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Article

Gordon Campbell

Ancient Greek statue with a wooden body and the head and limbs made of stone (usually marble, sometimes limestone). This technique seems to have come into use in Greece at the end of the 6th century bc or the beginning of the 5th, and was predominantly, but not exclusively, employed for cult statues. The wooden bodies of acrolithic statues were covered in sheets of precious metal or draped with textiles regularly renewed in cult ceremonies. In ancient Greece the term ...

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Agalma  

Term used for an ancient cult statue.

Article

R. W. Sanderson and Francis Cheetham

Term used to describe two types of stone, one of gypsum and one of limestone.

R. W. Sanderson

‘True’ alabaster is hydrated calcium sulphate, a finely fibrous form of gypsum. It occurs as nodular masses with a felted, fibrous microstructure, variably intermixed with streaks of red or green clay. Deposits of economic size accumulate as precipitated salts in evaporating saline lakes in arid areas. The variety satin spar occurs in vein-like form with the fibres in regular parallel arrangement, giving the mass a silk-like lustre. Alabaster is slightly soluble in water and therefore not suitable for outdoor works; it is very soft and readily cut and polished with the simplest tools. It provides an excellent surface for painting and gilding, without priming being necessary. Geologically ancient deposits provided material for sculptors, although gypsum continues to form in suitable environments in the Middle East, the ...

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

Philip Ward-Jackson

Term applied particularly to mid-19th-century French sculpture with animal subject-matter. The beginnings of this genre as a significant phenomenon may be located in 1831, when three sculptors, Antoine-Louis Barye, C. Fratin (1801–64) and A. Guionnet (fl 1831–53), all exhibited animal pieces at the Paris Salon. The popularity of such sculpture, and its commercial exploitability through the production of serial bronzes and plasters, induced some sculptors, such as Barye et Cie, to cast and market their own animal statuettes. Antecedents are numerous, but a comparable degree of concentration on animal subjects in sculpture is found only at the end of the 18th century, in the work of the English painter and sculptor ...

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

Trevor Proudfoot

Material most commonly used as a cheaper alternative to stone. Occasionally, its special properties make it a preferred but more expensive choice to stone. In its simplest form, artificial stone is an ashlar covering for buildings (e.g. 18th-century terraced houses by John Nash). It is found in its most sophisticated form as the component of numerous 19th-century terracotta or cement-based sculptures....

Article

Thorsten Opper

In 1954 a large number of fragments of ancient plaster casts came to light in the Roman city of Baiae on the gulf of Naples. Of a total of 430 fragments, 293 were in a condition that allowed further analysis. This revealed that they originally belonged to a group of 24–35 full-length statues that formed a representative collection of plaster copies of Greek bronze originals (gods, heroes, mythological figures) mainly of the ...

Article

Term for carving, embossing or casting that protrudes only moderately from the background plane (see Relief sculpture).

R. Polacco: ‘Porte e cancelli bronzei medioevali in S. Marco a Venezia’, Ven. A., 3 (1989), pp. 14–23B. Gallistl: Die Bronzetüren Bischof Bernwards Im Dom Zu Hildesheim...

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Mallet studded with V-shaped indentations used in sculpture to wear down the surface of the stone or material.

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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

Bust  

Nicholas Penny

Type of sculpture, commonly but not always a portrait, that includes the chest or part of the chest, as well as the head. In this sense the word has been used for only about three centuries in English, and for many years writers on art in England preferred to use the Italian term ...

Article

G. Lloyd-Morgan

Sculpted female figure (equivalent to the male Atlantid) used in place of a column (see fig.). Caryatids first appeared in ancient Greek architecture around the mid-6th century bc; they were also used in Roman architecture, and these models were revived in the 18th and 19th centuries (...

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

Term applied to sculpture incorporating gold (Gr. chrysos) and ivory (Greek elephantinos), often on a wooden armature. The term is applied to statues overlaid with gold (for drapery) and ivory (for skin). A famous example was Pheidias’ colossal statue of Zeus, once housed at the ancient Greek sanctuary of ...

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

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Kathryn Morrison

Form of sculpture in which a column and a figure are carved from a single block of stone. It is distinct from the Classical Caryatid, which structurally replaces the column, or from figures carved into columnar shafts (e.g. the Puerta de las Platerías of Santiago de Compostela, ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Irene Bald Romano

Image of a divinity that served in antiquity as a focal-point for worship and cult rituals. Most cult statues were housed in temples or shrines, although outdoor worship of images is also attested. Although aniconic worship (i.e. of a non-anthropomorphic symbol of a deity such as a rock or pillar) is known in Near Eastern, Greek and Roman cults, most deities by the late 2nd millennium ...

Article

A beast with the body of an ape and the head of a dog. The form is Egyptian in origin, and may originally have been a representation of a baboon; it was subsequently used in Roman art, both as a decorative motif and in free-standing statuettes....