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An Illustrated Glossary - Page 4

This page provides an illustrated explanation of 63 art terms which are often used in this web site. A few Italian terms which are not included in the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Art Terms, are written in italics. The terms in the upper table are linked with the definitions/illustrations of the lower table. Click here for the names of the Stones of Rome.

acanthus in page 1aedicule in page 1amorino in page 1
apse in page 1architrave in page 1atlantes in page 1
balustrade in page 1bas-relief in this pagebroken pediment in page 1
bucranium in page 1bugnato in page 1calotta in page 2
capital in page 2cartouche in page 2caryatid in page 2
cassettone in page 2centaur in page 2cornice in page 1
cornucopia in page 2Cosmati work in page 2Cupid in page 1
dome in page 2drum in page 2entablature in page 1
festoon in page 1frieze in page 1gisant in page 2
graffito in page 2Greek cross in page 3Greek key pattern in page 3
grotesque in page 2grotto in page 3herm in page 3
high relief in this pagehippocamp in page 3inlay in page 1
keystone in page 3lantern in page 2Latin cross in page 3
loggia in page 3lunette in page 3metope in page 1
nereid in page 3nymphaeum in page 3order in page 2
paliotto in page 1parapet in page 3portico in page 3
putto in page 1quadratura in page 3relief in this page
rose window in this pagerotunda in page 3sarcophagus in this page
satyr in page 2Serliana in this pagesolomonic in this page
sotto in su in page 3triglyph in page 1trophy in this page
Vitruvian opening in this pageVitruvian scroll in this pagevolute in this page

relief; bas-relief
relief is a branch of sculpture where figures project from a flat surface.
a bas-relief is a relief where figures project less than half their true depth. It is adopted for works which are seen at a short distance. For example the reliefs of Colonna Traiana, which were seen from buildings (now lost) next to the column have a lower projection than the reliefs of Colonna Antonina which were seen from the street level.
The image shows a bas-relief in the baptistery chapel of S. Maria del Popolo in Rome.
relief; high relief
a high relief is a relief where some figures fully project from the background surface.
Some sculptors developed a special skill for reliefs. In Rome Andrea Bregno at the end of the XVth century and Alessandro Algardi in the XVIIth century were particularly famous for their reliefs.
The image shows a high relief by Ambrogio Buonvicino on the fašade of S. Pietro in Rome.
high relief
rose window
a rose window is a large circular window above the entrance of a church. It is usually decorated and split into sections.
The image shows the rose window of S. Giovanni Battista dei Gerosolimitani in Corneto (Tarquinia).
rose window
a sarcophagus is a wood, stone, terracotta or marble coffin.
The word has a rather gruesome etymology as it means meat eater.
The ancient Romans decorated their sarcophagi with reliefs and very often with a curved decoration which is called strigilato after strigil a double curved tool they used to scrape oil or sweat from the skin.
The image shows a Roman sarcophagus "strigilato" in Zagarolo.
Serliana is a window with three openings designed following a pattern given by Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554) in his Trattato di Architettura a treaty which greatly influenced the architecture of the Late Renaissance.
The serliana pattern was used also for loggias (see S. Maria in Via Lata).
The image shows a detail of Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati.
a solomonic (or vineal) column is a spiral column decorated with branches of vine or laurel. It is called solomonic because the columns brought to Rome after the sack of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem had this shape. The columns were donated by Constantine to the pope to build the old basilica of S. Pietro. Bernini put these columns in the upper part of the piers supporting the dome of new S. Pietro. You can see them in a page devoted to What Mark Twain Saw in Rome.
The image shows a detail of a house in the Grand Place of Brussels.
trophy is a group of war related objects arranged to form an ornament.
Examples of Roman trophies can be seen in Piazza del Campidoglio.
The image shows a XVIIth century trophy in S. Maria della Vittoria. The trophy celebrated the victory in 1620 of the (Catholic) Austrian army at the White Mountain near Prague.
Vitruvian opening
Vitruvius was a Roman architect who dedicated to the emperor Augustus a treaty (De Architectura) which soon became the most comprehensive summary of classical architecture. The treaty was rediscovered in 1414 and it had a great influence on Renaissance architects from Leon Battista Alberti to Andrea Palladio.
In this text Vitruvius described an entrance to a building tapered towards its top. It was typical of Ancient Egypt and it became very much in fashion in the funerary monuments of the Neoclassic period.

The images show the side entrances of Collegio Romano and of Palazzo di Propaganda Fide in Rome. Another example of Vitruvian opening can be found in Carceri Nuove.
Vitruvian opening
Vitruvian scroll
Vitruvian scroll is a very ancient decorative theme described by the Roman architect Vitruvius in a treaty which is the only one surviving text from antiquity on this subject.
The image shows a detail of a Roman mosaic in Antiochia, Turkey. The central part of the mosaic shown in the image is a decoration portraying acanthus leaves.
Vitruvian scroll
volute is a decorative theme consisting in a spiral and it is typical of the Ionic order.
It was used by many Renaissance architects to link the lateral and lower portions of a fašade to its central higher part.
The image shows a detail of S. Maria ai Monti in Rome.

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