AP Art History Vocabulary

Anthropomorphic
Anthropomorphic
In the shape of a human
Archaeology
Archaeology
The Study of Artifacts
Composite View
Composite View
A view of the frontal and profile(side) together
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Composition
Composition
What an art piece is made of
Cong
Cong
A hollow cylinder or cone enclosed in a rectangular body
Cromlech
Cromlech
A circle of standing stones
Henge
Henge
A prehistoric monument consisting of a circle of stone or wooden uprights
Lintel
Lintel
A horizontal support of timber, stone, concrete, or steel across the top of a door or window
Megalith
Megalith
A large stone that forms a prehistoric monument or part of one
Menhir
Menhir
A tall upright stone of a kind, erected in prehistoric times in Western Europe
Mortise and Tenon
Mortise and Tenon
A slot or recess, usually rectangular, cut into a piece of wood or stone, a projecting piece of wood made for insertion in a slot (definition above) of another piece.
Mural
Mural
A painting on a wall.
Paleolithic
Paleolithic
Human era before the development of agriculture
Post and Lintel
Post and Lintel
Two pillars supporting a Column above to make a large n shape. (Pillar and Column)
Radio Carbon Dating
A technique to determine the age of organic material based on the 14C that the material acquired from the air.
Shamanism
Range of traditional beliefs and practices that include the abililty to cure, diagnose and sometimes cause suffering by creating a relationship with, or gaining control, over spirits.
Stylized
To generalize something, for example: All popular girls have expensive clothes.
Terracotta
Terracotta
Unglazed, usually brownish-red earthenware used as ornamental building materials and in modeling.
Amarna Style
Art created during the reign of Akhenaton, which features a more relaxed figure style than in Old and Middle Kingdom art
Ankh
An Egyptian symbol of life
Axial Plan
A building with an elongated ground plan
Block Statue
A cubic stone image with simplified body parts
Canon
A set of rules, principles, or standards accepted universally in a field of art. IE. the Egyptian Canon
Clerestory
A roof that rises above lower roofs and thus has window space beneath
Engaged Column
A column that is not freestanding but attached to a wall
Fresco
A painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling.
Hieroglyphics
Egyptian writing using symbols or pictures as characters
Hypostyle
A hall in an Egyptian temple that has a roof supported by a dense thicket of coolmns
In Situ
A Latin expression that means that something is in its original locationo
Ka
The soul, or spiritual esseence, of a human being that either ascends to heaven or can live in an Egyptian statue itself
Mastaba
Arabic for “bench”, a low, flat-roofed Egyptian tomb with sides slopng down to the ground
Necropolis
Literally, a “city of the dead”, a large burial area
Nemes
Nemes
The striped headcloth worn by Pharoahs in Ancient Egypt
Papyrus
Papyrus
A tall aquatic plant whose fiber is used as writing surface in ancient Egypt
Peristyle
Peristyle
A colonnade surronding a building or enclosing a courtyard
Pharaoh
Pharaoh
A king of ancient Egypt
Pictograph
Pictograph
A picture representing a word, phrase, or idea. (Ex. Hieroglyphics and Cuneiform)
Pylon
A monumental gateway to an Egyptian temple marked by two flat, sloping walls between which is a smaller entrance
Reserve Column
A column that is cut away from rock but as no support function
Sarcophagus
A stone coffin
Sunken Relief
A carving in which the outlines of figures are deeply carved into a surface so that the figures seem to project forward
Apadana
An audience hall in a Persian palace
Apotropaic
Having the power to ward off evil or bad luck
Bas-relief
A very shallow relief sculpture
Capital
The top element of a column
Cella
The main room of a temple where the god is housed
City-State
A city that has its own government in which controls all government affairs pertaining to that city.
Cuneiform
A system of writing in which the strokes are formed in a wedge, or arrowhead shape
Facade
The front of a building
Ground Line
A base line upon which figures stand
Hierarchy of Scale
A system of representation that expresses a person’s importance by the size of his or her representation in a work of art.
Lamassu
A colossal winged human-headed bull in Assyrian art
Negative Space
Empty space around an object or a person, such as the cut-out areas between a figure’s legs or arms of a sculpture
Register
A horizontal band, often on top of another, that tell a narrative story
Relief Sculpture
Sculpture that projects from a flat background.
Stele
A stone slab used to mark a grave or a sit
Votive
Offered in fulfillment of a vow or a pledge
Ziggurat
A pyramid-like building made of several stories that indent as the building gets taller, thus, ziggurats have terraces at each level
Ionic
An order of Greek architecture that features columns with scrolled capitals and an upper story with sculptures that are in friezes
Isocephalism
The tradition of depicting heads of figures on the same level
Kiln
An oven used for making pottery
Kouros
An archaic Greek sculpture of a standing youth
Krater
A large ancient Greek bowl used for mixing water and wine
Metope
A small relief sculpture on the facade of a Greek temple
Mosaic
A decoration using pieces of stone, marble, or colored glass, called tesserae, that are cemented to a wall or a floor
Nike
Ancient Greek goddess of victory
Niobe
The model of a grieving mother; after boasting of her twelve children, jealous gods killed them.
Panathenaic Way
A ceremonial road for a procession built to honor Athena during a festival
Pediment
The triangular top of a temple that contains sculpture
Peplos
A garment worn by women in ancient Greece, usually full length and tied at the waist
Peristyle
A colonnade surrounding a building or enclosing a courtyard
Portico
An entranceway to a building having columns supporting a roof
Propylaeu
A gateway leading to a Greek temple
Shaft
The body of a column
Stoa
An ancient Greek covered walkway having columns on one side and a wall on the other
Tholos
An ancient Greek circular shrine
Triglyph
A projecting grooved element alternating with a metope on a Greek temple
Zeus
King of the ancient Greek gods; known as Jupiter to the Romans; god of the sky and weather
Stucco
A fine plaster used for wall decorations or moldings
Terra-cotta
A hard ceramic clay used for building or for making pottery
Triclinium
A dining table in ancient Rome that has a couch on three sides for reclining meals
Tufa
A porous rock similar to limestone
Tumulus
An artificial mound of earth and stones placed over a grave
Tuscan order
An order of ancient architecture featuring slender, smooth columns that sit on simple bases; no carvings on the frieze or in the capitals
Ashlar masonry
Carefully cut and grooved stones that support a building without the use of concrete or other kinds of masonry
Atrium
A courtyard in a Roman house or before a Christian church
Basilica
In Roman architecture, a large axially planned building with a nave, side aisles, and apses
Bust
A sculpture depicting a head, neck, and upper chest of a figure
Coffer
In architecture, a sunken panel in a ceiling
Composite Column
One that contains a combination of volutes from the Ionic order and acanthus leaves from the Corinthian Order
Continuous Narrative
A work of art that contains several scenes of the same story painted or sculpted in a single frame
Contrapposto
A graceful arrangement of the body based on tilted shoulders and hips and bent knees
Cubiculum
A Roman bedroom flanking an atrium; in Early Christian art, a mortuary chapel in a catacomb
Cupola
A small dome rising over the roof of a building; in architecture, a _____ is achieved by rotating an arch on its axis
Encaustic
An ancient method of painting that uses colored waxes burned into a wooden surface
Foreshortening
A visual effect in which an object is shortened and turned deeper into the picture plane to give the effect of receding in space
Forum
A public square or market place in a Roman city
Impluvium
A rectangular basin in a Roman house that is placed in the open-air atrium in order to collect rainwater
Keystone
The center stone of an arch that holds the others in place
Oculus
A circular window in a church, or a round opening at the top of a dome
Perspective
Depth and recession in a painting or relief sculptures
Linear Perspective
A three-dimensionality in the two-dimensional world of the picture plane
Orthogonals
All lines that draw the viewer back in space to a common point
Vanishing point
The common point in which orthogonals draw viewers to
Atmospheric or Aerial Perspective
Landscapes that give the illusion of distance
Pier
A vertical support that holds up an arch or a vault
Spandrel
A triangular space enclosed by the curves of arches
Vault
A roof constructed with arches
Barrel Vault
When an arch is extending in space and forms a tunnel
Groin Vault
When two barrel vaults intersect at right angles
Veristic
Sculptures from the Roman Republic characterized by extreme realism of facial features
Ambulatory
A passageway around the apse or altar of a church
Apse
The endpoint of a church where the altar is located
Atrium
A courtyard in a Roman house or before a Christian church
Axial Plan
A church with a long nave whose focus is the apse, so-called becaquse it is designed along an axis
Basilica
In Christian architecture, an axially planned church with a long nave, side aisles, and an apse for the altar
Catacomb
An underground passageway used for burial
Central Plan
A church having a circular plan with the altar in the middle
Clerestory
The third, or window, story of a church
Coffer
In architecture, a sunken panel in a ceiling
Crossing
The junction of the four arms of a cruciform (cross-shaped) church.
Cubicula
Small underground rooms in catacombs serving as mortuary chapels
Folio
An individual leaf of paper or parchment, numbered on the recto or front side only, occurring either loose as one of a series or forming part of a bound volume
Gospels
The first four books of the New Testament that chronicle the life of Jesus
Illuminated manuscript
A manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials, borders (marginalia) and miniature illustrations.
Loculi
Openings in the walls of catacombs to receive the dead
Lunette
A crescent-shaped space, sometimes over a doorway, that contains sculpture or painting
Narthex
The closest part of the atrium to the basilica, it serves as a vestibule, or lobby, of a church
Nave
The main aisle of a church
Orant Figure
A figure with its hands raised in prayer
Spolia
In art history, the reuse of architectural or sculptural pieces in buildings generally different from their original contexts
Transept
An aisle in a church perpendicular to the nave, where the clergy originally stood.
Vellum
Fine parchment made originally from the skin of a calf.
Cathedral
The principal church of a diocese, where a bishop sits
Codex
A manuscript book
Continuous Narrative
A work of art that contains several scenes of the same story painted or sculpted in a single frame
Cornice
A projecting ledge over a wall
Eucharist
The bread sanctified by the priest at the Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Support
Genesis
First book of the Bible that details Creation, the Flood, Rebecca at the Well, and Jacob Wrestling the Angel, among other episodes
Icon
A devotional panel depicting the sacred image
Iconostasis
A screen decorated with icons, which separates the apse from the transept of a church
Martyrium
A shrine built over a place of martyrdom or a grave of a martyred Christian Saint
Mosaic
A decoration using pieces of stone, marble, or colored glass, called tesserae, that are cemented to a wall or a floor
Paten
A plate, dish, or bowl used to hold the Eucharist at a Christian ceremony
Pendentive
A construction shaped like a triangle that transitions the space between flat walls and the base of a round dome
Psalter
A copy of the biblical psalms
Squinch
The polygonal base of a dome that makes a transition from the round dome to a flat wall
Theotokos
The Virgin Mary in her role as the Mother of God

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