Art Terms Glossary beginning with B

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Lower margin; area below the textblock on a manuscript page.
A petition for blessing.
Beta radiography
An imaging technique that uses a diffuse electron energy source (a source plate composed of a thin acrylic sheet embedded with radioactive carbon-14) to produce an image on photographic film. The plate emits high-speed beta electrons as the carbon isotope decays. The beta particles have low energy and pass harmlessly through a work of art on paper to expose an image on photographic film depending on subtle differences in the paper thickness. This technique helps record clear high contrast images of watermarks.
A single sheet folded in half to form two folios or four pages.
Binding media
The (usually) liquid (egg, water, or oil) in which pigments are mixed to create paints.
A Roman Catholic clergyman ranking above a priest. A bishop has the ability to ordain and confirm and typically governs over a diocese, a territorial area of administration.
Bistre Ink
is made by boiling or soaking wood soot in water to extract the soluble tars; this liquid is then filtered and results in a transparent and luminous ink, the exact tone of which depends on the kind of wood used.
Black Chalk
A naturally occurring composite of carbon and clay that can be cut and sawed into a stick and sharpened to a point for use as a drawing instrument. Cortona's idealized head of a youth shows the extremely refined shading that is possible with black chalk. Cortona used a combination of parallel hatching and stumping to achieve the fine gradations of surface tone that give this head three-dimensional volume.
Black Ink
An ink prepared by incorporating a black carbon pigment derived from soot or charcoal into water mixed with a binding agent, usually gum arabic. Often the terms India Ink or Chinese Ink are used to refer to black ink, because dry ink sticks made with carbon pigment mixed with gum and resin, and hardened by baking, were imported into Europe from the East as early as the 1500s.
Christian martyr believed to have been bishop of Sebaste in Asian Minor early in the 4th century.
A fine colored clay applied to a work of art to support gold leaf. The extremely fine particle size allows the gold to be rubbed or burnished to create a bright metallic surface. Because the gold leaf is so thin it is somewhat transparent and its color is modified by the bole color. Red bole , the most common color, adds to it warmth.
Book of Hours
A prayer book intended for lay use in private or family devotions. Books of hours typically contain a compendium of prayers and devotions dedicated to the Virgin Mary and recited or sung at the canonical hours (eight set times during the day). To this core were appended other elements such as a calendar, penitential psalms, litanies, suffrages, etc. Elaborate versions contain a full cycle of miniatures as well as involved marginal decorations. Books of hours form the most popular and abundant of all surviving medieval manuscripts.
Liturgical book comprising hymns, readings, psalms, anthems, and other prayers for the reading of the Daily Office, required of all priests, monks, and nuns.
Brown earth
Brown earth pigments (ochers, siennas, and umbers) containing silica, clay and a mixture of iron oxides along with small amounts of manganese dioxide.
Brown Ink
The brown inks we associate today with old master drawings are generally one of three types: bistre, sepia, or iron gall.