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Francis T. Ventre

Laws controlling the layout of buildings and the materials used in their construction to ensure the strength and durability of the fabric as well as the health and safety of the occupants. While building regulations are stipulated by governments, building standards are voluntarily agreed technical norms that define and help coordinate the highly dispersed design and construction professions and industries. Although legally distinguishable, building standards and building regulations are intimately intertwined in practice, and each is better understood when presented in light of one another.

Building standards are a modern, formally documented means of communicating the detailed knowledge of precedent that each generation of building design and construction professionals has imparted, both orally and manually, to the next since prehistoric times. They are agreements that describe the design, performance and other characteristics of materials, products, systems and services. Designers use standards as one means of communication with constructers during the course of a building project. Prospective buyers or tenants of buildings may use standard terms and definitions in communicating their needs to building owners or operators. Most technical standards are descriptive rather than prescriptive. It is when specific levels of performance begin to be stipulated that some hitherto voluntary standards, whether originating in building lore or cultural norms, or in modern research and technology, become part of a society’s regulatory process....


Rupert Featherstone

Tool with a hard, smooth, tip, mounted in a wooden handle, used for smoothing or polishing. In water gilding, a burnisher of polished agate is used to smooth the underlying gesso and bole after the gold is applied, giving a highly reflective surface. Burnishers used to burnish ancient pots are depicted in Egyptian wall paintings from the 14th century ...



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 busto, which reflects the fact that this type of sculpture was regarded as of Italian origin.

Generally, a sculptured bust does not include the arms, although it does often include a suggestion of their existence. Usually a substantial portion of the upper chest is also included, thus outweighing the head, which it supports. There are, however, sculptures that include only a small, rounded portion of the chest as a base for the neck, and there are truncated statues that include arms as well as a chest. Such variants are commonly referred to as busts since there are no other established terms with which to describe them....


William W. Clark

Mass of masonry or brickwork projecting perpendicularly from a wall to give additional support to that wall along its length or at the corners.

A buttress built either as a part of the wall (engaged) or against it.

Two buttresses meeting at an angle of 90°, usually on a corner or an acute angle of a building (see fig. (a)). This kind of buttressing was common throughout the Middle Ages, usually in towers; good examples include the west towers of Chartres Cathedral (c. 1140s; see Chartres, §I, 1) and that of Holy Cross (rebuilt 1519, rest. 1872), Great Ponton, Lincs.

A buttress that encases a corner or an acute angle on a building (see fig. (b)). It is common in ashlar construction beginning in the ...


Jeffrey West

[Ger. Byzantinische Blüthenblatt]

Term used to describe a wide range of ‘floral’ motifs prominent in Western art from the 11th century to the end of the 12th. The German term was first used to describe generically similar motifs that appear in 10th-century Byzantine art, for example in the Hippiatrika Codex (Berlin, Preuss. Staatsbib. Kultbes., cod. Phillipps 1538, fol. 39v). The early 12th-century reference by Theophilus to ‘folia graeca’ may refer to Byzantine ‘leaf-flowers’ although the term is not documented in other sources. The variation of the constituent leaves is common to both Eastern and Western ornaments. Unlike the rosette, the leaves typically rise from the junction of the flower and stem. Their origins may lie in the Classical palmette, although Sasanian ornaments provide the immediate models for the Byzantine flowers. Whereas in Byzantine art the flowers are conservative in form and detail, Western blossoms are characteristically individualized. In the decorated headpieces of Byzantine manuscripts (see above), the flowers occupy the centres and interstitial spaces of series of delicately painted roundels. In both Middle Byzantine metalwork and Western art the flowers are used as the decorative terminals of running scrollwork....


Ursula Härting

Small painting of the type hung in a Kunstkammer—an art collection formed by a connoisseur in northern Europe at the end of the 16th and especially in the 17th century. It can, in addition, refer to painted depictions of these collections.

Encyclopedic collections (Kunstkammern) were popular at the beginning of the 17th century in the southern Netherlands and particularly in Antwerp (see Belgium, Kingdom of, §XIII), although similar types of Kunstkammern also existed in the northern Netherlands, as can be seen from the inventory of Rembrandt’s collection. At the same time, the place accorded to pictures in such private collections in Antwerp increased in importance; paintings clearly formed the bulk of the inventory of the collection of Arnold Lunden, the Antwerp banker and brother-in-law of Peter Paul Rubens, which was drawn up in 176 sections between 1639 and 1649. Besides pictures by all the chief Flemish masters of his time, it included masterpieces of the Antwerp school and works by Italian artists of the 16th and 17th centuries. Antwerp burghers were fully aware of the aristocratic pretensions of such connoisseurship. Besides originals, they collected copies of famous or characteristic works by well-known artists. There was a predominance of painters in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke and the dominance of pupils over masters is probably explained by this demand for copies. During the 17th century there was a great increase in the export of small cabinet paintings from ...


Rupert Featherstone

Pair of hinged jaws, of wood or metal, used to take measurements from a figure, model or drawing. Proportional callipers, which possess a movable pivot with jaws at both ends, can be employed to reduce or increase measurements when making a copy from an original.

Greece, ancient, §IV, 1(iv)(d): Monumental sculptural techniques: Models and reproduction...



[Fr. en camaieu: ‘like a cameo’]

Painting with a single colour (monochrome) in two or three tones only; the technique is often employed to give the spectator, the illusion that the image is carved (see also Grisaille).

M. Krieger: Grisaille als Metapher: Zum Entstehen der Peinture en Camaieu im frühen 14. Jahrhundert (Vienna, 1995)...




[Lat.: ‘light chamber’]

Optical device used as an aid for drawing or copying. Its somewhat misleading name is derived from the fact that it performs the same function as the Camera obscura but in full daylight. Far more easily portable than a camera obscura, a camera lucida basically consists of a prism mounted on an adjustable stand and a drawing-board. The prism has to have one right angle, two of 67.5° and one of 135°. When the stand is adjusted so that the prism half covers the pupil of the eye, the draughtsman using it has the illusion of seeing both the object he wishes to draw, which is reflected through the prism by rays of light, and its outlines on the drawing-board. If paper is placed on the drawing-board the outlines can easily be traced off.

A much more sophisticated apparatus than the camera obscura, the camera lucida was perhaps invented, and certainly given its final form, by Dr ...


Jacqueline Colliss Harvey

[Lat.: ‘dark chamber’]

Light-tight box with a small hole in one side, sometimes fitted with a lens, through which light from a well-lit scene or object enters to form an inverted image on a screen placed opposite the hole. A mirror then reflects the image, right way up, on to a drawing surface where its outlines can be traced. The camera obscura was the direct precursor of the modern camera, and its use by earlier artists can be compared to that made of the camera by artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Moreover, a camera obscura was the device used by Thomas Wedgwood and Humphry Davy in the late 18th century in their attempts to project an image on to paper and leather coated with a silver nitrate solution; the image was finally fixed by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826–7.

The origins of the camera obscura go back at least to Aristotle, who noted the principle on which it works in his ...


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. ...



B. S. Benjamin

Structural system in which a member is rigidly fixed at one end in a supporting structure and free at the other, for example a balcony overhang or a tall building. Although in common usage the term is most frequently applied to horizontal members, the structural behaviour of all cantilevers is similar irrespective of direction. The cantilever is the most commonly used structural system both in nature and in architecture. Rock overhangs or vertical rock outcrops, trees and insect termitaries are all natural examples of cantilevers. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the leaning towers of Pisa and Bologna, and the CN Tower in Toronto are examples of architectural cantilevers; in civil engineering they are used, for example, for cantilever bridges (see Bridge, §1), electricity transmission towers or pylons.

The asymmetrical behaviour of the cantilever is the key to its successful use and of vital importance to its safety: the stresses are zero at its free end and at a maximum at the fixed end. The cross-section of the cantilever is therefore a minimum at the free end and a maximum at the fixed end. If wind load is the primary load on the cantilever, as in a tower, the increase in cross-section of the cantilever follows the increase in wind stresses nearer the fixed supports, as in the ...



Jonathan Stephenson

Type of strong, substantial cloth originally made of hemp (Cannabis sativa, from which it takes its name) but more likely to be of a coarse flax or tightly woven linen; similar textiles of cotton or jute are also called canvas. A cloth type rather than a specific cloth, with varied practical applications, canvas is important as a material used for making painting supports. ‘Canvas’ has therefore come to mean not only the raw cloth but also a piece of fabric mounted on a stretching frame and prepared for use in painting or a finished painting, usually in oils, painted on a textile support.

Canvas is most often a plainly woven cloth with a weft that passes alternately under and over each warp thread. The warp and weft are usually of equal strength, but the tightness of the weave may vary: substantial canvases might have coarse, robust threads, loosely woven, or fine ones tightly packed together. The weave affects the stability of the cloth, the ease with which it can be prepared for painting and the texture (tooth) that the prepared surface presents. The choice of canvas, although often based on practicalities, therefore has an influence on the final appearance of the painting. The more complex twill weaves sometimes used for canvas produce a pronounced surface pattern either of parallel diagonal lines or of a herringbone design. Such cloth is a particular feature of the work of ...



The upper part or crowning feature of a column or pilaster, set on top of the shaft. Capitals act as a transition between the shaft and the element they support, usually an architrave, lintel or arcade; a square, circular or polygonal impost block or abacus above the capital often helps to reconcile the form of the shaft with that of the element above.

Capitals generally have highly distinctive sculptural decoration (see figs 1 and 2). In Classical architecture the form of the decoration is an essential attribute of each of the orders (see Orders, architectural). In medieval architecture several decorative types of capital evolved, but they were executed in a huge range of individual examples and thus came to serve an important role in dating buildings.

Similarly, in Islamic architecture distinctive types of capitals that evolved from Classical prototypes can be seen, particularly in the Mediterranean Islamic lands. In India and South-east Asia capitals are often characterized by very elaborate decoration; some forms found in traditional temple architecture were used in secular buildings in the 20th century in an attempt to impart a vernacular or indigenous character....


John Wilton-Ely

[It.: ‘caprice’]

A drawing or painted or engraved composition combining features of imaginary and/or real architecture, ruined or intact, in a picturesque setting. In its fantasy element it is the opposite of the Veduta. It reached its apogee as a popular genre during the era of the Grand Tour of Europe, which produced a heavy demand for pictorial souvenirs. Italy, in particular, offered real landscapes with Classical ruins; all that was required to elaborate and combine existing remains within a picturesque setting was a degree of poetic licence. Architectural fantasy in paintings, drawings and engravings had also a creative function, as an outlet for artists’ and architects’ imaginative expression or experiments, uninhibited by the prescriptive terms of commissions or by practical needs. The capriccio fulfilled in addition a decorative role, ranging from large-scale painted images within room decoration to miniature painted scenes on furnishings and ceramics.

Emerging as a mature art form during the early 18th-century Rococo period, the capriccio eventually declined during the early part of the next century in the face of the greater depth and imaginative range of Romantic painting as well as the demands by the academies for more ‘serious’ subject-matter. However, as a vehicle for creative licence, the architectural fantasy has never completely died out and continues to thrive on a minor level, either as a lighthearted decoration or serving the need for extreme visual experiment in architectural design....




Judith Wechsler, Patricia Coronel, Michael Coronel, Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom and E. Michael Whittington

Type of art in which the characteristic features of the human figure are exaggerated for amusement or criticism. The term caricatura (from It. caricare: ‘to load or change’) was probably invented by Annibale Carracci. It appeared in print, possibly for the first time, in a preface by Giovanni Atanasio Mosini (a pseudonym for Monsignor Giovanni Massani, house master to Pope Urban VII) to Agucchi’s Trattato (1646) and two years later by Bernini.

Caricature appears as an art form throughout the world. Of all its international forms, however, the Western tradition has probably been studied the most, and this article therefore concentrates on this aspect; besides the overview in §2 below, further references to caricature elsewhere may appear within country and regional survey articles of the ancient world and of Asian and African art.

In Western art there are essentially two traditions of caricature. The first derives from Italy, where caricature was seen as primarily a humorous, exaggerated portrait. In northern Europe, especially in 18th-century ...