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ornament,in architecture, decorative detail enhancing structures. Structural ornament, an integral part of the framework, includes the shaping and placement of the buttressbuttress,
mass of masonry built against a wall to strengthen it. It is especially necessary when a vault or an arch places a heavy load or thrust on one part of a wall. In the case of a wall carrying the uniform load of a floor or roof, it is more economical to buttress it at
..... Click the link for more information. , cornicecornice
, molded or decorated projection that forms the crowning feature at the top of a building wall or other architectural element; specifically, the uppermost of the three principal members of the classic entablature, hence by extension any similar crowning and projecting
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in architecture, furniture, and decorative objects, a surface or group of surfaces of projecting or receding contours. A molding may serve as a defining element, terminating a unit or an entire composition (e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. , ceiling, and roofroof,
overhead covering of a building with its framework support. Various methods of construction, such as are suited to different climates, have diversified exterior and interior architectural effects.
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in architecture, the crowning member of a column, pilaster, or pier. It acts as the bearing member beneath the lintel or arch supported by the shaft and has a spreading contour appropriate to its function.
..... Click the link for more information. and other elements of the column, as well as the use of building materials of contrasting color or texture. Applied ornament embraces the adornment of structural members with statuary, carving, molding, paint, inlay, mosaic, and facings. The design of ornament has followed the artistic development of various eras, reaching the height of exuberance during the baroque. See decorative artsdecorative arts,
term referring to a variety of applied visual arts, both two- and three-dimensional, including textiles, metalwork, ceramics, books, and woodwork, as well as to certain aspects of architecture (see ornament), public buildings, and private houses (see interior
..... Click the link for more information. and articles on the architecture of individual countries and periods, e.g., Egyptian architectureEgyptian architecture,
the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, formulated prior to 3000 B.C. and lasting through the Ptolemaic period (323–30 B.C.). Characteristics of Egyptian Architecture
..... Click the link for more information. and Gothic architecture and artGothic architecture and art,
structures (largely cathedrals and churches) and works of art first created in France in the 12th cent. that spread throughout Western Europe through the 15th cent., and in some locations into the 16th cent.
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See O. Jones The Grammar of Ornament (1869, repr. 1972); A. D. F. Hamlin, A History of Ornament (2 vol., 1916–23); J. Evans, Style in Ornament (1950).
ornament,in music, notes added to a melodic line for the purpose of embellishment or decoration, often called graces. Ornamentation was practiced as early as the Middle Ages by the singers of plainsong, and the practice seems to have reached its height in the baroque era. Treatises were written and attempts made to standardize practices. Symbols were adopted as a kind of shorthand for the notation of some ornaments, others were written out in complete notation, and still others were left to the discretion of the solo performer—often the composer himself. Since the baroque era, composers have attempted to indicate their intentions regarding ornaments in precise notation. In the 20th cent. the tendency has been toward a minimum of ornamentation; however, the same period has seen extensive research to make possible the performance of baroque music in the manner of the baroque era.
Ornament: Animal forms
hip knob ornament
olive leaf cluster
a patterned design consisting of rhythmically ordered elements that is used to decorate various objects (utensils, weapons, textiles, furniture, and books), architecture (both the interior and exterior), and works of the plastic, primarily applied, arts. Primitive peoples also ornament the body with paint or tattoos. Ornament is integrated with the surface that it embellishes or visually organizes and, as a rule, brings out or accentuates the structure of the object to which it is applied. Ornament consists of abstract forms or stylized realistic motifs which are often simplified beyond recognition.
The origins of ornament are not entirely clear. Ornament is a form of aesthetic interpretation of human activity, viewing that activity as something that creatively transforms and lends order to nature. There is no question that technological processes were partly responsible for the ornamentation of objects. Many of the geometric motifs on the most ancient vessels were very likely produced by the impression of bits of wickerwork on the clay, and other ornamental forms may have arisen from different textile weaves.
A ritualistic or magical role was basic to the oldest forms of ornament, which made broad use of signs, symbols, and stylized depictions of magical or religious themes. A poetic, folkloric attitude toward the world is reflected in ornament, especially in folk art, where ornament is most common. Over time, the ancient ornamental motifs lost their original meaning yet retained their decorative and structural expressiveness. Aesthetic demands of society played an important role in the origin and subsequent development of ornament: the rhythmic regularity of generalized motifs was an early means of artistic interpretation of the world, permitting comprehension of the orderliness and symmetry of life.
The origins of ornament go back to the earliest historical eras, with its rudiments being established in the Paleolithic. In the aesthetic culture of the Neolithic, ornament achieved great variety of form and occupied a dominant position in art. Later, with the development of specific representational forms in the plastic arts, ornament lost its dominant position and intellectual importance but nonetheless retained an important organizing and embellishing role in the plastic arts.
Every era, every style, and every consistently developed national culture has developed its own system of ornamentation. Therefore, ornament is a reliable indication of the period and country to which a given work belongs. It has attained the greatest development in places where the tendency to stylization predominated: in the ancient Orient, pre-Columbian America, ancient and medieval Asia, and medieval Europe. In folk art, whose origins go back to the periods of pre-class and early class-structured society, persistent principles and forms of ornament develop, which to a large extent determine national artistic traditions.
The formal characteristics of ornament include decorative stylization, two-dimensionality, and an organic connection between ornament and the surface to which it is applied. Ornament always organizes this surface and often brings out the structural logic of the object itself. Not every patterned design can be considered ornament. For example, a patterned fabric having an infinitely repetitious design is not, strictly speaking, ornamental. According to the composition dictated by the form of the object being embellished, ornament may be in the form of a band, a centric pattern, a border, or a heraldic design. It sometimes may cover the entire surface. Several forms of ornament may be combined.
Various motifs are used in ornament. Geometric motifs consist of such abstract forms as dots, lines, broken lines, zigzags, cross-hatching, circles, rhombuses, polygons, stars, crosses, or spirals. More complex ornamental motifs include the meander. Floral ornament uses stylized leaves, flowers, and fruits; examples of such ornament are the lotus, papyrus, palmette, and acanthus designs. Zoomorphic ornament employs stylized depictions of real or imaginary animals. Human figures, architectural elements, weapons, and various signs and emblems (heraldry) are also used as motifs in ornament. The stylized inscriptions on architectural monuments (such as Middle Asian medieval mosques) or in books (ligatures) constitute a special category of ornament. Intricate combinations of different motifs are not unusual: geometric and zoomorphic forms are often combined, as are geometric and floral motifs (arabesques).
REFERENCESLorents, N. F. Ornament vsekh vremen i stilei, nos. 1–8. St. Petersburg, 1898–99.
Meyer, P. Das Ornament in Kunstgeschichte. Zurich, 1944.
Evans, J. Style in Ornament. Oxford, 1950.
Bossert, H. Th. Arte ornamentale. Barcelona, 1957.
G. A. NEDOSHIVIN