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Article

Ralph Hyde

Darkened room (or rooms), with lenses set into the walls, through which the viewer could inspect magnified, brightly lit and minutely delineated pictures placed at the end of a screened black tunnel. The cosmorama was mainly in use in 19th-century Europe and America. The pictures were painted in oils, in an ultra-realistic manner. Some paintings were perforated so as to create the effect of lit windows or a star-spangled sky, or they incorporated transparencies so that sequences of scene transformations could be produced. The paintings were generally of spectacular subjects—far-off cities, storms at sea, dramatic conflagrations, pyramids, great waterfalls or volcanoes. Visits to cosmoramas provided a substitute for arduous foreign travel, and they were often used to divert and educate children.

The first cosmorama was opened in 1808 by the Société des Voyageurs et des Artistes at the Palais-Royal, Paris. The invention reached New York in 1815, while a Cosmorama Room, exhibiting the Paris paintings, was established at 29 St James’s Street, London, in ...

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Cotton  

Natalie Rothstein

Fibre made from the long, soft hairs (lint) surrounding the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium). In the right climate (temperate to hot), cotton is easy to grow; it is also cheap to harvest and easily packed into compact bales for transport and export. Indigenous to India (see Indian subcontinent §VII 2., (i)), the Sudan and Ethiopia, it was later grown in Egypt, China (see China, People’s Republic of §XIII 1., (i)), western Central Asia (see Central Asia §I 6., (i), (b)), North America and elsewhere. Cotton is a very versatile fibre: used alone it can produce very fine, light and quite strong textiles (lawn and muslin), and used alone or in combination with other fibres it can make extremely durable and heavy fabrics (e.g. for use in bedspreads, rugs and carpets). It takes dyestuffs very well and can be painted or printed with designs. The first mention of cotton is in the ...

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[Fr.: ‘wing’]

Element at the side of an image, especially in panoramic landscapes, which directs the spectator’s eye towards the central view in the distance. The term derives from those pieces of stage scenery that mask the wings of the theatre and create an illusion of recession (see also Repoussoir).

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Shirley Millidge

[Fr. contre preuve; offset]

Reversed image of a print or drawing. It is made by pressing a blank sheet of paper against the original, both being dampened slightly and then run through a rolling press together. The counterproof image, usually fainter than the original, is transferred on to the second sheet in reverse. A counterproof is often made as part of the working process: after gauging the effects of the reversal, the printmaker or draughtsman is able to revise, correct or introduce new elements to the original as seems appropriate.

The process of pulling a counterproof is especially useful in between states of a print, since the counterproof is in the same direction as the printing-plate on which the artist is working. Such a counterproof can only be made from a newly printed proof that still has wet ink. The proof itself is damaged by the process: the intense pressure used to transfer the image removes ink from the original print and smooths out the impression marks....

Article

Open area, partially or fully enclosed, adjacent to or within a building. The concept of the courtyard, which provides sheltered, secluded and secure exterior space, is fundamental to the traditions of both sacred and domestic architecture in many parts of the world. It developed particularly in hot, arid climates, as in North Africa and the Near East, where it offers a cool outdoor space protected from sun and hot winds.

Courtyards have been found in the earliest houses and palaces of the Near East, such as Ur in Mesopotamia (early 2nd millennium bc), where excavations have revealed private housing consisting of a courtyard surrounded by a range of rooms, including a reception hall. In ancient Greece, courtyards—often with a peristyle—usually featured as a part of domestic planning as well as in buildings for public entertainments such as the palaestra (wrestling ground) and in katagogeia (hotels), where rooms were arranged around a peristyle (...

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Additional support applied to the back of a wooden panel painting to prevent or correct warping or splitting. It consists of a latticework of wooden batons, which are designed to allow some movement perpendicular to the grain of the panel in response to changes in humidity. Cradling has been used extensively since the 18th century or earlier, and many panel paintings have been thinned to accept a cradle, often with damaging long-term results. Because of the inevitable constraints on the expansion and contraction of the painting, cradling may cause more damage than it prevents and is thus no longer considered an acceptable method of reinforcement or repair (for further discussion and illustration ...

Article

Jonathan Stephenson

[Fr.: ‘cracking’]

Pattern or network of small cracks on a painting. This may be due entirely to ageing of the structure of the painting, or it may have been provoked by defective or unsuitable materials, poor storage, technical error or the painter’s incompetence. As a consequence of ageing alone, craquelure is seldom disfiguring and is simply regarded as a characteristic feature of older paintings (for which reason it has been faked). Movement of the support and shrinkage or embrittlement of the ground, paint and varnish are the main causes. The cracks occur in distinctive formations related to the type of support or to weaknesses and irregularities that act as focal points for stress. A circular pattern of cracks, known as ‘rivelling’, occurs on Vermeer’s Guitar Player (c. 1672–5; London, Kenwood House) and Reynolds’s Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse (1784; San Marino, CA, Huntington Lib. & A.G.). Cracks that originate within the paint layer, often due to poor technique, are more likely to detract from the painting’s appearance. Reynolds’s use of bituminous pigments provides many examples of ‘...

Article

Crayon  

Marjorie Shelley

Except for consistent reference to a stick of dry colour, the term ‘crayon’ is ambiguous. Historically it has denoted various fabricated, direct-line drawing instruments, made of ground pigment and binder, that are cut or moulded into cylindrical rods or straight-sided sticks about 60–70 mm in length and 10 mm in thickness. Included in this definition are Pastel, red and black Chalk and crayons de couleur (wood-encased crayons), also oil, Charcoal, conté, lithograph and wax crayons. ‘Crayon’ has become a generic term for colour sticks made with oily, fatty or waxy binding media, such as lithograph, conté or children’s wax crayons.

The type and percentage of the binder in a crayon determines and modifies its physical and optical properties, such as texture, tenacity, light reflection and colour saturation (see fig.). A high percentage of an oleo-resinous medium, such as wax, oil, fat or soap, will produce a greasy or dense stroke, whereas a small amount of a gum or clay binder produces dry, friable crayons, such as ...

Article

R. Allen Brown

[battlementing]

Name given to a treatment of the outer wall of a parapet that produces a series of merlons and the spaces left between them. The merlons, or upright sections, provided an immediate cover for the defender, armed usually with bow or crossbow, while the open section gave him his view for shooting. Crenellation is found universally about the summit of the walls and towers of castles and fortified towns (and fortified churches, e.g. Béziers, Herault) as an essential part of the wall-walk, without which active defence would scarcely have been possible. The technique was inherited from the Classical past and no doubt had its equivalent in the timber stockades of some early medieval fortresses. However, it long outlived its practical use to survive into the modern period as a mere architectural motif, at first signifying nobility and then just a general medieval romanticism. In the medieval period it was so common a feature of fortification and its serrated outline so marked that it evidently acquired a symbolism of its own as the sign of castellation and of lordship and gentility. In England a ‘licence to crenellate’, which it was necessary or at least desirable to obtain before building a castle or fortifying a house, gave such prominence to the word as to suggest that crenellation was taken to be the line of demarcation between a fortified or unfortified residence. Thus a licence of Edward I to ...

Article

Crocket  

John Thomas

[Fr. croc, crochet: ‘hook’]

Decorative device used in Gothic art and architecture, attached to a capital or a gable, an arch, piece of tracery or coping. The term was used in medieval England in the forms crockytt and crockett. English writers of the Gothic Revival period, however, suggested a connection with the crook, noting that some of the earliest English examples take the form of the pastoral crosier, but this is probably a misinterpretation.

Crocket capitals developed during the period of transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture from the mid-12th century, with small curled, twisted fronds of vegetation projecting from the body of the capital, in a form suggesting the much older use of curved floral decoration in the Corinthian order (see Orders, architectural, §I, 1, (iii)). After c. 1250 the crocket emerged as a curve of foliage that twisted or hooked back, turning the opposite way to the arch or gable out of which it rose, reminding Gwilt of ‘the buds and boughs of trees in the spring season’. In the course of its development, the crocket lost its hook-shape and began to curve upwards rather than downwards, becoming richer and more florid. Thus after ...

Article

Crypt  

Stephen Heywood

Subsidiary vaulted room normally below the main floor level but not necessarily wholly subterranean. The term is normally used of church architecture. Crypts are found throughout western Europe, until the 11th century associated with funerary rites and in particular with the cult of relics, simulating the form of a tomb if not an actual one. In some instances, churches were built around the existing tomb of a saint or a holy place. The most important example of this is the Anastasis Rotunda on Golgotha built by Constantine the Great around the tomb of Christ, now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (see Jerusalem, §II, 2). The function of early crypts was to keep relics secure and to allow the circulation of pilgrims. As the cult of relics and its liturgical implications grew, the crypt tended to lose its specific function as reliquary. Nevertheless crypts continued to be built, simply providing extra space for altars and chapels. Their size increased, and in some cases they lay beneath the entire eastern arm of a major church, for example Archbishop ...

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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 bc were worshipped in an anthropomorphic form and were, as such, earthly substitutes or humanized manifestations of the presence of a deity.

Anthropomorphic cult statues are well attested in the Ancient Near East, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Near Eastern cuneiform records going back at least to the 2nd millennium bc indicate that Mesopotamian cult images were made of wood and opulently clad in tiaras, robes and jewellery. The garments of the statue were ceremonially changed, and ritual meals were served up to the cult image. Specific attributes and attire aided identity. From ...

Article

B. S. Benjamin

Non-load-bearing exterior wall supported by the primary structural system and providing enclosure. It came into widespread use after World War II and was adopted throughout the world. Although a curtain wall does not afford any structural support to the building, it must act in a semi-structural and load-bearing way. It must carry its own weight without cracking, and it must resist wind loads acting on the enclosure and transfer these loads safely to the supporting structure of the building. These loads are usually transferred to structural columns via horizontal members, either the outer beams of the structure itself or intermediate members known as ‘girts’. The predecessor of the 20th-century curtain wall can be found in prefabricated metal building fronts of the 19th century such as those erected in the SoHo district of Manhattan by James Bogardus. These, however, still provided structure as well as enclosure. True curtain walls began to evolve at the end of the century; a notable early example is the ...

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Cusp  

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Rupert Featherstone

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Cyma  

Architectural moulding consisting of a double curve. In the cyma recta profile, the lower part of the curve is convex and the upper part concave; in the cyma reversa (Lesbian cymatium), the lower part is concave and the upper convex. The moulding was commonly used in Classical architecture and its later derivatives (see Orders, architectural, §I); the cyma recta profile, for example, was often used to terminate the cornice (see Greece, ancient, fig.), and the abacus of the Corinthian capital usually had a cyma recta profile. Cyma reversa profiles were commonly used in the Ionic and Corinthian orders. An example from the early period can be found on the column capitals of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos (6th century bc), while a later example appears on the entablature and column capitals of the Temple of Athena Polias at Priene (4th century bc...