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

April 20, 2020

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

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

San Vitale exterior

San Vitale apse mosaic

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Reply
    Fresh Paint Studio
    April 20, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    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!!!

    • Reply
      jmfuriosi
      April 20, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      Thank you, this has been sitting unfinished for months and I finally got around to it. Figuring it would be hella helpful now.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: