21-40 of 734 results  for:

  • Art Materials and Techniques x
Clear all

Article

Altar  

Dominique Collon, Ian M. E. Shaw, R. L. N. Barber, R. A. Tomlinson, G. Lloyd-Morgan, John N. Lupia, Barbara Drake Boehm, Iris Kockelbergh, Sian E. Jay, David M. Jones, Henrik H. Sørensen, Karen A. Smyers and Michael D. Willis

Table or similar raised structure used in many cultures and throughout history for sacrificial, eucharistic or other religious purposes. ( African and Afro-American altars began to receive serious scholarly attention only in the late 1980s and early 1990s (see, e.g., R. F. Thompson: Face of the Gods: Art and Altars of Africa and the African Americas, New York and Munich, 1993).)

Structures built of bricks have been found in the cella of temples throughout the Ancient Near East and are generally cited as a reason for identifying the building as a temple. They were sometimes plastered and one early example from the late 4th millennium bc, at Tell ’Uqair in southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq), had miniature steps leading up it and was painted to resemble a temple decorated with mosaics, with guardian leopards in red and black paint. Another example of much the same date, from the Eye Temple at Tell Brak in Syria, was decorated with a frieze of blue and white limestone and gold and supported a symbol with an enormous pair of ‘eyes’. Monolithic stone altars from ...

Article

Alexander Nagel

[Fr. postautel, retable; Ger. Altar, Altaraufsatz, Altarbild, Altarretabel, Altarrückwand, Retabel; It. ancona, dossale, pala (d’altare); Sp. retablo]

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 retable, following the medieval term retrotabulum [retabulum, retrotabularium].

The altarpiece was never officially prescribed by the Church, but it did perform a prescribed function alternatively carried out by a simple inscription on the altarblock: to declare to which saint or mystery the altar was dedicated. In fact, the altarpiece did more than merely identify the altar; its form and content evoked the mystery or personage whose cult was celebrated at the altar. This original and lasting function influenced the many forms taken by the altarpiece throughout its history. Since the altarpiece was not prescribed by the Church, its form varied enormously. For this reason, it is often impossible, and historically inaccurate, to draw neat distinctions between the altarpiece and other elements occasionally associated with the altar apparatus. For example, movable statues, often of the Virgin and Child, were occasionally placed on altars according to ritual needs, and at those times fulfilled the function of the altarpiece....

Article

Stephen Heywood

[alternation]

Term applied to medieval ecclesiastical architecture and referring to the deliberate use of differing pier forms in an arcade. Alternation is found in aisled churches throughout western Europe from the 11th to the 14th century. Its purpose is to articulate internal elevations through the subdivision of the main arcades and in some instances to emphasize certain liturgically important areas. In its simplest form the alternating system consists of the use of both the column (cylindrical) and the pier (square or rectangular in section). In antiquity these two types of support had specific functions that were almost always observed: the column supported the horizontal entablature and the pier supported the arch. By the Middle Ages this rule had been abandoned, and both types of support were used for arcades.

The earliest examples of alternation occur in the eastern Roman Empire during the 5th and 6th centuries ad. In most instances its use may be attributed to structural function, as at the church of ...

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 alumine was proposed for the oxide of the metal, then undiscovered. The name aluminium was adopted in the early 19th century and is used world-wide except in the USA, where the spelling is aluminum, and in Italy where alluminio is used. Following the discovery of processes for separating the metal from the oxide, at first experimentally in 1825, then commercially in 1854 and industrially in 1886–8, aluminium rapidly came to be valued as an adaptable material with both functional and decorative properties. Thus in addition to being used in engineering, transport, industrial design and household products, it was also widely adopted in architecture, sculpture and the decorative arts....

Article

Fossilized, water-insoluble Resin, 20–120 million years old, which exuded from giant coniferous trees and became buried below them.

Amber is amorphous, of resinous lustre and usually found in small pieces: irregular lumps, grains, drops and stalactites. It feels warm, is lightweight and porous and may fluoresce naturally under daylight, especially when freshly extracted. Inclusions of organic matter—insects, crustacea (some now extinct), flora, bark etc—resulted from these being trapped in the liquid resin as it flowed downwards. When in contact with atmospheric air, its surface becomes oxidized and forms a crust. Transparent, opaque (due to an abundance of tiny bubbles) or osseous, it is commonly yellow to honey-coloured, but approximately 250 different colour varieties including white and black are known, the rarest being red, blue and green. On lengthy exposure to air, golden-yellow amber slowly darkens to red. Green amber is thought to have formed in marshy areas through inclusions of decaying organic material. When burnt or rubbed vigorously amber emits a resinous pine aroma, and friction causes it to produce static sufficient to pick up small particles of paper. It is soft and carves easily but can be brittle, and skill is required to prevent fracturing. It tends to craze when subjected to sustained and extreme heat. Imitations include Chinese dyed sheep’s ...

Article

Stephen Heywood

The extension of the aisles around the sanctuary of a major aisled church to form a passage or walkway. The ambulatory is found throughout western Europe, especially in France, and was particularly popular between the 11th and 13th centuries. It is often provided with radiating chapels that project from its exterior face. Its function was to provide separate access to the radiating chapels and perhaps originally to facilitate the circulation of pilgrims past relics. The ambulatory with radiating chapels was an important innovation of the Romanesque period and is a particularly potent illustration of the style’s preoccupation with the articulation of structure (see Romanesque, §II).

The origins of the ambulatory are found in Carolingian outer crypts (see Crypt). A good example from England is the simple, barrel-vaulted corridor that runs around the apse at All Saints’, Brixworth (Northants), probably built during the 9th century (for illustration ...

Article

Article

Kenneth B. Roberts

Depictions of the structure of the human body as shown by dissection. The study of anatomy (Gk.: ‘cutting apart’) has informed and stimulated European artists since the Renaissance and has also led to many remarkable feats of illustration.

Anatomy was being practised at Alexandria c. 300 bc, but no images remain from the Classical world. Illustrations demonstrating anatomy occur in European manuscripts from the 12th century onwards. They are sometimes grouped in a series of five or six diagrams of the complete human figure, each showing a frog-like, or squatting, posture. Examples of this series bear a family resemblance, showing that they were copied from earlier examples. It has been suggested that they derive from early Alexandrian originals. Similarly squatting figures occur in many cultures, possibly without connection. The frog-like series in European, and likewise in Persian and Indian manuscripts, include separate figures for representing the skeleton, arteries, veins, nerves and muscles, and often also a pregnant woman. These figures are not observations of bodily structures as seen in dissection but rather symbolic representations of the subject-matter of anatomy, ...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

[Ger.: ‘devotional image’]

Type of religious image intended for devotional contemplation and the stimulation of affective piety that evolved in the late Middle Ages. Many of these images were developed in the 14th century in response to the writings of the Cistercians and Benedictines, in particular, but also of the Franciscans and Dominicans. Many of the authors encouraged self-identification with the joys and sufferings of the Virgin and Christ, and the images served as a means of meditating on the events described in the texts. They were frequently painted on small panels or illustrated in Books of Hours and were available to a wider audience through woodcuts and engravings (see Book of Hours). Larger carved representations and altarpieces were also common in churches.

Many of these devotional images were extracted from a narrative and in some cases preserve its essential elements, for example such close-up emotive groups as Christ and St John the Evangelist from the Last Supper, or the Pietà from the Lamentation at the foot of the Cross (see below). Other ...

Article

D. S. Rayevsky

Term used to describe an art dominated by animal themes, associated with a series of 1st-millennium bc cultures of the Eurasian steppes, extending from Central Europe to the Ordos region of north-west China.

The Animal style is characteristic of a series of cultures, including the Thracians (north Balkans), Savromats (lower reaches of the Don and Volga rivers), a people of the south Ural Mountains who are perhaps identifiable as the Issedones (Herodotus: Histories IV.26), the cultures of Tasmola (central Kazakhstan), Pazyryk (Altai Mountains) and Tagar (south Siberia), and other barrow (kurgan) burials in the Semirechiye (Seven Rivers) region of Kyrgyzstan and east Kazakhstan, the Pamirs and the Tien Shan Mountains. In Central Asia and the north Black Sea region, the Animal style is usually associated with nomadic tribes known in ancient Persian and Classical sources as the Sakas or Scythians (see Scythian and Sarmatian art), a term which loosely appears to refer to an eastern Iranian linguistic group....

Article

Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi and Edward J. Nygren

Although animals have been represented in the art of almost all cultures from prehistoric times, the depiction of animal subjects in painting and the graphic arts became a particularly well-established tradition in Western art following the Renaissance, as European explorers discovered new species, as the demand for illustrated books increased and as the traditional Christian interpretation of the relation between humanity and the rest of creation began to be reappraised. Moreover, while hunting, falconry and similar pursuits continued to provide artists with subjects, animals came to have a more complex relation to society, as curiosities, status symbols or in a domesticated role. Animals continued to occupy an ambiguous role in 19th- and 20th-century Western art, as the subjects of human science, as opportunities to demonstrate technique, and as the instinctive, unrestrained vehicles for a range of Romantic and post-Romantic symbolic possibilities. It is this Western tradition that is discussed in this article; discussion of the depiction of animal subjects in the art of other cultures may be found in the respective regional and cultural surveys....

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 George Garrard. Garrard’s animal pieces reflect contemporary concern with ‘improved’ stock-breeding, as well as the involvement with natural history of the encyclopedists. A much publicized debate in 1830 on comparative anatomy, between Etienne Geoffroy de Saint Hilaire and his pupil Georges Cuvier, stimulated widespread interest in zoology, as did the growth of the Paris Jardin des Plantes, where several generations of sculptors studied animals from life. They could observe dissections at the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle, where Barye occupied the post of Professor of Zoological Drawing from ...

Article

Annulet  

Article

Anta  

Article

Antefix  

Nancy A. Winter

[antefixum; pl. antefixes, antefixa]. Plaque closing the outer end of the final cover tile in each row of overlapping cover tiles running down from the ridge to the eaves of a sloped roof on Classical Greek and Roman and on Neo-classical buildings. Its practical functions were to prevent rain from penetrating below the cover tile and seeping through the opening between the adjacent pan tiles beneath, and to prevent wind from dislodging the row of cover tiles. Although functional in origin, the antefix soon also became a decorative element adorned with relief and/or painted decoration. The size and shape of early examples was determined by that of the cover tile, but by c. 550–525 bc the plaque had become larger than its tile in order to accommodate more decoration.

The earliest antefixes, from the first half of the 7th century bc, apparently formed part of undecorated terracotta roofs in the Corinthia of ...

Article

Jeffrey West

[honeysuckle; palmette]

Floral ornament, typically with alternating motifs. The term first occurs in a progress report commissioned in 409 bc on the building of the Erechtheion in Athens. Although the west side of the building was refurbished by the Romans in the 1st century ad, it is probable that the unfinished column bands referred to in the report were decorated with Palmette and lotus friezes comparable with those that decorate the Ionic columns of the north portico. In Classical architecture, anthemion ornaments are typical of the Ionic order, although they also occur in the decoration of a wide range of different artefacts, especially ceramics. Alternation of motif is characteristic, but there is considerable variation in the type, form and detail of the constituents.

The characteristic anthemion composition comprises alternating palmette and lotus motifs, which in Classical ornament emerge from an acanthine calyx (see Acanthus) and are joined to one another by curving S-shaped scrolls. In the ...

Article

Article

Article

Apse  

Semicircular or polygonal vaulted space, usually at the end of a basilica nave (see Church, fig.).

G. Binding: ‘Abside’, Enciclopedia dell’arte medievale, 1 (Rome, 1991), pp. 75–82 S. Ghigonetto: Storia dell’architettura medievale: Una tipologia riscoperta: Le chiese a doppia-abside: Forme e funzioni (Paris, 2000) S. de Blaauw: ‘L’abside nella terminologia architettonica del Liber pontificalis’,...

Article

Apteral