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Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into thin sheets by goldbeating and is often used for gilding.Gold leaf is available in a wide variety of karats and shades. The most commonly used gold is 22-karat yellow gold.
Gold leaf is a type of metal leaf, but the term is rarely used when referring to gold leaf. The term metal leaf is normally used for thin sheets of metal of any color that do not contain any real gold. Pure gold is 24 karat. Real, yellow gold leaf is approximately 91.7% pure (i.e. 22-karat) gold. Silver-colored white gold is about 50% pure gold.
Layering gold leaf over a surface is called gold leafing or gilding. Traditional water gilding is the most difficult and highly regarded form of gold leafing. It has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years and is still done by hand.
Gold leaf is sometimes used in art in a "raw" state, without a gilding process. In cultures including the European Bronze Age it was used to wrap objects such as bullae simply by folding it tightly over, and the Classical group of gold lunulae are so thin, especially in the centre, that they might be classed as gold leaf. It has been used in jewellery in various periods, often as small pieces hanging freely.
Gold leaf has traditionally been most popular and most common in its use as gilding material for decoration of art (including statues and Eastern Christian icons) or the picture frames that are often used to hold or decorate paintings, mixed media, small objects (including jewelry) and paper art. Gold glass is gold leaf held between two pieces of glass, and was used for decorated Ancient Roman vessels, where some of the gold was scraped off to form an image, as well as tesserae gold mosaics. Gold-ground paintings, where the background of the figures was all in gold, was introduced in mosaics in later Early Christian art, and then used in icons and Western panel paintings until the late Middle Ages; all techniques use gold leaf. Gold leaf is also used in Buddhist art to decorate statues and symbols. Gold leafing can also be seen on domes in religious and public architecture. "Gold" frames made without leafing are also available for a considerably lower price, but traditionally some form of gold or metal leaf was preferred when possible and gold leafed (or silver leafed) moulding is still commonly available from many of the companies that produce commercially available moulding for use as picture frames.
Gold leaf has long been an integral component of architecture to designate important structures, both for aesthetics and because gold's non-reactive nature provides a protective finish.
Gold in architecture became an integral component of Byzantine and Roman churches and basilicas in 400 AD, most notably Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The church was built by Pope Sixtus III and is one of the earliest examples of gold mosaics. The mosaics were made of stone, tile or glass backed on gold leaf walls, giving the church a beautifully intricate backdrop. The Athenian marble columns supporting the nave are even older, and either come from the first basilica, or from another antique Roman building; thirty-six are marble and four granite, pared down, or shortened to make them identical by Ferdinando Fuga, who provided them with identical gilt-bronze capitals.The 14th century campanile, or bell tower, is the highest in Rome, at 240 feet, (about 75 m.). The basilica's 16th-century coffered ceiling, designed by Giuliano da Sangallo, is said to be gilded with gold that Christopher Columbus presented to Ferdinand and Isabella, before being passed on to the Spanish pope, Alexander VI. The apse mosaic, the Coronation of the Virgin, is from 1295, signed by the Franciscan friar, Jacopo Torriti.
In Ottawa, Ontario, The Centre Block is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex on Parliament Hill, containing the House of Commons and Senate chambers, as well as the offices of a number of members of parliament, senators, and senior administration for both legislative houses. It is also the location of several ceremonial spaces, such as the Hall of Honour, the Memorial Chamber, and Confederation Hall. In the east wing of the Centre Block is the Senate chamber, in which are the thrones for the Canadian monarch and her consort, or for the federal viceroy and their consort, and from which either the sovereign or the governor general gives the Speech from the Throne and grants Royal Assent to bills passed by parliament.The overall color in the Senate chamber is red, seen in the upholstery, carpeting, and draperies, and reflecting the color scheme of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom; red was a royal color, associated with the Crown and hereditary peers. Capping the room is a gilt ceiling with deep octagonal coffers, each filled with heraldic symbols, including maple leaves, fleur-de-lis, lions rampant, clàrsach, Welsh Dragons, and lions passant. This plane rests on six pairs and four single pilasters, each of which is capped by a caryatid, and between which are clerestory windows. Below the windows is a continuous architrave, broken only by baldachins at the base of each of the above pilasters.
On the east and west walls of the chamber are eight murals depicting scenes from the First World War; painted in between 1916 and 1920, they were originally part of the more than 1,000 piece Canadian War Memorials Fund, founded by the Lord Beaverbrook, and were intended to hang in a specific memorial structure. However, the project never eventuated, and the works were stored at the National Gallery of Canada until 1921, when the Parliament requested a loan for some of the collection's oil paintings to display in the Centre Block.The murals have remained in the Senate chamber ever since.
In London, the Criterion Restaurant is an opulent building facing Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London. It was built by architect Thomas Verity in Neo-Byzantine style for the partnership Spiers and Pond who opened it in 1873. One of the restaurant’s most famous features is the 'glistering' ceiling of gold mosaic, coved at the sides and patterned all over with lines and ornaments in blue and white tesserae. The wall decoration accords well with the real yellow gold leaf ceiling, incorporating semi-precious stones such as jade, mother of pearl, turquoise being lined with warm marble and formed into blind arcades with semi-elliptical arches resting on slender octagonal columns, their unmolded capitals and the impost being encrusted with goldground mosaic
Gold leaf adorns the wrought iron gates surrounding the Palace of Versailles in France, when refinishing the gates nearly 200 years after they were torn down during the French Revolution, it required hundreds of kilograms of gold leaf to complete the process.
Gold leaf (as well as other metal leaf such as vark) is sometimes used to decorate food or drink, typically to promote a perception of luxury and high value; however, it is flavorless.It is occasionally found in desserts and confectionery, including chocolates, honey and mithai . In India it may be used effectively as a garnish, with thin sheets placed on a main dish, especially on festive occasions. When used as an additive to food, gold has the E-number E175. A traditional (centuries old) artisan variety of green tea contains pieces of gold leaf; 99% of this kind of tea is produced in Kanazawa, Japan, a historic city for samurai craftsmanship. The city is also home to a gold leaf museum, Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum.
In Continental Europe liquors with tiny floating pieces of gold leaf are known of since the late 16th century; originally the practice was regarded as medicinal. Well-known examples are Danziger Goldwasser, originally from Gdańsk, Poland, which has been produced since at least 1598, Goldstrike from Amsterdam, Goldwasser from Schwabach in Germany, and the Swiss Goldschläger, which is perhaps the best known in both Canada and the United States.
A mosaic is a pattern or image made of small regular or irregular pieces of colored stone, glass or ceramic, held in place by plaster/mortar, and covering a surface. Mosaics are often used as floor and wall decoration, and were particularly popular in the Ancient Roman world.
In European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from decorative art or applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metalwork. In the aesthetic theories developed in the Italian Renaissance, the highest art was that which allowed the full expression and display of the artist's imagination, unrestricted by any of the practical considerations involved in, say, making and decorating a teapot. It was also considered important that making the artwork did not involve dividing the work between different individuals with specialized skills, as might be necessary with a piece of furniture, for example. Even within the fine arts, there was a hierarchy of genres based on the amount of creative imagination required, with history painting placed higher than still life.
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials, borders (marginalia), and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver; but in both common usage and modern scholarship, the term refers to any decorated or illustrated manuscript from Western traditions. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated, or painted, though using essentially the same techniques as Western works.
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, commonly known as St Mark's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has been the city's cathedral only since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello.
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Roman Empire.
The art of Europe, or Western art, encompasses the history of visual art in Europe. European prehistoric art started as mobile Upper Paleolithic rock and cave painting and petroglyph art and was characteristic of the period between the Paleolithic and the Iron Age. Written histories of European art often begin with the art of Ancient Israel and the Ancient Aegean civilizations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Parallel with these significant cultures, art of one form or another existed all over Europe, wherever there were people, leaving signs such as carvings, decorated artifacts and huge standing stones. However a consistent pattern of artistic development within Europe becomes clear only with the art of Ancient Greece, adopted and transformed by Rome and carried; with the Roman Empire, across much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Early Christian art and architecture or Paleochristian art is the art produced by Christians or under Christian patronage from the earliest period of Christianity to, depending on the definition used, sometime between 260 and 525. In practice, identifiably Christian art only survives from the 2nd century onwards. After 550 at the latest, Christian art is classified as Byzantine, or of some other regional type.
Gilding is a decorative technique for applying a very thin coating of gold to solid surfaces such as metal, wood, porcelain, or stone. A gilded object is also described as "gilt". Where metal is gilded, the metal below was traditionally silver in the West, to make silver-gilt objects, but gilt-bronze is commonly used in China, and also called ormolu if it is Western. Methods of gilding include hand application and gluing, typically of gold leaf, chemical gilding, and electroplating, the last also called gold plating. Parcel-gilt objects are only gilded over part of their surfaces. This may mean that all of the inside, and none of the outside, of a chalice or similar vessel is gilded, or that patterns or images are made up by using a combination of gilt and ungilted areas.
Daphni or Dafni is an eleventh-century Byzantine monastery eleven kilometers northwest of central Athens in the suburb of Chaidari, south of Athinon Avenue (GR-8A). It is situated near the forest of the same name, on the Sacred Way that led to Eleusis. The forest covers about 18 km2 (7 sq mi), and surrounds a laurel grove. "Daphni" is the modern Greek name that means "laurel grove", derived from Daphneion (Lauretum).
Pintoricchio or Pinturicchio whose birth name was Bernardino di Betto, also known as Benetto di Biagio or Sordicchio, was an Italian painter during the Renaissance. Born in Perugia in 1454 and dying in Siena in 1513, Pintoricchio acquired his nickname because of his small stature. He also used it to sign some of his 15th and 16th century artworks.
The art of Ancient Rome, its Republic and later Empire includes architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work. Luxury objects in metal-work, gem engraving, ivory carvings, and glass are sometimes considered to be minor forms of Roman art, although they were not considered as such at the time. Sculpture was perhaps considered as the highest form of art by Romans, but figure painting was also highly regarded. A very large body of sculpture has survived from about the 1st century BC onward, though very little from before, but very little painting remains, and probably nothing that a contemporary would have considered to be of the highest quality.
Peter Murphy is a British artist working in traditional egg tempera and gold leaf techniques, and a member of the Stuckist art movement.
The Basilica of San Vitale is a late antique church in Ravenna, Italy. The 6th century church is an important surviving example of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture. It is one of eight structures in Ravenna inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Its foundational inscription describes the church as a basilica, though its centrally-planned design is not typical of the basilica form. The Roman Catholic Church has designated the building a "basilica", an honorific title bestowed on exceptional church buildings of historic and ecclesial importance.
Goldbeating is the process of hammering gold into an extremely thin unbroken sheet for use in gilding.
The term Poor Man's Bible has come into use in modern times to describe works of art within churches and cathedrals which either individually or collectively have been created to illustrate the teachings of the Bible for a largely illiterate population. These artworks may take the form of carvings, paintings, mosaics or stained-glass windows. In some churches a single artwork, such as a stained-glass window has the role of Poor Man's Bible while in others, the entire church is decorated with a complex biblical narrative that unites in a single scheme.
Yesería is a term that refers to decoratively carved or molded stucco and plaster. Used widely throughout the Mediterranean region, it reached a creative pinnacle during the Nasrid dynasty (1238-1492) on the Iberian peninsula. Mudejar architecture also made broad use of yesería. Recent scholarship is revealing details about the original stylistic designs, methods and materials on yesería of the Mudéjar period.
The history of art focuses on objects made by humans in visual form for aesthetic purposes. Visual art can be classified in diverse ways, such as separating fine arts from applied arts; inclusively focusing on human creativity; or focusing on different media such as architecture, sculpture, painting, film, photography, and graphic arts. In recent years, technological advances have led to video art, computer art, performance art, animation, television, and videogames.
The Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation's Cities of Peace exhibition displays areas of the world that have been wrought with conflict. Her website reads: “Frank’s visit to Jerusalem in 1999 inspired her to produce the first painting in the series and to visualize the creation of other works representing additional cities that have survived strife. The series directs action through hopeful energy by celebrating the best of the human spirit, transforming anguish into beauty.” Under the artistic direction of Ellen Frank, the project was produced by interns of many different origins at the Illumination Atelier of Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation.
The Middle Ages was a period that spanned approximately 1000 years and is normally restricted to Europe and the Byzantine Empire. The material remains we have from that time, including jewelry, can vary greatly depending on the place and time of their creation, especially as Christianity discouraged the burial of jewellery as grave goods, except for royalty and important clerics, who were often buried in their best clothes and wearing jewels. The main material used for jewellery design in antiquity and leading into the Middle Ages was gold. Many different techniques were used to create working surfaces and add decoration to those surfaces to produce the jewellery, including soldering, plating and gilding, repoussé, chasing, inlay, enamelling, filigree and granulation, stamping, striking and casting. Major stylistic phases include barbarian, Byzantine, Carolingian and Ottonian, Viking, and the Late Middle Ages, when Western European styles became relatively similar.
Gold ground or gold-ground (adjective) is a term in art history for a style of images with all or most of the background in a solid gold colour. Historically, real gold leaf has normally been used, giving a luxurious appearance. The style has been used in several periods and places, but is especially associated with Byzantine and medieval art in mosaic, illuminated manuscripts and panel paintings, where it was for many centuries the dominant style for some types of images, such as icons. For three-dimensional objects, the term is gilded or gold-plated.