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Woodcarving glossary

Woodcarving glossary

Every word and term you should learn!

Bronze sculpture: Bronze is ideal for casting art works; it flows into all crevices of a mold, thus perfectly reproducing every detail of the most delicately modeled sculpture. It is malleable beneath the graver’s tool and admirable for repoussé work. The Egyptians used bronze, cast and hammered, for utensils, armor, and statuary far in advance of the Bronze Age in Europe. The Greeks were unexcelled in bronze sculpture. The Romans took quantities of bronze statues from Greece and made thousands themselves. They employed bronze for doors and for furniture, utensils, and candelabra, of which some were recovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Cire perdue – Lost wax System: Cire perdue [Fr.=lost wax], sculptural process of metal casting that may be used for hollow and solid casting. The sculptor makes a model in plaster or clay that is then coated with wax. This model is then covered with a perforated plaster or clay mold. When heated, the mold will “lose” the wax (hence the name of the method) as it runs out of the holes in the plaster. Molten lead is then poured into the space formerly occupied by the wax. After the work cools, the sculptor breaks the mold, removes the plaster core, and files or polishes the metal product. One can also make hollow sculptures by piece-casting, which, as its name suggests, involves the construction of a work in pieces rather than as a whole. The most important advantage of the lost-wax method is that it eases the casting of a sculpture with elaborate curves.

Color: Color is the effect produced on the eye and its associated nerves by light waves of different wavelength or frequency. Light transmitted from an object to the eye stimulates the different color cones of the retina, thus making possible perception of various colors in the object.

Decorate: To plan and execute the design, furnishings, and ornamentation of the interior of (a house, church, apartment, etc.), esp. by selecting colors, fabrics, and style of furniture, by making minor structural changes.

Drawing: Drawing is the art of the draftsman. In its broadest sense it includes every use of the delineated line and is thus basic to the arts of painting, architecture, sculpture, calligraphy, and geometry. The word drawing is commonly used to denote works in pen, pencil, crayon, chalk, charcoal, or similar media in which form rather than color is emphasized. For centuries drawings have been made either as preparatory studies or as finished works of art. Preparatory drawings sometimes reveal a vigor and spontaneity lacking in the completed work.

Engraving: Engraving, in its broadest sense is the art of cutting lines in metal, wood, or other material either for decoration or for reproduction through printing. In its narrowest sense, it is an intaglio printing process in which the lines are cut in a metal plate with a graver, or burin. Furrows are cleanly cut out, raising no burr, and then filled with ink which is transferred under high pressure to the printing surface of the press.

Gilder: The specialised artist who covers the woodcarvings with gold.

Intarsia – wood inlaying: Intarsia or tarsia is a proper a form of wood inlaying. The term is sometimes applied to inlays of other materials such as ivory and metal. It is differentiated from marquetry by the basic veneering process of the latter. The term intarsia is specifically applied to a type of inlaying probably developed in Siena, Italy, in the 13th cent. and derived from Middle Eastern inlays of ivory upon wood. This art was widely practiced in Italy from c.1400 to c.1600. The fashion for intarsia declined thereafter, although some works in this medium were still produced. Intarsia work was also practiced to a limited extent elsewhere in western Europe. Designs included pictorial scenes and conventionalized scrolls, arabesques, and geometric forms.

Painter: The artist who covers the woodcarving with paint.

Painting: Painting, direct application of pigment to a surface to produce by tones of color or of light and dark some representation or decorative arrangement of natural or imagined forms.

Relief: Relief, in sculpture, is a three-dimensional projection from a flat background. In alto-relievo, or high relief, the protrusion is great; basso-relievo, or bas-relief, protrudes only slightly; and mezzo-relievo is intermediate between the two. Ancient Egyptians and Etruscans also used cavo relievo, intaglio, or sunken relief, in which the design is incised deeper than the background. High relief, although also used in ancient times, reached its climax in the baroque period. Bas-relief is commonly employed on coins and on medals.

Restoration: Art conservation and restoration, the preservation of structurally sound works of art, the halting of processes that lead to the damage of works of art, and the repair of already damaged works of art.

Sculptor – Woodcarver: A person who practices the art of sculpting a material like wood.

Sketch: A rapidly executed kind of pictorial note-taking. The sketch is not usually intended as an autonomous work of art, although many have been considered masterpieces in their own right. Used extensively in the planning of large, complex projects, the sketch allows the artist to visualize quickly the bend of a knee or the sweep of an arm without having to experiment directly on the work itself.

Tempera: Tempera is a painting method in which finely ground pigment is mixed with a solidifying base such as albumen, fig sap, or thin glue. When used in mural painting it is also known as fresco secco (dry fresco) to distinguish it from the buon fresco (true fresco) applied to damp walls. The name distemper is given to the method when a glue base is involved. When used on wood panels, as it most frequently was for altarpieces and other easel pictures, it was applied on a gesso underpainting that was smooth, very white and brilliant. Tempera’s particular advantage is that clear, pure colors are produced, which are not so subject to oxidation as are oils. However, tempera does not lend itself to the expression of nuances of color and atmosphere.

The art of woodcarving: Wood carving, as an art form, includes any kind of sculpture in wood, from the decorative bas-relief on small objects to life-size figures in the round, furniture, and architectural decorations.
The woods used vary greatly in hardness and grain. The most commonly employed woods include boxwood, pine, pear, walnut, willow, oak, and ebony. The tools are simple gouges, chisels, wooden mallets, and pointed instruments. Although they were universally one of the earliest art media, wood carvings have withstood poorly the vicissitudes of time and climate.

Watercolor painting: Watercolor painting, in its wider sense, refers to all pigments mixed with water rather than with oil and also to the paintings produced by this process; it includes fresco and tempera as well as aquarelle, the process now commonly meant by the generic term. Gouache and distemper are also watercolors, although they are prepared with a more gluey base than the other forms. Long before oil was used in the preparation of pigment, watercolor painting had achieved a high form of sophistication.

Woodcarving: 1. the art or technique of carving objects by hand from wood or of carving decorations into wood. 2. something made or decorated in such a manner.


eng - Woodcarving / Woodcarvings
deu - Holzschnitzerei / Holzschnitzereien
ita - Scultura in Legno / Sculture in Legno
esp - Escultura de Madera / Esculturas de Madera
fra - Sculptures en Bois / Sculpture en Bois
pol - Rzezba / Rzezby
lit - medzio skulptura / medzio skulpturos

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