doric
One of the two systems (or orders) invented in ancient Greece for articulating the three units of the elevation of a classical buildingthe platform, the colonnade, and the superstructure (entablature). The Doric order is characterized by, among other features, capitals with funnel-shaped echinuses, columns without bases, and a frieze of triglyphs and metopes
Drum
One of the stacked cylindrical stones that form the shaft of a column. Also, the cylindrical wall that supports a dome.
echinus
The convex element of a capital directly below the abacus.
emblema
The central framed figural panel of a mosaic floor.
encaustic
A painting technique in which pigment is mixed with wax and applied to the surface while hot.
entablature
The part of a building above the columns and below the roof. The entablature has three parts: architrave, frieze, and pediment.
entasis
The convex profile (an apparent swelling) in the shaft of a column.
geometric
The style of Greek art during the ninth and eighth centuries BCE, characterized by abstract geometric ornament and schematic figures.
glaze
A vitreous coating applied to pottery to seal and decorate the surface. It may be colored, transparent, or opaque, and glossy or matte. In oil painting, a thin, transparent, or semitransparent layer put over a color to alter it slightly.
gorgon
In ancient Greek mythology, a hideous female demon with snake hair. Medusa, the most famous gorgon, was capable of turning anyone who gazed at her into stone
Hellenistic
The term given to the art and culture of the roughly three centuries between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 bce and the death of Queen Cleopatra in 30 bce, when Egypt became a Roman province.
herm
A bust on a quadrangular pillar.
himation
An ancient Greek mantle worn by men and women over the chiton and draped in various ways.
Hippodamian Plan
A city plan devised by Hippodamos of Miletos ca. 466 bce, in which a strict grid was imposed on a site, regardless of the terrain, so that all streets would meet at right angles
hydria
An ancient Greek three-handled water pitcher.
hypaethral
A building having no pediment or roof, open to the sky.
interaxial
The distance between the center of the lowest drum of a column and the center of the next.
intercolumnation
The distance between the center of the lowest drum of a column and the center of the next.
investment
In hollow-casting, the final clay mold applied to the exterior of the wax model,
Ionic
One of the two systems (or orders) invented in ancient Greece for articulating the three units of the elevation of a classical building: the platform, the colonnade, and the superstructure (entablature). The Ionic order is characterized by, among other features, volutes, capitals, columns with bases, and an uninterrupted frieze.
kore
Greek, young woman. An Archaic Greek statue of a young woman.
kouros
Greek, young man. An Archaic Greek statue of a young man.
lekythos
A flask containing perfumed oil; lekythoi were often placed in Greek graves as offerings to the deceased.
lost wax process
A bronze-casting method in which a figure is modeled in wax and covered with clay; the whole is fired, melting away the wax (French, cire perdue) and hardening the clay, which then becomes a mold for molten metal.
meander
An ornament, usually in bands but also covering broad surfaces, consisting of interlocking geometric motifs. An ornamental pattern of contiguous straight lines joined usually at right angles.
metope
The panel between the triglyphs in a Doric frieze, often sculpted in relief.
minaret
the tower of a mosque, from which the Islamic faithful are called to worship.
monolith
A column shaft that is all in one piece (not composed of drums); a large, single block or piece of stone used in megalithic structures.
naos
The chamber at the center of an ancient temple; in a classical temple, the room (Greek, naos) in which the cult statue usually stood.
nymphs
In classical mythology, female divinities of springs, caves, and woods.
opisthodomos
In ancient Greek architecture, a porch at the rear of a temple, set against the blank back wall of the cella
orchestra
Greek, dancing place. In ancient Greek theaters, the circular piece of earth with a hard and level surface on which the performance took place.
order
In classical architecture, a style represented by a characteristic design of the columns and entablature. See also superimposed orders.
orientalizing
The early phase of Archaic Greek art (seventh century BCE), so named because of the adoption of forms and motifs from the ancient Near East and Egypt.
orthogonal plan
The imposition of a strict grid plan on a site, regardless of the terrain, so that all streets meet at right angles. See also Hippodamian plan.
palaestra
An ancient Greek and Roman exercise area, usually framed by a colonnade. In Greece, the palaestra was an independent building; in Rome, palaestras were also frequently incorporated into a bathing complex.
parapet
A low, protective wall along the edge of a balcony, roof, or bastion.
pediment
In classical architecture, the triangular space (gable) at the end of a building, formed by the ends of the sloping roof above the colonnade; also, an ornamental feature having this shape.
peplos
A simple long woolen belted garment worn by ancient Greek women.
peripteral
In classical architecture, a colonnade all around the cella and its porch(es). A peripteral colonnade consists of a single row of columns on all sides; a dipteral colonnade has a double row all around.
portico
A roofed colonnade; also an entrance porch.
pronaos
The space, or porch, in front of the cella, or naos, of an ancient Greek temple.
prostyle
A classical temple plan in which the columns are only in front of the cella and not on the sides or back.
raking cornice
The cornice on the sloping sides of a pediment.
red figure painting
In later Greek pottery, the silhouetting of red figures against a black background, with painted linear details; the reverse of black-figure painting.
ridgepole
The beam running the length of a building below the peak of the gabled roof.
satyr
In ancient Greek mythology, a creature that was part man and part goat, usually with a man's head and body, and a goat's ears, horns, and legs.
shaft
The tall, cylindrical part of a column between the capital and the base.
siren
In ancient Greek mythology, a creature that was part bird and part woman.
skiagraphia
Greek, shadow painting. The Greek term for shading, said to have been invented by Apollodoros, an Athenian painter of the fifth century bce.
slip
A mixture of fine clay and water used in ceramic decoration.
stoa
In ancient Greek architecture, an open building with a roof supported by a row of columns parallel to the back wall. A covered colonnade or portico.
stylobate
The uppermost course of the platform of a classical temple, which supports the columns.
symmetria
Greek, commensurability of parts. Polykleitos's treatise on his canon of proportions incorporated the principle of symmetria.
symposium
An ancient Greek banquet attended solely by men (and female servants and prostitutes).
tessera
Greek, cube. A tiny stone or piece of glass cut to the desired shape and size for use in forming a mosaic.
treasury
In ancient Greece, a small building set up for the safe storage of votive offerings
trident
The three-pronged pitchfork associated with the ancient Greek sea god Poseidon (Roman, Neptune).
triglyph
A triple projecting, grooved member of a Doric frieze that alternates with metopes.
tripod
An ancient Greek deep bowl on a tall three-legged stand.
volute
A spiral, scroll-like form characteristic of the ancient Greek Ionic and the Roman Composite capital.
white-ground painting
An ancient Greek vase-painting technique in which the pot was first covered with a slip of very fine white clay, over which black glaze was used to outline figures, and diluted brown, purple, red, and white were used to color them.
arcuated
Arch shaped
Charun
An Etruscan death demon.
chimera
A monster of Greek invention with the head and body of a lion and the tail of a serpent. A second head, that of a goat, grows out of one side of the body.
cista
An Etruscan cylindrical container made of sheet bronze with cast handles and feet, often with elaborately engraved bodies, used for women's toilet articles.
fibula
A decorative pin, usually used to fasten garments.
granulation
A decorative technique in which tiny metal balls (granules) are fused to a metal surface.
pectoral
An ornament worn on the chest.
pilaster
A flat, rectangular, vertical member projecting from a wall of which it forms a part. It usually has a base and a capital and is often fluted.
tumulus
Burial mound; in Etruscan architecture, tumuli cover one or more subterranean multichambered tombs cut out of the local tufa (limestone). Also characteristic of Neolithic funerary architecture and the Japanese Kofun period of the third and fourth centuries.
Tuscan Column
The standard type of Etruscan column. It resembles ancient Greek Doric columns, but is made of wood, is unfluted, and has a base.
coussoir
A wedge-shaped block used in the construction of a true arch. The central voussoir, which sets the arch, is the keystone.
aisle
The portion of a basilica flanking the nave and separated from it by a row of columns or piers.
ampitheater
Greek, double theater. A Roman building type resembling two Greek theaters put together. The Roman amphitheater featured a continuous elliptical cavea around a central arena.
apotheosis
Elevated to the rank of gods, or the ascent to heaven.
apse
A recess, usually semicircular, in the wall of a building, commonly found at the east end of a church.
arena
In a Roman amphitheater, the central area where bloody gladiatorial combats and other boisterous events took place.
atmospheric perspective
A method of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In linear perspective, all parallel lines or surface edges converge on one, two, or three vanishing points located with reference to the eye level of the viewer (the horizon line of the picture), and associated objects are rendered smaller the farther from the viewer they are intended to seem. Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective creates the illusion of distance by the greater diminution of color intensity, the shift in color toward an almost neutral blue, and the blurring of contours as the intended distance between eye and object increases.
atrium
The central reception room of a Roman house that is partly open to the sky. Also the open, colonnaded court in front of and attached to a Christian basilica.
attic
The uppermost story of a building, triumphal arch, or city gate.
barrel vault
A masonry roof or ceiling constructed on the arch principle. A barrel or tunnel vault, semicylindrical in cross-section, is in effect a deep arch or an uninterrupted series of arches, one behind the other, over an oblong space. A quadrant vault is a half-barrel vault. A groin or cross vault is formed at the point at which two barrel vaults intersect at right angles. In a ribbed vault, there is a framework of ribs or arches under the intersections of the vaulting sections. A sexpartite vault is a vault whose ribs divide the vault into six compartments. A fan vault is a vault characteristic of English Perpendicular Gothic, in which radiating ribs form a fanlike pattern.
basilica
In Roman architecture, a civic building for legal and other civic proceedings, rectangular in plan with an entrance usually on a long side. In Christian architecture, a church somewhat resembling the Roman basilica, usually entered from one end and with an apse at the other.
buttress
An exterior masonry structure that opposes the lateral thrust of an arch or a vault. A pier buttress is a solid mass of masonry; a flying buttress consists typically of an inclined member carried on an arch or a series of arches and a solid buttress to which it transmits lateral thrust.
capitolium
An ancient Roman temple dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.
Christogram
The three initial letters (chi-rho-iota) of Christ's name in Greek, which came to serve as a monogram for Christ.
clerestory
The fenestrated part of a building that rises above the roofs of the other parts. In Roman basilicas and medieval churches, the windows that form the nave's uppermost level below the timber ceiling or the vaults.
coffer
A sunken panel, often ornamental, in a vault or a ceiling.
composite capital
A capital combining Ionic volutes and Corinthian acanthus leaves, first used by the ancient Romans.
concrete
A building material invented by the Romans and consisting of various proportions of lime mortar, volcanic sand, water, and small stones.
cross vault
A masonry roof or ceiling constructed on the arch principle. A barrel or tunnel vault, semicylindrical in cross-section, is in effect a deep arch or an uninterrupted series of arches, one behind the other, over an oblong space. A quadrant vault is a half-barrel vault. A groin or cross vault is formed at the point at which two barrel vaults intersect at right angles. In a ribbed vault, there is a framework of ribs or arches under the intersections of the vaulting sections. A sexpartite vault is a vault whose ribs divide the vault into six compartments. A fan vault is a vault characteristic of English Perpendicular Gothic, in which radiating ribs form a fanlike pattern.
cubiculum
A small cubicle or bedroom that opened onto the atrium of a Roman house. Also, a chamber in an Early Christian catacomb that served as a mortuary chapel.
cuirass
A military leather breastplate.
exedra
Recessed area, usually semicircular.
fenestrated
Having windows
First Style Mural
The earliest style of Roman mural painting. Also called the Masonry Style, because the aim of the artist was to imitate, using painted stucco relief, the appearance of costly marble panels.
forum
The public square of an ancient Roman city.
Fourth Style Mural
In Roman mural painting, the Fourth Style marks a return to architectural illusionism, but the architectural vistas of the Fourth Style are irrational fantasies.
groin vault
A masonry roof or ceiling constructed on the arch principle. A barrel or tunnel vault, semicylindrical in cross-section, is in effect a deep arch or an uninterrupted series of arches, one behind the other, over an oblong space. A quadrant vault is a half-barrel vault. A groin or cross vault is formed at the point at which two barrel vaults intersect at right angles. In a ribbed vault, there is a framework of ribs or arches under the intersections of the vaulting sections. A sexpartite vault is a vault whose ribs divide the vault into six compartments. A fan vault is a vault characteristic of English Perpendicular Gothic, in which radiating ribs form a fanlike pattern.
insula
In Roman architecture, a multistory apartment house, usually made of brick-faced concrete; also refers to an entire city block
linear perspective
A method of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In linear perspective, all parallel lines or surface edges converge on one, two, or three vanishing points located with reference to the eye level of the viewer (the horizon line of the picture), and associated objects are rendered smaller the farther from the viewer they are intended to seem. Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective creates the illusion of distance by the greater diminution of color intensity, the shift in color toward an almost neutral blue, and the blurring of contours as the intended distance between eye and object increases.
Masonry Style
The earliest style of Roman mural painting. Also called the Masonry Style, because the aim of the artist was to imitate, using painted stucco relief, the appearance of costly marble panels.
mausoleum
A monumental tomb. The name derives from the mid-fourth century bce tomb of Mausolos at Halikarnassos, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
menorah
In antiquity, the Jewish sacred seven-branched candelabrum.
monochromatic
One-color.
nave
The central area of an ancient Roman basilica or of a church, demarcated from aisles by piers or columns.
Oculus
Latin, eye. The round central opening of a dome. Also, a small round window in a Gothic cathedral.
patrician
A Roman freeborn landowner.
perspective
A method of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In linear perspective, all parallel lines or surface edges converge on one, two, or three vanishing points located with reference to the eye level of the viewer (the horizon line of the picture), and associated objects are rendered smaller the farther from the viewer they are intended to seem. Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective creates the illusion of distance by the greater diminution of color intensity, the shift in color toward an almost neutral blue, and the blurring of contours as the intended distance between eye and object increases.
pier
A vertical, freestanding masonry support.
plebeian
The Roman social class that included small farmers, merchants, and freed slaves.
pseudoperipteral
In Roman architecture, a pseudoperipteral temple has a series of engaged columns all around the sides and back of the cella to give the appearance of a peripteral colonnade.
roundel
A circular painting or relief sculpture.
rusticate
To give a rustic appearance by roughening the surfaces and beveling the edges of stone blocks to emphasize the joints between them. Rustication is a technique employed in ancient Roman architecture, and was also popular during the Renaissance, especially for stone courses at the ground-floor level.
Second Style Mural
The style of Roman mural painting in which the aim was to dissolve the confining walls of a room and replace them with the illusion of a three-dimensional world constructed in the artist's imagination.
spandrel
The roughly triangular space enclosed by the curves of adjacent arches and a horizontal member connecting their vertexes; also, the space enclosed by the curve of an arch and an enclosing right angle. The area between the arch proper and the framing columns and entablature.
Still Life
A picture depicting an arrangement of objects.
Tempera
A technique of painting using pigment mixed with egg yolk, glue, or casein; also the medium itself.
Tetrarch
one of four rulers
Third Style Mural
In Roman mural painting, the style in which delicate linear fantasies were sketched on predominantly monochromatic backgrounds.
Thrust
The outward force exerted by an arch or a vault that must be counterbalanced by a buttress.
tondo
A circular painting or relief sculpture.
triumphal arch
In Roman architecture, a freestanding arch commemorating an important event, such as a military victory or the opening of a new road.
tunnel vault
A masonry roof or ceiling constructed on the arch principle. A barrel or tunnel vault, semicylindrical in cross-section, is in effect a deep arch or an uninterrupted series of arches, one behind the other, over an oblong space. A quadrant vault is a half-barrel vault. A groin or cross vault is formed at the point at which two barrel vaults intersect at right angles. In a ribbed vault, there is a framework of ribs or arches under the intersections of the vaulting sections. A sexpartite vault is a vault whose ribs divide the vault into six compartments. A fan vault is a vault characteristic of English Perpendicular Gothic, in which radiating ribs form a fanlike pattern.
veristic
True to natural appearance; superrealistic.
aisle
The portion of a basilica flanking the nave and separated from it by a row of columns or piers.
ambulatory
A covered walkway, outdoors (as in a church cloister) or indoors; especially the passageway around the apse and the choir of a church. In Buddhist architecture, the passageway leading around the stupa in a chaitya hall.
baldacchino
A canopy on columns, frequently built over an altar.
baptistery
In Christian architecture, the building used for baptism, usually situated next to a church.
catacombs
Subterranean networks of rock-cut galleries and chambers designed as cemeteries for the burial of the dead.
Central Plan
The horizontal arrangement of the parts of a building or of the buildings and streets of a city or town, or a drawing or diagram showing such an arrangement. In an axial plan, the parts of a building are organized longitudinally, or along a given axis; in a central plan, the parts of the structure are of equal or almost equal dimensions around the center.
chancel arch
The arch separating the chancel (the apse or choir) or the transept from the nave of a church.
codex
Separate pages of vellum or parchment bound together at one side; the predecessor of the modern book. The codex superseded the rotulus. In Mesoamerica, a painted and inscribed book on long sheets of bark paper or deerskin coated with fine white plaster and folded into accordion-like pleats.
Confraternity
In late antiquity, an association of Christian families pooling funds to purchase property for burial. In late medieval Europe, an organization founded by laypersons who dedicated themselves to strict religious observances.
Crossing
The space in a cruciform church formed by the intersection of the nave and the transept.
Cruciform
cross-shaped
diptych
A two-paneled painting or altarpiece; also, an ancient Roman, Early Christian, or Byzantine hinged writing tablet, often of ivory and carved on the external sides.
folio
A page of a manuscript or book.
illuminated manuscript
A luxurious handmade book with painted illustrations and decorations.
loculi
Openings in the walls of catacombs to receive the dead.
longitudinal plan
The horizontal arrangement of the parts of a building or of the buildings and streets of a city or town, or a drawing or diagram showing such an arrangement. In an axial plan, the parts of a building are organized longitudinally, or along a given axis; in a central plan, the parts of the structure are of equal or almost equal dimensions around the center.
lunette
A semicircular area (with the flat side down) in a wall over a door, niche, or window; also, a painting or relief with a semicircular frame.
narthex
A porch or vestibule of a church, generally colonnaded or arcaded and preceding the nave.
nimbus
A halo or aureole appearing around the head of a holy figure to signify divinity.
orant
In Early Christian art, a figure with both arms raised in the ancient gesture of prayer.
pieta
A painted or sculpted representation of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of the dead Christ.
plan
The horizontal arrangement of the parts of a building or of the buildings and streets of a city or town, or a drawing or diagram showing such an arrangement. In an axial plan, the parts of a building are organized longitudinally, or along a given axis; in a central plan, the parts of the structure are of equal or almost equal dimensions around the center.
prefiguration
In Early Christian art, the depiction of Old Testament persons and events as prophetic forerunners of Christ and New Testament events.
relics
The body parts, clothing, or objects associated with a holy figure, such as the Buddha or Christ or a Christian saint.
rotulus
The manuscript scroll used by Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans; predecessor of the codex.
theotokos
Greek, _earer of God. The Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.
typology
In Christian theology, the recognition of concordances between events, especially between episodes in the Old and New Testaments.
choir
The space reserved for the clergy and singers in the church, usually east of the transept but, in some
vellum
Calfskin prepared as a surface for writing or painting.
cloisonee
A process of enameling employing cloisons; also, decorative brickwork in later Byzantine architecture.
icon
A portrait or image; especially in Byzantine churches, a panel with a painting of sacred personages that are objects of veneration. In the visual arts, a painting, a piece of sculpture, or even a building regarded as an object of veneration.
iconoclasm
The destruction of images. In Byzantium, the period from 726 to 843 when there was an imperial ban on images. The destroyers of images were known as iconoclasts. Those who opposed such a ban were known as iconophiles.
iconostasis
In Byzantine churches, a screen or a partition, with doors and many tiers of icons, separating the sanctuary from the main body of the church
mandorla
An almond-shaped nimbus surrounding the figure of Christ or other sacred figure.
mugarnas
Stucco decorations of Islamic buildings in which stalactite-like forms break a structure's solidity.
oratory
The church of a Christian monastery.
Pantokrator
Greek, "ruler of all." Christ as ruler and judge of heaven and earth.
parekklesion
The side chapel in a Byzantine church.
paten
A large shallow bowl or plate for the bread used in the Eucharist.
pendentive
A concave, triangular section of a hemisphere, four of which provide the transition from a square area to the circular base of a covering dome. Although pendentives appear to be hanging (pendant) from the dome, they in fact support it.
squinch
An architectural device used as a transition from a square to a polygonal or circular base for a dome. It may be composed of lintels, corbels, or arches.
Templon
The columnar screen separating the sanctuary from the main body of a Byzantine church.
triptych
A three-paneled painting, ivory plaque, or altarpiece. Also, a small, portable shrine with hinged wings used for private devotion.
caliph
Islamic rulers, regarded as successors of Muhammad.
calligraphy
Greek, _eautiful writing. Handwriting or penmanship, especially elegant writing as a decorative art.
congregational mosque
A city's main mosque, designed to accommodate the entire Muslim population for the Friday noon prayer. Also called the great mosque or Friday mosque.
finial
A crowning ornament.
Friday mosque
A large mosque designed to accommodate a community's entire population for the Friday noonday prayer. Also called the Friday mosque or the great mosque.
Great Mosque
A large mosque designed to accommodate a community's entire population for the Friday noonday prayer. Also called the Friday mosque or the great mosque.
Hijra
The flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622, the year from which Islam dates its beginnings.
iwan
In Islamic architecture, a vaulted rectangular recess opening onto a courtyard.
kaaba
Arabic, cube. A small cubical building in Mecca, the Islamic world's symbolic center.
koran
Islam's sacred book, composed of surahs (chapters) divided into verses.
madrasa
An Islamic theological college adjoining and often containing a mosque.
maqsura
In some mosques, a screened area in front of the mihrab reserved for a ruler.
mihrab
A semicircular niche set into the qibla wall of a mosque.
minaret
A distinctive feature of mosque architecture, a tower from which the faithful are called to worship.
minbar
In a mosque, the pulpit on which the imam stands.
qibla
The direction (toward Mecca) Muslims face when praying.
alternate support system
In church architecture, the use of alternating wall supports in the nave, usually piers and columns or compound piers of alternating form.
benedictional
A Christian religious book containing bishops' blessings.
Book of Hours
A Christian religious book for private devotion containing prayers to be read at specified times of the day.
Canon table
A concordance, or matching, of the corresponding passage of the four Gospels as compiled by Eusebius of Caesarea in the fourth century.
Caroline miniscule
The alphabet that Carolingian scribes perfected, from which our modern alphabet was developed.
Carpet Page
In early medieval manuscripts, a decorative page resembling a textile.
castellum
German, "western entrance structure." The facade and towers at the western end of a medieval church, principally in Germany. In contemporary documents the westwork is called a castellum (Latin, castle or fortress) or turris (tower).
colophon
An inscription, usually on the last page, providing information regarding a book's manufacture.
Crossing square
The area in a church formed by the intersection (crossing) of a nave and a transept of equal width, often used as a standard module of interior proportion.
Hiberno-Saxon
An art style that flourished in the monasteries of the British Isles in the early Middle Ages. Also called Insular.
lectionary
A book containing passages from the Gospels, arranged in the sequence that they are to be read during the celebration of religious services, including the Mass, throughout the year.
module
A basic unit of which the dimensions of the major parts of a work are multiples. The principle is used in sculpture and other art forms, but it is most often employed in architecture, where the module may be the dimensions of an important part of a building, such as the diameter of a column.
westwork
German, "western entrance structure." The facade and towers at the western end of a medieval church, principally in Germany. In contemporary documents the westwork is called a castellum (Latin, castle or fortress) or turris (tower).
archivolt
The continuous molding framing an arch. In Romanesque or Gothic architecture, one of the series of concentric bands framing the tympanum.
campanile
A bell tower of a church, usually, but not always, freestanding.
compound pier
A pier with a group, or cluster, of attached shafts, or responds, especially characteristic of Gothic architecture.
crypt
A vaulted space under part of a building, wholly or partly underground; in churches, normally the portion under an apse or a chevet.
embroidery
The technique of sewing threads onto a finished ground to form contrasting designs. Stem stitching employs short overlapping strands of thread to form jagged lines. Laid-and-couched work creates solid blocks of color.
incrustation
The technique of sewing threads onto a finished ground to form contrasting designs. Stem stitching employs short overlapping strands of thread to form jagged lines. Laid-and-couched work creates solid blocks of color.
jambs
In architecture, the side posts of a doorway.
pointed arch
A narrow arch of pointed profile, in contrast to a semicircular arch.
quadrant arch
An arch whose curve extends for one quarter of a circle's circumference.
radiating chapels
In medieval churches, chapels for the display of relics that opened directly onto the ambulatory and the transept.
rib
A relatively slender, molded masonry arch that projects from a surface. In Gothic architecture, the ribs form the framework of the vaulting. A diagonal rib is one of the ribs that form the X of a groin vault. A transverse rib crosses the nave or aisle at a 90-degree angle.
Romanesque
Romanlike. A term used to describe the history, culture, and art of medieval western Europe from ca. 1050 to ca. 1200.
sexpartite vault
A masonry roof or ceiling constructed on the arch principle. A barrel or tunnel vault, semicylindrical in cross-section, is in effect a deep arch or an uninterrupted series of arches, one behind the other, over an oblong space. A quadrant vault is a half-barrel vault. A groin or cross vault is formed at the point at which two barrel vaults intersect at right angles. In a ribbed vault, there is a framework of ribs or arches under the intersections of the vaulting sections. A sexpartite vault is a vault whose ribs divide the vault into six compartments. A fan vault is a vault characteristic of English Perpendicular Gothic, in which radiating ribs form a fanlike pattern.
springing
The lowest stone of an arch, resting on the impost block. In Gothic vaulting, the lowest stone of a diagonal or transverse rib.
tapestry
A weaving technique in which the weft threads are packed densely over the warp threads so that the designs are woven directly into the fabric.
transverse arch
An arch separating one vaulted bay from the next.
transverse barrel vault
In medieval architecture, a semicylindrical vault oriented at a 90-degree angle to the nave of a church.
trumeau
In church architecture, the pillar or center post supporting the lintel in the middle of the doorway.
tympanum
The space enclosed by a lintel and an arch over a doorway.
altar frontal
A hanging in front of a church altar.
altarpiece
A panel, painted or sculpted, situated above and behind an altar. See also retable.
armature
The crossed, or diagonal, arches that form the skeletal framework of a Gothic rib vault. In sculpture, the framework for a clay form.
bar tracery
Ornamental stonework for holding stained glass in place, characteristic of Gothic cathedrals. In plate tracery the glass fills only the punched holes in the heavy ornamental stonework. In bar tracery the stained-glass windows fill almost the entire opening, and the stonework is unobtrusive.
battlement
A low parapet at the top of a circuit wall in a fortification.
came
A lead strip in a stained-glass window that joins separate pieces of colored glass.
chantry
An endowed chapel for the chanting of the masses for the founder of the chapel.
cluster pier
A pier with a group, or cluster, of attached shafts, or responds, especially characteristic of Gothic architecture.
compound pier
A pier with a group, or cluster, of attached shafts, or responds, especially characteristic of Gothic architecture.
crenellation
Alternating solid merlons and open crenels in the notched tops of walls, as in battlements.
diagonal rib
A relatively slender, molded masonry arch that projects from a surface. In Gothic architecture, the ribs form the framework of the vaulting. A diagonal rib is one of the ribs that form the X of a groin vault. A transverse rib crosses the nave or aisle at a 90-degree angle.
fan vault
A masonry roof or ceiling constructed on the arch principle. A barrel or tunnel vault, semicylindrical in cross-section, is in effect a deep arch or an uninterrupted series of arches, one behind the other, over an oblong space. A quadrant vault is a half-barrel vault. A groin or cross vault is formed at the point at which two barrel vaults intersect at right angles. In a ribbed vault, there is a framework of ribs or arches under the intersections of the vaulting sections. A sexpartite vault is a vault whose ribs divide the vault into six compartments. A fan vault is a vault characteristic of English Perpendicular Gothic, in which radiating ribs form a fanlike pattern.
Flamboyant
A Late Gothic style of architecture superseding the Rayonnant style and named for the flamelike appearance of its pointed bar tracery.
flashing
In making stained-glass windows, fusing one layer of colored glass to another to produce a greater range of colors.
fleur-de-lis
A three-petaled iris flower; the royal flower of France.
flying buttress
An exterior masonry structure that opposes the lateral thrust of an arch or a vault. A pier buttress is a solid mass of masonry; a flying buttress consists typically of an inclined member carried on an arch or a series of arches and a solid buttress to which it transmits lateral thrust.
gothic
Originally a derogatory term named after the Goths, used to describe the history, culture, and art of western Europe in the 12th to 14th centuries
guild
An association of merchants, craftspersons, or scholars in medieval and Renaissance Europe.
keep
A fortified tower in a castle that served as a place of last refuge.
lancet
In Gothic architecture, a tall narrow window ending in a pointed arch.
leading
In the manufacture of stained-glass windows, the joining of colored glass pieces using lead cames.
pendant
The large hanging terminal element of a Gothic fan vault.
pinnacle
In Gothic churches, a sharply pointed ornament capping the piers or flying buttresses; also used on church facades.
plate tracery
Ornamental stonework for holding stained glass in place, characteristic of Gothic cathedrals. In plate tracery the glass fills only the punched holes in the heavy ornamental stonework. In bar tracery the stained-glass windows fill almost the entire opening, and the stonework is unobtrusive.
psalter
A book containing the Psalms.
Rayonnant
The adiant style of Gothic architecture, dominant in the second half of the 13th century and associated with the French royal court of Louis IX at Paris.
respond
An engaged column, pilaster, or similar element that either projects from a compound pier or some other supporting device or is bonded to a wall and carries one end of an arch.
retable
An architectural screen or wall above and behind an altar, usually containing painting, sculpture, carving, or other decorations. See also altarpiece.
rose window
A circular stained-glass window.
stained glass
In Gothic architecture, the colored glass used for windows.
tracery
Ornamental stonework for holding stained glass in place, characteristic of Gothic cathedrals. In plate tracery the glass fills only the punched holes in the heavy ornamental stonework. In bar tracery the stained-glass windows fill almost the entire opening, and the stonework is unobtrusive.
transverse rib
A relatively slender, molded masonry arch that projects from a surface. In Gothic architecture, the ribs form the framework of the vaulting. A diagonal rib is one of the ribs that form the X of a groin vault. A transverse rib crosses the nave or aisle at a 90-degree angle.
triforium
In a Gothic cathedral, the blind arcaded gallery below the clerestory; occasionally the arcades are filled with stained glass.
web
In Gothic architecture, the masonry blocks that fill the area between the ribs of a groin vault.
bay
The space between two columns, or one unit in the nave arcade of a church; also the passageway in an arcuated gate.
buon fresco
Painting on lime plaster, either dry (dry fresco or fresco secco) or wet (true or buon fresco). In the latter method, the pigments are mixed with water and become chemically bound to the freshly laid lime plaster. Also, a painting executed in either method.
cartoon
In painting, a full-size preliminary drawing from which a painting is made.
chiaroscuro
In drawing or painting, the treatment and use of light and dark, especially the gradations of light that produce the effect of modeling.
gold leaf
Gold beaten into tissue-paper-thin sheets that then can be applied to surfaces.
grisaille
A monochrome painting done mainly in neutral grays to simulate sculpture.
humanism
In the Renaissance, an emphasis on education and on expanding knowledge (especially of classical antiquity), the exploration of individual potential and a desire to excel, and a commitment to civic responsibility and moral duty.
International Style
A style of 14th- and 15th-century painting begun by Simone Martini, who adapted the French Gothic manner to Sienese art fused with influences from the North. This style appealed to the aristocracy because of its brilliant color, lavish costume, intricate ornament, and themes involving splendid processions of knights and ladies. Also a style of 20th-century architecture associated with Le Corbusier, whose elegance of design came to influence the look of modern office buildings and skyscrapers.
intonaco
In fresco painting, the last layer of smooth lime plaster applied to the wall; the painting layer.
mednicants
In medieval Europe, friars belonging to the Franciscan and Dominican orders, who renounced all worldly goods, lived by contributions of laypersons (the word mendicant means _eggar), and devoted themselves to preaching, teaching, and doing good works.
ogee arch
An arch made up of two double-curving lines meeting at a point.
ogive
The diagonal rib of a Gothic vault; a pointed, or Gothic, arch.
pulpit
A raised platform in a church on which a priest stands while leading the religious service.
punchwork
Tooled decorative work in gold leaf.
Renaissance
French, "rebirth." The term used to describe the history, culture, and art of 14th- through 16th-century western Europe during which artists consciously revived the classical style
sarcophagus
Latin, consumer of flesh.A coffin, usually of stone.
sinopia
A burnt-orange pigment used in fresco painting to transfer a cartoon to the arriccio before the artist paints the plaster.
stigmata
In Christian art, the wounds that Christ received at his crucifixion that miraculously appear on the body of a saint.
terracotta
Hard-baked clay, used for sculpture and as a building material. It may be glazed or painted.
texture
The quality of a surface (rough, smooth, hard, soft, shiny, dull) as revealed by light. In represented texture, a painter depicts an object as having a certain texture even though the paint is the actual texture.
tramezzo
A screen placed across the nave of a church to separate the clergy from the lay audience.
trefoil
A cloverlike ornament or symbol with stylized leaves in groups of three.
burin
A pointed tool used for engraving or incising.
donor portrait
A portrait of the individuals(s) who commissioned (donated) a religious work, for example, an altarpiece, as evidence of devotion.
drypoint
An engraving in which the design, instead of being cut into the plate with a burin, is scratched into the surface with a hard steel "pencil." See also engraving, etching, intaglio.
edition
A set of impressions taken from a single print surface.
engraving
The process of incising a design in hard material, often a metal plate (usually copper); also, the print or impression made from such a plate.
etching
A kind of engraving in which the design is incised in a layer of wax or varnish on a metal plate. The parts of the plate left exposed are then etched (slightly eaten away) by the acid in which the plate is immersed after incising. See also drypoint, engraving, intaglio.
gesso
Plaster mixed with a binding material, used as the base coat for paintings on wood panels.
hatching
A series of closely spaced drawn or engraved parallel lines. Cross-hatching employs sets of lines placed at right angles.
intaglio
A graphic technique in which the design is incised, or scratched, on a metal plate, either manually (engraving, drypoint) or chemically (etching). The incised lines of the design take the ink, making this the reverse of the woodcut technique.
mystic marriage
A spiritual marriage of a woman with Christ.
oil painting
A painting technique using oil-based pigments that rose to prominence in northern Europe in the 15th century and is now the standard medium for painting on canvas.
orthogonal
A line imagined to be behind and perpendicular to the picture plane; the orthogonals in a painting appear to recede toward a vanishing point on the horizon.
polyptych
An altarpiece made up of more than three sections.
print
An artwork on paper, usually produced in multiple impressions.
rotunda
The circular area under a dome; also a domed round building.
sfumato
Italian, "smoky." A smokelike haziness that subtly softens outlines in painting; particularly applied to the painting of Leonardo da Vinci and Correggio.
sibyl
A Greco-Roman mythological prophetess.
silverpoint
A stylus made of silver, used in drawing in the 14th and 15th centuries because of the fine line it produced and the sharp point it maintained.
vanishing point
A method of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In linear perspective, all parallel lines or surface edges converge on one, two, or three vanishing points located with reference to the eye level of the viewer (the horizon line of the picture), and associated objects are rendered smaller the farther from the viewer they are intended to seem. Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective creates the illusion of distance by the greater diminution of color intensity, the shift in color toward an almost neutral blue, and the blurring of contours as the intended distance between eye and object increases.
woodcut
A wooden block on the surface of which those parts not intended to print are cut away to a slight depth, leaving the design raised; also, the printed impression made with such a block.
aerial perspective
A method of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In linear perspective, all parallel lines or surface edges converge on one, two, or three vanishing points located with reference to the eye level of the viewer (the horizon line of the picture), and associated objects are rendered smaller the farther from the viewer they are intended to seem. Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective creates the illusion of distance by the greater diminution of color intensity, the shift in color toward an almost neutral blue, and the blurring of contours as the intended distance between eye and object increases.
colossal order
An architectural design in which the columns or pilasters are two or more stories tall. Also called a giant order.
horizon line
A method of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In linear perspective, all parallel lines or surface edges converge on one, two, or three vanishing points located with reference to the eye level of the viewer (the horizon line of the picture), and associated objects are rendered smaller the farther from the viewer they are intended to seem. Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective creates the illusion of distance by the greater diminution of color intensity, the shift in color toward an almost neutral blue, and the blurring of contours as the intended distance between eye and object increases.
loggia
A gallery with an open arcade or a colonnade on one or both sides.
trompe l'oiel
French, "deceives the eye." Illusionistic painting.
Arcadian
In Renaissance and later art, depictions of an idyllic place of rural peace and simplicity. Derived from Arcadia, an ancient district of the central Peloponnesus in southern Greece.
capriccio
Italian, "originality." One of several terms used in Italian Renaissance literature to praise the originality and talent of artists.
cupola
An exterior architectural feature composed of a drum with a shallow cap; a dome.
cutaway
An architectural drawing that combines an exterior view with an interior view of part of a building.
keystone
A wedge-shaped block used in the construction of a true arch. The central voussoir, which sets the arch, is the keystone.
Mannerism
A style of later Renaissance art that emphasized "artifice," often involving contrived imagery not derived directly from nature. Such artworks showed a self-conscious stylization involving complexity, caprice, fantasy, and polish. Mannerist architecture tended to flout the classical rules of order, stability, and symmetry, sometimes to the point of parody.
pendentive
A concave, triangular section of a hemisphere, four of which provide the transition from a square area to the circular base of a covering dome. Although pendentives appear to be hanging (pendant) from the dome, they in fact support it.
alchemy
The medieval study of seemingly magical changes, especially chemical changes.
anamorphic image
A distorted image that must be viewed by some special means (such as a mirror) to be recognized.
chiaroscuro woodcut
A woodcut technique using two blocks of wood instead of one. The printmaker carves and inks one block in the usual way in order to produce a traditional black-and-white print. Then the artist cuts a second block consisting of broad highlights that can be inked in gray or color and printed over the first block's impression.
genre
A style or category of art; also, a kind of painting that realistically depicts scenes from everyday life.
Baroque
The traditional blanket designation for European art from 1600 to 1750. The stylistic term Baroque, which describes art that features dramatic theatricality and elaborate ornamentation in contrast to the simplicity and orderly rationality of Renaissance art, is most appropriately applied to Italian art of this period. The term derives from barroco.
Greek cross
A cross with four arms of equal length.
tenebrism
Painting in the "shadowy manner," using violent contrasts of light and dark, as in the work of Caravaggio. The term derives from tenebroso.
breakfast piece
A still life that includes bread and fruit.
camera obscura
Latin, "dark room." An ancestor of the modern camera in which a tiny pinhole, acting as a lens, projects an image on a screen, the wall of a room, or the ground-glass wall of a box; used by artists in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries as an aid in drawing from nature.
momento mori
Latin, "reminder of death." In painting, a reminder of human mortality, usually represented by a skull.
vanitas
Latin, "vanity." A term describing paintings (particularly 17th-century Dutch still lifes) that include references to death.
fete galante
French, "amorous festival." A type of Rococo painting depicting the outdoor amusements of upper-class society.
Grand Manner Portrait
A type of 18th-century portrait painting designed to communicate a person's grace and class through certain standardized conventions, such as the large scale of the figure relative to the canvas, the controlled pose, the landscape setting, and the low horizon line.
neoclassicism
A style of art and architecture that emerged in the later 18th century as part of a general revival of interest in classical cultures. Neoclassical artists adopted themes and styles from ancient Greece and Rome.
orrery
A mechanical model of the solar system demonstrating how the planets revolve around the sun.
philosophe
French, "thinker, philosopher." The term applied to French intellectuals of the Enlightenment.
Poussiniste
A member of the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture during the early 18th century who followed Nicholas Poussin in insisting that form was the most important element of painting. See also Rubéniste.
rocaille
A style, primarily of interior design, that appeared in France around 1700. Rococo interiors featured lavish decoration, including small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, easel paintings, tapestries, reliefs, and wall paintings, as well as elegant furniture. The term Rococo derived from the French word rocaille ("pebble") and referred to the small stones and shells used to decorate grotto interiors.
Rococo
A style, primarily of interior design, that appeared in France around 1700. Rococo interiors featured lavish decoration, including small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, easel paintings, tapestries, reliefs, and wall paintings, as well as elegant furniture. The term Rococo derived from the French word rocaille ("pebble") and referred to the small stones and shells used to decorate grotto interiors.
Rubeniste
A member of the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture during the early 18th century who followed Peter Paul Rubens in insisting that color was the most important element of painting. See also Poussiniste.
Beaux Arts
An architectural style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in France. Based on ideas taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Beaux-Arts style incorporated classical principles, such as symmetry in design, and included extensive exterior ornamentation.
calotype
A photographic process in which a positive image is made by shining light through a negative image onto a sheet of sensitized paper.
daguerrotype
a photograph taken by an early photographic process employing an iodine-sensitive silvered plate and mercury vapor
lithograph
A printmaking technique in which the artist uses an oil-based crayon to draw directly on a stone plate and then wipes water onto the stone. When ink is rolled onto the plate, it adheres only to the drawing.
odalisque
A woman in a Turkish harem.
palette knife
A flat tool used to scrape paint off the palette. Artists sometimes also used the palette knife in place of a brush to apply paint directly to the canvas.
positivism
A Western philosophical model that promoted science as the mind's highest achievement.
realism
A movement that emerged in mid-19th-century France. Realist artists represented the subject matter of everyday life (especially that which up until then had been considered inappropriate for depiction) in a relatively naturalistic mode.
Romanticism
A Western cultural phenomenon, beginning around 1750 and ending about 1850, that gave precedence to feeling and imagination over reason and thought. More narrowly, the art movement that flourished from about 1800 to 1840.
wet-plate photography
An early photographic process in which the photographic plate is exposed, developed, and fixed while wet.
Art Nouveau
French, "new art." A late-19th- and early-20th-century art movement whose proponents tried to synthesize all the arts in an effort to create art based on natural forms that could be mass produced by technologies of the industrial age. The movement had other names in other countries: Jugendstil in Austria and Germany, Modernismo in Spain, and Floreale in Italy.
bas-relief
In sculpture, figures projecting from a background of which they are part. The degree of relief is designated high, low (bas), or sunken. In the last, the artist cuts the design into the surface so that the highest projecting parts of the image are no higher than the surface itself. See also repoussé.
color
The value or tonality of a color is the degree of its lightness or darkness. The intensity or saturation of a color is its purity, its brightness or dullness. See also primary, secondary, and complementary colors.
complementary colors
Those pairs of colors, such as red and green, that together embrace the entire spectrum. The complement of one of the three primary colors is a mixture of the other two.
dividionism
A system of painting devised by the 19th-century French painter Georges Seurat. The artist separates color into its component parts and then applies the component colors to the canvas in tiny dots (points). The image becomes comprehensible only from a distance, when the viewer's eyes optically blend the pigment dots. Sometimes referred to as divisionism.
hue
The name of a color. See primary colors, secondary colors, and complementary colors.
Impressionism
A late-19th-century art movement that sought to capture a fleeting moment, thereby conveying the illusiveness and impermanence of images and conditions.
modernism
A movement in Western art that developed in the second half of the 19th century and sought to capture the images and sensibilities of the age. Modernist art goes beyond simply dealing with the present and involves the artist's critical examination of the premises of art itself.
optical mixture
The visual effect of juxtaposed complementary colors.
pastel
A powdery paste of pigment and gum used for making crayons; also the pastel crayons themselves.
plein air
An approach to painting much popular among the Impressionists, in which an artist sketch outdoors to achieve a quick impression of light, air, and color. The artist then takes the sketches to the studio for reworking into more finished works of art.
pointillism
A system of painting devised by the 19th-century French painter Georges Seurat. The artist separates color into its component parts and then applies the component colors to the canvas in tiny dots (points). The image becomes comprehensible only from a distance, when the viewer's eyes optically blend the pigment dots. Sometimes referred to as divisionism.
Post-Impressionism
The term used to describe the stylistically heterogeneous work of the group of late-19th-century painters in France, including van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Cézanne, who more systematically examined the properties and expressive qualities of line, pattern, form, and color than the Impressionists did.
Saturation
The value or tonality of a color is the degree of its lightness or darkness. The intensity or saturation of a color is its purity, its brightness or dullness. See also primary, secondary, and complementary colors.
secondary colors
Orange, green, and purple, obtained by mixing pairs of primary colors (red, yellow, blue).
symbolism
A late-19th-century movement based on the idea that the artist was not an imitator of nature but a creator who transformed the facts of nature into a symbol of the inner experience of that fact.
value
The value or tonality of a color is the degree of its lightness or darkness. The intensity or saturation of a color is its purity, its brightness or dullness. See also primary, secondary, and complementary colors.
Analytic cubism
The first phase of Cubism, developed jointly by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, in which the artists analyzed form from every possible vantage point to combine the various views into one pictorial whole.
Art Deco
Descended from Art Nouveau, this movement of the 1920s and 1930s sought to upgrade industrial design in competition with "fine art" and to work new materials into decorative patterns that could be either machined or handcrafted. Characterized by streamlined, elongated, and symmetrical design.
avant-garde
French, "advance guard" (in a platoon). Late-19th- and 20th-century artists who emphasized innovation and challenged established convention in their work. Also used as an adjective.
Bauhaus
A school of architecture in Germany in the 1920s under the aegis of Walter Gropius, who emphasized the unity of art, architecture, and design.
collage
A composition made by combining on a flat surface various materials, such as newspaper, wallpaper, printed text and illustrations, photographs, and cloth.
Constructivism
An early-20th-century Russian art movement formulated by Naum Gabo, who built up his sculptures piece by piece in space instead of carving or modeling them. In this way the sculptor worked with "volume of mass" and "volume of space" as different materials.
Cubism
An early-20th-century art movement that rejected naturalistic depictions, preferring compositions of shapes and forms abstracted from the conventionally perceived world. See also Analytic Cubism and Synthetic Cubism.
Dada
An early-20th-century art movement prompted by a revulsion against the horror of World War I. Dada embraced political anarchy, the irrational, and the intuitive. A disdain for convention, often enlivened by humor or whimsy, is characteristic of the art the Dadaists produced.
De Stijl
Dutch, "the style." An early-20th-century art movement (and magazine), founded by Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, whose members promoted utopian ideals and developed a simplified geometric style.
Der Blaue Reiter
German, "the blue rider." An early-20th-century German Expressionist art movement founded by Vassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. The artists selected the whimsical name because of their mutual interest in the color blue and horses.
Die Brücke
German, "the bridge." An early-20th-century German Expressionist art movement under the leadership of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The group thought of itself as the bridge between the old age and the new.
Expressionism
Twentieth-century art that is the result of the artist's unique inner or personal vision and that often has an emotional dimension. Expressionism contrasts with art focused on visually describing the empirical world.
Fauvism
An early-20th-century art movement led by Henri Matisse. For the Fauves, color became the formal element most responsible for pictorial coherence and the primary conveyor of meaning.
frottage
A technique in which the artist rubs a crayon or another medium across a sheet of paper placed over a surface with a strong textural pattern.
futurism
An early-20th-century Italian art movement that championed war as a cleansing agent and that celebrated the speed and dynamism of modern technology.
mobile
A kind of sculpture, invented by Alexander Calder, combining nonobjective organic forms and motion in balanced structures hanging from rods, wires, and colored, organically shaped plates.
naturalistic surrealism
A successor to Dada, Surrealism incorporated the improvisational nature of its predecessor into its exploration of the ways to express in art the world of dreams and the unconscious. Biomorphic Surrealists, such as Joan Miró, produced largely abstract compositions. Naturalistic Surrealists, notably Salvador Dalí, presented recognizable scenes transformed into a dream or nightmare image.
neoplasticism
The Dutch artist Piet Mondrian's theory of "pure plastic art," an ideal balance between the universal and the individual using an abstract formal vocabulary.
orphism
A form of Cubism developed by the French painter Robert Delaunay in which color plays an important role.
photomontage
A composition made by pasting together pictures or parts of pictures, especially photographs. See also collage.
precisionism
An American art movement of the 1920s and 1930s. The Precisionists concentrated on portraying man-made environments in a clear and concise manner to express the beauty of perfect and precise machine forms
primitivism
The incorporation in early-20th-century Western art of stylistic elements from the artifacts of Africa, Oceania, and the native peoples of the Americas.
productivism
An art movement that emerged in the Soviet Union after the Revolution; its members believed that artists must direct art toward creating products for the new society.
purism
An early-20th-century art movement that embraced the "machine esthetic" and sought purity of form in the clean functional lines of industrial machinery.
regionalism
A 20th-century American art movement that portrayed American rural life in a clearly readable, realist style. Major Regionalists include Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton.
suprematism
A type of art formulated by Kazimir Malevich to convey his belief that the supreme reality in the world is pure feeling, which attaches to no object and thus calls for new, nonobjective forms in artshapes not related to objects in the visible world.
synthetic cubism
A later phase of Cubism, in which paintings and drawings were constructed from objects and shapes cut from paper or other materials to represent parts of a subject, in order to engage the viewer with pictorial issues, such as figuration, realism, and abstraction.
Abstract Expressionalism
Also known as the New York School. The first major American avant-garde movement, Abstract Expressionism emerged in New York City in the 1940s. The artists produced abstract paintings that expressed their state of mind and that they hoped would strike emotional chords in viewers. The movement developed along two lines: gestural abstraction and chromatic abstraction.
action painting
Also called gestural abstraction. The kind of Abstract Expressionism practiced by Jackson Pollock, in which the emphasis was on the creation process, the artist's gesture in making art. Pollock poured liquid paint in linear webs on his canvases, which he laid out on the floor, thereby physically surrounding himself in the painting during its creation
airbrush
A tool that uses compressed air to spray paint onto a surface.
assemblage
An artwork constructed from already existing objects.
benday dots
Named after the newspaper printer Benjamin Day, the benday dot system involves the modulation of colors through the placement and size of colored dots.
chromatic abstraction
A kind of Abstract Expressionism that focused on the emotional resonance of color, as exemplified by the work of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.
color field painting
A variant of Post-Painterly Abstraction in which artists sought to reduce painting to its physical essence by pouring diluted paint onto unprimed canvas, allowing these pigments to soak into the fabric, as exemplified by the work of Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis.
combines
The name American artist Robert Rauschenberg gave to his assemblages of painted passages and sculptural elements.
conceptual art
An American avant-garde art movement of the 1960s that asserted that the "artfulness" of art lay in the artist's idea rather than its final expression.
deconstruction
An analytical strategy developed in the late 20th century according to which all cultural "constructs" (art, architecture, literature) are "texts." People can read these texts in a variety of ways, but they cannot arrive at fixed or uniform meanings. Any interpretation can be valid, and readings differ from time to time, place to place, and person to person. For those employing this approach, deconstruction means destabilizing established meanings and interpretations while encouraging subjectivity and individual differences.
earthworks
An American art form that emerged in the 1960s. Often using the land itself as their material, Environmental artists construct monuments of great scale and minimal form. Permanent or impermanent, these works transform some section of the environment, calling attention both to the land itself and to the hand of the artist. Sometimes referred to as earthworks.
environmental art
An American art form that emerged in the 1960s. Often using the land itself as their material, Environmental artists construct monuments of great scale and minimal form. Permanent or impermanent, these works transform some section of the environment, calling attention both to the land itself and to the hand of the artist. Sometimes referred to as earthworks.
events
A group of American, European, and Japanese artists of the 1960s who created Performance art. Their performances, or Events, often focused on single actions, such as turning a light on and off or watching falling snow, and were more theatrical than Happenings.
femmages
The name American artist Miriam Schapiro gave to her sewn collages, assembled from fabrics, quilts, buttons, sequins, lace trim, and rickrack collected at antique shows and fairs.
formalism
Strict adherence to, or dependence on, stylized shapes and methods of composition. An emphasis on an artwork's visual elements rather than its subject.
gestural abstraction
Also known as action painting. A kind of abstract painting in which the gesture, or act of painting, is seen as the subject of art. Its most renowned proponent was Jackson Pollock. See also Abstract Expressionism.
Happenings
A term coined by American artist Allan Kaprow in the 1960s to describe loosely structured performances, whose creators were trying to suggest the aesthetic and dynamic qualities of everyday life; as actions, rather than objects, Happenings incorporate the fourth dimension (time).
hard-edge paintings
A variant of Post-Painterly Abstraction that rigidly excluded all reference to gesture, and incorporated smooth knife-edge geometric forms to express the notion that painting should be reduced to its visual components.
impasto
A layer of thickly applied pigment.
installation
An artwork that creates an artistic environment in a room or gallery.
minimalism
A predominantly sculptural American trend of the 1960s characterized by works featuring a severe reduction of form, often to single, homogeneous units.
pop art
A term coined by British art critic Lawrence Alloway to refer to art, first appearing in the 1950s, that incorporated elements from consumer culture, the mass media, and popular culture, such as images from motion pictures and advertising.
postmodernism
A reaction against modernist formalism, seen as elitist. Far more encompassing and accepting than the more rigid confines of modernist practice, postmodernism offers something for everyone by accommodating a wide range of styles, subjects, and formats, from traditional easel painting to installation and from abstraction to illusionistic scenes. Postmodern art often includes irony or reveals a self-conscious awareness on the part of the artist of the processes of art making or the workings of the art world.
silk-screen printing
An industrial printing technique that creates a sharp-edged image by pressing ink through a design on silk or a similar tightly woven porous fabric stretched tight on a frame.
superrealism
A school of painting and sculpture of the 1960s and 1970s that emphasized producing artworks based on scrupulous fidelity to optical fact. The Superrealist painters were also called Photorealists because many used photographs as sources for their imagery.