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Abacus  the flat slab that forms the topmost unit of a Doric column and on which the architrave rests.
Abhaya  see mudrā.
Abstract  in painting and sculpture, having a generalized or essential form with only a symbolic resemblance to natural objects.
Abutment  the part of a building intended to receive and counteract the thrust, or pressure, exerted by vaults and arches.
Academy  (a) the gymnasium near Athens where Plato taught; (b) from the eighteenth century, the cultural and artistic establishment and the standards that they represent.
Acanthus  a Mediterranean plant with prickly leaves, supposedly the source of foliage-like ornamentation on Corinthian columns.
Achromatic  free of color.
Acrylic  a fast-drying, water-based synthetic paint medium.
Aedicule  (a) a small building used as a shrine; (b) a niche designed to hold a statue. Both types are formed by two columns or pilasters supporting a gable or pediment.
Aerial (or atmospheric) perspective  a technique for creating the illusion of distance by the use of less distinct contours and a reduction in color intensity.
Aesthetic  the theory and vocabulary of an individual artistic style.
Aesthetics  the philosophy and science of art and artistic phenomena.
Agora  the open space in an ancient Greek town used as a marketplace or for general meetings.
Airbrush  a device for applying a fine spray of paint or other substance by means of compressed air.
Aisle  a passageway flanking a central area (e.g., the corridors flanking the nave of a basilica or cathedral).
Alabaster  a dense variety of fine-textured gypsum, usually white and translucent, but sometimes gray, red, yellow, or banded, used for carving on a small scale.
Allegory  the expression (artistic, oral, or written) of a generalized moral statement or truth by means of symbolic actions or figures.
Altar  (a) any structure used as a place of sacrifice or worship; (b) a tablelike structure used in a Christian church to celebrate the Eucharist.
Altarpiece  a painted or sculpted work of art designed to stand above or behind an altar.
Āmalka  a finial in the shape of a notched ring (derived from a fruit) atop a northern-style Hindu temple's shikhara.
Ambulatory  a vaulted passageway, usually surrounding the apse or choir of a church.
Amphitheater  an oval or circular space surrounded by rising tiers of seats, as used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for plays and other spectacles.
Amphora  an ancient Greek two-handled vessel for storing grain, honey, oil, or wine.
Analogous hues  hues containing a common color, though in different proportions.
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Aniconic  depicting a figure, usually a deity, symbolically instead of anthropomorphically.
Annular  ring-shaped, as in an annular barrel vault.
Apocalypse  (a) a name for the last book of the New Testament, generally known as the Revelation of Saint John the Divine; (b) a prophetic revelation.
Apostle  in Christian terminology, one of the twelve followers, or disciples, chosen by Christ to spread his Gospel; also used more loosely to include early missionaries such as Saint Paul.
Apotropaion  an object or device designed to avert, or turn aside, evil.
Apsaras  celestial dancers seen in south and southeast Asian religious art.
Apse  a projecting part of a building (especially a church), usually semicircular and topped by a half-dome or vault.
Aquatint  a print from a metal plate on which certain areas have been "stopped out" to prevent the action of the acid.
Aqueduct  a man-made conduit for transporting water.
Arabesque  literally meaning "in the Arabian fashion," an intricate pattern of interlaced or knotted lines consisting of stylized floral, foliage, and other motifs.
Arcade  a gallery formed by a series of arches with supporting columns or piers, either freestanding or blind (i.e., attached to a wall).
Arch  a curved architectural member, generally consisting of wedge-shaped blocks (voussoirs), which is used to span an opening; it transmits the downward pressure laterally.
Archaeometry  a branch of archaeology that dates objects through the use of various techniques such as amino-acid and radiocarbon dating.
Architrave  the lowest unit of an entablature, resting directly on the capital of a column.
Archivolt  the ornamental band or molding surrounding the tympanum of a Romanesque or Gothic church.
Arena  the central area in a Roman amphitheater where gladiatorial spectacles took place.
Armature  (a) a metal framework for a stainedglass window; (b) a fixed, inner framework supporting a sculpture made of a flexible material.
Arriccio  the rough first coat of plaster in a fresco.
Assemblage  a group of three-dimensional objects brought together to form a work of art.
Asymmetrical  characterized by asymmetry, or lack of balance, in the arrangement of parts or components.
Atmospheric perspective  see aerial perspective.
Atrium  (a) an open courtyard leading to, or within, a house or other building, usually surrounded on three or more sides by a colonnade; (b) in a modern building, a rectangular space off which other rooms open.
Attic  in Classical architecture, a low story placed above the main entablature.
Attribute  an object closely identified with, and thought of as belonging to, a specific individual —particularly, in art, a deity or saint.
Avant-garde  literally the "advanced guard," a term used to denote innovators or nontraditionalists in a particular field.
Axis  an imaginary straight line passing through the center of a figure, form, or structure and about which that figure is imagined to rotate.
Axonometric projection  the depiction on a single plane of a three-dimensional object by placing it at an angle to the picture plane so that three faces are visible.
Balance  an aesthetically pleasing equilibrium in the combination or arrangement of elements.
Baldacchino  a canopy or canopylike structure above an altar or throne.
Balustrade  a series of balusters, or upright pillars, supporting a rail (as along the edge of a balcony or bridge).
Baptistery  a building, usually round or polygonal, used for Christian baptismal services.
Barrel (or tunnel) vault  a semicylindrical vault, with parallel abutments and an identical cross section throughout, covering an oblong space.
Base  (a) that on which something rests; (b) the lowest part of a wall or column considered as a separate architectural feature.
Basilica  (a) in Roman architecture, an oblong building used for tribunals and other public functions; (b) in Christian architecture, an early church with similar features to the Roman prototype.
Bas-relief  see low relief.
Bay  a unit of space in a building, usually defined by piers, vaults, or other elements in a structural system.
Beaverboard  a type of fiberboard used for partitions and ceilings.
Bhūmi (literally "earth")  the stacked ridges the horizontally segment a northern-style Hindu temple's shikhara.
Bhūmisparsha  see mudrā.
Binder, binding medium  a substance used in paint and other media to bind particles of pigment together and enable them to adhere to the support.
Biomorphic  derived from or representing the forms of living things rather than abstract shapes.
Bister, bistre  a brown medium made from the soot of burnt wood.
Black-figure  describing a style of Greek pottery painting of the sixth century B.C., in which the decoration is black on a red background.
Blind niche  see niche.
Bodhisattva  one of many enlightened Buddhist deities who delay their own nirvana in order to help mortals attain enlightenment.
Book of Hours  a prayer book, intended for lay use, containing the devotions, or acts of worship, for the hours of the Roman Catholic Church (i.e., the times appointed for prayer, such as Matins and Vespers).
Broken pediment  a pediment in which the cornice is discontinuous or interrupted by another element.
Bronze  a metal alloy composed of copper mixed with tin.
Buon fresco  see fresco.
Burin  a metal tool with a sharp point to incise designs on pottery and etching plates, for example.
Burr  in etching, the rough ridge left projecting above the surface of an engraved plate where the design has been incised.
Bust  a sculptural or pictorial representation of the upper part of the human figure, including the head and neck (and sometimes part of the shoulders and chest).
Buttress  an external architectural support that counteracts the lateral thrust of an arch or wall.
Caduceus  the symbol of a herald or physician, consisting of a staff with two snakes twined around it and two wings at the top.
Calligraphy  handwriting designed to be beautiful; calligraphic writing or drawing can be expressive as well as beautiful.
Camera obscura  a dark enclosure or box into which light is admitted through a small hole, enabling images to be projected onto a wall or screen placed opposite that hole; the forerunner of the photographic camera.
Campanile  Italian for bell tower, usually freestanding, but built near a church.
Canon  a set of rules, principles, or standards used to establish scales or proportions.
Canopic  relating to the city of Canopus in ancient Egypt.
Canopic jar  a vessel in which ancient Egyptians preserved the viscera of the dead.
Cantilever  a long, low architectural support that enables a cantilevered element such as an eave or a cornice to project horizontally without vertical support at the far end.
Capital  the decorated top of a column or pilaster, providing a transition from the shaft to the entablature.
Caricature  a representation in art or literature that distorts, exaggerates, or oversimplifies certain features.
Cartonnage  layers of linen or papyrus glued together and usually coated with stucco.
Cartoon  (a) a full-scale preparatory drawing for a painting; (b) in more modern usage, a comical or satirical drawing.
Cartouche  an oval or scroll-shaped design or ornament, usually containing an inscription, a heraldic device, or (as in Egypt) a ruler's name.
Carving  creating an image by removing material from an original material.
Caryatid  a supporting column in post-andlintel construction carved to represent a human or animal figure.
Casein  a light-colored, protein-based substance derived from milk, used in the making of paint, adhesives, etc.
Casting  a process in which liquefied material, usually metal, is formed by being poured into a mold; the mold is removed when the material has solidified, leaving a cast object in the shape of the mold.
Castrum (pl. castra)  an ancient Roman fortress; a Roman encampment.
Catacomb  an underground complex of passageways and vaults, such as those used by Jews and early Christians to bury their dead.
Cathedral  the principal church of a diocese (the ecclesiastical district supervised by a bishop).
Cella  the main inner room of a temple, often containing the cult image of the deity.
Centering  the temporary wooden framework used in the construction of arches, vaults, and domes.
Centrally planned  radiating from a central point.
Ceramics  (a) the art of making objects from clay or other substances (such as enamel and porcelain) that require firing at high temperatures; (b) the objects themselves.
Chaitya arch  a splayed, horsehoe-shaped curve derived from the profile of a barrel-vaulted chaitya hall; used to frame doors, windows, and gables, and as a decorative motif in early south Asian architecture.
Chaitya hall  a U-shaped Buddhist structural or rock-cut chamber for congregational worship centered on a stupa.
Chancel  that part of a Christian church, reserved for the clergy and choir, in which the altar is placed.
Chapter house  a meeting place for the discussion of business in a cathedral or monastery.
Château  French word for a castle or large country house.
Chattra  a royal parasol crowning the dome anda of a Buddhist stupa, symbolically honoring the Buddha.
Chaurī  a royal fly-whisk, symbolically honoring the Buddha.
Chevet  French term for the east end of a Gothic church, comprising the choir, ambulatory, and radiating chapels.
Chiaroscuro  the subtle gradation of light and shadow used to create the effect of threedimensionality.
Chinoiserie  a Western style popular in the eighteenth century, reflecting Chinese motifs or qualities.
Choir  part of a Christian church, near the altar, set aside for those chanting the services; usually part of the chancel.
Chroma  see intensity.
Chromatic  colored or pertaining to color.
Chryselephantine  consisting of, or decorated with, gold and ivory.
Circumambulate  to walk around something, especially an object of worship or veneration.
Circus  in ancient Rome, an oblong space, surrounded by seats, used for chariot races, games, and other spectacles.
Cire-perdue  see lost-wax bronze casting.
Citadel  a fortress or other fortified area placed in an elevated or commanding position.
Clerestory  the upper part of the main outer wall of a building (especially a church), located above an adjoining roof and admitting light through a row of windows.
Cloisonné  a multicolored surface made by pouring enamels into compartments outlined by bent wire fillets, or strips.
Cloister  in a monastery, a covered passage or ambulatory, usually with one side walled and the other open to a courtyard.
Close  an enclosed space, or precinct, usually next to a building such as a cathedral or castle.
Cluster (or compound) pier  a pier composed of a group, or cluster, of engaged column shafts, often used in Gothic architecture.
Codex (pl. codices)  sheets of parchment or vellum bound together—the precursor of the modern book.
Coffer, coffering  a recessed geometrical panel in a ceiling.
Collage  a work of art formed by pasting fragments of printed matter, cloth, and other materials (occasionally three-dimensional ) to a flat surface.
Colonnade  a series of columns set at regular intervals, usually supporting arches or an entablature.
Colonnette  a small, slender column, usually grouped with others to form cluster piers.
Color wheel  a circular, two-dimensional model illustrating the relationships of the various hues.
Column  a cylindrical support, usually with three parts—base, shaft, and capital.
Complementary colors  hues that lie directly opposite each other on the color wheel.
Compluvium (pl. compluvia)  a square opening in the roof of a Roman atrium through which rain fell into an impluvium .
Composition  the arrangement of formal elements in a work of art.
Compound pier  see cluster pier.
Conceptual art  art in which the idea is more important than the form or style.
Cone mosaic  a surface decorated by pressing pieces (usually colored and of conical shape) of stone or baked clay into damp plaster.
Content  the themes or ideas in a work of art, as distinct from its form.
Contour  a line representing the outline of a figure or form.
Contrapposto (or counterpoise)  a stance of the human body in which one leg bears the weight, while the other is relaxed, creating an asymmetry in the hip-shoulder axis.
Contrast  an abrupt change, such as that created by the juxtaposition of dissimilar colors, objects, etc.
Convention  a custom, practice, or principle that is generally recognized and accepted.
Corbeling  brick or masonry courses, each projecting beyond, and supported by, the one below it; the meeting of two corbels would create an arch or vault.
Corinthian  see Order.
Cornice  the projecting horizontal unit, usually molded, that surmounts an arch or wall; the topmost member of a Classical entablature.
Counterpoise  see contrapposto.
Courses  horizontal layers of brick or masonry in a wall.
Crayon  a stick for drawing formed from powdered pigment mixed with wax.
Crenellated  having a series of indentations, like those in a battlement.
Cromlech  a prehistoric monument consisting of a circle of monoliths.
Crosshatching  a pattern of superimposed parallel lines (hatching ) on a two-dimensional surface used to create shadows and suggest three-dimensionality.
Crossing  the area in a Christian church where the transepts intersect the nave.
Cross section  a diagram showing a building cut by a vertical plane, usually at right angles to an axis.
Cross vault  see groin vault.
Cruciform  shaped or arranged like a cross.
Crypt  a chamber or vault beneath the main body of a church.
Cuneiform  a form of writing consisting of wedge-shaped characters, used in ancient Mesopotamia.
Cupola  a small, domed structure crowning a roof or dome, usually added to provide interior lighting.
Curvilinear  composed of, or bounded by, curved lines.
Cyclopaean masonry  stone construction using large, irregular blocks without mortar.
Cylinder seal  a small cylinder of stone or other material engraved in intaglio on its outer surface and used (especially in Mesopotamia) to roll an impression on wet clay.
Daguerreotype  mid-nineteenth-century photographic process for fixing positive images on silver-coated metal plates.
Decussis  the Latin numeral ten (X).
Deësis  a tripartite icon in the Byzantine tradition, usually showing Christ enthroned between the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.
Dendrochronology  a science using the annual rings of trees to determine the chronological order and dates of historical events.
Dharmachakra  see mudrā.
Dhyāna  see mudrā.
Diorite  a type of dark (black or gray) crystalline rock.
Diptych  a writing tablet or work of art consisting of two panels side by side and connected by hinges.
Dolmen  a prehistoric structure consisting of two or more megaliths capped with a horizontal slab.
Dome  a vaulted (frequently hemispherical) roof or ceiling, erected on a circular base, which may be envisaged as the result of rotating an arch through 180 degrees about a central axis.
Doric  see Order.
Dressed stone  blocks of stone that have been cut and shaped to fit in a particular place for a particular purpose.
Drip technique  a painting technique in which paint is dripped from a brush or stick onto a horizontal canvas or other ground.
Drum  (a) one of the cylindrical blocks of stone from which the shaft of a column is made; (b) the circular or polygonal wall of a building surmounted by a dome or cupola.
Drypoint  an engraving in which the image is scratched directly into the surface of a metal plate with a pointed instrument.
Earthenware  pottery that has been either airdried or fired at a relatively low temperature.
Easel  a frame for supporting a canvas or wooden panel.
Echinus  in the Doric Order, the rounded molding between the necking and the abacus.
Edition  a batch of prints made from a single plate or print form.
Egg and dart  a decorative molding consisting of alternating oval (egg) and downwardpointing (dart) elements.
Elevation  an architectural diagram showing the exterior (or, less often, interior) surface of a building as if projected onto a vertical plane.
Emulsion  a light-sensitive chemical coating used to transfer photographic images onto metal plates or other surfaces.
Enamel  a vitreous coating applied by heat fusion to the surface of metal, glass, or pottery. See also cloisonné .
Encaustic  a painting technique in which pigment is mixed with a binder of hot wax and fixed by heat after application.
Engaged (half-) column  a column, decorative in purpose, that is attached to a supporting wall.
Engraving  (a) the process of incising an image on a hard material, such as wood, stone, or a copper plate; (b) a print or impression made by such a process.
Entablature  the portion of a Classical architectural Order above the capital of a column.
Entasis  the slight bulging of a Doric column, which is at its greatest about one third of the distance from the base.
Etching  (a) a printmaking process in which an impression is taken from a metal plate on which the image has been etched, or eaten away by acid; (b) a print produced by such a process.
Etching ground  a resinous, acid-resistant substance used to cover a copper plate before an image is etched on it.
Eucharist  (a) the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, commemorating the Last Supper; (b) the consecrated bread and wine used at the sacrament.
Evil eye  a malicious glance which, in superstitious belief, is thought to be capable of causing material harm.
Façade  the front or "face" of a building.
Facing  an outer covering or sheathing.
Faïence  earthenware or pottery decorated with brightly colored glazes (originally from Faenza, a city in northern Italy).
Fantasy  imagery that is derived solely from the imagination.
Figura serpentinata  a snakelike twisting of the body, typical of Mannerist art.
Figurative  representing the likeness of a recognizable human (or animal) figure.
Finial  a small decorative element at the top of an architectural member such as a gable or pinnacle, or of a smaller object such as a bronze vessel.
Fire (verb)  to prepare (especially ceramics) by baking in a kiln or otherwise applying heat.
Fixing  the use of a chemical process to make an image (a photograph, for example) more permanent.
Fleur-de-lis  (a) a white iris, the royal emblem of France; (b) a stylized representation of an iris, common in artistic design and heraldry.
Flutes, fluting  a series of vertical grooves used to decorate the shafts of columns in Classical architecture.
Flying buttress, or flyer  a buttress in the form of a strut or open half-arch.
Foreground  the area of a picture, usually at the bottom of the picture plane, that appears nearest to the viewer.
Foreshortening  the use of perspective to represent a single object extending back in space at an angle to the picture plane.
Form  the overall plan or structure of a work of art.
Formal analysis  analysis of a work of art to determine how its integral parts, or formal elements, are combined to produce the overall style and effect.
Formal elements  the elements of style (line, shape, color, etc.) used by an artist in the composition of a work of art.
Formalism  the doctrine or practice of strict adherence to stylized shapes or other external forms.
Forum  the civic center of an ancient Roman city, containing temple, marketplace, and official buildings.
Found object (or objet trouvé)  an object not originally intended as a work of art, but presented as one.
Fresco  a technique (also known as buon fresco ) of painting on the plaster surface of a wall or ceiling while it is still damp, so that the pigments become fused with the plaster as it dries.
Fresco secco  a variant technique of fresco painting in which the paint is applied to dry plaster; this is often combined with buon fresco, or "true" fresco painting.
Frieze  (a) the central section of the entablature in the Classical Orders; (b) any horizontal decorative band.
Functionalism  a philosophy of design (in architecture, for example) holding that form should be consistent with material, structure, and use.
Gable (or pitched) roof  a roof formed by the intersection of two planes sloping down from a central beam.
Gallery  the second story of a church, placed over the side aisles and below the clerestory.
Garbha griha (literally "womb chamber")  a small, cubical sanctuary that is the sacred core of a Hindu temple.
Genre  a category of art representing scenes of everyday life.
Geodesic dome  a dome-shaped framework consisting of small, interlocking polygonal units.
Geometric  (a) based on mathematical shapes such as the circle, square, or rectangle; (b) a style of Greek pottery made between c. 900 and 700 B.C., characterized by geometric decoration.
Gesso  a white coating made of chalk, plaster, and size that is spread over a surface to make it more receptive to paint.
Gilding  a decorative coating made of gold leaf or simulated gold; objects to which gilding has been applied are gilded or gilt.
Glaze  (a) in oil painting, a layer of translucent paint or varnish, sometimes applied over another color or ground, so that light passing through it is reflected back by the lower surface and modified by the glaze; (b) in pottery, a material applied in a thin layer that, when fired, fuses with the surface to produce a glossy, nonporous effect.
Glyptic art  the art of carving or engraving, especially on small objects such as seals or precious stones.
Gospel  one of the first four books of the New Testament, which recounts the life of Christ.
Gouache  an opaque, water-soluble painting medium.
Greek cross  a cross in which all four arms are of equal length.
Grisaille  a monochromatic painting (usually in shades of black and gray, to simulate stone sculpture).
Groin (or cross-) vault  the ceiling configuration formed by the intersection of two barrel vaults.
Ground  in painting, the prepared surface of the support to which the paint is applied.
Ground plan  a plan of the ground floor of a building, seen from above (as distinguished from an elevation).
Guilds  organizations of craftsmen, such as those that flourished in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Half-column  see engaged column.
Halo  a circle or disk of golden light surrounding the head of a holy figure.
Happening  an event in which artists give an unrehearsed performance, sometimes with the participation of the audience.
Harmikā  a square platform surmounting the dome of a Buddhist stupa.
Hatching  close parallel lines used in drawings and prints to create the effect of shadow on three-dimensional forms. See also crosshatching.
Hierarchical proportion or scale  the representation of more important figures as larger than less important ones.
Hieroglyphic  written in a script (especially in ancient Egypt) whose characters are pictorial representations of objects.
Highlight  in painting, an area of high value color.
High relief  relief sculpture in which the figures project substantially (e.g., more than half of their natural depth) from the background surface.
Hôtel  in eighteenth-century France, a city mansion belonging to a person of rank.
Hue  a pure color with a specific wavelength.
Hydria  an ancient Greek or Roman water jar.
Hypostyle  a hall with a roof supported by rows of columns.
Icon  a sacred image representing Christ, the Virgin Mary, or some other holy person.
Iconography  the analysis of works of art through the study of the meanings of symbols and images in the context of the contemporary culture.
Iconology  the study of the meaning or content of a larger program to which individual works of art belong.
Idealized, idealization  the representation of objects and figures according to ideal standards of beauty rather than to real life.
Ideograph  a written symbol standing for a concept, usually formed by combining pictographs.
Ignudi (pl.)  nude figures (in Italian).
Illuminated manuscript  see manuscript.
Illusionism, illusionistic  a type of art in which the objects are intended to appear real.
Impasto  the thick application of paint, usually oil or acrylic, to a canvas or panel.
Impost block  a block between a capital of a column and the springing of an arch.
Impluvium (pl. impluvia)  a basin or cistern in the atrium of a Roman house to collect rainwater falling through the compluvium.
Incise  to cut designs or letters into a hard surface with a sharp instrument.
Incised relief  see sunken relief.
Inlay  to decorate a surface by inserting pieces of a different material (e.g., to inlay a panel with contrasting wood).
Installation  a three-dimensional environment or ensemble of objects, presented as a work of art.
Insula (pl. insulae)  an ancient Roman building or group of buildings standing together and forming an apartment block.
Intaglio  a printmaking process in which lines are incised into the surface of a plate or print form (e.g., engraving and etching).
Intensity  the degree of purity of a color; also known as chroma or saturation.
Interlace  a form of decoration composed of strips or ribbons that are intertwined, usually symmetrically about a longitudinal axis.
Ionic  see Order.
Isocephaly, isocephalic  the horizontal alignment of the heads of all the figures in a composition.
Isometric projection  an architectural diagram combining a ground plan of a building with a view from an exterior point above and slightly to one side.
Ithyphallic  an image having an erect or prominent phallus.
Jambs  the upright surfaces forming the sides of a doorway or window, often decorated with sculptures in Romanesque and Gothic churches.
Japonisme  the Japanese aesthetic as absorbed by the West in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Jatakā  a tale recounting an incident in one of the Buddha's lives, frequently depicted in Buddhist art.
Keystone  the wedge-shaped stone at the center of an arch, rib, or vault that is inserted last, locking the other stones into place.
Kiln  an oven used to bake (or fire) clay.
Kondō  the main hall of a Japanese Buddhist temple, where religious images are kept.
Kore (pl. korai)  Greek word for maiden; an Archaic Greek statue of a standing female, usually clothed.
Kouros (pl. kouroi)  Greek word for young man; an Archaic Greek statue of a standing nude youth.
Krater  a wide-mouthed bowl for mixing wine and water in ancient Greece.
Kufic  an early form of Arabic script in which letters are relatively uncursive; used later for headings and formal inscriptions.
Kylix  an ancient Greek drinking cup with a wide, shallow bowl.
Lamassu (pl.)  in Assyrian art, figures of bulls or lions with wings and human heads.
Lancet  a tall narrow, arched window without tracery.
Landscape  a pictorial representation of natural scenery.
Lantern  the structure crowning a dome or tower, often used to admit light to the interior.
Lapis lazuli  a semiprecious blue stone; used to prepare the blue pigment known as ultramarine.
Lares and penates  (a) in ancient Rome, the tutelary gods of the household; (b) figuratively, one's most valued household possessions.
Latin cross  a cross in which the vertical arm is longer than the horizontal arm, through the midpoint of which it passes.
Leaf and dart  a decorative design consisting of alternating leaf- and dart-shaped elements.
Lekythos (or lecythus)  an ancient Greek vessel with a long, narrow neck, used primarily for pouring oil.
Linear  a style in which lines are used to depict figures with precise, fully indicated outlines.
Linear (or scientific) perspective  a mathematical system devised during the Renaissance to create the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional image, through the use of straight lines converging toward a vanishing point in the distance.
Lintel  the horizontal cross beam spanning an opening in the post-and-lintel system.
Lithography  a printmaking process in which the printing surface is a smooth stone or plate on which an image is drawn with a crayon or some other oily substance.
Load-bearing construction  a system of construction in which solid forms are superimposed on one another to form a tapering structure.
Loggia  a roofed gallery open on one or more sides, often with arches or columns.
Longitudinal section  an architectural diagram giving an inside view of a building intersected by a vertical plane from front to back.
Lost-wax bronze casting (also called cireperdue)  a technique for casting bronze and other metals.
Low relief (also known as bas-relief)  relief sculpture in which figures and forms project only slightly from the background plane.
Luminism  an American nineteenth-century art style emphasizing the effect of light on landcape.
Lunette  (a) a semicircular area formed by the intersection of a wall and a vault; (b) a painting, relief sculpture, or window of the same shape.
Machtkunst  art used in the service of a military or other authority; literally, "power art" in German.
Magus (pl. Magi)  in the New Testament, one of the three wise men who traveled from the East to pay homage to the infant Christ.
Mandala  a cosmic diagram in Asian art.
Mandapa  a northern-style Hindu temple's assembly hall.
Mandorla  an oval or almond-shaped aureola, or radiance, surrounding the body of a holy person.
Manuscript  a handwritten book produced in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. If it has painted illustrations, it is known as an illuminated manuscript.
Martyrium  a church or other structure built over the tomb or relics of a martyr.
Masonite  a type of fiberboard used in insulation and paneling.
Mastaba  a rectangular burial monument in ancient Egypt.
Mausoleum (pl. mausolea)  an elaborate tomb (named for Mausolos, a fourth-century-B.C. ruler commemorated by a magnificent tomb at Halikarnassos).
Meander pattern  a fret or key pattern originating in the Greek Geometric period.
Medium (pl. media)  (a) the material with which an artist works (e.g., watercolor on paper); (b) the liquid substance in which pigment is suspended, such as oil or water.
Megalith  a large, undressed stone used in the construction of prehistoric monuments.
Megaron  Greek for "large room"; used principally to denote a rectangular hall, usually supported by columns and fronted by a porch, traditional in ancient Greece since Mycenaean times.
Memento mori  an image, often in the form of a skull, to remind the living of the inevitability of death.
Menhir  a prehistoric monolith standing alone or grouped with other stones.
Metonym  an allusion to a subject through the representation of something related to it or a part of it.
Metope  the square area, often decorated with relief sculpture, between the triglyphs of a Doric frieze.
Mezzanine  in architecture, an intermediate, lowceilinged story between two main stories.
Mezzotint  a method of engraving by burnishing parts of a roughened surface to produce an effect of light and shade.
Mihrāb  a niche, often highly ornamented, in the center of a qibla wall, toward which prayer is directed in an Islamic mosque.
Minaret  a tall, slender tower attached to a mosque, from which the muezzin calls the Muslim faithful to prayer.
Minbar  a pulpit from which a Muslim (Islamic) imam addresses a congregation in a ja¯mi' mosque.
Miniature  a representation executed on a much smaller scale than the original object.
Mithuna  a loving couple, symbolizing unity, in ancient south Asian art.
Mobile  a delicately balanced sculpture with movable parts that are set in motion by air currents or mechanical propulsion.
Modeling  (a) in two-dimensional art, the use of value to suggest light and shadow, and thus create the effect of mass and weight; (b) in sculpture, the creation of form by manipulating a pliable material such as clay.
Module  a unit of measurement on which the proportions of a building or work of art are based.
Molding  a continuous contoured surface, either recessed or projecting, used for decorative effect on an architectural surface.
Monastery  a religious establishment housing a community of people living in accordance with religious vows.
Monochromatic  having a color scheme based on shades of black and white, or on values of a single hue.
Monolith  a large block of stone that is all in one piece (i.e., not composed of smaller blocks), used in megalithic structures.
Monumental  being, or appearing to be, larger than life-sized.
Mosaic  the use of small pieces of glass, stone, or tile (tesserae), or pebbles to create an image on a flat surface such as a floor, wall, or ceiling.
Mosque  an Islamic (Muslim) house of worship of two main types: the masjid, used for daily prayer by individuals or small groups; and the ja¯ mi' , used for large-scale congregational prayer on the Friday sabbath and on holidays.
Motif  a recurrent element or theme in a work of art.
Mudrā  a symbolic hand gesture, usually made by a deity, in Hindu or Buddhist art. Common Buddhist mudrās include abhaya mudrā (right hand raised, palm outward and vertical), meaning "fear not"; dhyāna mudrā (hands in lap, one resting on the other, palms up, thumb tips touching), signifying meditation; Dharmachakra mudrā (hands at chest level, palms out, thumb and forefinger of each forming a circle), representing the beginning of Buddhist teaching; and bhumisparsha mudrā (left hand in lap, right hand reaching down, palm in and vertical, to ground level), symbolizing Shakyamuni Buddha's calling the earth to bear witness at the moment of his enlightenment.
Mural  a painting on a wall, usually on a large scale and in fresco.
Naive art  art created by artists with no formal training.
Naos  the inner sanctuary of an ancient Greek temple.
Narthex  a porch or vestibule in early Christian churches.
Naturalism, naturalistic  a style of art seeking to represent objects as they actually appear in nature.
Nave  in basilicas and churches, the long, narrow central area used to house the congregation.
Necking  a groove or molding at the top of a column or pilaster forming the transition from shaft to capital.
Necropolis (pl. necropoleis)  an ancient or prehistoric burial ground (literally "City of the Dead").
Nemes  a head cloth worn by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt.
Neutral  lacking color; white, gray, or black.
Niche  a hollow or recess in a wall or other architectural element, often containing a statue; a blind niche is a very shallow recess.
Nike  a winged statue representing Nike, the goddess of victory.
Nonrepresentational (or nonfigurative)  not representing any known object in nature.
Obelisk  a tall, four-sided stone, usually monolithic, that tapers toward the top and is capped by a pyramidion.
Objet trouvé  see found object.
Obverse  the side of a coin or medal considered to be the front and that bears the main image.
Oculus  a round opening in a wall or at the apex of a dome.
Oenochoe  an ancient Greek wine jug.
Oil paint  a slow-drying and flexible paint formed by mixing pigments with the medium of oil.
One-point perspective  a perspective system involving a single vanishing point.
Opisthodomos (or opisthodome)  a back chamber, especially the part of the naos of a temple farthest from the entrance.
Orant  standing with outstretched arms as if in prayer.
Orchestra  in an ancient Greek theater, a circular space used by the chorus.
Order  one of the architectural systems (Corinthian, Ionic, Doric) used by the Greeks and Romans to decorate and define the postand- lintel system of construction.
Organic  having the quality of living matter.
Orthogonals  the converging lines that meet at the vanishing point in the system of linear perspective.
Pagoda  a multistoried Buddhist reliquary tower, tapering toward the top and characterized by projecting eaves.
Painterly  in painting, using the quality of color and texture, rather than line, to define form.
Palette  (a) the range of colors used by an artist; (b) an oval or rectangular tablet used to hold and mix the pigments.
Palette knife  a knife with a flat, flexible blade and no cutting edge, used to mix and spread paint.
Papyrus  (a) a plant found in ancient Egypt and neighboring countries; (b) a paperlike writing material made from the pith of the plant.
Parapet  (a) a wall or rampart to protect soldiers; (b) a low wall or railing built for the safety of people at the edge of a balcony, roof, or other steep place.
Parchment  a paperlike material made from bleached and stretched animal hides, used in the Middle Ages for manuscripts.
Pastel  a crayon made of ground pigments and a gum binder, used as a drawing medium.
Patina  (a) the colored surface, often green, that forms on bronze and copper either naturally (as a result of oxidation) or artificially (through treatment with acid); (b) in general, the surface appearance of old objects.
Patron  the person or group that commissions a work of art from an artist.
Pedestal  the base of a column, statue, vase, or other upright work of art.
Pediment  (a) in Classical architecture, the triangular section at the end of a gable roof, often decorated with sculpture; (b) a triangular feature placed as a decoration over doors and windows.
Pendentive  in a domed building, an inwardly curving triangular section of the vaulting that provides a transition from the round base of the dome to the supporting piers.
Peplos  in ancient Greece, a woolen outer garment worn by women, wrapped in folds about the body.
Peripteral  surrounded by a row of columns or peristyle.
Peristyle  a colonnade surrounding a structure; in Roman houses, the courtyard surrounded by columns.
Perspective  the illusion of depth in a twodimensional work of art.
Pictograph  a written symbol derived from a representational image.
Picture plane  the flat surface of a drawing or painting.
Picture stone  in Viking art, an upright boulder with images incised on it.
Piece-molding  a complex technique for shaping pottery, metal, or glass objects between an inner core and an outer mold; especially suited to elaborate decoration.
Pier  a vertical support used to bear loads in an arched or vaulted structure.
Pietà  an image of the Virgin Mary holding and mourning over the dead Christ.
Pigment  a powdered substance that is used to give color to paints, inks, and dyes.
Pilaster  a flattened, rectangular version of a column, sometimes load-bearing, but often purely decorative.
Pillar  a large vertical architectural element, usually freestanding and load-bearing.
Pitched roof  see gable roof.
Plane  a surface on which a straight line joining any two of its points lies on that surface; in general, a flat surface.
Plate  (a) in engraving and etching, a flat piece of metal into which the image to be printed is cut; (b) in photography, a sheet of glass, metal, etc., coated with a light-sensitive emulsion.
Plinth  (a) in Classical architecture, a square slab immediately below the circular base of a column; (b) a square block serving as a base for a statue, vase, etc.
Podium  (a) the masonry forming the base of a temple; (b) a raised platform or pedestal.
Polychrome  consisting of several colors.
Polyptych  a painting or relief, usually an altarpiece, composed of more than three sections.
Portal  the doorway of a church and the architectural composition surrounding it.
Portico  (a) a colonnade; (b) a porch with a roof supported by columns, usually at the entrance to a building.
Portrait  a visual representation of a specific person, a likeness.
Portraiture  the art of making portraits.
Postament  (a) a pedestal or base; (b) a frame of molding for a relief.
Post-and-lintel construction  an architectural system in which upright members, or posts, support horizontal members, or lintels.
Prana  the fullness of life-giving breath that appears to animate some south and southeast Asian sculpture.
Predella  the lower part of an altarpiece, often decorated with small scenes that are related to the subject of the main panel.
Primary color  the pure hues—blue, red, yellow—from which all other colors can in theory be mixed.
Print  a work of art produced by one of the printmaking processes—engraving, etching, and woodcut.
Print matrix  an image-bearing surface to which ink is applied before a print is taken from it.
Program  the arrangement of a series of images into a coherent whole.
Pronaos  the vestibule of a Greek temple in front of the cella or naos.
Proportion  the relation of one part to another, and of parts to the whole, with respect to size, height, and width.
Propylaeum (pl. propylaea)  (a) an entrance to a temple or other enclosure; (b) the entry gate at the western end of the Acropolis, in Athens.
Protome (or protoma)  a representation of the head and neck of an animal, often used as an architectural feature.
Provenience  origin, derivation; the act of coming from a particular source.
Psalter  a copy of the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament, often illuminated.
Pseudoperipteral  appearing to have a peristyle, though some of the columns may be engaged columns or pilasters.
Pulpit  in church architecture, an elevated stand, surrounded by a parapet and often richly decorated, from which the preacher addresses the congregation.
Putto (pl. putti)  a chubby male infant, often naked and sometimes depicted as a Cupid, popular in Renaissance art.
Pylon  a pair of truncated, pyramidal towers flanking the entrance to an Egyptian temple.
Pyramidion  a small pyramid, as at the top of an obelisk.
Qibla  a wall inside the prayer hall of a mosque that is oriented toward Mecca and is, therefore, the focus of worship.
Quadrant (or half-barrel) vaulting  vaulting whose arc is one-quarter of a circle, or 90 degrees.
Quatrefoil  an ornamental "four-leaf clover" shape —i.e., with four lobes radiating from a common center.
Radiating chapels  chapels placed around the ambulatory (and sometimes the transepts) of a medieval church.
Radiocarbon dating  a method of dating prehistoric objects based on the rate of degeneration of radioactive carbon in organic materials.
Rayograph  an image made by placing an object directly on light-sensitive paper, using a technique developed by Man Ray.
Realism, realistic  attempting to portray objects from everyday life as they actually are; not to be confused with the nineteenth-century movement called Realism.
Rebus  the representation of words and syllables by pictures or symbols, the names of which sound the same as the intended words or syllables.
Rectilinear  consisting of, bounded by, or moving in, a straight line or lines.
Red-figure  describing a style of Greek pottery painting of the sixth or fifth century B.C., in which the decoration is red on a black background.
Refectory  a dining hall in a monastery or other similar institution.
Register  a range or row, especially when one of a series.
Reinforced concrete  concrete strengthened by embedding an internal structure of wire mesh or rods.
Relief  (a) a mode of sculpture in which an image is developed outward (high or low relief) or inward (sunken relief) from a basic plane; (b) a printmaking process in which the areas not to be printed are carved away, leaving the desired image projecting from the plate.
Reliquary  a casket or container for sacred relics.
Repoussé  in metalwork, decorated with patterns in relief made by hammering on the reverse side.
Representational  representing natural objects in recognizable form.
Reverse  the side of a coin or medal considered to be the back; opposite of obverse.
Rhyton  an ancient drinking vessel usually shaped like an animal or part of an animal (typically, the head).
Rib  an arched diagonal element in a vault system that defines and supports a ribbed vault.
Ribbed vault  a vault constructed of arched diagonal ribs, with a web of lighter masonry in between.
Romanticize  to glamorize or portray in a romantic, as opposed to a realistic, manner.
Roof comb  an ornamental architectural crest on top of a Maya temple.
Rosette  circular stylization of a rose.
Rose window  a large, circular window decorated with stained glass and tracery.
Rosin  a crumbly resin used in making varnishes and lacquers.
Rotunda  a circular building, usually covered by a dome.
Rune stone  in Viking art, an upright boulder with characters of the runic alphabet inscribed on it.
Rusticate  to give a rustic appearance to masonry blocks by roughening their surface and beveling their edges so that the joints are indented.
Sahn  an enclosed courtyard in an Islamic mosque, used for prayer when the interior is full.
Salon  (a) a large reception room in an elegant private house; (b) an officially sponsored exhibition of works of art.
Sanctuary  (a) the most holy part of a place of worship, the inner sanctum; (b) the part of a Christian church containing the altar.
Sarcophagus  a stone coffin, sometimes decorated with a relief sculpture.
Sarsen  a large sandstone block used in prehistoric monuments.
Saturation  see intensity.
Satyr  an ancient woodland deity with the legs, tail, and horns of a goat (or horse), and the head and torso of a man.
Schematic  diagrammatic and generalized rather than specifically relating to an individual object.
Scientific perspective  see linear perspective.
Screen wall  a nonsupporting wall, often pierced by windows.
Scriptorium (pl. scriptoria)  the room (or rooms) in a monastery in which manuscripts were produced.
Scroll  (a) a length of writing material, such as papyrus or parchment, rolled up into a cylinder; (b) a curved molding resembling a scroll (e.g., the volute of an Ionic or Corinthian capital).
Sculptured wall motif  the conception of a building as a massive block of stone with openings and spaces carved out of it.
Sculpture in the round  freestanding sculptural figures carved or modeled in three dimensions.
Secondary colors  hues produced by combining two primary colors.
Section  a diagrammatic representation of a building intersected by a vertical plane.
Serapaeum  a building or shrine sacred to the Egyptian god Serapis.
Serekh  a rectangular outline containing the name of a king in the Early Dynastic period of ancient Egypt.
Seriation  a technique for determining a chronology by studying a particular type or style and analyzing the increase or decrease in its popularity.
Sfumato  the definition of form by delicate gradations of light and shadow.
Shading  decreases in the value or intensity of colors to imitate the fall of shadow when light strikes an object.
Shaft  the vertical, cylindrical part of a column that supports the entablature.
Shikhara  (literally "mountain peak"), a northernstyle Hindu temple tower surmounting a garbha griha, typically curved inward toward the top, with vertical lobes and horizontal segments (bhūmi), and crowned by āmalaka.
Sibyl  a prophetess of the ancient, pre-Christian world.
Silhouette  the outline of an object, usually filled in with black or some other uniform color.
Silkscreen  a printmaking process in which pigment is forced through the mesh of a silkscreen, parts of which have been masked to make them impervious.
Size, sizing  a mixture of glue or resin that is used to make a ground such as canvas less porous so that paint will not be absorbed into it.
Skeletal (or steel-frame) construction  a method of construction in which the walls are supported at ground level by a steel frame consisting of vertical and horizontal members.
Skene  in a Greek theater, the stone structure behind the orchestra that served as a backdrop or stage wall.
Slip  in ceramics, a mixture of clay and water used (a) as a decorative finish or (b) to attach different parts of an object (e.g., handles to the body of a vessel).
Spacer  a small peg or ball used to separate metal, pottery, or glass objects from other objects during processes such as casting, firing, and mold-blowing.
Spandrel  the triangular area between (a) the side of an arch and the right angle that encloses it or (b) two adjacent arches.
Sphinx  in ancient Egypt, a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, an animal, or a bird.
Spolia  materials taken from an earlier building for re-use in a new one.
Springing  (a) the architectural member of an arch that is the first to curve inward from the vertical; (b) the point at which this curvature begins.
Squinch  a small single arch, or a series of concentric corbeled arches, set diagonally across the upper inside corner of a square building to facilitate the transition to a round dome or other circular superstructure.
Stained glass  windows composed of pieces of colored glass held in place by strips of lead.
State  one of the successive printed stages of a print, distinguished from other stages by the greater or lesser amount of work carried out on the image.
Steel-frame construction  see skeletal construction.
Stele  an upright stone slab or pillar, usually carved or inscribed for commemorative purposes.
Step pyramid  a pyramid constructed of mastaba forms of successively decreasing size.
Stereobate  a substructure or foundation of masonry visible above ground level.
Stigmata (pl.)  marks resembling the wounds on the crucified body of Christ (from stigma, "a mark" or "scar").
Still life  a picture consisting principally of inanimate objects such as fruit, flowers, or pottery.
Stratigraphy  a technique for determining a chronology by studying the relative locations of layers of material in an archaeological site.
Stringcourses  decorative horizontal bands on a building.
Stucco  (a) a type of cement used to coat the walls of a building; (b) a fine plaster used for moldings and other architectural decorations.
Stupa  in Buddhist architecture, a dome-shaped or rounded structure made of brick, earth, or stone, containing the relic of a Buddha or other honored individual.
Style  in the visual arts, a manner of execution that is characteristic of an individual, a school, a period, or some other identifiable group.
Stylization  the distortion of a representational image to conform to certain artistic conventions or to emphasize particular qualities.
Stylobate  the top step of a stereobate, forming a foundation for a column, peristyle, temple, or other structure.
Stylus  a pointed instrument used in antiquity for writing on clay, wax, papyrus, and parchment; a pointed metal instrument used to scratch an image on the plate used to produce an etching.
Sunken (or incised) relief  a style of relief sculpture in which the image is recessed into the surface.
Support  in painting, the surface to which the pigment is applied.
Suspension bridge  a bridge in which the roadway is suspended from two or more steel cables, which usually pass over towers and are then anchored at their ends.
Symmetria  Greek for symmetry.
Symmetry  the aesthetic balance that is achieved when parts of an object are arranged about a real or imaginary central line, or axis, so that the parts on one side correspond in some respect (shape, size, color) with those on the other.
Symposium  (a) a drinking party; (b) a social gathering at which there is a free exchange of ideas.
Synthesis  the combination of parts or elements to form a coherent, more complex whole.
Taberna  part of a Roman building fronting on a street and serving as a shop.
Talud-tablero  an architectural style typical of Teotihuacán sacred structures in which paired elements—a sloping base (the talud) supporting a vertical tablero (often decorated with sculpture or painting)—are stacked, sometimes to great heights.
Tectonic  of, or pertaining to, building or construction.
Tell  an archaeological term for a mound composed of the remains of successive settlements in the Near East.
Tempera  a fast-drying, water-based painting medium made with egg yolk, often used in fresco and panel painting.
Tenebrism  a style of painting used by Caravaggio and his followers in which most objects are in shadow, while a few are brightly illuminated.
Tenon  a projecting member in a block of stone or other building material that fits into a groove or hole to form a joint.
Tensile strength  the internal strength of a material that enables it to support itself without rupturing.
Terra-cotta  (a) an earthenware material, with or without a glaze; (b) an object made of this material.
Tertiary color  a hue produced by combining a primary color and a secondary color.
Tessera (pl. tesserae)  a small piece of colored glass, marble, or stone used in a mosaic.
Texture  the visual or tactile surface quality of an object.
Tholos  (a) a circular tomb of beehive shape approached by a long, horizontal passage; (b) in Classical times, a round building modeled on ancient tombs.
Three-dimensional  having height, width, and depth.
Thrust  the lateral force exerted by an arch, dome, or vault, which must be counteracted by some form of buttressing.
Tondo  (a) a circular painting; (b) a medallion with relief sculpture.
Toran. a  a ritual gateway in Buddhist architecture.
Trabeated  constructed according to the postand-lintel method.
Tracery  a decorative, interlaced design (as in the stonework in Gothic windows).
Transept  a cross arm in a Christian church, placed at right angles to the nave.
Transverse rib  a rib in a vault that crosses the nave or aisle at right angles to the axis of the building.
Travertine  a hard limestone used as a building material by the Etruscans and Romans.
Tribhanga  in Buddhist art, the "three bends posture," in which the head, chest, and lower portion of the body are angled instead of being aligned vertically.
Tribune  (a) the apse of a basilica or basilican church; (b) a gallery in a Romanesque or Gothic church.
Triforium  in Gothic architecture, part of the nave wall above the arcade and below the clerestory.
Triglyph  in a Doric frieze, the rectangular area between the metopes, decorated with three vertical grooves (glyphs).
Trilithon  an ancient monument consisting of two vertical megaliths supporting a third as a lintel.
Trilobed  having three rounded projections.
Triptych  an altarpiece or painting consisting of one central panel and two wings.
Trompe l'oeil  illusionistic painting that "deceives the eye" with its appearance of reality.
Trumeau  in Romanesque and Gothic architecture, the central post supporting the lintel in a double doorway.
Truss construction  a system of construction in which the architectural members (such as bars and beams) are combined, often in triangles, to form a rigid framework.
Tufa  a porous, volcanic rock that hardens on exposure to air, used as a building material.
Tumulus (pl. tumuli)  an artificial mound, typically found over a grave.
Tunnel vault  see barrel vault.
Tympanum  a lunette over the doorway of a church, often decorated with sculpture.
Type  a person or object serving as a prefiguration or symbolic representation, usually of something in the future.
Typology  the Christian theory of types, in which characters and events in the New Testament (i.e., after the birth of Jesus) are prefigured by counterparts in the Old Testament.
Underpainting  a preliminary painting, subsequently covered by the final layer(s) of paint.
Uraeus (pl. uraei)  a stylized representation of an asp, often included on the headdress of ancient rulers.
Ūrnā  in Buddhist art, a whorl of hair or protuberance between the eyebrows of a Buddha or other honored individual.
Ushnīsha  a conventional identifying topknot of hair on an image of Shakyamuni Buddha, symbolic of his wisdom.
Value  the degree of lightness (high value) or darkness (low value) in a hue.
Vanishing point  in the linear perspective system, the point at which the orthogonals, if extended, would intersect.
Vanitas  a category of painting, often a still life, the theme of which is the transitory nature of earthly things and the inevitability of death.
Vault, vaulting  a roof or ceiling of masonry constructed on the arch principle; see also barrel vault, groin vault, quadrant vaulting, ribbed vault.
Vedikā  a railing marking off sacred space in south Asian architecture, often found surrounding a Buddhist stupa or encircling the axis-pillar atop its dome anda.
Vehicle  a term often used interchangeably with medium to mean the liquid in which pigments are suspended but not dissolved and which, as it dries, binds the color to the surface of the painting.
Vellum  a cream-colored, smooth surface for painting or writing, prepared from calfskin.
Veranda  a pillared porch preceding an interior chamber, common in Hindu temples and Buddhist chaitya halls.
Verisimilitude  the quality of appearing real or truthful.
Vihāra  Buddhist monks' living quarters, either an individual cell or a space for communal activity.
Villa  (a) in antiquity and the Renaissance, a large country house; (b) in modern times, a detached house in the country or suburbs.
Visible spectrum  the colors, visible to the human eye, that are produced when white light is dispersed by a prism.
Vitreous  related to, derived from, or consisting of glass.
Volute  in the Ionic order, the spiral scroll motif decorating the capital.
Voussoir  one of the individual, wedge-shaped blocks of stone that make up an arch.
Wash  a thin, translucent coat of paint (e.g., in watercolor).
Watercolor  (a) paint made of pigments suspended in water; (b) a painting executed in this medium.
Wattle and daub  a technique of wall construction using woven branches or twigs plastered with clay or mud.
Web  in Gothic architecture, the portion of a ribbed vault between the ribs.
Westwork  from the German Westwerk, the western front of a church, containing an entrance and vestibule below, a chapel or gallery above, and flanked by two towers.
White-ground  describing a style of Greek pottery painting of the fifth century B.C., in which the decoration is usually black on a white background.
Wing  a side panel of an altarpiece or screen.
Woodcut  a relief printmaking process in which an image is carved on the surface of a wooden block by cutting away those parts that are not to be printed.
Yaksha, yakshī  indigenous south Asian fertility deities, respectively male and female, later assimilated into Buddhist art.
Ziggurat  a trapezoidal stepped structure representing a mountain in ancient Mesopotamia.

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