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R. D. Harley

Supplier of materials for artists. The earliest colourmen made and supplied artists’ materials, but contemporary retail colourmen supply materials made by others and should be described as artists’ colourmen only if this trade is their speciality, as the term implies considerable expertise. A colourman is also distinct from a colour-maker; the latter manufactures only pigments whereas the primary activity of a colourman, although he may manufacture some pigments, is to produce artists’ colours by grinding pigments in binding media to make different types of paint. Firms of this description may be either manufacturing or retail colourmen, and the larger modern firms also make brushes, easels and palettes, prepare canvases and, as wholesalers, supply other materials such as drawing paper and tools.

The colourman’s trade probably emerged in Western Europe in the 17th century, when the tradition of guilds and studio apprenticeship was in decline. The enhanced status of painters encouraged the efforts of amateurs without the desire to prepare their own colours or without servants having the necessary expertise. At this stage many pigments were probably still prepared by apothecaries, and specialists made artists’ brushes, but oil and water colours were made up by colourmen. It is likely that some professional artists prompted this development, using their own and their assistants’ expertise. For example ...

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Kathryn Morrison

[column figure]

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, c. 1110). Column statues first appeared on the embrasures of French portals in the middle of the 12th century and are regarded as the main feature that distinguishes Romanesque from Early Gothic sculptural ensembles.

The desire to depict large figures on doorposts and recessed doorway embrasures was manifest in the first half of the 12th century, for example at St Pierre, Moissac (c. 1125–30), where large standing figures were carved into the sides of the trumeau and the faces of the doorposts, or at Ferrara Cathedral (c. 1135), where figures were carved into the arrises of the embrasures. Meanwhile, column statues may have appeared in cloisters or church furnishings. Three marble column statues from ...

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Paul von Blum

Popular art form, consisting of narrative series of images. The individual framed images are usually accompanied by text in white areas, and the conversations or thoughts of characters are usually in ‘balloons’. The language is associated with specific characters, although some strips are entirely pictorial. The strips are typically horizontal but occasionally vertical. The history of the comic strip is closely linked to the invention of printing. The earliest surviving ancestors of the modern strip, dating from the late 15th century, are sequential German woodcuts dealing with such themes as personal morality, crime, political intrigue, religious persecution, the lives of religious figures, and miraculous events. Similar efforts appeared during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in the Netherlands, Italy, and Russia as well as in Germany.

More traditional European art forms are equally important to the development of the comic strip. Major print series by renowned artists, including Jacques Callot, ...

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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 ...

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Conch  

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Valerie A. Clack

Synthetic material comprising an aggregate (small pieces of stone or other hard materials, such as broken brick or clinker, usually graded with sand) and a binding agent (usually a mortar made of cement and/or lime), mixed with water. This gives a semi-fluid workable mass that sets to form a material as hard as brick or stone and of great compressive strength, although weak in tension. Its ultimate appearance is determined by the detailed design of the Shuttering or formwork in which it is cast, and by the use after the removal of the shuttering of such surface treatments as bush-hammering, spraying and rendering; alternatively, it can be left in its raw state, showing the marks of the shuttering, as in board-marked concrete (béton brut). Chemical set-retardants can also be used to leave decorative aggregates exposed.

Concrete was first used as a building material in Classical times, when its plastic properties stimulated remarkable architectural developments in ancient Rome. It did not regain an equivalent importance until the 19th and 20th centuries, when new techniques to produce hydraulic cement (which sets even under water) and to improve its performance under tension were introduced. These made it particularly suitable for such engineering projects as the construction of docks, harbours and bridges, while the relatively low production costs and ease of use also made concrete suitable for large-scale architectural developments, such as low-cost housing and specialized industrial buildings. The possibilities for social construction that were presented by the ready availability of concrete were welcomed particularly by the architects of the Modern Movement, who also explored the dramatic aesthetic implications of the modern material. These were also recognized by some artists in other fields, who from about the mid-20th century began to experiment with concrete as a sculptural material. The susceptibility of concrete to deterioration under certain environmental conditions, however, raises particular problems of conservation....

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Console  

Bracket support of greater height than projection, used in architecture and under horizontal surfaces. Consoles, especially the S-scroll form, often function as decorative elements. Consoles were developed during the 1st century bc–1st century ad as the apparently supporting member of the cornice in the Corinthian order (see Orders, architectural, §I, 1, (iii)). These normally S-shaped brackets might take the form of acanthus leaves, as in the Forum of Augustus in Rome (ded. 2 bc) or the Temple of Venus Genetrix (ded. ad 113; see Ward-Perkins, fig.). A fine cornice (rest.; Rome, Tabularium) from the Temple of Concord in Rome (ded. ad 10) has S-shaped consoles decorated with small guilloche designs. Consoles were also occasionally used as decorative elements apparently supporting the cornice above a doorway, as in the north doorway of the Erechtheion in Athens (see Athens §II 1., (i)), though restoration of the building in the Augustan period makes the date of the consoles uncertain....

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William E. Worthington jr

Machines and equipment used in construction, designed to extend man’s height and reach and to increase his lifting capacity. The successful construction of ever greater and more daring manmade structures is partly attributable to the ability to devise and build the means for conveying materials and workers to ever loftier worksites. Theoretically, there is now no technical limit to the height to which steel-frame structures may be built, with buildings of 200 or more storeys feasible, nor is a height limit imposed by the machinery used to construct them. As steel replaced stone as the primary structural material in tall buildings, so too did it replace wood, hemp and iron in construction machinery. Much building work involves hauling, lifting and the use of ropes and sheaves (pulley wheels) that parallel many of those used on shipboard, and the terms used for construction machinery—jib, boom, mast, rigging, stay and luffing, for example—are nautical in origin. It is more than a coincidence that the fundamental technology of most building machines—the reeling in and paying out of cable—is also elemental to the lift....

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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 ...

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Ellen G. D’Oench

Group portrait, often full-length but small in scale, set in a domestic interior or garden setting. It was an especially popular genre in 18th-century England though it can also be found later than this and in other countries.

The term derives from the Latin word ‘conversatio’ and is synonymous with the French word ‘conversation’; this was defined in the 17th century as a gathering of acquaintances for social discourse. It is also related to the Flemish word ‘conversatie’. In the Netherlands in the 17th century this term was used to describe paintings of informal groups, though not necessarily portraits of known people. In 1629 Rubens referred to a group of women as a ‘conversatie van jouffrouwen’, and two variants of his open-air Conversatie à la mode (both c. 1632–4; Madrid, Prado) were entitled as such in his 1645 estate sale.

Precedents for the conversation piece’s qualities of private narrative include ...

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Coral  

Elisabeth Scheicher

A secretion of the coral polyp, largely consisting of calcium carbonate.

Red or precious coral (Corallium rubrum) is the species most used by craftsmen and is most widely distributed in the Mediterranean. It can be found in the shallower coastal waters of North Africa around Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, around the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, around Naples and the Ligurian coast and around Barcelona and Marseille; it is also found in the Fiji Islands. Since the end of the 19th century deposits in the Pacific, principally the Japanese archipelago, have become increasingly important, especially for coral sculpture. Pacific coral may be distinguished from Mediterranean by its greater hardness, weight and size and by the diversity of its colour. Coral is fished, either by divers or from boats that drag wooden or iron crosses across the sea bed with ropes; at each extremity of the cross is a net bag that collects the uprooted coral bushes. Coral is a relatively soft material. To work it, individual branches are removed from the main stem with a pair of heavy pliers. The outer covering of the branch, known as ...

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Corbel  

Lisa A. Reilly

Piece of stone, wood, or iron that projects from a wall to support an object placed upon it, such as an architectural element or a statue. By arranging a series of corbels it is possible to span an opening with a corbelled arch or vault, which exerts no lateral thrust (see Vault).

In Greek architecture corbels were employed as supports from at least the mid-6th century bc, for example in the consoles, a type of carved corbel, that support the cornice of the Ionic Temple of Athena (c. 550 bc), Parikia, Paros, later incorporated into Ayios Konstantinos. Corbels were used similarly by the Romans, as in the Arch of Augustus (27 bc), Rimini, where they support the mouldings that form the pediment. Roman architects also used corbels as a constructional device in the erection of arches and barrel vaults. By inserting temporary corbels that projected from the piers it was possible to use less scaffolding (...

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Cornice  

Term for any decorative moulded projection used to crown or finish the part to which it is affixed. In Classical architecture it refers to the uppermost part of an entablature, consisting of bed-moulding, Corona and Cyma (see Greece, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (a), and fig.; see also Orders, architectural, fig....

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Corona  

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Cortile