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Archaic smile

The archaic smile was used by sculptors in Archaic Greece, especially in the second quarter of the 6th century BCE, possibly to suggest that their subject was alive, and infused with a sense of well-being. One of the most famous examples of the A ...

                                               

Baekje smile

In Korean art history, the Baekje smile is the common smile motif found in Baekje sculpture and bas-relief. Baekje figures express a unique smile that has been described as both enigmatic and subtle. The smile has been also been characterized in ...

                                               

The Banquet of Cleopatra

The Banquet of Cleopatra is the title of several works showing the culmination of a wager between Cleopatra and Mark Antony as to which one could provide the most expensive feast. As recounted in Pliny the Elders Natural History she wins the wage ...

                                               

Bathsheba

Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later of David, according to the Hebrew Bible. She is most known for the biblical narrative in which she was summoned by King David, who had seen her bathing and lusted after her. She was the mother ...

                                               

Bean-feast

A bean-feast was an informal term for a celebratory meal or party, especially an annual summer dinner given by an employer to his or her employees, probably derived from a tradition in the Low Countries at Twelfth Night. By extension, colloquiall ...

                                               

Bucket and cone

Bucket and Cone refer to twin attributes that are frequently held in the hands of winged genies depicted in numerous ancient cultures worldwide but particularly and most famously Neo-Assyrian art and especially Assyrian palace reliefs - sometimes ...

                                               

Casket with Scenes of Romances (Walters 71264)

The object called by the museum Casket with Scenes of Romances is a French Gothic ivory casket made in Paris between 1330 and 1350, and now in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland. The casket is 4 5/8 inches high, 9 15/16 inches wide and 5 ...

                                               

Circle of stars

A circle of stars often represents unity, solidarity and harmony in flags, seals and signs, and is also seen in iconographic motifs related to the Woman of the Apocalypse as well as in Baroque allegoric art that sometimes depicts the Crown of Imm ...

                                               

Confronted animals

Confronted animals, or confronted-animal as an adjective, where two animals face each other in a symmetrical pose, is an ancient bilateral motif in art and artifacts studied in archaeology and art history. The "anti-confronted animals" is the opp ...

                                               

The Continence of Scipio

The Continence of Scipio, or The Clemency of Scipio, is an episode recounted by Livy of the Roman general Scipio Africanus during his campaign in Spain during the Second Punic War. He refused a generous ransom for a young female prisoner, returni ...

                                               

Conversation piece

A conversation piece is an informal group portrait, especially those painted in Britain in the 18th century, beginning in the 1720s. They are distinguished by their portrayal of the group apparently engaged in genteel conversation or some activit ...

                                               

Crown of Immortality

The Crown of Immortality is a literary and religious metaphor traditionally represented in art first as a laurel wreath and later as a symbolic circle of stars. The Crown appears in a number of Baroque iconographic and allegoric works of art to i ...

                                               

Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc has inspired artistic and cultural works for nearly six centuries. The following lists cover various media to include items of historic interest, enduring works of high art, and recent representations in popular culture. The entries r ...

                                               

Death and the Maiden (motif)

Death and the Maiden was a common motif in Renaissance art, especially painting and prints in Germany. The usual form shows just two figures, with a young woman being seized by a personification of Death, often shown as a skeleton. Variants may i ...

                                               

Depictions of Muhammad

The permissibility of depictions of Muhammad in Islam has been a contentious issue. Oral and written descriptions of Muhammad are readily accepted by all traditions of Islam, but there is disagreement about visual depictions. The Quran does not e ...

                                               

Devotional pictures for swallowing

Schluckbildchen ; from German, which means literally "swallowable pictures", are small notes of paper that have a sacred image on them with the purpose of being swallowed. They were used as a religious practice in the folk medicine throughout the ...

                                               

Diana and Actaeon

The myth of Diana and Actaeon can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The tale recounts the unfortunate fate of a young hunter named Actaeon, who was a grandson of Cadmus, and his encounter with chaste Artemis, known to the Romans as Diana, goddess ...

                                               

Early Anatolian animal carpets

Anatolian animal carpets represent a special type of pile-woven carpet, woven in the geographical region of Anatolia during the Seljuq and early Ottoman period, corresponding to the 14th–16th century. Very few animal-style carpets still exist tod ...

                                               

Portraiture of Elizabeth I of England

The portraiture of Elizabeth I of England illustrates the evolution of English royal portraits in the Early Modern period from the representations of simple likenesses to the later complex imagery used to convey the power and aspirations of the s ...

                                               

Emblem book

An emblem book is a book collecting emblems with accompanying explanatory text, typically morals or poems. This category of books was popular in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. Emblem books are collections of sets of three elements: an ...

                                               

Et in Arcadia ego

Et in Arcadia ego is a 1637–38 painting by Nicolas Poussin, the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style. It depicts a pastoral scene with idealized shepherds from classical antiquity gathered around an austere tomb. It is held in th ...

                                               

Father Time

Father Time is the personification of time. In recent centuries he is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, sometimes with wings, dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device. As an image "Father Time ...

                                               

Feast of the Gods (art)

The Feast of the Gods or Banquet of the Gods as a subject in art showing a group of deities at table has a long history going back into antiquity. Showing Greco-Roman deities, it enjoyed a revival in popularity in the Italian Renaissance, and the ...

                                               

Fertility in art

Fertility in art refers to any artistic work representing or portraying fertility, which usually refers to successful breeding among humans, although it may also mean successful agriculture and animal husbandry. It includes engravings, drawings, ...

                                               

Fidelity (art and symbolism)

Fidelity when personified in Western art stands for the secular aspect of Faith, or the trust that exists between a master and servant, or in family relationships. Fidelity is often represented as a woman, shown holding a golden seal and a key, b ...

                                               

Fig leaf

The expression fig leaf is widely used figuratively to convey the covering up of an act or an object that is embarrassing or distasteful with something of innocuous appearance, a metaphorical reference to the Biblical Book of Genesis in which Ada ...

                                               

Green Man

The Green Man is primarily interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, represented in the cycle of growth each spring. It is most commonly depicted as a sculpture or other representation of a face surrounded by, or made from, leaves. The Green Man motif ...

                                               

Hercules at the crossroads

Hercules at the crossroads, also known as the choice of Hercules and the judgement of Hercules, is an ancient Greek parable attributed to Prodicus and known from Xenophon. It concerns the young Heracles/Hercules who is offered a choice between Vi ...

                                               

Heroic nudity

Heroic nudity or ideal nudity is a concept in classical scholarship to describe the un-realist use of nudity in classical sculpture to show figures who may be heroes, deities, or semi-divine beings. This convention began in Archaic and Classical ...

                                               

Historiated initial

A historiated initial is an initial, an enlarged letter at the beginning of a paragraph or other section of text, that contains a picture. Strictly speaking, a historiated initial depicts an identifiable figure or a specific scene, while an inhab ...

                                               

Horned deity

Hathor is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with head horns in which is set a sun disk with Uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace. Hathor may be the cow goddess who is depicted from an early ...

                                               

Iconclass

Iconclass is a specialized library classification designed for art and iconography. It was originally conceived by Henri van de Waal, and was further developed by a group of scholars after his death.

                                               

Inhabited initial

An inhabited initial is an initial, an enlarged letter at the beginning of a paragraph or other section of text that contains an illustration of human or animal figures within the letter. It is similar to a historiated initial; however, the figur ...

                                               

Interlace (art)

In the visual arts, interlace is a decorative element found in medieval art. In interlace, bands or portions of other motifs are looped, braided, and knotted in complex geometric patterns, often to fill a space. Interlacing is common in the Migra ...

                                               

Justice of Trajan

The Justice of Trajan is a legendary episode in the life of Roman Emperor Trajan, based upon Dio Cassius account: "He did not, however, as might have been expected of a warlike man, pay any less attention to the civil administration nor did he di ...

                                               

Labours of the Months

The term Labours of the Months refers to cycles in Medieval and early Renaissance art depicting in twelve scenes the rural activities that commonly took place in the months of the year. They are often linked to the signs of the Zodiac, and are se ...

                                               

Leda and the Swan

Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces Leda. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing ...

                                               

Levkas

Within the field of icon painting, levkas is the mixture of fine alabaster powder, calcium sulfate, or calcium carbonate along with glue applied in layers to a surface prior to gilding that surface with gold leaf or painting it, similar to gesso. ...

                                               

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae

The Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae is a multivolume encyclopedia cataloguing representations of mythology in the plastic arts of classical antiquity. Published serially from 1981 to 2009, it is the most extensive resource of its kin ...

                                               

Liberty (personification)

The concept of liberty has frequently been represented by personifications, often loosely shown as a female classical goddess. Examples include Marianne, the national personification of the French Republic and its values of Liberte, Egalite, Frat ...

                                               

Liberty pole

A liberty pole is a wooden pole, or sometimes spear or lance, surmounted by a "cap of liberty", mostly of the Phrygian cap form outside the Netherlands. The symbol originated in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of the Roman dictator J ...

                                               

The lamb and lion

"The lamb with the lion" – often a paraphrase from Isaiah, and more closely quoted as "the lion and lamb ", "a child will lead them ", and the like – are an artistic and symbolic device, most generally related to peace. The symbol is used in both ...

                                               

Manga iconography

Japanese manga has developed its own visual language or iconography for expressing emotion and other internal character states. This drawing style has also migrated into anime, as many manga stories are adapted into television shows and films. Wh ...

                                               

Master of Animals

The Master of Animals or Lord of Animals is a motif in ancient art showing a human between and grasping two confronted animals. It is very widespread in the art of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. The figure is normally male, but not always, the ...

                                               

Merry company

Merry company is the term in art history for a painting, usually from the 17th century, showing a small group of people enjoying themselves, usually seated with drinks, and often music-making. These scenes are a very common type of genre painting ...

                                               

Modius (headdress)

The modius is a type of flat-topped cylindrical headdress or crown found in ancient Egyptian art and art of the Greco-Roman world. The name was given by modern scholars based on its resemblance to the jar used as a Roman unit of dry measure, but ...

                                               

Mongol elements in Western medieval art

Mongol elements in Western medieval art can be seen in European works of art ranging from the 13th to the 15th century. They encompass artistic areas such as painting and textile manufacture, and mainly consist in the European use of Mongol Phags ...

                                               

Motif (visual arts)

In art and iconography, a motif) is an element of an image. A motif may be repeated in a pattern or design, often many times, or may just occur once in a work.

                                               

Mural crown

A mural crown is a crown or headpiece representing city walls or towers. In classical antiquity, it was an emblem of tutelary deities who watched over a city, and among the Romans a military decoration. Later the mural crown developed into a symb ...

                                               

Nilotic landscape

Nilotic landscape is any artistic representation of landscapes that emulates or is inspired by the Nile river in Egypt. The term was coined to refer primarily to such landscapes created outside of Egypt, especially in the Aegean, though it is occ ...