Glossary a


The acanthus is one of the most common ornaments used to depict folliage. Architectural ornaments are carved in stone or wood in the appearance of leaves from the Mediterranean acanthus spinosus plant, with some resemblance to thistle, poppy and parsley leaves. more..

Adam style

The Adam style (or Adamesque) is a style of neoclassical architecture and design as practised by Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728- 1792) and his brothers. more..


Adobe is a natural building material mixed from sand, clay, and straw, dung or other fibrous materials, which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick. more..

African art

African art is one of the universal cultural traditions of art that refers to every artistic artwork that originates from the continent of Africa. more..


Agate is a type of quartz (silica), chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. more..


An aisle is, in general, a space for walking with rows of seats on either side or with rows of seats on one side and a wall on the other. more..

Akrotiri (Santorini)

Akrotiri is the name of a Minoan settlement on the Greek island of Santorini. It was buried by a volcanic eruption in the 17th century BC, and as a result is remarkably well-preserved. more..


Alabaster (sometimes called satin spar) is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals: gypsum (a hydrous sulfate of calcium) and calcite (a carbonate of calcium). more..


Alto-relievo is translated from Latin as high-relief, a technique in Classical antiquity sculpture to reveal human or animal figures that project out from a solid tablet of marble or other material. more..


Amber is the common name for fossil resin or tree sap that is appreciated for its inherent and interesting mixture of colours and it is widely used for the manufacture of ornamental objects. more..

Amber Room

The original Amber Room (English sometimes Amber Chamber) in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg was a complete chamber decoration of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. more..


Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz often used as an ornament. more..


Ammolite is a rare and valuable opal-like organic gemstone found primarily along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada. more..


Ammonites are an extinct group of marine animals of the subclass Ammonoidea in the class Cephalopoda, phylum Mollusca. more..

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeastern Africa concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River, reaching its greatest extent in the second millennium BC, during the New Kingdom. more..

Ancient Egyptian Architecture

For at least ten thousand years, the Nile valley has been the site of one of the most influential civilizations in the world which developed a vast array of diverse structures which we refer to as Ancient Egyptian architecture. more..

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. more..

Andrea della Robbia

Andrea della Robbia (October 24, 1435 - August 4, 1525) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, especially in ceramics. more..


In architecture, the apse (Latin absis "arch, vault"; sometimes written apsis; plural apses) is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault. more..


An arcade is a passage or walkway more..


An arch is a curved structure capable of spanning a space while supporting significant weight (e.g. a doorway in a stone wall). more..


The architrave (also called epistyle) is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. more..


Arris is an architectural term that describes the sharp edge formed by the intersection of two surfaces, such as the corner of a masonry unit; the junction between two planes of plaster or any intersection of divergent architectural details. more..

Art Deco

Art Deco was a popular design movement from 1920 until 1939, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. more..

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau (French for 'new art') is an international style of art, architecture and design that peaked in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century (1880-1914) and is characterised by highly-stylised, flowing, curvilinear designs often incorporating floral and other plant-inspired motifs. more..

Arts and Crafts movement

The Arts and Crafts movement was a British and American aesthetic movement occurring in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. more..


Ashlar is dressed stone work of any type of stone. Ashlar blocks are large rectangular blocks of masonry sculpted to have square edges and even faces. more..


In architecture, an atrium (plural atria) is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within an office building and usually located immediately beyond the main entrance doors. more..


Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence. more..


The azulejo refers to a typical form of Portuguese or Spanish painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework. more..


Azurite is a soft, deep blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits. more..

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