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A slab of stone at the top of a Classical capital just beneath the architrave.


1) The central court or open entrance court of a Roman house. 2) An open court, sometimes colonaded or archaded, in front of a church.

barrel vault

A vault formed by a continuous semicircular arch so that it is shaped like a half-cylinder.


A style of ancient Greek pottery decoration characterized by black figures against a red background. The black-figured style preceded the red-figured style.


A sculptured female figure used in place of a column as an architectural support. A similar male figure is an atlas.


1) The principal enclosed room of a temple used to house an image. Also called the naos. 2) The entire body of a temple as distinct from its external parts.


In the Doric or Tuscan Order, the round, cushionlike element between the top of the shaft and the abacus.


1) A small chest or casket. 2) A recessed, geometrically shaped panel in a ceiling. A ceiling decorated with these panels is said to be coffered.


Italian word for "set against." A composition developed by Greeks to represent movement in a figure. The parts of the body are placed asymmetrically in opposition to each other around a central axis, and careful attention is paid to the distribution of weight.

Corinthian capital

An ornate Classical style of architecture, characterized in part by columns combining a fluted shaft with a capital made of carved acanthus leaves and scrolls (volutes).

Doric style

A simple style of Classical architecture, characterized in part by smooth or fluted column shafts and plain, cushionlike capitals, and a frieze of metopes and triglyphs.


1) A section of the shaft of a column. 2) A circular-shaped wall supporting a dome.


A technique of painting with pigments dissolved in hot wax.


A swelling of the shaft of a column.


A clasp, buckle, or brooch, often ornamented.


In a Doric entablature, small peglike projections above the frieze; possibly derived from pegs originally used in wooden construction.


Latin word for "island." 1) An ancient Roman city block. 2) A Roman "apartment house": a concrete and brick building or chain of buildings around a central court, up to five stories high. The ground floor had shops, and above were living quarters.

Ionic style

A style of Classical Greek architecture that is characterized in part by columns that have fluted shafts, capitals with colutes (scrolls), and a base; a continuous frieze is also characteristic.


Greek word for "maiden." An Archaic Greek statue of a standing, draped female.


Greek word for "male youth." An Archaic Greek statue of a standing, nude youth.


A feature of Doric architecture, flat rectangular clocks found just under the cornice.


Greek for "city of the dead." A burial ground or cemetary.


1) In Classical architecture, a low gable, typically triangular, framed by a horizontal cornice below and two 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, it is called a broken pediment.


An adjective describing a building surrounded by a single row of columns of colonnade.


1) In a Roman house or domus, an open garden court surrounded by a colonnade. 2) A colonnade around a building or court.


In a Greek or Roman temple, an open vestibule in front of the cella.


A style of ancient Greek ceramic decoration characterized by red figures against a black background. This style of decoration developed toward the end of the 6th c. BCE and replace the earlier black-figured style.


1) A beaklike projection from the prow of an ancient warship used for ramming the enemy. 2) In the Roman forum, the raised platform decorated with the beaks of captured ships from which speeches were delivered. 3) A platform, stage, or the like used for public speaking.


The Latin word for scroll, a rolled written text


Latin for "hide stripped from an animal." Term used for 1) spoils of war and 2) fragments of architecture or sculpture reused in a secondary context.


The substructure of a Classical building, especially a Greek temple.

still life

A term used to describe paintings (and sometimes sculpture) that depict familiar objects such as household items and food.


A platform or masonry floor above the stereobate forming the foundation for the columns of a Greek temple.


The Latin word meaning "writing tablet" or "written record." In a Roman house, a room at the far end of the atrium, or between the atrium and the second courtyard, used for keeping family records.


The element of a Doric frieze separating two consecutive metopes and divided by grooves into three sections.


From the Latin verus, meaning "true." Describes a hyperrealistic style of portraiture that emphasizes individual characteristics.


A wedge-shaped piece of stone used in arch construction.

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