Acanthus (ornament)


Acanthus (ornament)

The acanthus is one of the most common ornaments used to depict foliage. [Philippa Lewis & Gillian Darley, "Dictionary of Ornament" (1986) Pantheon: NY] 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.

Acanthus ornaments appear extensively in the capitals of the Corinthian and Composite orders, and applied to the frieze. Ancient Greek culture was the first to use the ornament, elaborated by the Romans with the ends of the leaves curled. The design continued in popularity in the Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, again during the Renaissance, and still favored in the present.

Acanthus ornaments are used for the interior of a building on the crown molding.

The design is also used in Medieval and Renaissance artwork, particularly in sculpture and wood carving and in friezes.

The relationship between acanthus ornament and the acanthus plant has been the subject of a long-standing controversy. Alois Riegl famously argued in his "Stilfragen" that acanthus ornament originated as a sculptural version of the palmette, and only later began to resemble "acanthus spinosus". [A. Riegl, tr. E. Kain, "Problems of style: foundations for a history of ornament" (Princeton, 1992), 187-206.]

ee also

* Palmette

References

External links

* [http://www.acanthustech.com/gallery/acanthus02.php Photographs of acanthus ornamentation]


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  • Acanthus (Plant) —     Acanthus     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Acanthus     A plant, indigenous to middle Europe, the leaf of which has served in all ages as an ornament, or for ornamentation. There are two varieties, one wild and thorny, and one with soft branches… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Acanthus — (plural: acanthus , rarely acanthuses (English) or acanthi (Latin), or feminine form acantha) is the Latinized form of the Greek Acanthos or Akanthos. It can also be used as the prefix Acantho , meaning thorny . It may refer to:Botany* Acanthus… …   Wikipedia

  • Acanthus (genus) — Taxobox name = Acanthus image width = 240px image caption = Acanthus montanus regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida ordo = Lamiales familia = Acanthaceae genus = Acanthus genus authority = L. subdivision ranks = Species …   Wikipedia

  • Acanthus — A*can thus, n.; pl. E. {Acanthuses}, L. {Acanthi}. [L., from Gr. ?. Cf. {Acantha}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Bot.) A genus of herbaceous prickly plants, found in the south of Europe, Asia Minor, and India; bear s breech. [1913 Webster] 2. (Arch.) An… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Acanthus spinosus — Acanthus A*can thus, n.; pl. E. {Acanthuses}, L. {Acanthi}. [L., from Gr. ?. Cf. {Acantha}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Bot.) A genus of herbaceous prickly plants, found in the south of Europe, Asia Minor, and India; bear s breech. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Acanthus (Gattung) — Akanthus Acanthus montanus Systematik Klasse: Asternähnliche (Asteridae) Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ornament — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Anything that beautifies Nouns 1. ornament, ornamentation, ornateness; adornment, decoration, embellishment, dressing, décor. 2. garnish, polish, varnish, gilding, lacquer, enamel; cosmetics (see… …   English dictionary for students

  • acanthus — acanthine /euh kan thin, thuyn/, adj. /euh kan theuhs/, n., pl. acanthuses, acanthi / thuy/. 1. any of several plants of the genus Acanthus, of the Mediterranean region, having spiny or toothed leaves and showy, white or purplish flowers. Cf.… …   Universalium

  • Ornament — I (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Ornament >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 ornament ornament Sgm: N 1 floridness c.adj floridness c.adj GRP: N 2 Sgm: N 2 turgidity turgidity turgescence Sgm: N 2 altiloquence altiloquence &c. >Adj …   English dictionary for students

  • acanthus — noun /əˈkænθəs/ a) A member of the genus Acanthus of herbaceous prickly plants with toothed leaves, (family Acanthaceae, order Scrophulariales) found in the south of Europe, Asia Minor, and India. b) An ornament resembling the foliage or leaves… …   Wiktionary


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