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Article

A. Delivorrias

Decorative finial crowning the apex and lower angles of the pediments of ancient Greek and Roman buildings. Acroteria were normally made of terracotta, poros, limestone or marble, although bronze acroteria are mentioned in the literary sources: Pausanias (Guide to Greece V.x.4) noted gilded Victories framed by bronze cauldrons at the lower angles of the pediments of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The bronze Victories framing Bellerophon and the Chimaera on the Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis at Athens are recorded in inscriptions, and traces of their bases survive.

The stylistic development of acroteria begins in the 7th century bc. The earliest surviving examples are the frequently enormous terracotta discs that crowned Lakonian-tiled roofs, such as that from the Temple of Hera at Olympia (Archaeol. Mus.; c. 600 bc). This type continued in the 6th century bc, and it was also sculpted in marble with relief decoration—rosettes, gorgoneia and gorgons—mainly in regions under Lakonian influence. Terracotta acroteria became highly decorative in the course of the 6th century, thanks to the potential of the more flexible Corinthian system of tiling and the advanced coroplastic tradition of the Corinthian workshops. The evolution of acroteria into increasingly sophisticated compositions based on floral, animal and mythological themes and the development of great plasticity and spectacular polychromy are recorded in a series of fragmentary examples from Greece, Magna Graecia and Sicily. Floral elements appear quite early on in variations of the palmette motif and predominate as central acroteria even after the establishment of marble as the standard sculptural material. Hybrid figures of fantastic beasts, such as sphinxes and griffins, were popular as lateral acroteria, initially in terracotta and later in marble; these did not persist after the ...

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Adyton  

[Gr. ‘not to be entered’; Lat. adytum]

Most sacred inner part of a temple, accessible only to the priests (see Greece, ancient, fig. g).

S. K. Thalman: The Adyton in the Greek Temples of South Italy and Sicily (diss., U. California, Berkeley, 1976) M. B. Hollinshead: ‘"Adyton", "Opisthodomos", and the Inner Room of the Greek Temple’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 68/2 (April–June 1999), pp. 189–218...

Article

Margaret Lyttleton

Columnar niche or shrine applied decoratively to a larger building. The word is a diminutive from the Latin word aedes (‘temple’). Summerson traced its application to Gothic architecture and drew attention to the importance of playing at being in a house for all small children; he claimed that this kind of play has much to do with the aesthetics of architecture and leads ultimately to the use of the aedicula. The earliest surviving examples of aediculae are shop-signs from Pompeii, such as that showing Mercury or Hermes emerging from a small building. Later aediculae appear extensively in wall paintings of the Fourth Style (c. ad 20–c. 90; see Rome, ancient §V 2.). Later still, aediculae were often used in the architecture of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire; they consisted of columns or pilasters flanking a niche for statuary, with a pediment above, as in the stage-building of the theatre at ...

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Aetoma  

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Anta  

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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 ...

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Apteral  

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Arcade  

Doris Kutschbach

Single arch or series of arches carried on piers or columns. In antiquity arcades were used most prominently in the architecture of the Roman Empire, which took advantage of the greater load-bearing capacity of arches over the trabeated system that dominated Greek architecture (see Trabeated construction). In medieval architecture arcades became one of the principal structural components of church interiors, both dividing and linking the principal and subsidiary spaces, notably nave and aisles (for illustration see Section); similar structural systems were employed in the interiors of many large secular buildings, including variations using the new iron technology of the 19th century (e.g. Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris; 1843). Arcades, sometimes in the form of dwarf galleries, were also used to articulate the façades of Romanesque and Gothic churches; at Lucca Cathedral (13th century), for example, rows of smaller, superimposed arcades entirely cover the façade above the principal portico arcade at ground level. In addition, arcades serve to support the roofs of covered walks, porticos and loggias, being a common feature of a secular urban architecture in medieval and Renaissance Italy (e.g. ...

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Lowermost portion of an entablature, principally used in Classical architecture, comprising a horizontal beam that spans the columns or piers in the manner of a lintel (see Greece, ancient, fig.b and Orders, architectural, fig.vi). The term was subsequently applied to the moulding around a door or window.

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G. Lloyd-Morgan

Male figure (sometimes known as telamon, and equivalent to the female caryatid) used architecturally since the Classical period to replace a column, and for decorative effect in metalwork and furniture since the 16th century. It is usually represented standing with its hands behind its bowed head, as if supporting a heavy weight on its shoulders, and is probably modelled on the mythical Atlas, who was said to hold up the sky. Unlike caryatids, surviving examples from the Greco-Roman world are scarce. The earliest and most famous, in the huge temple of Zeus Olympios at Akragas (begun c. 480 bc), are 7.65 m high and composed of 12 or 13 courses of stone. Several have been reconstructed on site from excavated fragments. Evidence from coins suggests that atlantids adorned other temples and sacred buildings. They are found in Roman secular architecture from the 1st century bc, for example at Pompeii in the ...

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Term used in Classical architecture for a small order placed above the main entablature of the building. The space so occupied, internally and on the façade, is called the ‘attic storey’. Its front wall may be blank, as in the great panel above the cornice of a triumphal arch, or pierced by windows; in ancient Greek and Roman architecture it was sometimes decorated with relief sculpture or carried an inscription. An open parapet is not correctly described as an attic....

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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 5th and 4th centuries bc. Twelve of these statues could be identified through comparison with Roman marble copies (e.g. Tyrant Slayers, Ephesian Amazons, Athena Velletri, Westmacott Ephebe, Hera Borghese, Eirene and Ploutos). For others likely identifications have been suggested, but cannot be proven (e.g. Doryphoros). The Baiae plaster statues were technically highly accomplished (hollow-cast figures with internal armatures, probably the first casts produced from high-quality moulds), and are likely to have been imported, perhaps from a place such as Athens, where at least three of the originals were located....

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Cardo  

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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 (see §2). Classical caryatids are always clothed; they may be dressed in the Ionic style and may have either a polos or a high-sided crown on their heads, or a wider drum representing a basket containing sacred objects. When dressed in Doric costume, however, caryatids bear the capital directly on their heads. Where hands survive, they may hold ceremonial religious vessels. Non-architectural caryatid figures occur as decorative elements in the minor arts of Greece, Etruria and Imperial Rome. The most notable are the stand supporting mirror-discs, usually dating from the 6th and 5th centuries bc. Caryatids were used in furniture decoration, often as bronze mounts, during the 18th and 19th centuries....

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