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Article

Alexander Nagel

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a ...

Article

Mark Firth and Louis Skoler

Silvery white metal. The third most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is found only in the form of its compounds, such as alumina or aluminium oxide. Its name is derived from alumen, the Latin name for alum, and in the 18th century the French word ...

Article

Structural ironwork used especially in medieval buildings to reinforce slender columns or to consolidate canopies, bosses or tracery. The term refers also to the wooden or metal framework that supports a large work of sculpture. It is also used to describe the metalwork frame that supports stained glass....

Article

Bronze  

P. T. Craddock

Alloy of copper and tin. In the West bronze was largely superseded by Brass, the alloy of copper and zinc, by the 5th century ad; many brass artworks, however, are commonly described as ‘bronze’. In early times Classical languages had just one term for copper and copper alloys, thus for example the Chinese had the word ...

Article

Cast  

Tim Smare

Reproduction of a three-dimensional object produced by means of a mould.

While moulds can be fashioned directly, for example by carving wood or stone, both mould and cast are usually made in a pliable or amorphous material, such as plaster of Paris, wax or clay. The model is encased in the chosen material, so as to hold an impression of its shape and surface in negative: the mould is then carefully removed and the hollow interior filled to make the positive cast. A piece-mould, a mould constructed in numerous sections, is used to facilitate removal, the small sections sometimes held in place by an outer ‘case’ mould. The modern process of casting has been simplified by the use of synthetic ...

Article

Method of hollow casting with wax (see Metal, §III, 1, (iv)).

Article

Intaglio stamp used for impressing a design when striking coins or embossing paper.

Article

Jutland  

Harriet Sonne de Torrens

Mainland peninsula of modern-day Denmark and one of the three provinces (Jutland, Zealand and Skåne, southern Sweden) that constituted medieval Denmark. The conversion of the Danes to Christianity initiated a reorganization of the economic, social and legal structures of Denmark that would change the shape of Jutland dramatically between the 11th and 14th centuries. Under Knut the Great, King of Denmark and England (...

Article

Latten  

Gordon Campbell

Mixed metal of yellow colour, either identical with, or closely resembling, brass; often hammered into thin sheets. Latten brass, which is also called black latten, is milled brass in thin plates or sheets; shaven latten is thin latten brass, and roll latten is latten polished on both sides. White latten is tin plate....

Article

Name given to the 76 specially commissioned devotional paintings given, one each May, from 1630 to 1708 by the goldsmiths’ corporation of Paris to the cathedral of Notre-Dame (none was commissioned in 1683 or 1684). The paintings were approximately 3.50×2.75 m in size and usually drew their subjects from the Acts of the Apostles. The commissions were awarded to established artists or, occasionally, to younger painters, indicating their rising reputation. Until the ‘Mays’ were dispersed during the French Revolution they were hung on the arcades of the choir and nave of the cathedral. A number are untraced, but eight have been returned to the side chapels of Notre-Dame, including works by ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Decorative work in a fine material (e.g. glass, porcelain, semi-precious stones, silver or gold) that is attractive because of its antiquity, beauty and quality of workmanship. ‘Vertu’ (It. virtù) refers to a taste for curios or other works of art. The traditional form objets de vertu...

Article

Reverse  

Back of a coin or medal carrying a design that is subordinate to the main image on the obverse. The term is also broadly used for the back of any art object.

Verso

Article

Charles J. Semowich

Item for indicating wind direction, usually made by blacksmiths of wrought iron or copper and placed on public buildings, churches and private dwellings. The weathervane was invented by the Greeks, and in 48 bc a vane, in the form of ‘Triton’, was installed on the ...