restricted access Glossary of Terms
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249 Glossary of Terms Glossary of Terms Allegory Artworks where one subject is represented by another. A literary or artistic device where an abstract idea is turned into a character (this is called personification allegory). For example, in classical art, Fame is always represented as a female (in baroque art, with a trumpet). Since there is no reason why Fame=Woman, the Romantic poets and critics (Goethe, Coleridge) criticised allegory as presenting an arbitrary system of relationships. (Walter Benjamin contests this view, and the place given to symbolism [q.v.] by the Romantics.) Anamorphosis A distorted picture, which is designed to seem regular when seen from a particular perspective, when it is ‘eyed awry’ (Shakespeare, Richard II Act 2 scene 2 line 19, which explains how these ‘perspective paintings’ work.) Architrave The lintel (horizontal piece of timber or stone) extending from the capital of one column to another. Art deco In French, art décoratif, literally ‘decorative art’: modernist art style of the 1920s–30s with geometrical shapes and harsh colours. Baldacchino A canopy over a throne or an altar. Baroque art used twisted columns and fringed canopies. Cartouche A framed, ornamental space for an inscription, set in an architectural wall, often in the form of a scroll. Chiaroscuro ‘Light-dark’: term in art criticism expressing the arrangement of light and shadow in a painting. Classical art The art of Greece and of Rome, up to the destruction of Rome in 410 CE; revived in Europe in Romanesque art, and more fully in the Renaissance, through such architects as Palladio (1508–1580), working with Vitruvius (c.75 BCE– 25 BCE)’s designs in De architectura (which was rediscovered in 1414). Classical architecture was revived in the seventeenth century as neo-classicism, in opposition to the baroque, which may be seen as an art form distorting classicism. Classical art insists on formality, symmetry, ‘taste’ and restraint. Classical orders The ‘order’ in architecture refers to the base of a column, the shaft, the capital and the entablature. The capital, at the head of the pillar, may be undecorated (Doric), as with Santo Agostinho’s double columns flanking the door (photograph 3). Capitals may be shaped like rams’ horns, i.e. with volutes (Ionic), as at the lowest level of São Paulo (photograph 45); these volutes begin to look like sea-shells. They may have elaborate plant-like decorations (Corinthian), as at the third level of São Paulo. The glossary here applies to terms as they are used in this book and therefore does not pretend to give complete definitions. 250 Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque Colonnade A series of columns carrying an entablature. Corbel Stone or woodwork that projects out of the wall as the end of a beam which is bearing the weight of the structure above. Cornice The ornamental surmounting on a piece of architecture; any moulding which runs along the top of a building, completing it or crowning it. Coulisse In landscape painting, what appears to either side of the picture; the term derives from the flats placed at the sides in the theatre to prevent audiences seeing into the wings; coulisses give to the painting the appearance of depth. Cupola A dome which in a church is placed above the crossing (see Transept). Entablature In a building, that which is supported by a column. It includes the architrave, the frieze and the cornice. Façade The front or face of a building usually emphasised as separate from the structure of the rest of the building. Fresco Term used for painting on walls or ceilings, specifically where pigments are applied to fresh (hence fresco), still wet lime plaster. Frieze Usually decorated, the band between the architrave and the cornice, above a row of columns. Gable The triangular upper part of a wall under a pitched roof, sometimes specially shaped. The Gaze The essence of baroque, in theory. Synonyms for it are ‘the real’ and ‘the objet a’, or perhaps what Merleau-Ponty calls ‘visibility’. Lacan suggests that something outside what can be symbolised is within the field of vision. This, because it seems to look at the viewer (but what ‘it’ is can never be identified) makes the viewer see himself as a single identity, which is an illusion. Outstandingly, this happens in the ‘Mirror Stage’. Since what it is cannot be known, all attempts to symbolise it entail decentring, creating spaces which are strange and non-symmetrical, and they give to the baroque the sense of...


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  • Art, Chinese -- China -- Macau (Special Administrative Region).
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