Italian Renaissance Art glossary Flashcards

Art
Terms Definitions
Abacus (pl. abaci)
the square slab forming the top of a capital.
Aerial perspective
a perspective technique in which the illusion of depth is created by making distant forms less distinct than nearer forms. Also called atmospheric perspective.
Aisle
a passageway. (See also Side aisle.)
Altar
(1) a structure on which a sacrifice or ritual is performed; (2) in the Christian church, a tablelike structure where the ritual of the Mass (the Eucharist) is performed.
Altarpiece
a painting or sculpture that stands on or behind an altar.
Ambulatory
the curved passageway in the apse of a church.
Apron
on a crucifix, the horizontal or vertical rectangular extensions.
Apse
a projecting, usually curved section of a building.
Aqueduct
a structure that carries water. In ancient Rome, aqueducts could carry water over long distances.
Arcade
a series of arches.
Arch
a curved architectural feature that spans an opening. (See also Pointed arch, Round arch, Trilobed arch.)
Architrave
the lowest horizontal element of an entablature, which rests on the top of a column.
Arriccio
the preliminary coat of plaster in the preparation of a fresco.
A secco
see Fresco.
Asymmetry
an absence of symmetry.
Atmospheric perspective
see Aerial perspective.
Attribute
an identifying characteristic.
Baluster
the upright supporting element of a balustrade.
Balustrade
a series of upright elements supporting a rail.
Baptistery
a Christian building, usually round or octagonal, where baptisms are performed.
Baroque
a style prevalent in the seventeenth century.
Barrel vault
a vault made by the extension of a round arch, which resembles half a barrel or the inside of a tunnel. Also called a tunnel vault.
Base
that part of a column on which the shaft rests.
Basilica
a large, oblong Roman building with a nave and side aisles used for administrative purposes. It was adapted to the structure of Early Christian churches.
Bay
one of a series of sections into which a building is divided.
Blind niche
a niche, usually a purely decorative feature of a wall.
Bracket
an architectural projection that may have a support function.
Broken pediment
a pediment whose cornice is interrupted either by a space or by an intervening element.
Bronze casting
a process in which molten bronze is poured into a mold; when the bronze hardens, the mold is removed and the solid bronze has formed into the shape of the mold.
Buon fresco
See Fresco.
Bust
an image of a person's head, neck, and shoulders.
Buttress
an architectural support that counteracts a lateral thrust against a wall.
Byzantine
(1) the name of a style prevalent in parts of Europe and the Middle East from the sixth through the fifteenth centuries; (2) the name of an empire with its capital at Constantinople, now Istanbul, in modern Turkey.
Campanile
Italian for "bell tower," usually a freestanding structure next to a church or cathedral.
Cantilever
a system of architectural support in which a horizontal beam or truss projects from a base at one end only.
Capital
the top of a column or pilaster, consisting of specific elements, depending on the Order.
Cartoon
a preparatory drawing the same size as the projected painting.
Carving
a subtractive technique of sculpture in which the image is formed by removing sections of the original medium.
Cassone (pl. cassoni)
Italian for a "marriage chest" or "dowry chest."
Cathedral
literally, the "seat of a bishop"; the main church of a district under the supervision of a bishop.
Cella
the main room of a temple that usually houses the cult statue of a god.
Centering
a temporary wooden scaffolding supporting arches, domes, or vaults during the construction process.
Chancel
the section of a church reserved for the clergy and choir.
Chasing
modeling surface decorations on metal sculpture.
Chiaroscuro
Italian for "light-dark"; gradual shading to create the illusion of three-dimensional form.
Choir
the section of the chancel reserved for singing and chanting by the clergy.
Chromatic
having color.
Cimasa
Italian for finial.
Cire-perdue
see Lost-wax.
Classical
(1) the style of ancient Greece from c. 450-c. 400 B.C.; (2) used more generally to refer to Greek and Roman antiquity.
Coffer
a decorative geometric panel that is recessed in a ceiling.
Colonnade
a series of columns.
Colonnette
a little column.
Column
a vertical support consisting of a base, shaft, and capital, depending on the Order.
Composite Order
a combination of the Ionic and Corinthian Orders.
Contour
the edge or outline of a form.
Contrapposto
a twist at the waist resulting from a shift in the stance of the human body.
Convention
a generally accepted and recognized practice or form.
Corbel
a projection from a wall that functions as a support.
Corinthian Order
the architectural system in which the column consists of a base, shaft, and leaf-shaped, or foliate, capitals.
Cornice
uppermost projecting element of an entablature.
Course
a layer of stone lying in a horizontal plane on a building.
Crenellation
a series of openings along the top of a wall or battlement, usually for defense.
Crocket
a decorative, leaf-shaped architectural element that projects in a series from gables, spires, or pinnacles.
Crossing
the section of a church or cathedral in which the nave crosses the transept.
Cupola
a dome crowning a building.
Curvilinear
consisting of curving lines.
Cycle
a group of painted scenes or reliefs that form a cohesive narrative, as in a fresco cycle.
Dado
a strip of architectural molding.
Diptych
a two-paneled painting.
Di sotto in su
Italian for a viewpoint from below.
Dome
a round, convex structure, usually hemispherical and made by rotating an arch 180 degrees, that often crowns a building. It is also called a cupola.
Donor
one who donates a work of art to a church or other institution.
Doric Order
an architectural Order consisting of three steps, a column having a base, shaft, capital (consisting of an abacus and an echinus), and a frieze consisting of triglyphs and metopes.
Drum
a round wall supporting a dome.
Elevation
the system by which a wall is constructed.
Elongated
having long or extended proportions.
Embossing
a technique for creating metal relief.
Enamel
fired glass fused with metal.
Entablature
the upper horizontal of an Order, consisting of the architrave, frieze, and cornice.
Facade
the front of a building.
Figura serpentinata
Italian for "serpentine figure"; an S-shape pose characteristic of Mannerism.
Finial
a small decorative detail at the top of an architectural element.
Flute
a vertical groove in the shaft of a column or pilaster.
Foliate
leaf-shaped.
Foreshortening
representing a form in perspective so that it appears to recede three-dimensionally on a two-dimensional surface.
Formal
relating to line, shape, plane, balance, composition, color, light, and dark.
Forum
an open square of an ancient Roman town consisting of temples, markets, and administration buildings.
Fresco
a painting technique in which waterbased pigments are applied to damp lime plaster and bond with the wall as the plaster dries. It is also called buon fresco, or true fresco. In fresco secco, the paint is applied to dry plaster and is less durable than true fresco.
Frieze
the central horizontal element of the entablature.
Frontal (frontality)
facing front.
Gable
a triangular section of a roof formed by the intersection of two diagonal planes.
Gesso
a medium consisting of white chalk, plaster, and size that coats the surface of a painting and creates a smooth ground.
Gilding
a gold coating on a sculpture or painting.
Giornata
Italian for "day" or "a day's work"; referring to that part of a fresco prepared and painted in one day.
Glaze
in painting, a translucent varnish, a technique generally used in oil painting.
Gothic
referring to the European style that immediately preceded the Renaissance in western Europe. It generally includes the mid-twelfth through the sixteenth centuries, depending on the region.
Greek-cross plan
a building plan that replicates the shape of a Greek cross, in which all four arms are of equal length.
Grisaille
grayish, monochromatic painting frequently used to simulate sculpture.
Ground
the surface of a support prepared for painting.
Hellenistic
referring to the style of Late Greek antiquity, approximately 323 B.C.-A.D. 31.
Icon (Iconic)
a sacred image.
Iconography
the study of an image based on the meaning of its subject matter.
Idealization
depicting forms according to an ideal standard.
Illuminated manuscript
a book written by hand and decorated with paint and gold leaf.
Illusionism
the technique of making an image appear real.
Impost block
a block on which an arch rests.
Inlay
a surface decorated by imbedding one material with pieces of a different material.
Intarsia (pl. intarsie)
the decoration of wood surfaces with inlay.
Intonaco
a coat of fine plaster applied on top of the arriccio in the preparation of a fresco.
Ionic Order
the Order of architecture consisting of a column (having a round base, a shaft, and a volute, or scrollshaped, capital) and an entablature. The Ionic frieze, in contrast to the alternating triglyphs and metopes of the Doric, is continuous.
Lancet
a tall, narrow, arched window.
Lantern
the element on top of a dome that usually allows light to enter the interior.
Latin-cross plan
a building plan, based on the shape of the Latin cross, in which the vertical, or longitudinal, element is longer than the two arms, or horizontal element.
Linear
having the quality of line.
Linear perspective
a system of perspective in which diminishing scale creates the impression of distance on a flat surface.
Lintel
the horizontal element over an opening.
Loggia
a covered gallery open on at least one side.
Lost-wax (cire-perdu)
a technique of bronze casting in which a form is first modeled in wax. Then a plaster mold is formed around the wax, and molten bronze is poured into the mold through holes in the plaster. This melts the wax, which then runs out of the mold. When the bronze has solidified, the plaster mold is cracked open leaving the bronze to be polished and chased.
Lunette
a crescent-shaped section of a wall.
Mandorla
an oval of light around the body of a holy person.
Maniera
Italian for "manner" or "style"; later related to the style of Mannerism.
Mannerism
a sixteenth-century style in western Europe.
Mannerist
having the qualities of Mannerism.
Manuscript
a handwritten book, especially one produced in the Middle Ages or Renaissance.
Martyrium (pl. martyria)
a building erected over the tomb of a martyr.
Masterpiece
the work submitted at the end of an apprenticeship for entry into a guild.
Mausoleum (pi. mausolea)
a large tomb building, named after the Hellenistic ruler Mausolus because of his elaborate tomb at Halicarnassus.
Medallion
a round architectural ornament.
Medium
the material of which a work of art is made.
Metope
the square element of the Doric frieze that alternates with the triglyphs.
Mezzanine
an intermediate short story of a building.
Monochrome
consisting of only one color.
Monumentality
very big or having the appearance of being very big.
Mosaic
a medium in which the artist uses small colored tiles, tesserae, to create an image, usually on a floor, wall, or ceiling.
Mullion
(1) the vertical stone dividing medieval windows; (2) a vertical or horizontal supporting strip in a window.
Naturalism
the representation of things as they appear in nature.
Nave
the central aisle of a church or Roman basilica.
Nave arcade
the row of arches separating the nave from the side aisle of a church or cathedral.
Niche
a recess in a wall.
Oculus (pl. oculi)
a round opening, usually at the center of a dome or in a wall.
Oil paint
a medium in which pigments are mixed with an oil binder.
One-point perspective
a perspective system in which the orthogonals converge at a single vanishing point.
Opus reticulatum
a diamond-shape pattern of Roman brickwork that is both decorative and a structural reinforcement. It was used in ancient Rome and revived in the Renaissance.
Orders of architecture
see Composite Order, Corinthian Order, Doric Order, Ionic Order, Tuscan Order.
Organic
lifelike.
Orthogonal
in the system of one-point perspective, a line perpendicular to the picture plane leading to a vanishing point.
Painterly
a style of painting in which the texture of the brushwork is readily apparent.
Palette
(1) the range of colors in a particular work or in the work of an artist generally; (2) the tablet used by the artist for mixing color.
Patron (patronage)
one who commissions a work of art.
Pediment
the triangular element at the end of a gable roof.
Pedimented
having a pediment.
Pendentive
a spherical triangle that creates a transition from a round dome to a rectangular base of a building.
Peristyle
a row of columns, or a colonnade, that surrounds a building.
Perspective
a system for creating the illusion of depth on a flat surface. (See Aerial perspective, Di sotto in su, Linear perspective, One-point perspective.)
Picture plane
the surface of a two dimensional image.
Pier
a vertical, usually thick rectangular architectural support.
Pigment
in painting, the powdered material mixed with a binder that produces color.
Pilaster
a vertical rectangular strip having the same elements as a column.
Pinnacle
a small, decorative vertical detail at the top of an architectural form.
Plan (also ground plan)
a diagram showing the structure of a building at ground level.
Plane
a flat surface having a direction in space.
Plasticity
the quality of three-dimensional volume.
Podium (pl. podia)
(1) the large stone base of a building, usually a temple; (2) a pedestal.
Pointed arch
an arch whose curved sides converge at a point.
Polyptych
a painting, often an altarpiece, with more than three panels.
Portal
an elaborate entrance to a building.
Portico
a roofed entrance to a building. A Classical portico consists of columns supporting an entablature crowned by a pediment.
Portrait
a likeness of a specific individual.
Pounce
a powdered material rubbed into a writing surface to whiten it or to reduce its shine.
Pouncing
a technique for transferring an image from a cartoon to the support of a finished painting by rubbing or dusting pounce through holes pricked in the contours of the cartoon.
Predella
the base of an altarpiece, often decorated with small narrative scenes.
Program
the overall composition of a group of related images as well as the meaning of their content.
Proportion
relative size or scale.
Pulpit
a raised platform, usually enclosed, from which a preacher addresses the congregation.
Quarry-faced ashlar
irregular, uncut stone masonry blocks.
Quatrefoil
usually a frame or architectural feature in the shape of a four-leaf clover (See also Trefoil.)
Quoin
a large stone block, or series of blocks, reinforcing the corner of a masonry wall.
Radiating chapel
chapels projecting from the ambulatory of a church or cathedral.
Relief sculpture
a category of sculpture in which the image is raised from its original material. In low relief, the image is raised slightly from its background; in high relief, it stands out farther; in sunken relief, the image is below the surface of the background material.
Rib
the arch used in Gothic rib vaults.
Romanesque
referring to the style in western Europe that preceded Gothic, roughly dating from the year 1000 to the mid-twelfth century.
Rotunda
a round building, often surmounted by a dome.
Round arch
a semicircular arch.
Roundel
a decorative round element in architecture.
Rustication
rough masonry blocks with beveled edges and recessed joints.
Sacristy
the room in a church where the priest's robes and various sacred objects are kept.
Sarcophagus (pl. sarcophagi)
a rectangular stone coffin.
Saturation
the intensity of a color.
Schiacciato
Italian for "squashed"; a type of low relief sculpture in which the very slight gradations of depth create an image having a pictorial quality.
Scriptorium (pl. scriptoria)
a room in a monastery or convent where manuscripts are made.
Self-portrait
a likeness of oneself.
Sfumato
Italian for "vanished in smoke"; a technique for creating form with very slight shifts in shading.
Shading
gradual gradation of light and dark to create the illusion of three-dimensional form.
Shaft
the vertical element of a column or pilaster.
Side aisle
the passageway on either side of the nave in a church or cathedral.
Silhouette
(1) in its pure form, a clear outline separating two areas of black and white in a two-dimensional image; (2) more generally, a strong contrast of light and dark separated by a relatively precise edge.
Sinopia (pl. sinopie)
(1) the preparatory underdrawing of a fresco; (2) a reddish-brown pigment named for Sinope, on the Black Sea.
Size (sizing)
glue and resin combined to coat the surface of a painting.
Spandrel
the curved, triangular section of wall between two arches in an arcade; the section of wall between the curve of the arch and the keystone.
Springing
the inward curve of an arch, which seems to "spring" upward at this point.
Stained glass
pieces of colored glass held together by lead strips, most often used for windows in Gothic churches and cathedrals.
Stela (pl. stelae)
an upright stone, generally of a commemorative character.
Stringcourse
a decorative horizontal band running the length of a wall.
Stucco
a plaster mixture of sand and lime cement used to coat a masonry surface.
Studio
a private study.
Studiolo
a small private study.
Style
a characteristic manner or type of representation.
Stylized (stylization)
a nonorganic surface detail.
Symmetry
a type of balance in which forms are arranged as mirror images of each other on either side of a central axis. See also Asymmetry.
Tapestry
a woven fabric, usually decorated and meant to hang on a wall.
Tempera
a water-based paint thickened with egg yolk.
Terra-cotta
literally "cooked, or baked, earth"; unglazed clay that has been fired or the color of such an object.
Three-dimensional
a form that has height, width, and depth.
Tondo
a round painting or relief sculpture.
Tool (tooling)
mark the surface of a sculpture with the artist's tools.
Tracery
a decorative interlaced design.
Transept
the crossarms of a Latin-cross church that crosses the nave at right angles.
Trefoil
having the form of a three-leaf clover. (See also Quatrefoil.)
Triglyph
three verticals alternating with the metopes in the Doric frieze.
Trilobed arch
an arch forming a triple curve at the top.
Triptych
a three-paneled painting or relief sculpture, often an altarpiece.
Triumphal arch
a freestanding stone arch constructed in ancient Rome to commemorate victories.
Trompe-l'oeil
literally, "fool the eye"; an illusionistic image that appears real. (See also Illusionism.)
Tuscan Order
a later form of Doric, having a smooth shaft and a plain frieze.
Two-dimensional
having height and width, but no depth.
Type
in the system of typology, a figure who prefigures or stands for another figure.
Typology (typological)
a Christian historical system in which personages and events before the birth of Christ are believed to have prefigured those following the birth of Christ.
Vanishing point
in one-point perspective, the point at which the orthogonals converge.
Varnish
a usually clear protective coating on the surface of a painting.
Vestibule
an entrance hall.
Villa
a large country house.
Volute
the scroll that decorates the capital of the Ionic column.
Votive
(noun) a devotional object; (adj.) having a devotional quality.
Voussoir
a wedge-shaped stone used in the construction of an arch.
Wing (of an altarpiece)
the side panel of an altarpiece.
Gold leaf
thin hammered gold applied to paintings for decorative purposes; also the ground in certain Byzantine Renaissance paintings.
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