03. Early Europe & Colonial Americas, 04. Later Europe & Americas, Art & Humanities, Asia, Christianity, Europe, France, Italy, Religion, Teaching, Turkey, Vatican City

AP Art History 250: Church Vocabulary

AP Art History 250: Church Vocabulary

I realized the other day that I didn’t have a straight list of all the churches in the AP Art History curriculum and that I should correct that immediately. Below is a straight list in chronological order of the churches in the AP Art History 250 with important vocabulary words & definitions that go with each church. Feel free to share with your students if you are an AP Art History teacher!

JMF

P.S. CLICK HERE for a list of all the vocab words below in alphabetical order in a PDF

P.P.S. As always, tell me if something is missing, I’m going crossed-eyed going over this list! 🙂


Santa Sabina exterior 2

#49. Santa Sabina. Rome, Italy. Late Antique Europe. c. 422-432 CE. Brick and stone, wooden roof.

  • Axially planned church/Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Atrium: outdoor courtyard for gathering
  • Narthex: vestibule, porch (this was as far as non-Christians could go in the Early Church)
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Aisle: columned side walkways (usually 1-2 in early churches)
  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Spolia: items that are reused from earlier buildings, i.e. the Corinthian columns in Santa Sabina are spolia probably from a Roman pagan temple

Read more: #49. Santa Sabina Rome, Italy. Late Antique Europe. c. 422–432 CE. Brick and stone, wooden roof.

San Vitale exterior

San Vitale apse mosaic

 

#51. San Vitale. Ravenna, Italy. Early Byzantine Europe. c. 526-547 CE. Brick, marble, and stone veneer; mosaic.

  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave/center
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Mosaic: a picture/pattern created by placing small colored pieces of stone, tile, glass, etc
  • Centrally planned: a church that is circular/octagonal in shape, NOT rectangular
  • Axially planned church/Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Narthex: vestibule, porch (this was as far as non-Christians could go in the Early Church)
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Aisle: columned side walkways (usually 1-2 in early churches)
  • Pier: large column or post
  • Pendentive: triangular-shaped masonry that serves as the transition from a pier or wall to a dome; they allow domes to be supported by four free-standing piers thereby opening up a greater space
  • Dome: a rounded vault forming the roof of a building

#52. Hagia Sophia. Constantinople (Istanbul). Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus. 537-537 CE. Brick and ceramic elements with stone and mosaic veneer.

  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave/center
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step up)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Mosaic: a picture/pattern created by placing small colored pieces of stone, tile, glass, etc
  • Centrally planned: a church that is circular/octagonal in shape, NOT rectangular (Hagia sophia is a mix)
  • Axially planned/basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Choir: area of a church between the nave and the alter, usually provided seating for clergy or other in religious life
  • Pier: large column or post
  • Pendentive: triangular-shaped masonry that serves as the transition from a pier or wall to a dome; they allow domes to be supported by four free-standing piers thereby opening up a greater space
  • Dome: a rounded vault forming the roof of a building
  • Narthex: vestibule, porch (this was as far as non-Christians could go in the Early Church)

Read more at Khan Academy: Medieval churches: sources and forms

#58. Church of Sainte-Foy. Conques, France. Romanesque Europe: c. 1050-1130 CE; Stone (architecture); stone and paint (tympanum).

  • Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Atrium: outdoor courtyard for gathering
  • Narthex: vestibule, porch (this was as far as non-Christians could go in the Early Church)
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Aisle: columned side walkways (usually 1-2 in early churches)
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Ambulatory: a semi-circular passageway around the apse of a church typically to visit reliquaries
  • Relic/Reliquary: a piece of a saint (relic) in a container (reliquary) used by the faithful to pray; it was believed proximity to a reliquary could help your prayers reach God
  • Bay: a squarish section of a church in the aisle that is flanked by a set of columns and usually has an opening of arches and aligns to an exterior window
  • Portal: a doorway, typically highly decorated with scenes from the Bible
  • Transverse Arch: an archway that runs across a barrel vault, dividing the bays with supporting piers
  • Tympanum (pl. tympana): a rounded semi circle that is above the portal of a medieval church, typically decorated with scenes from the Bible, especially the Last Judgment
  • Lintel: a horizontal support beam across the top of a window or doorway

Read more: Pilgrimage in Art History

#60. Chartres Cathedral. Chartres, France. Gothic Europe. Original construction c. 1145-1155 CE; reconstructed c. 1194-1220 CE. Limestone, stained glass.

  • Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Atrium: outdoor courtyard for gathering
  • Narthex: vestibule, porch (this was as far as non-Christians could go in the Early Church)
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Aisle: columned side walkways (usually 1-2 in early churches)
  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Ribbed Vault: the meeting of two vaults (self supporting arches) in which the diagonal arches from a rib-like pattern
  • Stained Glass: colored glass used to form decorative window designs
  • Rose Window: a circular stained glass window in a form suggestive of a rose
  • Pointed Arch: an arch that meets at a point, versus rounded, helps to distribute weight downward not sidewards
  • Flying Buttresses: stone arches that support the stone roof by having the weight bypass the thinner walls and travel down to large piers outside the building
  • Chevet: an extension of the east end of the church (encompasses the choir and apse)
  • Choir: (not the singing one) the larger space between the transept and apse, for more “theatrical” liturgical events
  • Ambulatory: a semi-circular passageway around the apse of a church typically to visit reliquaries
  • Relic/Reliquary: a piece of a saint (relic) in a container (reliquary) used by the faithful to pray; it was believed proximity to a reliquary could help your prayers reach God
  • Bay: a squarish section of a church in the aisle that is flanked by a set of columns and usually has an opening of arches and aligns to an exterior window
  • Portal: a doorway, typically highly decorated with scenes from the Bible
  • Jamb: side columns, attached to the well next to the portal
  • Tympanum (pl. tympana): a rounded semi circle that is above the portal of a medieval church, typically decorated with scenes from the Bible, especially the Last Judgment
  • Cathedral: the most important church in a city, town, or region; literally the “seat of the bishop”
  • Lancet Window: a narrow, tall window that is pointed

Read more: Student Series! Chartres Cathedral

#63. Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel, including Lamentation. Padua, Italy. Unknown architect; Giotto di Bondone (artist). Chapel: c. 1303 CE; Fresco: c. 1305. Brick (architecture) and fresco.

  • Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Barrel Vault:a vault, series of arches together, forming a half cylinder
  • Fresco: painting done directly on to a wall so that it chemically binds to the surface

Read more: Padova Part III: Scrovegni Chapel

Pazzi Chapel exterior

67. Pazzi Chapel. Basilica di Santa Croce. Florence, Italy. Filippo Brunelleschi (architect). c. 1429-1461 CE. Masonry.

  • Atrium: outdoor courtyard for gathering
  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave/center
  • Centrally planned: a church that is circular/octagonal in shape, NOT rectangular
  • Narthex: vestibule, porch (this was as far as non-Christians could go in the Early Church)
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Dome: a rounded vault forming the roof of a building
  • Pendentive: triangular-shaped masonry that serves as the transition from a pier or wall to a dome; they allow domes to be supported by four free-standing piers thereby opening up a greater space
  • Barrel Vault: a vault, series of arches together, forming a half cylinder

Read more: The Churches of Florence

Sistine Chapel people taking picturesSistine Chapel ceiling the flood

Sistine Chapel, ceiling and altar wall frescoes. Vatican City, Italy. Michelangelo. Ceiling frescos: c. 1508-1512 CE; altar frescos: c. 1536-1541 CE. Fresco.

  • Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Fresco: painting done directly on to a wall so that it chemically binds to the surface
  • Barrel Vault: a vault, series of arches together, forming a half cylinder (it’s got a SLIGHT arch to it)

Read more: AP Art History Hunting in Vatican City

Il Gesu exterior verticalIl Gesu ceiling

Il Gesu, including Triumph of the Name of Jesus ceiling fresco. Rome, Italy. Giacomo di Vignola, plan (architect); Giacomo della Porta, façade: 1568-1585 CE; fresco and stucco figures: 1678-1679 CE. Brick, marble, fresco, and stucco.

  • Basilica: rectangular building with a large open center space for crowds
  • Atrium: outdoor courtyard for gathering
  • Nave: large center rectangular aisle spanning from the narthex doors to the apse; worshipers typically stood in this space, leaving a walkway for the priest during the mass (service)
  • Clerestory: second story windows allowing light into the nave (also seen in ancient Egyptian architecture)
  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step up)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Side Chapels: a small chapel with an altar that is off of the nave
  • Fresco: painting done directly on to a wall so that it chemically binds to the surface
  • Tympanum (pl. tympana): a rounded semi-circle that is above the portal of a medieval church, typically decorated with scenes from the Bible, especially the Last Judgment (this one has the coat of arms of the Jesuit order)
  • Barrel Vault: a vault, series of arches together, forming a half cylinder (it’s got a SLIGHT arch to it)
  • Façade: the front of the building, especially the main entrance

Read more: AP Art History Hunting in Rome, Italy

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane exterior with meSan Carlo alle Quattro Fontane interior

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. Rome, Italy. Francesco Borromini (architect). 1638-1646 CE. Stone and stucco.

  • Apse: semi-circular niche where the rituals were performed by the priest (sometimes with a little step)
  • Altar: table-top where the priest performs the Eucharistic ritual (essential for the Catholic liturgy)
  • Façade: the front of the building, especially the main entrance
  • Centrally planned: a church that is circular/oval/octagonal in shape, NOT rectangular
  • Pendentive: triangular-shaped masonry that serves as the transition from a pier or wall to a dome; they allow domes to be supported by four free-standing piers thereby opening up a greater space
  • Coffered Ceiling: pattern of indentations or recesses in the ceiling

Read more: AP Art History Hunting in Rome, Italy

2 comments

  1. Again, you have outdone yourself! Thanks so much for your hard work and for sharing it with us. This is going to be so helpful for my students and I as we prep for the exam. Thank you!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *