Alto-relievo is translated from Italian 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. At least one-half of the figure must be projecting from the surface, often appearing in a standing position.

In the illustration at right, the vertical tablet wall is used as a simple reinforcement for the sculpture, with no detail. Frequently the tablet is carved with decorations or detailed inscriptions.

Historical context

All cultures and periods where large sculptures were created used this technique as one of their sculptural options. Seen in "monumental sculpture" and architecture from ancient times to present.

ee also

*Frieze of Parnassus


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  • alto-relievo — [al′tō ri lē′vō] n. pl. alto relievos [< It alto, high + rilievo, relief; sp. infl. by RELIEF] HIGH RELIEF …   English World dictionary

  • Alto-relievo — Al to re*lie vo, n. Alto rilievo. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alto-relievo — n. (pl. os) Sculpture 1 a form of relief in which the sculptured shapes stand out from the background to at least half their actual depth. 2 a sculpture characterized by this. Etymology: ALTO + RELIEVO …   Useful english dictionary

  • alto relievo — noun a sculptural relief in which forms extend out from the background to at least half their depth • Syn: ↑alto rilievo, ↑high relief • Ant: ↑low relief (for: ↑high relief) • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • alto-relievo — or alto rilievo noun (plural alto relievos or alto rilievi) Etymology: Italian altorilievo Date: 1664 1. high relief 2. a sculpture in high relief …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • alto-relievo — [ˌaltəʊrɪ li:vəʊ] (also alto rilievo rɪ ljeɪvəʊ) noun (plural alto relievos) Art high relief. Origin C17: from Ital. alto rilievo …   English new terms dictionary

  • alto-relievo — /al toh ri lee voh/, n., pl. alto relievos. See high relief. [1710 20; < It alto rilievo high relief] * * * …   Universalium

  • alto-relievo — noun A form of sculpture in which carved figures or other objects which protrude from the background …   Wiktionary

  • ALTO-RELIEVO —    figures carved out of a tablet so as to project at least one half from its surface …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • alto-relievo — al·to re·lie·vo …   English syllables

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