Part 1: A/G -
- Part 3: Q/Z
- acanthus (Lat. acanthus Gk.
a thistle species very common in
the Mediterranean. Its large, jagged leaves, curving in slightly
at the tips, have been a favorite ornamental pattern since
A shrine or niche framed by two
columns, piers, or pilasters carrying an entablature and
pediment (triangular or segmental).
- aerial perspective
A way of suggesting the far
distance in a landscape by using paler colours (sometimes tinged
with blue), less pronounced tones, and vaguer forms.
- alb (Lat. alba tunica, "white
the white, ankle-length garment
worn by priests during Mass, under the stole and chasuble.
- all' antica (It. "from the antique")
(of an art work) based on or
influenced by classical Greek or Roman art.
- allegory (Gk. allegorein, "say
A work of art which represents
some abstract quality or idea, either by means of a single
figure (personification) or by grouping objects and figures
together. Renaissance allegories make frequent allusions both to
both Greek and Roman legends and literature, and also to the
wealth of Christian allegorical stories and symbols developed
during the Middle Ages.
A picture or sculpture that
stands on or is set up behind an altar. The term reredos is used
for an ornamental screen or partition, not directly attached to
the altar table but affixed to the wall behind it. A diptych is
an altarpiece consisting of two panels, a triptych one of three
panels, and a polyptych one of four or more panels.
From the 14th to 16th century,
the altarpiece was one of the most important commissions in
European art; it was through the altarpiece that some of the
most decisive developments in painting and sculpture came about.
Device commonly used in 16th-century
paintings and drawings whereby a figure or object is depicted
not parallel to the pictorial plane but projected at an oblique
angle to it, and so highly distorted. The viewer resolves the
optical distortion of form that results by looking at the
picture at the same oblique angle.
- Anghiari, battle of
A Florentine and papal army
defeated a Milanese force under Piccinino outside this town near
Arezzo (29 June 1440). Macchiavelli, in his History of Florence,
used it shamelessly as an example of the reluctance of
mercenaries to risk death in battle: he put the casualties as 'one
man killed, and he fell off his horse and was trampled to death',
whereas sources available to him put the joint fatalities at
some 300. It was a subject of a fresco painted by Leonardo da
Vinci in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (chosen because it was
primarily a cavalry engagement and he could show horses in
combat). The fresco rapidly decayed and its composition is best
known from the sketch Rubens made of its central part.
the term for the event described
in the Gospel according to St. Luke, when the Angel Gabriel
brings the Virgin Mary the news that she is to bear her son,
Jesus Christ. The Annunciation was among the most widespread
pictorial subjects of European art during the Middle Ages and
- Antique, Classical world (Lat. antiquus,
the classical age of Greece and
Rome began with the Greek migrations of the 2nd millennium BC,
and ended in the West in 476 AD with the deposition of the Roman
emperor Romulus Augustulus (c. 475 AD); in the East it ended in
529 AD when the Platonic Academy was closed by Justinian (482 -
- Antwerp Mannerists
Group of Antwerp painters of the early 16th
century whose work is characterized by Italianate ornamentation
and affected attitudes. Unconnected with later Mannerism.
Apelles (c. 330 BC)
one of the most famous painters of
ancient Greece, noted above all for his startling realism. Painters
of the Renaissance tried to reconstruct some of his compositions,
which have come down to us in written accounts only.
- Apocalypse (Gk. apokalyptein, "reveal")
the Revelation of St John, the last
book of the New Testament. The wrath of God descending upon the
earth is depicted in three visions; in the form of terrible natural
catastrophes, in the battle between the forces and good and evil,
and in the union of a new Heaven and new Earth in the Heavenly
Jerusalem. The announcement of the Second Coming of Christ at the
end of the world was intended to console the persecuted Christians
and also prepare them for the horrors connected with the event.
- Apocalyptic Madonna
the depiction of the Virgin Mary as
the "Apocalyptic Woman" mentioned in the Revelation of St. John (Chapter
12, verse 1). She is "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her
feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars"; she is described
as pregnant, and her enemy is a dragon. In the wake of Mariological
interpretations of this passage, Gothic art increasingly gave the
Woman of the Apocalypse the features of the Virgin Mary, and after
the l4th century the devoted relationship of mother and child was
emphasized in depictions of the Apocalyptic Madonna, with reference
to the Biblical Song of Songs.
- Apocrypha (Gk. apokryphos, "hidden")
Jewish or Christian additions to the
Old and New Testaments excluded from the Canon.
- Apostle (Gk. apostolos, "messenger")
one of the twelve disciples of Jesus,
chosen personally by him from amongst his large crowd of followers
in order to continue his work and preach the gospels.
- applied art
Term describing the design or
decoration of functional objects so as to make them aesthetically
pleasing. It is used in distinction to fine art, although there is
often no clear dividing line between the two terms.
- apse (Lat. absis, "arch, vault")
A semicircular projection, roofed
with a half-dome, at the east end of a church behind the altar.
Smaller subsidiary apses may be found around the choir or transepts.
Also known as an exedra. The adjective is apsidal.
method related to etching but producing finely granulated tonal
areas rather than lines. The term applies also to a print made by
this method. There are several variants of the technique, but in
essence the process is as follows. A metal plate is sprinkled with
acid-resistant varnish, which is fused to the plate by heating, and
when the plate is immersed in an acid bath the acid bites between
the tiny particles of resin and produces an evenly granulated
surface. The design is created by drawing on the plate with add-resistant
varnish, and great variety of tone can be obtained by immersing in
acid and varnishing in turn (the longer the add bites, the darker
the tone). Aquatint was invented around the middle of the 18th
century, and in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was highly
popular in England for reproducing watercolours (colour could be
added by hand or by using several plates with different coloured
inks). It has also been used as an original creative medium
(sometimes in conjunction with other graphic techniques) by many
distinguished artists, including Goya, Degas, Picasso, and Rouault.
A series of arches
supported by columns, piers or pillars. In a blind arcade the arches
are built into a wall.
A mountainous area
of Greece. In Greek and Roman literature, a place where a contented
life of rural simplicity is lived; an earthly paradise peopled by
The pointed arch
is widely regarded as the main identifiable feature of Gothic
architecture (distinct from the round arch of the Romanesque period).
The three most common Gothic arches are the Equilateral, Lancet and
structure, design, or organization.
architecture, the main beam resting on the capitals of the columns
(i.e. the lowest part of the entablature); the moulding around a
window or door.
a set of
concentric and projecting moldings with which the face of an arch is
decorated. In Early Netherlandish art the archivolt is often
depicted showing sculpted scenes relating to the central subject of
a small book on
death; Late Medieval devotional tracts which described the battles
between Heaven and Hell for the souls of the dying and recommended
to Christians the proper way to behave at the hour of their death.
A symbolic object
which is conventionally used to identify a particular person,
usually a saint. In the case of martyrs, it is usually the nature of
statement of Lutheran doctrine, drawn up largely by Philipp
Melanchthon and approved by Luther himself. It was presented to
Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg 1530.
a halo or "glory"
enclosing the head or sometimes the whole body of a holy person.
Autobiography as a
distinct literary genre was one of the more original products of the
Renaissance; there had been relatively little of it in antiquity and
even less in the Middle Ages. The Confessions of St Augustine
provided the example of an inward autobiography - the story of the
author's search for God - but no imitator was able to approach its
level of introspection until Petrarch's Letter to posterity and
Secretum. Dante's Vita nuova - and the Comedy - are intensely
autobiographical but are not autobiographies.
The roots of the
secular autobiography are to be found in the books of ricordanze
(memoranda) kept by Italian professional and business men from the
late 13th century. From bare accounts of land purchases and marriage
settlements, these personal notebooks could develop into family
histories which might also contain soul-searching and self
examinations, like those of the early 15th century Florentine
merchants Goro Dati and Giovanni Morelli, or the Zibaldone
quaresimale of Giovanni Rucellai (1457-85). Records of business
ventures and public offices were the starting point for
autobiographies of external action: while the Cronica of Jacopo
Salviati is a fairly wooden account of captaincies and embassies
1398-1411, that of Buonaccorso Pitti is a lively narrative of
fortunes won and lost through trading and gambling (written
1412-22). The Commentaries of Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pius II)
similarly concentrate on events, leaving the character of the author
to be deduced from his actions. The supreme example of the (apparently)
unconsciously revealing autobiography is the famous Life of Cellini:
of the deliberately revealing one, that of Cardano.
The decision to
move the Papacy here was made in August 1308 by Pope Clement V, who
had been residing in France since 1305. The actual move was made in
1309. Six pontificates later, in 1377, the Papacy was brought back
to Rome by Gregory XI. All the popes elected at Avignon were French,
as were 113 of the 134 cardinals appointed during this time. Yet
though the period has been called one of 'captivity' to France, the
Avignonese residence was not one of uninterrupted truckling to
French kings. The city was not on French territory: it belonged to
the Angevin princes of Naples. 'Captivity', like Petrarch's 'unholy
Babylon', which he likened to the harlot of the Apocalypse 'full of
abominations and the filth of her fornication', was mainly a term of
abuse directed at a Papacy that had acquired security enough to
revive its legal and financial pretensions and to build lavishly and
live well. Between 1100 and 1309 the popes had only spent 82 years
in Rome. Avignon gave them a long breathing space to assemble the
machinery and the values which characterized the Renaissance Papacy
after its final resettlement in Rome.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the god
of wine and fertility. Bacchic rites were often orgiastic.
- baldachin, or baldacchino (It. "brocade")
Originally a textile canopy supported
on poles and carried dignitaries and relics. Later, an architectural
canopy of stone or wood set over a high altar or bishop's throne.
A rail supported by a row of small
posts or open-work panels.
Group of relatively small, often
anecdotal, paintings of everyday life, made in Rome in the mid-17th
century. The word derives from the nickname "Il Bamboccio" ("Large
Baby"), applied to the physically malformed Dutch painter Pieter van
Laer (1592/95-1642). Generally regarded as the originator of the
style and its most important exponent, van Laer arrived in Rome from
Haarlem about 1625 and was soon well known for paintings in which
his Netherlandish interest in the picturesque was combined with the
pictorial cohesiveness of Caravaggio's dramatic tenebrist lighting.
Because van Laer and his followers depicted scenes of the Roman
lower classes in a humorous or even grotesque fashion, their works
were condemned by both court critics and the leading painters of the
classicist-idealist school as indecorous and ridiculous. The painter
Salvator Rosa was particularly savage in his comments about the
later followers of the style, whom he criticized for painting "baggy
pants, beggars in rags, and abject filthy things." The Bamboccianti
(painters of Bambocciati) influenced such Dutch genre painters as
Adriaen Brouwer and Adriaen van Ostade.
- banderole (It. banderuola, "small flag")
A long flag or scroll (usually forked
at the end) bearing an inscription. In Renaissance art they are
often held by angels.
Hall or chapel situated close to, or
connected with, a church, in which the sacrament of baptism is
administered. The form of the baptistery originally evolved from
small, circular Roman buildings that were designated for religious
purposes (e.g., the Temple of Venus, Baalbek, Lebanon, AD 273, and
the Mausoleum of Diocletian, Spalato [Split, Croatia], AD 300); but
because baptism originally was performed on only three holidays,
Easter, Pentecost, and Epiphany, enlargement of the older Roman
buildings became necessary to accommodate the growing numbers of
Baptisteries were among the most
symbolic of all Christian architectural forms; and the
characteristic design that was developed by the 4th century AD can
be seen today in what is probably the earliest extant example, the
baptistery of the Lateran palace in Rome, built by Sixtus III, pope
between 432 and 440.
The baptistery was commonly octagonal
in plan, a visual metaphor for the number eight, which symbolized in
Christian numerology a new beginning. As eight follows the
"complete" number, seven, so the beginning of the Christian life
follows baptism. Customarily, a baptistery was roofed with a dome,
the symbol of the heavenly realm toward which the Christian
progresses after the first step of baptism. The baptismal font was
usually octagonal, set beneath a domical ciborium, or canopy, and
encircled by columns and an ambulatory--features that were first
used in the baptistery by the Byzantines when they altered Roman
Baptisteries commonly adjoined the
atrium, or forecourt, of the church and were often large and richly
decorated, such as those at Pisa, Florence, Parma, and Nocera in
Italy; el Kantara, Alg.; and Poitiers, France. After the 6th century
they were gradually reduced to the status of small chapels inside
churches. In the 10th century, when baptism by affusion (pouring
liquid over the head) became standard practice in the church,
baptisteries, or baptismal chapels, were often omitted entirely.
In most modern churches the font
alone serves for baptism; something of earlier symbolism survives,
however, in its usual location near the church door - an allusion to
entering the Christian life.
The period in art
history from about 1600 to about 1750. In this sense the term covers
a wide range of styles and artists. In painting and sculpture there
were three main forms of Baroque: (1) sumptuous display, a style
associated with the Catholic Counter Reformation and the absolutist
courts of Europe (Bernini, Rubens); (2) dramatic realism
(Caravaggio); and (3) everyday realism, a development seen in
particular in Holland (Rembrandt, Vermeer). In architecture, there
was an emphasis on expressiveness and grandeur, achieved through
scale, the dramatic use of light and shadow, and increasingly
elaborate decoration. In a more limited sense the term Baroque often
refers to the first of these categories.
The development of
the Baroque reflects the period's religious tensions (Catholic
versus Protestant); a new and more expansive world view based on
science and exploration; and the growth of absolutist monarchies.
A ceiling that is
like a continuous circular arch or tunnel, contrasted with vaults
that are supported on ribs or a series of arches. Also tunnel vault.
a church building,
usually facing east, with a tall main nave and two or four side
aisles of lesser height. There may also be a transept between the
nave and the choir, which is reserved for the clergy. Originally,
the basilica was an ancient Greek administrative building, and the
Romans used this form for markets and law courts; it then became a
place of assembly for the early Christians, and thus a church.
Term applied to
a style characteristic of much German and Austrian art and interior
decoration in the period roughly between the end of the Napoleonic
Wars (1815) and the Year of Revolutions (1848). The name derives
from a fictional character called Gottlieb Biedermaier (sic) from
the journal Fliegende Elssner (Flying Leaves), who personified the
solid yet philistine qualities of the bourgeois middle classes, and
the art to which he lent his name eschewed flights of the
imagination in favour of sobriety, domesticity, and often
sentimentality. There were, as is to be expected, no major painters
associated with Biedermeier but many excellent practitioners, such
as Waldmüller. The term is sometimes extended to cover the work of
artists in other countries.
ceramic, particularly porcelain, which is either not yet glazed, or
which is to be left as it is. Biscuit porcelain, also incorrectly
called bisque, is often employed to make miniature versions of
marble statuary. It takes its name from its grainy texture.
In the most
restricted sense, the works produced and the theories expounded by
the late 16th- and early 17th-century Italian painters Lodovico
Carracci and his cousins, the brothers Agostino and Annibale
A prayer book
used by laymen for private devotion, containing prayers or
meditations appropriate to certain hours of the day, days of the
week, months, or seasons. They became so popular in the 15th century
that the Book of Hours outnumbers all other categories of
illuminated manuscripts; from the late 15th century there were also
printed versions illustrated by woodcuts. The most famous Book of
Hours and one of the most beautiful of all illuminated manuscripts
is the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (Musée Condé, Chantilly),
illuminated by the Limburg Brothers for Jean de Berry.
A form of
perspective in painting that takes account of the viewer's position
well below the level of the picture.
to models for sculpture, but can also be used for painted sketches,
though these are more often called 'modelli'.
speaking, a small three-dimensional sketch in wax or clay made by a
sculptor in preparation for a larger and more finished work. By
extension, a rapid sketch in oil, made as a study for a larger
A book of daily
prayers and readings used by priest and monks.
An alloy of
copper (usually about 90 per cent) and tin, often also containing
small amounts of other metals such as lead or zinc. Since antiquity
it has been the metal most commonly used in cast sculpture because
of its strength, durability, and the fact that it is easily workable
- both hot and cold - by a variety of processes. It is easier to
cast than copper because it has a lower melting-point, and its great
tensile strength makes possible the protrusion of unsupported parts
- an advantage over marble sculpture. The colour of bronze is
affected by the proportion of tin or other metals present, varying
from silverish to a rich, coppery red, and its surface beauty can be
enhanced when it acquires a patina.
A mass of stone
built up to support a wall, usually necessary to strengthen those of
great height. See flying buttress.
The art ofthe
Byzantine Empire, which had its capital in Constantinople (Byzantium),
from the 5th century to the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in
1453. Based largely on Roman and Greek art, Byzantine art also
absorbed a wide of influences, notable from Syria and Egypt.
Byzantine art was essentially a spiritual and religious art, its
forms highly stylized, hieratic and unchanging (central images were
thought to derive from original portraits). It also served to
glorify the emperor. Among its most distinctive products were icons,
mosaics, manuscript illuminations, and work in precious metals. The
strong influence of the Byzantine style on medieval Italian painting
can be seen in the works of Cimabue, Duccio, and Giotto.
A small, private room where works of
art, valuables and curiosities were kept and contemplated at leisure;
over time the term was used for the collections themselves.
Renaissance cabinets played an important role in the development of
museums and art galleries.
- cabinet painting
A small painting which was intended
to be viewed closely and at leisure in a Renaissance cabinet, a fact
usually reflected in a highly finished style and the subject matter,
which was often allegorical. Cabinet paintings and pieces first
occur in the 15th century and are associated with the development of
A rod entwined with a pair of snakes,
an attribute of Mercury and a symbol of healing and of peace.
- caisson (Fr. casson, "a chest, box")
In architecture, a sunken panel in a
ceiling or vault.
- camera obscura
Ancestor of the photographic camera.
The Latin name means "dark chamber," and the earliest versions,
dating to antiquity, consisted of small darkened rooms with light
admitted through a single tiny hole. The result was that an inverted
image of the outside scene was cast on the opposite wall, which was
usually whitened. For centuries the technique was used for viewing
eclipses of the Sun without endangering the eyes and, by the 16th
century, as an aid to drawing; the subject was posed outside and the
image reflected on a piece of drawing paper for the artist to trace.
Portable versions were built, followed by smaller and even pocket
models; the interior of the box was painted black and the image
reflected by an angled mirror so that it could be viewed right side
up. The introduction of a light-sensitive plate by J.-N. Niepce
Bell tower, usually built beside or
attached to a church; the word is most often used in connection with
- candelabra, sing. candelabrum (It. candela,
A large, usually decorated,
candlestick, usually with several branches or arms.
- cantoria, pl. cantorie (It.)
A gallery for singers or musicians,
usually in a church. Two outstanding examples are those by the
sculptors Andrea della Robbia and Donatello in Florence cathedral,
both of which have richly carved marble panels.
A woven cloth used as a support for
painting. The best-quality canvas is made of linen; other materials
used are cotton, hemp, and jute. It is now so familiar a material
that the word 'canvas' has become almost a synonym for an oil
painting, but it was not until around 1500 that it began to rival
the wooden panel (which was more expensive and took longer to
prepare) as the standard support for movable paintings (the
transition came later in Northern Europe than in Italy). Canvas is
not suitable for painting on until it has been coated with a ground,
which isolates the fabric from the paint; otherwise it will absorb
too much paint, only very rough effects will be obtainable, and
parts of the fabric may be rotted by the pigments. It must also be
made taut on a stretcher or by some other means.
- capital (Lat. capitellum, "little head")
The head or crowning feature of a
column or pillar. Structurally, capitals broaden the area of a
column so that it can more easily bear the weight of the arch or
entablature it supports.
'Caravaggisti' is applied to painters - both Italians and artists
from other countries - who imitated the style of Caravaggio in the
early 17th century.
principle virtues of Temperantia (Temperance), Fortitudo
(Fortitude), Prudentia (Prudence) and Justitia (Justice) that were
adopted from Plato (427-347 BC) in Christian ethics. Gregory the
Great (540-604 AD) added the three so-called Theological Virtues of
Fides (Faith), Spes (Hope) and Caritas (Love/Charity). At the height
of the Middle Ages, this Christian system of Virtues was further
Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel", a Roman Catholic order of
contemplative mendicant friars. Founded in Palestine in the 12th
century, the Carmelites were originally hermits. In the 13th century
the order was refounded as an order resembling the Dominicans and
Franciscans. An order of Carmelite sisters was founded in the 15th
century; in the 16th century reforms introduced by St. Teresa of
Ávila led to the creation of the Barefoot (Discalced) Carmelites.
In a painting,
a simulated piece of paper that carries an inscription bearing the
artist's signature, the date of the painting, details of the
subject, or a motto.
monastic order founded in 1084 by Bruno of Cologne (1032-1101) in
the Grande Chartreuse, near Grenoble. The order combines reclusive
and community life. New Charterhouses, monasteries containing
separate hermitages, were built in the 14th and 15th centuries, and
the order became receptive to late medieval mysticism, and humanism,
the endeavour to attain true humanity.
preparatory drawing for a painting, tapestry, or fresco. In fresco
painting, the design was transferred to the wall by making small
holes along the contour lines and then powdering them with charcoal
in order to leave an outline on the surface to be painted. In the
19th centurry designs submitted in a competition for frescos in the
Houses of Parliament in London were parodied in the magazine Punch.
From this the word has acquired its most common meaning today - a
humorous drawing or parody.
An ornate painted
panel on which an inscription can be written.
A carved female
figure used in architecture as a column to support an entablature.
defeated a Pisan force here on 28 July 1364, taking some of them by
surprise while they bathed in the Arno. The engagement is best known
as the subject of a fresco commissioned for the Palazzo Vecchio from
Michelangelo. Worked on at intervals 1504-06, this remained
unfinished and is known (partly)only from a somewhat later copy of
the cartoon, and from the contemporary fame the cartoon acquired for
its treatment of the abruptly alerted bathers.
Usually used as a
marriage chest, and the most elaborately decorated piece of
furniture of the Renaissance. Cassoni traditionally were made in
pairs and sometimes bore the respective coats of arms of the bride
and groom. They contained the bride's clothes, linen, and many other
items of her dowry. In the 15th century, when the greatest
importance was attached to suitable marital alliances between
Florence's wealthiest families, the cassone reached great heights of
artistic achievement. Florentine artists such as Sandro Botticelli,
Paolo Uccello, and Donatello were employed to decorate cassoni with
paintings set in an architectural framework. Battle scenes and
classical and literary themes were especially popular. A number of
paintings from cassoni of this period have been preserved.
cassoni were elaborately carved with mythological and grotesque
figures, decorated with gilt gesso, putti (cupids), and swags of
fruit and flowers, or enriched with intarsia (mosaics of wood).
Although the finest marriage chests came from Italy, they were also
used in other countries.
church of a province or diocese, where the throne of the bishop is
placed. For reasons lost to time and tradition, a cathedral always
faces west - toward the setting sun. The altar is placed at the east
end. The main body, or nave, of the cathedral is usually divided
into one main and two side aisles. These lead up to the north and
south transepts, or arms of the cross, the shape in which a
cathedral is usually formed.
the 15th and 16th centuries to eliminate deficiencies within the
Roman Catholic Church (such as financial abuses, moral laxity in the
clergy and so on).
a scientific and
mathematical method of three-dimensional representation developed by
Filippo Brunelleschi (1376 -1446) at the beginning of the 15th
century. Relative to the observer, all the converging lines lead
toward a single vanishing point at the centre of the composition. An
illusion of depth is created on two-dimensional picture surfaces by
precise foreshortening and proportioning of the objects, landscapes,
buildings and figures that are being depicted, in accordance with
their distance from the observer.
A cup used in the
celebration of the Christian Eucharist. Both the statement of St.
Paul about "the cup of blessing which we bless" (1 Corinthians
10:16) and the accounts of the institution of the Eucharist in the
first three Gospels indicate that special rites of consecration
attended the use of the chalice from the beginning. It was not until
the recognition of Christianity by the Roman Empire in the 4th
century that silver and gold became the usual materials for the
chalice. In the Middle Ages the legend of the Holy Grail surrounded
the origins of the eucharistic chalice with a magical aura.
The precious stones
and elaborate carvings employed for the embellishment of chalices
have made them an important part of the history of ecclesiastical
Christian, and Islamic literature, a celestial winged being with
human, animal, or birdlike characteristics; a throne bearer of the
deity. Derived from ancient Near Eastern mythology and iconography,
these celestial beings serve important liturgical and intercessory
functions in the hierarchy of angels. Old Testament descriptions of
the cherubim emphasize their supernatural mobility and their cultic
role as throne bearers of God, rather than intercessory functions.
In Christianity the cherubim are ranked among the higher orders of
angels and, as celestial attendants of God, continually praise him.
In painting, the
modelling of form (the creation of a sense of three-dimensionality
in objects) through the use of light and shade. The introduction of
oil paints in the 15th century, replacing tempera, encouraged the
development of chiaroscuro, for oil paint allowed a far greater
range and control of tone. The term chiaroscuro is used in
particular for the dramatic contrasts of light and dark introduced
by Caravaggio. When the contrast of light and dark is strong,
chiaroscuro becomes an important element of composition.
technique in which several printing blocks are used, each producing
a different tone of the same color so as to create tonal modeling.
Hans Wechtlin experimented with the process in Strassburg between
1504 and 1526, but Ugo da Carpi's claims to have invented it in
Venice in 1516 were generally accepted. North of the Alps, various
painters experimented with using blocks of different color to
produce novel artistic emphases, notably Lucas Cranach (1506), Hans
Burgkmair (1510), and Albrecht Altdorfer (1511/20).
The knightly class
of feudal times. The primary sense of the term in the European
Middle Ages is "knights," or "fully armed and mounted fighting men."
Thence the term came to mean the gallantry and honour expected of
knights. Lastly, the word came to be used in its general sense of
In English law
"chivalry" meant the tenure of land by knights' service. The court
of chivalry instituted by Edward III, with the lord high constable
and earl marshal of England as joint judges, had summary
jurisdiction in all cases of offenses of knights and generally as to
The concept of
chivalry in the sense of "honourable and courteous conduct expected
of a knight" was perhaps at its height in the 12th and 13th
centuries and was strengthened by the Crusades, which led to the
founding of the earliest orders of chivalry, the Order of the
Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Hospitalers) and the Order of the
Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Templars), both
originally devoted to the service of pilgrims to the Holy Land. In
the 14th and 15th centuries the ideals of chivalry came to be
associated increasingly with aristocratic display and public
ceremony rather than service in the field.
the part of a
church interior, usually raised and set apart from the rest of the
church, reserved for the clergy to pray together, or for choral
singing. Since Carolingian times, "choir" has been the word for the
part of the central nave of the church extending over the crossing
(the place where nave and transept intersect), and including the
apse (a niche in the wall, roofed with a half dome) that often
stands at the end of this area.
are the names
given to the two main types of the very large painted crucifixes
which normally stood on the rood-screens of medieval churches. Very
few still exist in their original positions, most of the surviving
examples having been cut down in size and transferred to chapels or
sacristies. The Christus Patiens (Suffering Christ) represents
Christ as dead on the cross, whereas the Triumphans type represents
Him with open eyes and outstretched arms standing on (rather than
hangign from) the Cross. The dramatic emphasis of the Patiens type
is certainly to be connected with the influence of St Francis of
Assisi. An early example is provided by the work of Giunta Pisano.
Churrigueresco, Spanish Rococo style in architecture, historically a
late Baroque return to the aesthetics of the earlier Plateresque
style. In addition to a plethora of compressed ornament, surfaces
bristle with such devices as broken pediments, undulating cornices,
reversed volutes, balustrades, stucco shells, and garlands.
Restraint was totally abandoned in a conscious effort to overwhelm
the spectator. Although the name of the style comes from the family
name of José Benito Churriguera, an architect, the Churriguera
family members are not the most representative masters of the style.
Transparente (completed 1732), designed by Narciso Tomé for the
cathedral in Toledo, is among the masterpieces of Churrigueresque.
Tomé created an arrangement in which the Holy Sacrament could be
placed within a transparent vessel that was visible from both the
high altar and the ambulatory, seen both by the congregation and the
pilgrim. Sculpted clouds, gilded rays, a massing of carved angels,
and architecturally directed natural light combine to produce a
mystical and spiritual effect.
sacristy of the Cartuja of Granada (1727-64), Luis de Arévalo and
Francisco Manuel Vásquez created an interior that, if not as
delicate or as ingenious as that designed by Tomé, is as typically
Churrigueresque. The architects drew from other sources for the
thick moldings, undulating lines, and repetition of pattern.
America tendencies from both the native art of the Americas and the
ever-present Mudéjar (Moorish art) have been incorporated, further
enriching the style, and the Churrigueresque column, which was
shaped like an inverted cone, became the most common motif. The
Mexico cathedral (1718), Santa Prisca at Taxco (1758), and San
Martín at San Luis Potosí (1764) are excellent examples of
Churrigueresque in Mexico.
A term applied to
both a liturgical vessel used for holding the consecrated Host and
an altar canopy supported on columns, popular particularly in Italy
in the Romanesque and Gothic periods. In the latter sense the word
is not easily distinguished from baldacchino.
such as Cinquecento (1500s, High Renaissance), Quattrocento (1400s,
Early Renaissance) and the earlier Trecento (1300s, the interval
falling between the Gothic and Renaissance periods) are useful in
suggesting the changing intellectual and cultural outlooks of late-
and post-medieval Italy. The Cinquecento delimits a period of
intense and violent changes in the whole fabric of Italian culture.
It refers to the century of the Protestant Reformation, of Spanish
and Habsburg political domination, and of the uneasy transition to
Mannerism in the visual arts.
Ciompi was the name
given to the most numerous class of day-labourers (dismissible
without notice) in 14th century Florence's chief industry: those
employed in the manufacture of woollen cloth as weavers, beaters,
combers, etc. They were forbidden to form a trade association, as
also were those in the associated, but self-employed, craft of
dyeing. Without being members of a guild, none could seek redress
save from the Arte della Lana, the manufacturers' corporation which
employed them, or achieve political representation.
Insurrection of the
lower classes of Florence in 1378 that briefly brought to power one
of the most democratic governments in Florentine history. The ciompi
("wool carders") were the most radical of the groups that revolted,
and they were defeated by the more conservative elements in
A struggle between
factions within the major ruling guilds triggered the uprising.
Members of the lower classes, called upon to take part in the revolt
in late June, continued to agitate on their own during the month of
July. They presented a series of petitions to the Signoria
(executive council of Florence) demanding a more equitable fiscal
policy and the right to establish guilds for those groups not
already organized. Then, on July 22, the lower classes forcibly took
over the government, placing one of their members, the wool carder
Michele di Lando, in the important executive office of gonfaloniere
of justice. The new government, controlled by the minor guilds, was
novel in that for the first time it represented all the classes of
society, including the ciompi, who were raised to the status of a
But the ciompi were
soon disillusioned. Their economic condition worsened, and the new
government failed to implement all their demands. Conflicting
interests of the minor guilds and the ciompi became evident. On
August 31 a large group of the ciompi that had gathered in the
Piazza della Signoria was easily routed by the combined forces of
the major and minor guilds. In reaction to this revolutionary
episode, the ciompi guild was abolished, and within four years the
dominance of the major guilds was restored.
An ancient musical
instrument, resembling a lyre, on which strings were plucked. They
were often used to accompany a singer or someone reciting poetry.
based on the reproduction of light and dark in drawings, where the
effect depends on using the base of the drawing in the design of the
image. In clair-obscur prints the light areas are carved out of the
printing plate, in order to allow the white of the paper to take
effect. In coloured prints the coloured areas are printed with clay
plates, the black contours usually with a special line plate, except
in cases where - as in Italy these were dispensed with.
Relating to the
culture of ancient Greece and Rome (classical Antiquity). The
classical world played a profoundly important role in the
Renaissance, with Italian scholars, writers, and artists seeing
their own period as the rebirth (the "renaissance") of classical
values after the Middle Ages. The classical world was considered the
golden age for the arts, literature, philosophy, and politics.
Concepts of the classical, however, changed greatly from one period
to the next. Roman literature provided the starting point in the
14th century, scholars patiently finding, editing and translating a
wide range of texts. In the 15th century Greek literature,
philosophy and art - together with the close study of the remains of
Roman buildings and sculptures-expanded the concept of the classical
and ensured it remained a vital source of ideas and inspiration.
a cloth of valuable
material held up behind a distinguished person to set them apart
visually from others (a custom deriving from classical antiquity).
system of deep panels recessed into a vault, arch or ceiling.
Coffered ceilings, occasionally made of wood, were frequently used
in Renaissance palaces.
art, literature or music; those with refined tastes.
The painters' guild
in Florence (named after St. Luke because he was believed to have
painted a portrait of the Virgin Mary).
Pairs of colours
that have the maximum contrast and so, when set side by side,
intensify one another. Green and red, blue and orange, and yellow
and violet are complementary colours.
The last prayers of
the day; the church service at which these prayers are said.
In Renaissance art
theory, the intellectual or narrative program behind a work; a
work's underlying theme. Concetti were often taken from the
literature and mythology of Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as from
Leader of a band of
mercenaries engaged to fight in numerous wars among the Italian
states from the mid-14th to the 16th century. The name was derived
from the condotta, or "contract," by which the condottieri put
themselves in the service of a city or of a lord.
The first mercenary
armies in Italy (often called free companies) were made up of
foreigners. The earliest (1303) was composed of Catalans who had
fought in the dynastic wars of the south. In the mid-14th century
the Grand Company, composed mainly of Germans and Hungarians,
terrorized the country, devastating Romagna, Umbria, and Tuscany. It
was one of the first to have a formal organization and a strict code
of discipline, developed by the Provençal adventurer Montréal d'
Albarno. The Englishman Sir John Hawkwood, one of the most famous of
the non-Italian condottieri, came to Italy in the 1360s during a
lull in the Hundred Years' War and for the next 30 years led the
White Company in the confused wars of northern Italy.
By the end of the
14th century, Italians began to raise mercenary armies, and soon
condottieri were conquering principalities for themselves. The
organization of the companies was perfected in the early 15th
century by Muzio Attendolo Sforza, in the service of Naples, and his
rival Braccio da Montone, in the service of Perugia. Muzio's son,
Francesco Sforza, who won control of Milan in 1450, was one of the
most successful of all the condottieri.
Less fortunate was
another great condottiere, Carmagnola, who first served one of the
viscounts of Milan and then conducted the wars of Venice against his
former masters but at last awoke the suspicion of the Venetian
oligarchy and was put to death before the palace of St. Mark (1432).
Toward the end of the 15th century, when the large cities had
gradually swallowed up the small states and Italy itself was drawn
into the general current of European politics and became the
battlefield of powerful armies--French, Spanish, and German--the
condottieri, who proved unequal to the gendarmery of France and the
improved Italian troops, disappeared.
The soldiers who
fought under the condottieri were almost entirely heavy-armoured
cavalry and were noted for their rapacious and disorderly behaviour.
With no goal beyond personal gain, the armies of the condottieri
often changed sides, and their battles often resulted in little
often called compagnie or, in Venice, scuole, were religious
associations of lay persons devoted to specific pious practices or
works of charity, often under the direction of, or with the
spiritual assistance of, clergy. Guilds 'qua' religious associations
had the character of confraternities.
historic waves of foundations can be distinguished. (1) Compagnie
dei disciplinati or dei laudesi, i.e. flagellant confraternities,
which were conformist offshoots of the partly heterodox flagellant
movement of 1260. The Venetian scuole grandi were especially
prestigious examples. By the 16th century, although flagellant
practices were retained in some cases, these functioned more as
mutual aid societies and as administrators of charitable funds. (2)
Confraternite del Rosario, which spread in the 15th century, being
primarily promoted by the Dominicans. (3) A group of confraternities
which spread from the mid-15th century, commonly called either
Compagnia di S. Girolamo or Compagnia del Divino Amore ('Company of
Divine Love'; perhaps the first example was the Florentine
Buonuomini di S. Martino), associated with certain specialized
charitable enterprises, in the first place relief of the poveri
vergognosi or 'shamefaced poor', i.e. respectable people who had to
be aided discreetly. In the 16th century they also promoted
hospitals of the incurabili, primarily for syphilitics, convents of
convertite, i.e. reformed prostitutes, and refuges for maidens. To
this movement belonged the famous Roman Company or Oratory of Divine
Love, founded c. 1514 in S. Dorotea in Trastevere. This recruited
some leading churchmen and papal officials (as a confraternity it
was unusual in its heavy clerical membership), but many ascriptions
of leading church reformers to it are without sound foundation and
there is no basis for its reputation as a seminal body in the
Catholic reform movement. The new congregation of the Clerks Regular
called Theatines was, however, an offshoot and these took the lead
in propagating Compagnie del Divino Amore in Italy. Other types of
confraternity were those of the buona morte, which accompanied
condemned prisoners, and those which aided imprisoned debtors, e.g.
the Florentine Neri.
commonly had chapels in parish churches or in the churches of
religious orders, but sometimes had their own premises, e.g. the
splendid ones of the Venetian scuole grandi; in Florence, the hall
of Orsanmichele housed a devotional and almsgiving confraternity as
well as being a grain dispensary. Great confraternities might
exercise public functions: certain Florentine ones concerned with
welfare became effectively state magistracies, while the Venetian
government, in addition to giving them a ceremonial role, relied
upon the scuole grandi to distribute funds. Confraternities,
notwithstanding their location, tended to be manifestations of lay
piety independent of ecclesiastical institutions, or at least
outside the framework of the parish and the diocese.
a line around a
shape in a work of art, its nature depending on the artist's concept
and intention. In medieval painting, contours were initially
regular, flat outlines; in the course of the 14th century
they acquired more sense of spatial effect, and appear to be
alternately more and less emphatic. Later, the effect of contour in
painting and graphic art became particularly important to artistic
movements in which line and draughtsmanship was a prominent factor.
asymmetrical pose in which the one part of the body is
counterbalanced by another about the body's central axis. Ancient
Greek sculptors developed contrapposto by creating figures who stand
with their weight on one leg, the movement of the hips to one side
being balanced by a counter movement of the torso. Contrapposto was
revived during the Renaissance and frequently used by Mannerist
artist, who developed a greater range of contrapposto poses.
meeting or society.
A method of
printing using a copper plate into which a design has been cut by a
sharp instrument such as a burin; an engraving produced in this way.
Invented in south west Germany during the 1430s, the process is the
second oldest graphic art after woodcut. In German art it was
developed in particular by Schongauer and Dürer, and in Italian art
by Pollaiuolo and Mantegna.
architecture, a bracket of stone, brick or wood that projects from a
wall to support an arch, large cornice or other feature. They are
A type of coloured
decorative inlay work of stone and glass that flourished mainly in
Rome between c. 1100 and 1300. It is characterized by the use of
small pieces of coloured stone and glass in combination with strips
of white marble to produce geometrical designs. The term derives
from two craftsmen called Cosmas, whose names are inscribed on
several works, but there were several families of 'Cosmati' workers
and many individual craftsmen. Cosmati work was applied to church
furnishings such as tombs and pulpits and was also used for
architectural decoration. The style spread as far as England, for
example in the tomb of Henry III in Westminster Abbey (c. 1280),
executed by imported Italian craftsmen.
The pattern of fine
cracks in paint, due to the paint shrinking and becoming brittle as
staff carried by a bishop. The crook is intended to resemble a
shepherd's crook, i.e. it symbolizes the shepherd (the bishop)
looking after his flock.
An important method
of capital punishment, particularly among the Persians, Seleucids,
Jews, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the
4th century AD. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor,
abolished it in the Roman Empire in AD 337, out of veneration for
Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion.
There were various
methods of performing the execution. Usually, the condemned man,
after being whipped, or "scourged," dragged the crossbeam of his
cross to the place of punishment, where the upright shaft was
already fixed in the ground. Stripped of his clothing either then or
earlier at his scourging, he was bound fast with outstretched arms
to the crossbeam or nailed firmly to it through the wrists. The
crossbeam was then raised high against the upright shaft and made
fast to it about 9 to 12 feet (approximately 3 metres) from the
ground. Next, the feet were tightly bound or nailed to the upright
shaft. A ledge inserted about halfway up the upright shaft gave some
support to the body; evidence for a similar ledge for the feet is
rare and late. Over the criminal's head was placed a notice stating
his name and his crime. Death, apparently caused by exhaustion or by
heart failure, could be hastened by shattering the legs (crurifragium)
with an iron club, so that shock and asphyxiation soon ended his
A wind instrument
popular throughout Europe in 16th and 17th centuries. An ancestor of
the oboe, the crumhorn was a double-reed instrument that produced a
soft, reedy sound.
In architecture, a
small dome, usually one set on a much larger dome or on a roof; a
(1) The section of a pedestal between
base and surbase. (2) The lower portion of the wall of a room,
decorated diffrently from the upper section.
- danse macabre
The dance of death, a favorite late
medieval picture subject. It generally shows skeletons forcing the
living to dance with them, usually in matching pairs, e.g. a live
priest dancing with a skeleton priest. Holbein's woodcut series the
Dance of Death is one of the most famous.
- deacon (Gk. diakonos, "servant")
a minister who was below the rank of
priest in the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches. Deacons
originally cared for both the sick and the poor in early Christian
- Deësis (Gk. "request")
the representation of Christ
enthroned in glory as judge or ruler of the world, flanked by the
Virgin Mary and John the Baptist acting as intercessors.
- diptych (Lat. diptychum, Gk.
diptychos, "folded in two")
in medieval art a picture, often an
altarpiece, consisting of two folding wings without a fixed central
- disegno (It. "drawing, design")
In Renaissance art theory, the design
of a painting seen in terms of drawing, which was help to be the
basis of all art. The term stresses not the literal drawing, but the
concept behind an art work. With the Mannerists the term came to
mean an ideal image that a work attempts to embody but can in fact
never fully realize. As disegno appeals to the intellect, it was
considered far more important that coloure (colour), which was seen
as appealing to the senses and emotions.
- distemper (Lat. distemperare, "to mix,
A technique of painting in which
pigments are diluted with water and bound with a glue. It was
usually used for painting wall decorations and frescoes, though a
few artists, notably Andrea Mantegna (1430/31-1506), also used it on
in architecture, hemispherical
structure evolved from the arch, usually forming a ceiling or roof.
A Roman Catholic
order of mendicant friars founded by St. Dominic in 1216 to spread
the faith through preaching and teaching. The Dominicans were one of
the most influential religious orders in the later Middle Ages,
their intellectual authority being established by such figures as
Albertus Magnus and St.Thomas Aquinas. The Dominicans played the
leading role in the Inquisition.
a patron who
commissioned a work of art for a church. Donors sometimes had their
portraits included in the work they were donating as a sign of piety.
A male garment,
formerly worn under armour, that from the 15th century referred to a
Stand on which a painting is
supported while the artist works on it. The oldest representation of
an easel is on an Egyptian relief of the Old Kingdom (c. 2600-2150
BC). Renaissance illustrations of the artist at work show all kinds
of contrivances, the commonest being the three-legged easel with
pegs, such as we still use today. Light folding easels were not made
until the 18th and 19th centuries, when painters took to working out
of doors. The studio easel, a 19th-century invention, is a heavy
piece of furniture, which runs on castors or wheels, and served to
impress the c1ients of portrait painters. Oil painters need an easel
which will support the canvas almost vertically or tip it slightly
forward to prevent reflection from the wet paint, whereas the
watercolourist must be able to lay his paper nearly flat so that the
wet paint will not run down. The term 'easel-painting' is applied to
any picture small enough to have been painted on a standard easel.
- Ecce Homo (Lat. "Behold the Man!")
The words of Pontius Pilate in the
Gospel of St. John (19, 5) when he presents Jesus to the crowds.
Hence, in art, a depiction of Jesus, bound and flogged, wearing a
crown of thorns and a scarlet robe.
- en face
In portraiture, a pose in which the
sitter faces the viewer directly; full face.
A print made from a metal plate that
has had a design cut into it with a sharp point. Ink is smeared over
the plate and then wiped off, the ink remaining in the etched lines
being transferred when the plate is pressed very firmly onto a sheet
- ensemble (Fr. "together")
A combining of several media grouped
together to form a composite art work. Chapels were among the most
notable Renaissance ensembles, sometimes combining panel painting,
fresco, sculpture, and architecture.
In classical architecture, the part
of a building between the capitals of the columns and the roof. It
consists of the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice.
- epitaph (Gk. epistaphion)
Pictures or tables with reliefs and
inscriptions erected in honour of the deceased in churches or
- eschatology (Gk. eschaton, "last", and logos,
the science of the end of the world
and beginning of a new world, and of the last things,death and
- Eucharist (Gk. eu, "good," and
the sacrament of Holy Communion,
celebrated with bread and wine, the most sacred moment of the
The term is used in an Italian
context to designate spiritual currents manifest around 1540 which
might be said to have occupied the confessional middle ground
between Catholicism and Protestantism; hence it does not relate at
all to the term 'Evangelical' as used in German or English contexts.
It has been applied particularly to the so-called spirituali of the
Viterbo circle, notably Cardinal Pole, Vittoria Colonna, Marcantonio
Flaminio, Carnesecchi and Ochino, and also to Giulia Gonzaga,
Contarini, Giovanni Morone; Gregorio Cortese and Vermigli. Such
persons combined a zeal for personal religious renewal with
spiritual anxieties akin to those of Luther, to which they sought an
answer in the study of St Paul and St Augustine; convinced of the
inefficacy of human works, they stressed the role of faith and the
all-efficacy of divine grace in justification. Few of them broke
with the Catholic Church.
- Fathers of the Church
A title given to those leaders of the
early Christian Church whose writings had made an important
contribution to the development of doctrine. Saints Ambrose,
Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great were often considered the
four principal Fathers of the Church.
- festoni (It. "festoons)
Architectural ornaments consisting of
fruit, leaves, and flowers suspended in a loop; a swag.
- fête champêtre (French: "rural feast")
In painting, representation of a
rural feast or open-air entertainment. Although the term fête
galante ("gallant feast") is sometimes used synonymously with fête
champêtre, it is also used to refer to a specific kind of fête
champêtre: a more graceful, usually aristocratic scene in which
groups of idly amorous, relaxed, well-dressed figures are depicted
in a pastoral setting.
of a column or pillar, carved with
closely spaced parallel grooves cut vertically.
- Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
the Four Horsemen in the Revelation
of St John (Rev 6, 2 - 8), which contains the description of the end
of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. The Horsemen personify
the disasters about to happen to mankind, such as plague, war,
famine and death. Their attributes are the bow, sword and set of
balances. In some sculptures the first rider is identified as Christ
by a halo. The colour of his horse is white, that of the others red,
black and dun.
A Roman Catholic
order of mendicant friars founded by St. Francis of Assisi (given
papal approval in 1223). Committed to charitable and missionary
work, they stressed the veneration of the Holy Virgin, a fact that
was highly significant in the development of images of the Madonna
in Italian art. In time the absolute poverty of the early
Franciscans gave way to a far more relaxed view of property and
wealth, and the Franciscans became some of the most important
patrons of art in the early Renaissance.
technique in which pigments are applied to wet (fresh) plaster
(intonaco). The pigments bind with the drying plaster to form a very
durable image. Only a small area can be painted in a day, and these
areas, drying to a slightly different tint, can in time be seen.
Small amounts of retouching and detail work could be carried out on
the dry plaster, a technique known as a secco fresco.
Save in Venice,
where the atmosphere was too damp, fresco painting was the habitual
way of decorating wall surfaces in Italy, both in churches and in
private and public palaces. During the 16th century a liking for the
more brilliant effect of large canvases painted in oils, and to a
lesser extent for tapestries, diminished the use of frescoes save
for covering upper walls, covings and ceilings. The technique of
buon fresco, or true fresco, involved covering the area with a
medium-fine plaster, the intonaco, just rough enough to provide a
bond (sometimes enhanced by scoring) for the final layer of fine
plaster. Either a freehand sketch of the whole composition (sinopia)
was drawn on the wall, or a full-scale cartoon was prepared and its
outlines transferred to the intonaco by pressing them through with a
knife or by pouncing - blowing charcoal dust through prickholes in
the paper. Then over the intonaco enough of the final thin layer was
applied to contain a day's work. That portion of the design was
repeated on it either by the same methods or freehand, and the
artist set to work with water-based pigments while the plaster was
still damp; this allowed them to sink in before becoming dry and
fixed. (Thus 'pulls' or slices of frescoes could be taken by later
art thieves without actually destroying the colour or drawing of the
work.) It is usually possible to estimate the time taken to produce
a fresco by examining the joins between the plastered areas
representing a day's work. Final details, or effects impossible to
obtain in true fresco pigments, could be added at the end in 'dry'
paints, or fresco secco, a technique in which pigment was laid on an
unabsorbent plaster; the best known example of an entire composition
in fresco secco is Leonardo's Last Supper.
- Garter, Order of the
The highest order the English monarch
can bestow. It was founded by Edward III in 1348. The blue Garter
ribbon is worn under the left knee by men and on the upper left arm
by women. The motto is Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil to those who
in classical Rome, a person's
invisible tutelary god. In art from the classical period onwards,
the low-ranking god was depicted as a winged, usually childish
In a broad sense, the term is used to
mean a particular branch or category of art; landscape and
portraiture, for example, are genres of painting, and the essay and
the short story are genres of literature.
- genre painting
The depiction of scenes from everyday
life. Elements of everyday life had long had a role in religious
works; pictures in which such elements were the subject of a
painting developed in the 16th century with such artists as Pieter
Bruegel. Then Carracci and Caravaggio developed genre painting in
Italy, but it was in Holland in the 17th century that it became an
independent form with its own major achievements, Vermeer being one
of its finest exponents.
A term applied to the 14th-century
followers of Giotto. The best-known of the 'Giotteschi' are the
Florentines Taddeo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Bernardo Daddi, and to a
lesser extent the Master of St Cecilia. Giotto's most loyal follower
was Maso, who concentrated on the essential and maintained the
master's high seriousness.
French term used from the 15th
century onwards for a lying or recumbent effigy on a funerary
monument. The gisant typically represented a person in death
(sometimes decomposition) and the gisant position was contrasted
with the orant, which represented the person as if alive in a
kneeling or praying position. In Renaissance monuments gisants often
formed part of the lower register, where the deceased person was
represented as a corpse, while on the upper part he was represented
orant as if alive.
paint applied so thinly that the base
beneath it is visible through the layer.
(1) The supernatural radiance
surrounding a holy person.
(2) To have the distinction of one's
deeds recognized in life and to be revered for them posthumously:
this was glory. The nature of true gloria was much discussed,
whether it must be connected with the public good, whether the
actions that led to it must conform with Christian ethics, how it
differed from notoriety. The concept did not exclude religious
figures (the title of the church of the Frari in Venice was S. Maria
Gloriosa), but it was overwhelmingly seen in terms of secular
success and subsequent recognition, as determining the lifestyles of
the potent and the form of their commemoration in literature, in
portraits and on tombs. As such, it has been taken as a denial of
medieval religiosity ('sic transit gloria mundi'), and thus a
hallmark of Renaissance individual ism; as a formidable influence on
cultural patronage; and as spurring on men of action, as well as
writers and artists, to surpass their rivals - including their
counterparts in antiquity.
French tapestry manufactory, named
after a family of dyers and clothmakers who set up business on the
outskirts of Paris in the 15th century. Their premises became a
tapestry factory in the early 17th century, and in 1662 it was taken
over by Louis XIV, who appointed Lebrun Director. Initially it made
not only tapestries but also every kind of product (except carpets,
which were woven at the Savonnerie factory) required for the
furnishing of the royal palaces — its official title was Manufacture
royale des meubles de la Couronne. The celebrated tapestry designed
by Lebrun showing Louis XIV Visiting the Gobelins (Gobelins Museum,
Paris, 1663-75) gives a good idea of the range of its activities. In
1694 the factory was closed because of the king's financial
difficulties, and although it reopened in 1699, thereafter it made
only tapestries. For much of the 18th century it retained its
position as the foremost tapestry manufactory in Europe. 0udry and
Boucher successively held the post of Director (1733-70). The
Gobelins continues in production today and houses a tapestry museum.
- Golden Fleece, Order of the Golden Fleece
a noble chivalric order, still in
existence today, founded by Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy in 1430
in honor of the Apostle Andrew, for the defence of the Christian
faith and the Church. In allusion to the legend of Jason and the
Argonauts, the symbol of the order is a golden ram's fleece drawn
through a gold ring.
- golden section (Lat. sectio aurea)
In painting and architecture, a
formula meant to provide the aesthetically most satisfying
proportions for a picture or a feature of a building. The golden
section is arrived at by dividing a line unevenly so that the
shorter length is to the larger as the larger is to the whole. This
ratio is approximately 8:13. The golden section (sometimes known as
the golden mean), which was thought to express a perfect harmony of
proportions, played an important role in Renaissance theories of
Italian gonfaloniere ("standard
bearer"), a title of high civic magistrates in the medieval Italian
In Florence the gonfaloniers of the
companies (gonfalonieri di compagnia) originated during the 1250s as
commanders of the people's militia. In the 1280s a new office called
the gonfalonier of justice (gonfaloniere di giustizia) was
instituted to protect the interests of the people against the
dominant magnate class. The holder of this office subsequently
became the most prominent member of the Signoria (supreme executive
council of Florence) and formal head of the civil administration. In
other Italian cities, the role of the gonfaloniers was similar to
that in Florence. Gonfaloniers headed the militia from the various
city quarters, while the gonfalonier of justice often was the chief
of the council of guild representatives.
The kings of France traditionally
bore the title gonfalonier of St. Denis. The honorary title of
gonfalonier of the church (vexillifer ecclesiae) was conferred by
the popes, from the 13th until the 17th century, on sovereigns and
other distinguished persons.
Gothic, which may
well have originated with Alberti as a derogatory term and which
certainly corresponds to Vasari's 'maniera tedesca' ('German
style'), is properly the descriptive term for an artistic style
which achieved its first full flowering in the Ile de France and the
surrounding areas in the period between c. 1200 and c. 1270, and
which then spread throughout northern Europe. It is characterized by
the hitherto unprecedented integration of the arts of sculpture,
painting, stained glass and architecture which is epitomized in the
great cathedrals of Chartres, Amiens, and Reims or in the Sainte
Chapelle in Paris. In all the arts the predominantly planar forms of
the Romanesque are replaced by an emphasis on line. There is a
transcendental quality, whether in the soaring forms of the pointed
arches or in the new stress on the humanity of Christ, which
similarly distinguishes it from the preceding Romanesque style.
In thinking of
Nicola (d. c. 1284) or Giovanni Pisano (d. after 1314) there is same
danger of forgetting what had happened in French sculpture half a
century or more earlier, and likewise it is hard to remember that
the spectacular achievements of early Renaissance art are a
singularly localized eddy in the continuing stream of late gothic
European art. By northern European standards few Italian works of
art can be called gothic without qualification, and the story of
13th and 14th century Italian architecture is as much one of
resistance to the new style as of its reception, whether directly
from France or through German or central European intermediaries. In
sculpture and in painting, the Italian reluctance to distort the
human figure, conditioned by a never wholly submerged awareness of
the omnipresent antique heritage, gives a special quality to the
work of even those artists such as Giovanni Pisano or Simone Martini
who most closely approached a pure gothic style.
vitalizing role of Northern gothic art throughout the early
Renaissance and the period leading up to it should never be
underestimated. The artistic, like the cultural and commercial,
interaction was continuous and much of the Italian achievement is
incomprehensible if seen in isolation. It is not merely at the level
of direct exchanges between one artist and another, or the influence
of one building; painting, manuscript or piece of sculpture upon
another, that the effects are to be felt. The streaming quality of
line which is so characteristic of Brunelleschi's early Renaissance
architecture surely reflects a sensitivity to the gothic
contribution which is entirely independent of, and lies much deeper
than, the superficial particularities of form.
The counterflow of
influence and inspiration from South to North must likewise not be
underrated. In particular, the contribution of Italian painters from
Duccio and Simone Martini onwards is central to the evolution of the
so-called International Gothic style developing in Burgundy, Bohemia
and north Italy in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
Gouache is opaque
watercolour, known also as poster paint and designer's colour. It is
thinned with water for applying, with sable- and hog-hair brushes,
to white or tinted paper and card and, occasionally, to silk. Honey,
starch, or acrylic is sometimes added to retard its quick-drying
property. Liquid glue is preferred as a thinner by painters wishing
to retain the tonality of colours (which otherwise dry slightly
lighter in key) and to prevent thick paint from flaking. Gouache
paints have the advantages that they dry out almost immediately to a
mat finish and, if required, without visible brush marks. These
qualities, with the capacities to be washed thinly or applied in
thick impasto and a wide colour range that now includes fluorescent
and metallic pigments, make the medium particularly suited to
preparatory studies for oil and acrylic paintings. It is the medium
that produces the suede finish and crisp lines characteristic of
many Indian and Islamic miniatures, and it has been used in Western
screen and fan decoration and by modern artists such as Rouault,
Klee, Dubuffet, and Morris Graves.
Term applied to
the lofty and rhetorical manner of history painting that in academic
theory was considered appropriate to the most serious and elevated
subjects. The classic exposition of its doctrines is found in
Reynolds's Third and Fourth Discourses (1770 and 1771), where he
asserts that 'the gusto grande of the Italians, the beau idéal of
the French, and the great style, genius, and taste among the
English, are but different appellations of the same thing'. The idea
of the Grand Manner took shape in 17th-century Italy, notably in the
writings of Bellori. His friend Poussin and the great Bolognese
painters of the 17th century were regarded as outstanding exponents
of the Grand Manner, but the greatest of all was held to be Raphael.
journey to the Continent, chiefly to France, the Netherlands, and
above all Italy, sometimes in the company of a tutor, that became a
conventional feature in the education of the English gentleman in
the 18th century. Such tours often took a year or more. It had a
noticeable effect in bringing a more cosmopolitan spirit to the
taste of connoisseurs and laid the basis for many collections among
the landed gentry. It also helped the spread of the fashion for
Neoclassicism and an enthusiasm for Italian painting. Among the
native artists who catered for this demand were Batoni, Canaletto,
Pannini, and Piranesi, and British artists (such as Nollekens) were
sometimes able to support themselves while in Italy by working for
the dealers and restorers who supplied the tourist clientele. There
was also a flourishing market in guide books.
A cross with
four arms of equal length.
with several different meanings in the literature of the visual
arts. In the context of the fine arts, it most usually refers to
those arts that rely essentially on line or tone rather than colour
— i.e. drawing and the various forms of engraving. Some writers,
however, exclude drawing from this definition, so that the term
'graphic art' is used to cover the various processes by which prints
are created. In another sense, the term — sometimes shortened to
'graphics' — is used to cover the entire field of commercial
printing, including text as well as illustrations.
A painting done
entirely in one colour, usually gray. Grisaille paintings were often
intended to imitate sculpture.
terms derived from the German Welf, a personal and thence family
name of the dukes of Bavaria, and Waiblingen, the name of a castle
of the Hohenstaufen dukes of Swabia apparently used as a battle cry.
Presumably introduced into Italy 1198-1218, when partisans of the
Emperor Otto IV (Welf) contested central Italy with supporters of
Philip of Swabia and his' nephew Frederick II, the terms do not
appear in the chronicles until the Emperor Frederick's conflict with
the Papacy 1235-50, when Guelf meant a supporter of the Pope and
Ghibelline a supporter of the Empire. From 1266 to 1268, when Naples
was conquered by Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis IX, the French
connection became the touchstone of Guelfism, and the chain of Guelf
alliances stretching from Naples, through central Italy, to Provence
and Paris, underwritten by the financial interests of the Tuscan
bankers, became an abiding feature of European politics. The Italian
expeditions of Henry of Luxemburg (1310-13) and Lewis of Bavaria
(1327-29) spread the terms to northern Italy, with the Visconti of
Milan and the della Scala of Verona emerging as the leading
Ghibelline powers. Attempts by Guelf propagandists to claim their
party as the upholder of liberty and their opponents as the
protagonists of tyranny rarely coincide with the truth: power
politics, then as now, generally overrode ideology in inter-state
had existed within the Italian states from time immemorial, the
parties taking a multitude of local names. In Florence, however,
Guelf and Ghibelline were applied to the local factions which
supposedly originated in a feud between the Buondelmonte and Amidei
clans, c. 1216. In 1266-67 the Guelf party, which had recruited most
of the merchant class, finally prevailed over the predominantly
noble Ghibellines; after this, internal factions in Florence went
under other names, like the Blacks and the Whites who contested for
control of the commune between 1295 and 1302. Meanwhile the Parte
Guelfa had become a corporate body whose wealth and moral authority
as the guardian of political orthodoxy enabled it to play the part
of a powerful pressure group through most of the 14th century. After
the War of the Eight Saints, the influence of the Parte declined
rapidly. Although its palace was rebuilt c. 1418-58 to the designs
of Brunelleschi, it had no part in the conflicts surrounding the
rise of the Medici régime.
An association of the
masters of a particular craft, trade or profession (painters,
goldsmiths, surgeons, and so on) set up to protect its members'
rights and interests. Such guilds existed in virtually every
European city in the 16th century. The guild also monitored
standards of work, acted as a court for those who brought their
trade into disrepute, and provided assistance to members in need.
essentially associations of masters in particular crafts, trades, or
professions. In Italy they go back a long way; there is documentary
evidence of guilds in 6th century Naples. In origin they were clubs
which observed religious festivals together and attended the
funerals of their members, but in time they acquired other functions.
Their economic function was to control standards and to enforce the
guild's monopoly of particular activities in a particular territory.
Their political function was to participate in the government of the
city-state. In some cities, notably Florence in the 14th century,
only guildsmen were eligible for civic office, thus excluding both
noblemen (unless they swallowed their pride and joined, as some did),
and unskilled workers like the woolcombers and dyers. In Florence in
1378 these groups demanded the right to form their own guilds, and
there were similar movements of protest in Siena and Bologna.
Guilds were also
patrons of art, commissioning paintings for guildhalls, contributing
to the fabric fund of cathedrals and collaborating on collective
projects like the statues for Orsanmichele at Florence. The guilds
were not equal. In Florence, the 7 'Greater Guilds', including such
prestigious occupations as judges and bankers, outranked the 14 'Lesser
Guilds', and in general the guild hierarchy was reflected in the
order of precedence in processions. The great age of the guilds was
the 13th and 14th centuries. The economic recession after 1348 meant
fewer opportunities for journeymen to become masters, and greater
hostility between master and man. The shift from trade to land in
the 15th and 16th centuries meant a decline in the social standing
of the crafts. In some towns, such as Brescia and Vicenza, guild
membership actually became a disqualification instead of a
qualification for municipal office. The guilds lost their
independence and became instruments of state control. In 16th
century Venice, for example, they were made responsible for
supplying oarsmen for the galleys of the state.