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Michael Forsyth

Sound can be defined as audible vibrations within a relatively steady medium, and in buildings sound may be air-borne or structure-borne. The science of architectural acoustics is divisible into noise control and room acoustics. The following article is mainly concerned with the latter and the ‘desired’ sound generated within a space, because its design has had a significant impact on architectural form; it concentrates on examples of Western architecture.

For an extended discussion of acoustics see Grove 6.

Different acoustical conditions are preferable for listening to the spoken word as compared with different types of music. The shape, size and construction of halls and theatres—and to some extent other building types, including churches—developed historically in response to acoustical requirements. Room-acoustic design, however, is a relatively recent subject of study. Until the 20th century this relationship between acoustical requirements and the building form resulted from trial and error, involving the architect’s intuition and awareness of precedent rather than scientific knowledge. Acoustically inadequate halls were usually demolished within about 50 years, so that most surviving older halls are probably among the best that were built....


[Gr. allegoria, description of something under the guise of something else]

Term used to describe a method of expressing complex abstract ideas or a work of art composed according to this. An allegory is principally constructed from personifications and symbols (see Symbol), and, though overlapping in function, it is thus more sophisticated in both meaning and operation than either of these. It is found primarily in Western art and constitutes an important area of study in Iconography and iconology.

Allegory, a means of making the ‘invisible’ visible, is a product of the philosophical thought of Classical antiquity and was used by the ancients not only in the fine arts but also in literature and rhetoric (Cicero: On the Orator, xxvii.94; Quintilian: Principles of Oratory, VIII.vi.44; IX.ii.92; Plutarch: Moralia, 19, E-F). In contrast with the symbol, which is a phenomenon of nearly all cultures and religions, allegory is thus essentially a feature primarily of Western art.

The mechanism of allegory further distinguishes it from both symbolism and personification. ...


Willem F. Lash

Type of allegorical representation of the artist’s conception of himself and his work. Many allegories of art owe their origin to attempts, in the 16th and 17th centuries, to classify the fine arts, especially painting, as artes liberales. An improvement in the status of art was to bring with it an improvement in the social standing of the artist. The allegory of art took many forms, which often appeared in combination with one another, including: personifications of Pictura or Disegno, sometimes in the role of inspirer in portraits of the artist; the conquest of Ignorantia and Invidia; and pictures of private galleries. The decoration of the artist’s own house—such as Vasari’s at Arezzo and Florence and Federico Zuccaro’s in Rome—provided an obvious opportunity to develop the theme (see Artist’s house).

The theme of the artist’s inspiration originates in Classical art: the inspiration of the poet by the muse, which is frequently depicted on sarcophagi. It was continued in Late Antique portraits of authors and in early Christian portraits of the Evangelists. A miniature in the Vienna ...


Patrick Nuttgens and Sunand Prasad

Designer of buildings, responsible also in varying degrees for the supervision of their erection. The term is derived from the Greek word architekton (‘craftsman’ or ‘master carpenter’). From this came the Latin word architectus, used by the theorist Vitruvius, whose treatise On Architecture was written c. 17 bc. The first use of the word in English came in John Shute’s First and Chief Grounds of Architecture, published in 1563. The role and cultural status of the architect have been differently understood at different periods of history. In the modern Western world the architect is generally held to be something more than an artisan or manual worker and is in practice often a chief executive or director of works as well as a designer. This concept, however, dates only from the Renaissance, the period during which a distinction came to be drawn between the architect as designer and the master craftsman, who not only designed but also built. Outside the West, different traditions have emerged, with the architect not generally receiving the same individual recognition as his or her Western counterpart....


Janis Callen Bell

[It.: ‘colour changes’, from present participle of cangiare: to change; Fr. changeant; Eng. Changeables]

The practice of using two or more hues of different lightness to imitate the effects of light and shadow on a surface. Cangianti often imitate the appearance of shot silk where the woof and the warp are two different colours, a weaving practice that causes the fabric to appear to change in colour with its orientation to the light. ...


Janis Callen Bell

[Fr. clair obscur]

Term from the Italian compound of chiaro (‘light’, ‘clear’) and scuro (‘dark’) used to refer to the distribution of light and dark tones with which the painter, engraver or draughtsman imitates light and shadow; by extension it refers to the variations in light and shade on sculpture and architecture resulting from illumination. Chiaroscuro has four accepted current usages: (1) the gradations in light and dark values of a colour on a figure or object, which produce the illusion of volume and relief as well as the illusion of light and shadow; (2) the distribution of light and dark over the surface of the whole picture, which serves to unify the composition and creates an expressive quality; (3) monochrome pictures, including Grisaille paintings (in grey, black and white, usually in imitation of sculpture), painting en camaïeu (painting in a single colour in imitation of cameos on pottery, porcelain and enamels (...


A. Wallert

Medieval treatise containing a collection of chemical recipes, with descriptions on the preparation and application of pigments and dyes. It is a parchment codex written by different hands in the late 8th or early 9th century. The manuscript (Lucca, Bib. Capitolare, Cod. 490) is sometimes called the ‘Lucca manuscript’ but is better known as Compositiones ad tingenda, from the title of its first publication by Muratori, or Compositiones variae. The Compositiones is not a systematically organized treatise. It contains instructions for different craft practices in 157 recipes. Its subjects include the coloration of artificial stone for making mosaics; dyeing of skins, textiles, and other materials; the making of various chemical substances; and metallurgical operations.

The Compositiones has descriptions that make it of extreme interest for the history of painting techniques. It contains recipes for the preparation of mineral pigments and organic colorants and for gilding and gold inks. It has the first description of the making of ...


David Summers

Term used in modern writing about art for the posture of a sculpted figure standing at rest with weight shifted on to one leg. Polykleitos’ Doryphoros (c. 440 bc; copy, Minneapolis, MN, Inst. A.; for illustration see Polykleitos) is an early example of this posture, which displays the human body as a self-contained static system, in balance in the pose itself but visibly arrested and therefore implying past and future movement. Contrapposto, like acanthus ornament and wet drapery, became a signature of the Greek Classical style (see Greece, ancient, §IV, 2, (iii), (b)) and its influence. The formula appears in innumerable Greek and Roman figures as well as in Far Eastern art and in medieval ‘renascences’, finally to be revived and developed as part of the Neo-classicism of the Italian Renaissance.

The modern term retains only a fraction of its earlier meanings. The word ‘contrapposto’ is not simply the past participle of the Italian word meaning ‘to counterpose’; it is more properly a translation of the Latin ...


Mary M. Tinti

Architecture, design and conceptual art partnership. Diller Scofidio + Renfro [Diller + Scofidio] was formed in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller (b Lodz, Poland, 1954) and Ricardo Scofidio (b New York, NY, 1935) as an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York.

Diller studied at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York (BArch, 1979) and then worked as an Assistant Professor of Architecture (1981–90) at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, becoming Associate Professor of Architecture at Princeton University in 1990. Scofidio, who also attended Cooper Union (1952–5), obtained his BArch from Columbia University (1960) and became Professor of Architecture at Cooper Union in 1965. In 1997 Charles Renfro joined the firm and was made partner in 2004, at which point the partnership changed its name to Diller Scofidio + Renfro. While the couple (who are married) initially eschewed traditional architectural projects in favor of installations, set design and landscape design, by the 21st century their firm had received commissions for both new buildings and renovations of existing architecture. Diller and Scofidio were the first architects to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (...


Claire Pace

Controversy that developed in Italy in the 16th century over the relative merits of design or drawing (It. disegno) and colour (colore). It was fundamentally a debate over whether the value of a painting lay in the idea originating in the artist’s mind (the invention), which was explored through drawings made prior to the painting’s execution, or in the more lifelike imitation of nature, achieved through colour and the process of painting itself.

The disegno e colore debate focused on the rivalry between the two dominant traditions of 16th-century Italian painting, Central Italian and Venetian. Central Italian, especially Florentine, painting depended on drawing and on the use of preparatory studies and cartoons, and the depiction of the human figure was the supreme test of an artist’s skill; Venetian painters built up their pictures directly on the canvas, creating a more spontaneous and expressive art. The difference between the two approaches was formulated in the writings of ...


Aurora Scotti Tosini

Term invented by Paul Signac to describe the Neo-Impressionist separation of colour into dots or patches applied directly to the canvas. Following the rules of colour-contrasts laid out by Ogden Rood and Michel-Eugène Chevreul, this method was intended to produce maximum brilliance scientifically and to avoid the muddiness caused by physically mixing colours before applying them to the canvas. Seen close to, a Divisionist canvas is a mass of contrasting dots: at a distance, the colours enhance each other to produce an effect of shimmering luminosity. Divisionism refers to the general principle of the separation of colour, unlike the term Pointillism, which refers specifically to the use of dots. Employed in France by members of the Neo-Impressionist group, Divisionism was also popular in Belgium among Les XX and in the Netherlands. In Italy the use of Divisionism, stimulated by Vitorio Grubicy, characterizes the advanced experiments of such painters as Angelo Morbelli, ...


Peter Webb

Term applied to art with a sexual content, and especially to art that celebrates human sexuality. It is derived from eros, the Greek word for human, physical love for another person (as opposed to agape, the spiritual, unselfish love for a god). The imagery of erotic art may be either explicitly or implicitly sexual, instances of the latter being more common in many cultures because of such factors as codes of behaviour, prudery, and censorship. The majority of sexually explicit works of art in the Western world have been produced as part of an overall desire to express the totality of human experience: very few artists have made eroticism their only motivation. In many other societies and cultures, however, sex has provided a far more evident source of inspiration.

All ancient cultures sought to humanize and sexualize their universe by ‘projecting’ their emotions and activities on to the spiritual powers thought to control nature. A basic concern of many ancient religions was the ritual promotion of fertility in humanity and its food supply. Sexual magic was also widely used as a defence against malignant forces, and sexuality permeated the beliefs and rites marking the human life-cycle. Thus the myths, rituals, and arts of ancient cultures, and of many continuing traditions rooted in them, express a wide variety of sexual themes. Erotic images are among the earliest surviving indications of human culture in the ...


Peter Blundell Jones

Term applied to architecture in which the form of a building is derived from the function it is intended to fulfil. As employed by such historians as Nikolaus Pevsner and Siegfried Giedion, the term became generally identified with early 20th-century Modernism, for, like many of their architect contemporaries, they used it in justifying that style. It would, however, be hard to substantiate the claim that modern architecture is truly more functional than that of many other periods, particularly as it was impregnated with aesthetic and social concerns that sometimes conflicted directly with the requirements of use.

Even in the realm of theory modernists cannot claim any monopoly on functionalist ideas: A. W. N. Pugin claimed in his True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841) that ‘there should be no features about a building which are not necessary for construction, convenience or propriety’, defining propriety as the appropriate reflection of the internal arrangements in the exterior. Even though he applied them to Gothic examples, he drew his ideas from the French Neo-classical tradition, while the French reiterated theories borrowed from the Italian Renaissance. Thus functionalist ideas can be found in ...



Daniel Rico

Spanish provincial capital, to the north of Saragossa in Aragón. Known in pre-Roman Iberia as Bolskan and as Osca under the Romans, it was the seat of the Quintus Sertorius government, a municipium (free town) since the time of Augustus and a bishopric under the Visigoths. During the period of Muslim domination from the 8th to the 11th centuries, the town, known as Wasqa, became a defensive settlement with a city wall stretching for more than 1.8 km, of which some sections still remain. Although the city was recovered by the Christians in 1096 and the episcopal see restored the following year, the architectural transformation of Huesca was not immediate. During the 12th century only two edifices of any real importance were constructed. One of these was the Benedictine monastery of S Pedro el Viejo, of which three Romanesque structures have survived: the church—a simple construction which nevertheless has two interesting tympana carved by sculptors from Jaca; a small chapel, possibly inherited from the Mozarab community in the 11th century, which was used as the Chapter House and then as a funeral chapel; and a cloister decorated around ...


In painting, the attempt to make images that seemingly share or extend the three-dimensional space in which the spectator stands. The term is also applied in sculpture, for a presentation of figures that attempts in some way to make them seem alive, and occasionally in architecture, for a presentation of structures that attempts in some way to enhance their dimensions. It was coined by Franz Wickhoff in 1895 and has been used by modernist writers to characterize all methodical attempts to represent, or ‘give the illusion of’, the visible world. But in current usage it generally denotes work where the intention is that something should seem not so much represented as substantially present.

Such intentions are widespread in sculpture, in work ranging from the statues of ancient Greece—often originally polychromed—to Mme Tussaud’s wax museum, set up in 1835. The use of the term for a distinct developing tradition is, however, mainly confined to European painting. In painting, three-dimensional illusions tend to lose their hold when the surface, seen closely, yields an identical image to each eye, thus showing its lack of depth: still more so when the spectator moves and the relation of the represented planes fails to change. As a result, illusionist painting falls largely within certain limits of presentation or of imagery. It may be shown to one eye only, in a ‘peepshow’, or be kept at a distance from the spectator, for instance on a high ceiling, where the two eyes can no longer confidently judge depth. For imagery, the painter may represent a flat surface from which planes jut and recede to a slight depth—the range of effects properly known as ...



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 (reg 1019–35), Jutland acquired a stable diocesan system (1060) that enabled a systematic collection of tithes and the growth of religious institutions between 1050 and 1250. During this period, agricultural practices changed as manor houses and landed estates were established, producing wealth for the ruling families. Under Valdemar I (reg 1157–82) and Knut VI (reg 1182–1202), Jutland witnessed a great building activity; on Jutland more than 700 stone churches were constructed, some replacing earlier wooden churches, each needing liturgical furnishings. Workshops, such as that of the renowned sculptor Horder and many others, were actively engaged in carving stone baptismal fonts (e.g. Malt, Skodborg, Ut, Stenild), capitals, reliefs (Vestervig, Aalborg) and tympana (Gjøl, Ørsted, Stjaer, Skibet), wooden cult figures, Jutland’s golden altars (Lisbjerg, Sahl, Stadil, Tamdrup) and wall paintings. Evidence of the earliest wall paintings in Jutland, ...


Lon R. Shelby

Book containing regulations for the masons’ craft (see Mason, §I). With the increasing literacy of masons in their own vernacular languages in late medieval Europe, books played a more prominent role in the craft. Well-known examples of books of regulations, ‘Articles and Points’, were developed by English and German masons, based on ‘customs of the masons’ that had been maintained in earlier centuries through oral traditions rather than in writing. Two English versions of the ‘Articles and Points of Masonry’ have survived from the beginning of the 15th century (London, BL, Bibl. Reg. 17 A1; London, BL, Add. MS. 23198), but these were not the first such written ‘custumals’, for the second version (the Cooke MS.) refers to ‘old books of masonry’ and ‘the book of charges’ that had been ‘written in Latin and in French both’.

The English Articles and Points do not stipulate that these written regulations were to be kept in a book in the masons’ ...



Martin Postle

Person subjecting his or her body to an artist’s observation. A tradition of working from living models, begun in Classical times, was revived in Europe in the Renaissance and was an important feature of academic practice until the 20th century.

The model, in the academic sense, was from its inception until the 19th century synonymous with the male figure. The earliest recorded reference to artists’ models comes from Pliny the elder, who states that ‘nude statues holding a spear’ were ‘modelled after young men in the gymnasium’. But earlier than this, Greek sculptors had drawn on empirical observation and imitation of the nude male, using the individual as the basis for the construction of an aesthetic ideal. Polykleitos, for example, whose system of proportions for the human figure was embodied in a treatise (the Canon) and a statue (the Doryphoros, late 5th century bc; copy, Naples, Mus. Archeol. N.), based his work exclusively on the male nude. There was, by way of contrast, no attempt to quantify the beauty of the female form. The female model was regarded, as the earliest references indicate, in a highly subjective manner. Commonly assumed to be the artist’s mistress, she was regarded as a physical embodiment of his muse. ...


[Jieziyuan huazhuan]

Comprehensive Chinese painting manual printed in multiple colors. The title derives from the Nanjing estate of renowned dramatist, connoisseur, and publisher Li Yu (c. 1611–1680). After its initial publication, the Manual had two sequels and multiple authors shared credit for its contents. Li Yu’s son-in-law, Shen Xinyou, charged the Nanjing painter Wang Gai (1645–1707) with compiling Part One of the Manual. The instructional materials of painter Li Liufang provided the bases for an expansion that was published in 1679. In 1701 Shen supervised the printing of Parts Two and Three, which were compiled by the team of Wang Gai and his brothers Wang Shi (1649–1734) and Wang Nie (fl. late 17th century–early 18th century).

The Mustard Seed Garden Painting Manual marked the peak in the development of the comprehensive painting manuals, which addressed different aspects of the art of painting, ranging from history and theory to techniques in a variety of genres. Comprehensive painting manuals in the late Ming period mainly emphasized the genres of flowers, birds, as well as figures. Part One of the ...