Works of art that may have from but have little or no attempt at pictorial representation
An institution whose main objects include training artists in an academic tradition, ennobling the profession, and holding exhibitions
Literally, a "high city," a Greek temple complex built on a hill over a city
Action Painting
An abstract painting in which the artist drips or splatters paint onto a surface like canvas in order to create his or her work
Aerial perspective (Atmospheric perspective )
Landscapes that give the illusion of distance
Work of art that possess a symbolic meaning in addition to a literal interpretation
A painted or sculpted panel set atop an altar of a church
A passageway around the apse or an altar of a church
A two-handeld Greek storage jar
Anamorphic image
An image that must be viewed by a special means, such as a mirror in order to be recognized
Animal style
A medieval art form in which animals are depicted in a stylized and often complicated patter, usually seen fighting with one another
An audience hall in a Persian palace
A type of painting in which the figures are rising heavenward
The end point of a church where the altar is
An aboveground water system
A flowing, intricate, and symmetrical pattern deriving from floral motives
A series of arches supported by columns; when the arches face a wall and are not self-supporting, they are called a blind arcade
A simple rural and rustic setting used especially in Venetian paintings of the High Renaissance; it is named after Arcadia, a district in Greece to which poets and painters have attributed a rural simplicity and idyllically untroubled world
The scientific study of an ancient people and cultures principally revealed through excavation
A plan and non-ornamental lintel on the entablature
A series of concentric moldings around and arch
Ashlar masonry
Carefully cut and grooved stones that support a building without the use of concrete or other kinds of masonry
A three-dimensional work made of various materials such as wood, cloth, paper and miscellaneous
A courtyard in a Roman house or before a Christian church
An innovative group of artists who generally reject traditional approaches in favor of a more experimental technique
Axial plan (Basilican plan, Longitudinal plan)
A church with a long nave whose focus is the apse, so-named because it is designed along the axis
A canopy placed over an altar or shrine
In medieval architecture, a separate chapel or building in front of a church used for baptisms
Barrel vault
An arch that is extended in space, forming a tunnel
In Roman architecture, a large axially planned building with a nave, side aisles, and apses. In Christian architecture, an axially planned church with long nave, side aisles, and an apse for the altar
A vertical section of a church that is embraced by a set of columns and is usually composed of arches and aligned windows
Benday dots
Named for inventor Benjamin Day; this printing process uses the pointillist technique of colored dots from a limited palette placed closely together to achieve more colors and subtle shadings
A round ceremonial disk found in ancient Chinese tombs; they are characterized by having a circular hole in the center, which may have symbolized heaven
A movement that stresses organic shapes that hint at natural forms
A deity who refrains from entering nirvana to help others
Book of Hours
A book of prayers to be said at different times of day, days of the year
A studio of an Italian artist
A fully enlightened being; there are many Buddhas, the most famous of whom is Shakyamuni, also also known as Gautama or Siddhartha
A sculpture depicting a head, neck, and upper chest of a figure
A decorative or beautiful handwriting
A type of early photograph, developed by William H. F. Talbot, that is characterized by its grainy quality; a calotype is considered the forefather of all photography because it produces both a positive and a negative image
Camera obscura
A box with a lens which captures light and casts an image on the opposite side
A bell tower for an Italian building
A projecting beam that is attached to a building at one end and suspended in the air at the other
A heavy woven material used as the surface of a painting; first widely used in Venice
The top element of a column
A column in a building that is shaped like a female figure
An underground passageway used for burial
The principal church of a diocese, where a bishop sits
The main room of a Greek temple where the god is housed
Central Plan
A church having a circular plan with the altar in the middle
A Mayan figure that is half-sitting and half-lying on its back
A rock-cut shrine in basilican form with a stupa at the endpoint
A cup used in a Christian ceremony
A large country estate or manor house
The east end of a Gothic church
A gradual transition from light to dark in a painting; forms are not determined by sharp outlines, but by the meeting of lighter and darker areas
A space in a church between the transept and the apse for a choir or clergymen
In the 1500s, or sixteenth century, in Italian art
Cire perdue
The lost-wax process. A bronze casting method in which a figure is modeled in clay and covered with wax and then recovered with clay. When fired in a kiln, the wax melts away leaving a channel between the two layers of clay that can be used as a mold for liquid metal
The third, or window, story of a church
Enamelwork in which colored areas are separated by thin bands of metal, usually gold or bronze
a rectangular open-air monastery courtyard with a covered arcade surrounding it
An enclosed gardenlike area around a cathedral
An Aztec goddess who is characterized by a savagery only satisfied by human sacrifice
Codex (plural: codices)
A manuscript book
In architecture, a sunken panel in a ceiling
A composition made by pasting together different items onto a flat surface
A commentary on the end panel of a Chinese scroll; an inscription at the end of a manuscript containing relevant information on its publication
Color field
A style of abstract painting characterized by simple shapes and monochromatic color
Compound pier
A pier that appears to be a group or gathering of smaller piers put together
A philosophical belief begun by Confucius that stresses education, devotion to family, mutual respect, and traditional culture
A graceful arrangement of the body based on tilted shoulders and hips and bent knees
Corbel arch
A vault formed by layers of stone that gradually grow closer together as they rise until they eventually meet
An Aztec goddess who dies when she tries to assassinate her mother, Coatlicue
A projecting ledge over a wall
A circle of megaliths
Cubiculum (plural: cubicula)
A Roamn bedroom flaking an atrium; in Early Christian art, a mortuary chapel in a catacomb
A system of writing in which the strokes are formed in a wedge or arrowhead shape
A small dome rising over the roof of a building. In architecture, a cupola is rotating achieved by an arch on it axis
Cyclopean masonry
A type of construction that uses rough massive blocks of stone piled one atop the other without mortar. Named for the mythical Cyclops.
Cylinder seal
A round piece of carved stone that when rolled onto clay produces an image.
A type of early photograph, developed by Daguerre, which is characterized by a shiny surface, meticulous finish, and clarity of detail.
A philosophical belief begun by Laozi that stresses individual expression and a striving to find balance in one's life.
In Hinduism, the ability of a worshipper to see a deity and the deity to see the worshipper.
Di sotto in su
(see Quadro Riportato)
Documentary photography
A type of photography that seeks social and political redress for current issues by using photographs as a way of exposing society's faults.
An inner stronghold of a castle complex.
A patron of a work of art who is often seen in that work.
A large outdoor work in which the earth itself its the medium.
A woven product in which the design is stitched into a premade fabric.
An ancient method of painting using colored waxes that are burned into a wooden surface.
Engaged columns
A column that is not freestanding but attached to a wall.
A printmaking process in which a tool called a burin is used to carve into a metal plate, causing impressions to be made in the surface. Ink is passed into the crevices of the plate, and paper is applied. The result is a print with remarkable details and finely shaded contours.
The upper story of a Greek temple.
A printmaking process in which a metal plate is covered with a ground made of wax. The artist uses a tool to cut into the wax to leave the plate exposed. The plate is then submerged into an acid bath, which eats away at the exposed portions of the plate. The plate is removed from the acid, cleaned, and ink is filled into the crevices caused by the acid. Paper is applied and an impression is made. Etching produces the finest detail of the three types of early prints.
Exemplum virtutis
A painting that tells a moral tale for the viewer.
The front of a building.
Fan vault
A type of vault so-named because a fanlike shape is created when the vaults spring from the floor to the ceiling, nearly touching in the space directly over the center of the nave. They are usually highly decorated and filled with rib patterns.
Steel-reinforced concrete. The two materials act together to resist building stresses.
Fete galante
An eighteenth-century French style of painting that depicts the aristocracy walking through a forested landscape.
An object believed to possess magical powers.
Flying buttress
A stone arch and its pier that support a roof from a pillar outside the building. Flying buttresses also stabilize a building and protect it from wind sheer.
A visual effect in which an object is shortened and turned deeper into the picture plane to give the effect of receding in space.
Forum (plural: fora)
A public square or marketplace in a Roman city.
A painting technique that involves applying water-based paint onto a freshly plastered wall. The paint forms a bond with the plaster that is durable and long-lasting.
A horizontal band of sculpture.
A composition made by rubbing a crayon or a pencil over paper placed over a surface with a raised design.
Genre painting
Painting in which scenes of everyday life are depicted.
Thin transparent layers put over a painting to alter the color and build up a rich sonorous effect.
A monumental entrance or gateway to an Indian temple complex.
The first four books of the New Testament that chronicle the life of Jesus Christ.
Grand Manner
A style of eighteenth century painting that features large painting which figures posed as ancient statuary or before classical elements such as columns or arches.
Grand Tour
In order to complete their education young Englishmen and Americans in the eighteenth century undertook a journey to Italy to absorb ancient and Renaissance sites.
A painting done in neutral shades of grey to simulate the look of a sculpture.
Groin vault
(see Vault)
Ground plan
The map of a floor of a building.
Haboku (splashed ink)
A monochrome Japanese ink painting done in a free style in which ink seems to be splashed on a surface.
Haniwa (from the Japanese meaning "circle of clay")
Japanese ceramic figures that were placed on top of burial mounds.
Harlem Renaissance
A particularly rich artistic period in the 1920s and 1930s that is named after the African-American neighborhood in NYC where it emerged. It is marked by a cultural resurgence by African Americans in the fields of painting, writing, music, and photography.
Hierarchy of Scale
A system of representation that expresses a person's importance by the size of his or her representation in a work of art
Egyptian writing using symbols or pictures as characters
Horror vacui
(Latin meaning "fear of empty spaces") a type of artwork in which the entire surface is filled with objects, people, designs, and ornaments in a crowded, sometimes congested, way
An intellectual movement in the Renaissance that emphasized the secular alongside the religious. Humanists were greatly attracted to the achievements of the classical past and stressed the study of classical literature, history, philosophy, and art
A hall in an Egyptian temple that has a roof supported by a sense thicket of columns.
A devotional panel depicting a sacred image
A screen decorated with icons, which separates the apse from the transept of a church
Nude corner figures on the Sistine Chapel ceiling
A thick and very visible application of paint on a painting surface
A rectangular basin in a Roman house that is placed in the open-air atrium in order to collect rainwater
In situ
A Latin expression that means that something is in its original location
A temporary work of art made up of assemblages created for a particular space, like an art gallery or a museum
International Gothic style
A style of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century painting, begun by Simone Martini. The style is characterized by elegant and intricate interpretations of naturalistic subjects and minute detailing and patterning in drapery and color, catering to an aristocratic taste
Perforated ornamental stone screens in Islamic art
The side posts of a medieval portal
An attraction for Japanese art and artifacts that were imported into Europe in the late nineteenth century
The soul, or spiritual essence, of a human being that either ascends to heaven or can live in an Egyptian statue of itself
The center of an arch that holds the other stones in place
An oven used for making pottery
A circular room wholly or partly underground used for religious sites
A hall used for Buddhist teachings
The Islamic sacred test, dictated to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel
Kouros (female: kore)
An archaic Greek sculpture of a standing youth
A large Greek bowl used for mixing water and wine
A highly ornamental Islamic script
A Greek drinking cup
A colossal winged human-headed bull in Assyrian art.
A small structure with openings for light that crowns a dome.
Linear perspective
see Perspective
A sophisticated and scholarly group of Chinese artists who painted themselves rather than for fame and mass acceptance. their work is highly individualized.
A print making technique that uses a flat stone surface as a base. The artist draws an image with a special crayon that attracts ink. Paper, which absorbs the ink, is applied to the surface and a print emerges.
Openings in the walls of catacombs to receive the dead.
A long Native American communal dwelling made of wood. Characterized by having supporting interior poles that create long interior corridors.
A crescent shaped space, sometimes over a doorway, which contains sculptures or painting.
A painting of the Virgin Mary as enthroned Queen of Heaven surrounded by angels and saints.
Mandora (Italian, meaning "almond")
A term that describes a large almond shaped orb around holy figures like Christ and Buddha.
Maniera greca (Italian, meaning "Greek manner")
A style of painting based on Byzantine models that was popular in Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Martyrium (plural: martyria)
A shrine built over a place of martyrdom or a grave of a martyred Christian saint.
Mastaba (Arabic, meaning "bench")
A low flat-roofed Egyptian tomb with sides sloping down to the ground.
Mecca, Medina
Islamic holy cities; Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammed and the city all Muslims turn to in prayer; Medina is where Muhammad was first accepted as the Prophet, where his tomb is located.
A stone of great size used in the construction of a prehistoric structure.
A rectangular audience hall in Aegean art that has a two-column porch and four columns around a central air well.
A large uncut stone erected as a monument in the prehistoric era.
A small relief sculpture on the facade of a Greek temple.
A central niche in a mosque, which indicates the direction to Mecca.
A tall slender column used to call people to prayer.
A pulpit from which sermons are given.
In India, the mating of males and females in a ritualistic, symbolic, or physical sense.
Large stone sculptures found on Easter Island.
A sculpture made of several different items that dangle from a ceiling and can be set into motion by air currents.
A movement begun in the late nineteenth century in which artists embraced the current at the expense of the traditional in both subject matter and in media; modernist artists often seek to question the very nature of art itself.
Moralized Bible
A Bible that pairs Old and New Testament scenes with paintings that explain their moral parallels.
Mortise and tenon
A groove cut into stone or wood called mortise that is shaped to receive a tenon, or projection, of the same dimensions.
A decoration using pieces of stone, marble, or colored glass, called tesserae, that are cemented to a wall or a floor.
A Muslim house of worship.
A symbolic hand gesture in Hindu and Buddhist art.
An Islamic official who calls people to prayer traditionally from a minaret.
The Prophet whose revelations and teachings form the foundation of Islam.
A honeycomb-like decoration often applied in Islamic buildings to domes, niches, capitals, or vaults; the surface resembles intricate stalactites.
The closest part of the atrium to the basilica; it serves as a vestibule or lobby of a church.
The main aisle of a church.
Necropolis (plural: necropoli)
Literally, a "city of the dead" -- a large burial area.
Negative space
Empty space around an object of a person, such as the cut-out areas between a figure's legs or arms in a sculpture.
An afterlife in which reincarnation ends and the soul becomes one with the supreme spirit.
A circular window in a church or a round opening at the top of a dome.
Ogee arch
An arch formed by two S-shaped curves that meet at the top.
Orans figure
A figure with its hands raised in prayer
Lines that appear to recede toward a vanishing point in a painting with linear perspective
A tower built of many stories. Each succeeding story is identical in style to the one beneath it, only smaller. Pagodas typically have dramatically projecting eaves that curl up at the ends
Literally, "Ruler of the World," a term that alludes to figures of Christ placed above the altar or in the center of a dome in a Byzantine church
A tall aquatic plant used as a writing surface in ancient Egypt
A colored chalk that when mixed with other ingredients produces a medium that has a soft and delicate hue.
The triangular top of a temple that contains sculpture.
1) an atrium surrounded by columns in a Roman house, 2) a colonnade surrounding a Greek temple
Having to do with depth and recession in a painting or a relief sculpture. Objects shown in linear perspective achieve a three dimensionality in the two dimensional world of the picture plane. All lines, called orthogonals, draw the viewer, back in space to a common point called the vanishing paint. Paintings, however, may have more than one vanishing point, with orthogonals leading the eye to several parts of the work. Landscapes that give the illusion of distance are in atmospheric or aerial perspective.
A king of ancient Egypt.
An image made by placing objects on photo-sensitive paper and exposing them to light to produce a silhouette.
A vertical support that holds up an arch or vault.
A painting or sculpture of a crucified Christ lying on the lap of a grieving Mary.
A flattened column attached to a wall with a capital, a shaft, and a base.
A pointed sculpture on piers or flying buttresses.
Painting in the outdoors to directly capture the effects of light and atmosphere on a given object.
A painting technique that uses small dots of color that are combined by the eye at a given distance.
A many-paneled atmosphere.
A ceramic made from clay that when fired in a kiln produces a product that is hard, white, brittle, and shiny.
A doorway. In medieval art, they can be significantly decorated.
A theory that expresses that all knowledge must come from proven ideas based on science or scientific theory philosophy, promoted by French philosopher Auguste Comte
A method of construction with two posts supporting a horizontal beam, called a lintel
Poussinistes and Rubénistes
Admirers and imitators of Poussin and Rubens. The former felt that Poussin's mastery of drawing, composition, and emotional restraint were superior. The latter found greater value in Rubens's use of color, rich textures, and highly charged emotions
The base of an altarpiece that is filled with small paintings, often narrative scenes
Propylaeum (plural: propylaea)
A gateway leading to a Greek temple
A book containing the Psalms, or sacred sung poems, of the Bible
A communal village of flat-roofed structures of many stories that are stacked in terraces. They are made of stone or adobe
A Hindu prayer ritual
A monumental gateway to an Egyptian temple marked by two flat, sloping walls between which is a smaller entrance
The direction toward Mecca which Muslims face in prayer
Quadro riportato and Di sotto in sù
Both are types of ceiling paintings. Quadro riportato is a wall mural that is executed on a curved ceiling vault. To view a quadro riportato work, one must stand in a particular spot in order for it to appear right side up. The Sistine Chapel ceiling was done in quadro riportato. In contrast, di sotto in sù ("from the bottoms up") works are ceiling paintings in which the figures seem to be hovering above the viewers, often looking down at us. Mantegna's "Room of the Newlyweds" is painted in di sotto in sù
The 1400s, or fifteenth century, in Italian art
An exterior angle on the façade of a building that has a large dressed stone forming a decorative contrast with the wall
A commonplace object selected and exhibited as a work of art
An American art movement from the early twentieth century that emphasized Midwestern rural life in a direct style
Relief sculpture
Sculpture which projects from a flat background. A very shallow relief sculpture is called a bas-relief.
A vessel for holding a sacred relic. Often reliquaries took the shape of the object they hold. Precious metals and stones were the common material
(French, meaning "to push back") A type of metal relief sculpture in which the back side of a plate is hammered to form a raised relief on the front
Reserve column
A column that is cut away from rock but has no support function
Rib vault
A vault in which diagonal arches form rib-like patterns. These arches partially support a roof, in some cases forming a weblike design
Rose window
A circular window, filled with stain glass, placed at the end of a transept or on the façade of a church
In Romantic painting, a figure seen from the back, often in the contemplation of nature
To deeply and roughly incise stones to give a rough and rustic texture to its appearance
Sacra conversazione
An altarpiece in which the Madonna and Child are accompanied by saints and engaged in a "holy conversation"
A government-sponsored exhibition of artworks held in Paris
Sarcophagus (plural: sarcophagi)
A stone coffin
Scarring of the skin in patterns by cutting with a knife. When the cut heals, a raised pattern is created, which is painted
A group of artists sharing the same philosophy who work around the same time, but not necessarily together
Scriptorium (plural: scriptoria)
A place in a monastery when monks wrote manuscripts
A smoke-light or hazy effect that distances the viewer from the subject of a painting
The body of a column
The Hindu god of creation and destruction
The supporting interior framework of a building
A triangular space enclosed by the curves of arches
In art history, the reuse of architectural or sculptural pieces in buildings generally different from their original contexts
The polygonal base of a dome that makes a transition from the round dome to a flat wall
Stele (plural: stelai)
A stone slab used to mark a grave or a site
Still life
A painting of a grouping of inanimate objects, such as flowers or fruit
A horizontal molding
A fine plaster used for wall decorations or moldings
A dome-shaped Buddhist shrine
The Sublime
Any catharic experience from the catastrophic to the intellectual that causes the viewer to marvel in awe, wonder, and passion
A Jewish house of worship
A cloth made from bark that is soaked and beaten into a fabric
A woven product in which the design and the backing are produced at the same time on a device called a loom
A type of paint employing egg yolk as the binding medium that is noted for quick drying rate and flat opaque colors
A dramatic dark-and-light contrast in a painting
A hard ceramic clay used for building or for making pottery
A decoration using polygonal shapes with no gaps
Tholos tomb
1) an ancient Mycenaean circular tomb in a beehive shape, 2) an ancient Greek circular shrine
First five books of the Old Testament, traditionally ascribed to Moses
A gateway near a stupa that has two upright posts and three horizontal lintels
Totem pole
A pole carved with ancestral spirits or symbols erected by Pacific Coast Native Americans
An aisle in a church perpendicular to the nave
The 1300s, or fourteenth century, in Italian art
A narrow passageway with arches opening onto a nave, usually directly below a clerestory
A projecting grooved element alternating with a metope on a Greek temple
A three-paneled painting or sculpture
Trompe l'oeil
(French, meaning "fools to the eye") a form of painting that attempts to represent an object as existing in three dimensions, and therefore resembles the real thing
Trumeau (plural: trumeaux)
The central pillar of a medieval portal that stabilizes the structure. It is often elaborately decorated.
Tympanum (plural: tympana)
A rounded sculpture placed over the portal of a medieval church
Translated as "pictures of the floating world", a Japanese genre painting popular from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century
A circle of hair on the brows of a deity sometimes represented as the focal point
A protrusion at the top of the head, or the top knot of a Buddha
A theme in still life painting that stresses the brevity of life and the folly of human vanity
A roof constructed with arches. When an arch is extended in space, forming a tunnel, it is called a barrel vault. When two barrel vaults intersect at right angles it is called a groin vault.
Sculptures from the Roman Republic characterized by extreme realism of facial features
Villa (Italian) or Chateau (French) (plural: chateaux)
A large country estate or manor house
Voussoir (pronounced: view-swar)
A wedge-shaped stone that forms the curved part an arch. The central voussoiris called a keystone.
A Buddhist monastery or temple in Cambodia
A monumental entrance to a Carolingian church in which two towers flank a lower central entrance
A printmaking process by which a wooden tablet is carved into with a tool, leaving the design raised and the background cut away (very much as how a rubber stamp looks); ink is rolled onto the raised portions and an impression is made when paper is applied to the surface; woodcuts have strong angular surfaces with sharply delineated lines
Yakshi (masculine: yaksha)
Female and male figures of fertility in Buddhist and Hindu art
Yin and yang
Complementary polarities; the yin is a feminine symbol that has dark, soft, moist, and weak characteristics; the yang is the male symbol that has bright, hard, dry, and strong characteristics
A metaphysical branch of Buddhism that teaches fulfillment through self-discipline and intution
A pyramidlike building made of several stories that indent as the building gets taller; ziggurats have terraces at each level
A device that projects sequences of photographs to give the illusion of movement