Page Title

Glossary

icon place holder Anatolian Wagon with Oxen

Neolithic Period: starting around 6000 BC and lasting until roughly 3500 BC in the Near East; a time also known as the New Stone Age
domestication: taming of animals
nomadic: moving from place to place with animal herds for food and clothing
Neolithic revolution: transformation of humankind from wandering nomad to settled farmer
Mesopotamia: the arc-shaped area between the Mediterranean coast of the Near East and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is present-day Iraq
Mediterranean: the Mediterranean Sea or the lands bordering it
Tigris and Euphrates rivers: two main rivers that criss-cross ancient Mesopotamia, the area today known as Iraq
Fertile Crescent: a crescent-shaped area, rich in agriculture, from the Mediterranean coast of the Near East to the Persian Gulf
technologies: inventions that make life easier and more convenient for humankind
Anatolia: the present-day country of Turkey
millennium: one thousand-year span of time

icon place holder Egyptian Mummy Case Lid

Nut: an Egyptian sky goddess
hieroglyphics: the ancient picture-writing of the Egyptians
Anubis: Egyptian god with the head of a jackal
Horus: Egyptian god with the head of a falcon
Thoth: Egyptian god with the head of a long-billed bird called an ibis
Osiris: Egyptian god who ruled the Underworld, the land of the dead
Isis: Egyptian goddess, the wife of Osiris
afterlife: a form of existence believed to continue after death
   

icon place holder Cycladic Female Figure

Cyclades Isles: small group of islands southeast of the Greek mainland and north of Crete
Bronze Age: the time period roughly between 3500 and 1200 BC, when people made and used bronze weapons and tools
Cycladic: relating to the Cyclades Isles
flint: a type of hard stone sometimes used to cut marble or other hard materials
emery: an abrasive powdered mineral used for sanding surfaces smoothly
stratum: a level or layer of earth; the plural strata refers to multiple levels of earth
radiocarbon dating: a method of dating organic remains based on the content of carbon-14

icon place holder Minoan Ewer

Minoans: civilization that lived on the island of Crete from the late 3rd to the 2nd millennium BC
Crete: large island in the eastern Mediterranean, southeast of the Greek mainland
thrown/throwing pottery: a method for sculpting clay pottery using a spinning wheel
ewer: a vase-shaped pitcher
Aegean: the area of the Mediterranean Sea east of Greece
archaeology: the scientific study of ancient cultures through the examination of their material remains, including buildings, graves, tools, and other artifacts usually dug from the ground
archaeologist: one who studies archaeology
Mycenae: the main center of the ancient Mycenaeans on mainland Greece
Troy:  as related in the epic poem the Iliad, the great legendary city in Asia Minor
Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad: two famous 8th-century BC epic poems of mythic and heroic adventure
Knossos: located on Crete and thought to be the palace of King Minos, the setting for the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth
Minotaur: in Greek mythology, a monster with the body of a man and head of a bull that lived in the labyrinth and was fed human sacrifices until killed by Theseus
Labyrinth: in Greek mythology, the maze designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete to confine the Minotaur

icon place holder Greek Jug (Olpe)

olpe: a jug
Corinth: one of the most important Greek cities for trade and business; a resident of Corinth is known as a Corinthian
cultural diffusion: a process of borrowing styles, designs, forms, and ideas from other cultures

icon place holder Greek Amphora

amphora: a Greek pot with handles on the sides used for carrying and storing a variety of things
Amasis Painter: a famous 6th-century BC vase painter
anonymously: without recognition
black-figure style: a style of vase painting that shows the figures painted in black
slip: a thin, clay-based paint used to decorate pottery
kiln: an oven used to bake clay pots
fired/firing process: baking a clay pot to make it hard and set its shape permanently
Dionysus: Greek god of wine

icon place holder Greek Wine Cup (Kylix)

Persians: people who were part of the historical empires that ruled over the plateau in what today is the country of Iran; at the height of their empire they ruled from Greece to India, including areas of North Africa and the Near East
Athens: the capital of Greece, named after the goddess Athena and the location of the Acropolis
Pericles: supervised the rebuilding of the Acropolis and the Parthenon in 5th-century BC Greece
Acropolis: the ancient citadel of Athens that was the religious and civic focus of the city
Parthenon: a large temple to the goddess Athena on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
Golden Age of Greece: roughly the 5th century BC, when many important Greek writers, artists, and philosophers lived
Plato and Aristotle: two of the most important Greek writers/philosophers
kylix: a drinking cup for wine
red-figure style: a style of vase painting in which the figures are left in a reddish color, the natural color of the clay
conservation: cleaning or making repairs to an object; one who does this work is called a conservator

icon place holder Etruscan Mirror

Etruscan/Etruria: a civilization that flourished in what is now west-central Italy roughly from 1000 to 500 BC; the area they lived in is known as Etruria
Herodotus: an ancient Greek historian
immigrant: person who moves from one place to another
bilingual: mastery of two languages
aqueducts: narrow, bridge-like passages for transporting water
engraved: a surface that has been incised or cut into
Judgement of Paris: a Greek myth that involves Paris as an impartial judge of three women
pumice: lava rock
Athena: Greek goddess of war
Hera: Greek queen of the gods
Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love
Paris: in Greek mythology, a Trojan prince whose abduction of Helen, the wife of Menelaus, started the Trojan War
sea-faring:  having to do with navigating the seas

icon place holder Roman Bust

portrait bust: a sculpture showing just the head and shoulders
Emperor Septimius Severus: emperor of Rome, 193–211 AD
Serapis: a god cherished by the Egyptians
Emperor Marcus Aurelius: Septimius’s predecessor
Brittania: the northernmost area of the Roman Empire, today known as England
Hadrian’s Wall: a massive defensive structure built in northern Brittania during the Roman Empire

icon place holder Roman Mosaic Floor

engineering: designing and building
amphitheater: a round or oval building without a roof that has a central open space surrounded by tiers of seats, used by the ancients for public entertainment
concrete: a strong building material made of cement, gravel, sand, and water
mosaics: composed of small pieces of colored stones or ceramic material, laid into patterns and designs in wet cement
Antioch: a chief city in ancient Syria

icon place holder Russian Icon

icon: a Greek word meaning “likeness,” refers to the image of a religious figure
Orthodox Church: a group of Christians who claim origins extending directly back to Jesus and the apostles and consider themselves to be preservers of the original teachings and traditions
St. Nicholas: a 4th-century bishop from Turkey
Constantinople: modern-day Istanbul
patron saint: a saint whom followers believe to be the special guardian of somebody or something, especially a country, trade, or group of people
gesso: a plaster and glue mixture used as a primer or base coat for painting
egg tempera: a paint made from egg yolk and powdered pigment
iconostasis: a wall of icons that separates the altar area from the rest of the church
Novgorod school: a group of icon painters living and working together in Novgorod, Russia
Byzantine: relating to the Byzantine Empire, the eastern part of the late Roman Empire
iconoclasm: destroying of images

icon place holder French Processional Cross

reliquary: container for a relic
relic: an item associated with a holy person
True Cross: the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified
Latin cross: the most common type of cross, with a long vertical bar crossed by a shorter horizontal one
procession: a solemn religious parade
Crucifix: a cross with Jesus on it
four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Limoges, France: a town positioned on major pilgrimage routes
pilgrimage: journey to view and honor relics, sometimes in hopes of curing illnesses or setting life on a new course
enameling: the process of applying pastes of different colors in metal frames to create an effect similar to colored glass
Crusades: battles and missions that occurred during the 11th to the 14th centuries to reclaim Jerusalem for Christianity
Jerusalem: central city in the Holy Land
Holy Land: the area of the Near East close to the Mediterranean which is important to Muslims, Jews, and Christians
Muslim: somebody who believes in and practices Islam

icon place holder French Reliquary (Chasse)

chasse: a small casket-shaped object
halo: a circle of light around or behind the head of a holy person
evangelist: a writer of the Gospels
Gospel: a story of Jesus Christ's life and his teachings

icon place holder German Altarpiece Panels: Master of the Holy Kinship

altarpiece:  artwork used as a painted background for an altar
altar: a table-like structure placed near the front of the church, where the priest performs religious services
triptych: a three-panel altarpiece
Bethlehem: the town in which Jesus was born
Magi: wise men from the East
Resurrection: the event in which Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after he was crucified
workshop: a place where paintings are produced by a group of artists working together
master: the head painter of a workshop
apprentice: trainees in a workshop
Master of the Holy Kinship: a painter who was known to have painted the holy kinship
holy kinship: the holy family
Cologne, Germany: a city with a rich artistic tradition
Renaissance: a word that means “rebirth;” the period in European history from roughly the 14th through 16th centuries regarded as marking the end of the Middle Ages and featuring major cultural and artistic changes
donor: the person who paid for an artwork to be made

icon place holder German Prints: Dürer

Albrecht Dürer: a 15th-century German artist
draftsman: an artist who makes drawings
printmaker: an artist who makes prints
theorist: a philosopher who applies his or her ideas to a craft
cultural ambassador: a diplomat sent to other governments on important cultural matters
woodcut: a print made from a carved wooden plate
engraving: a print made by scratching into metal
St. Jerome: a 5th-century scholar who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin
Vulgate: the Latin Bible
perspective: the technique of representing on a two-dimensional plane the spatial, three-dimensional relationship of objects as they appear to the eye
Johannes Gutenberg: the inventor of movable type
movable type: a system, credited to Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s, of allowing individual letters to be arranged to form words and mass-produce printed copy

icon place holder Italian Panel Painting: Lippi-Pesellino Follower

Virgin Mary: the mother of Jesus
Christ Child: the infant Jesus of Nazareth
John the Baptist: the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth who preached and anointed people with water
Fra Filippo Lippi: 15th-century artist from Florence, Italy
Pesellino: 15th-century artist from Florence, Italy
tooling: to shape, form, finish, or make raised designs and patterns with a tool
transparent: see-through
apothecaries: pharmacists
geometric: having to do with geometry—as in spheres, cones, and cylinders

icon place holder Italian Fresco: Marco Pino da Siena

virtues: good traits
Humanism: focused on life on earth, rather than life after death
fresco: a painting made on wet plaster
Livy: an ancient writer of Roman history
Scipio Africanus: a Roman general
Carthage: a North African city, which was attacked and captured by Scipio Africanus
palazzo: Italian word for “palace”
cartoon: a line drawing that established the basic composition of a planned work of art
giornata: the section of a plaster painting completed in one day

icon place holder Dutch Still Life: De Ring

still life: a painting of inanimate (nonliving) objects
Netherlands: the Low Countries, which includes Holland
vanity: excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments
composition: putting together artstic elements to make a whole, complete work of art
Protestant Reformation: a 16th-century religious movement that rejected some Catholic doctrines and practices
hidden symbolism: the use of symbols to invest things with a meaning or to represent something abstract with something concrete

icon place holder Dutch Print: Rembrandt

Dutch Republic: a political unit with elected representatives comprising the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands, dating between 1581 and 1795
commissions: contracts and agreements between donors and artists
landscape: a painting of an outdoor scene
portrait: a painting depicting people
genre: a scene of everyday subjects, things, or events
etching: a print made on an acid-etched metal plate
chiaroscuro: a strong contrast of dark and light
Ecce Homo: “Behold the Man,” words spoken by Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate: a Roman governor of Judea at the time of Jesus Christ
Judea: the territory from Jerusalem south along the Judean mountain ridgeline, extending east from the mountains down to the Dead Sea

icon place holder Italian Allegory: Solimena

 

Francesco Solimena: an 18th-century Italian artist known for large altarpieces in the Baroque style
allegory: a symbolic representation
vices: immoral or wicked habits or characteristics
civic: connected with city administration
altarpiece: a painted and/or sculpted work of art that stands as a religious image at an altar
Baroque style: a dramatic style of art and architecture
Catholic Reformation: a movement of reform within the Catholic Church in the mid- to late-16th century
Catholic Church: the Christian church under the pope
Apollo: Greek god of prophecy, music, poetry, and inspiration