Art Terms Glossary beginning with S

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Service book used at the altar containing the prayers recited by the priest (or bishop) at High Mass.
a ceramic container used to hold objects being fired in a kiln to protect them from ash and debris that can ruin the glaze.
A figure officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church for remarkable piety or virtue.
Salted paper print
A print made from a calotype negative on plain writing paper light-sensitized with alternate washes of a solution of common table salt solution and a bath of silver nitrate. William Henry Fox Talbot invented this photogenic drawing paper in 1834. Salted paper prints are characterized by a matte finish, soft focus, and broad effects of light and shadow because the texture of the paper prevents sharply detailed images. Because the light-sensitive emulsion soaked directly into the uncoated paper, fibers are clearly visible. The prints have a warm quality, ranging from reddish-brown and purplish-brown to pale yellow, and limited tonal range.
From Greek and Roman mythology, a woodland god with features of both a man and a goat.
Scanning electron microscopy
An examination technique that allows conservators to see things at magnifications hundreds of times greater than the light microscope. Because the sample is viewed in a beam of electrons, rather than the visible light spectrum, it appears in shades of grey. The electron beam scans across the surface of a sample producing different energy signals. Electrons provide the magnified image of the surface. X-rays are also emitted, and the resulting energy spectrum energy emission is analyzed quantitatively to provide identifications and compositional data for each of the elements present in the material- a technique known as energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA) or energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Because this analysis operates using a vacuum all elements can be measured to some extent, although again detection limits can vary. Maps that show the distribution of the chemical elements across the sample surface can also be generated. Sometimes-small objects can be placed in the SEM, for examination of surface detail; however, results are less satisfactory for non-conductive materials. For many materials such as glass, ceramic or stone, small samples are removed and coated with a fine conductive layer of gold or carbon to enable examination.
A staff or baton used as an emblem of authority.
Silk or synthetic mesh is stretched tightly over a frame. A stencil is adhered to the fabric blocking the nonprinting areas. The image areas are open fabric through which ink is forced with a squeegee.
A copier of manuscripts.
A special room used for the writing or copying of books.
Sepia Ink
is made from the dried ink sacs of cuttlefish and squid, which are ground up, mixed with water, and then processed into dried cakes. The term sepia is often misused as a synonym for the brown ink of old master drawings, which may in fact be bistre or iron gall.
An object used to support the faience in the kiln during firing to minimize disruption of the glaze. Setters are designed to have the smallest surface area in contact with the glazed object. Setter's marks or firing marks are disruptions in the glaze formed by setters.
The device that keeps all light out of the camera until the picture is taken. A button activates the shutter, which opens for an instant to admit light and create an image on the film.
a compound of silicon and oxygen which was obtained from sand, quartz or flint. Quartz was used to produce the whitest faience because it contains few impurities.
Silver dye bleach process print
A color print noted for its vibrant color and high-gloss surface, also known as a dye destruction print. Cibachrome is the trade name for these prints made using a color transparency or negative and photographic paper containing three emulsion layers of silver salts (halides) and dyes, each sensitive to one of the three primary colors of light (red, blue, and green). At the time of exposure to the negative, each layer within the paper reacts to its designated color (the red layer records red light and the other layers react accordingly). A separate silver image is also formed on each layer at this point. This image is developed and then bleached out in a process that correspondingly destroys a portion of the associated dye, creating a color separation of the photographed image. Further chemical manipulations follow, and the print is then fixed and washed. The dye layers that remain create a full-color image when seen on the white paper support.
faience paste that is thinned with water and used to join separately made faience components prior to firing or to create inlays or surface decoration.
Softground Etching
A piece of paper is placed over a special soft etching ground. The design is drawn with a pencil on the paper. The pressure of the pencil causes the ground to adhere to the back of the paper, recording the pressure of the artist's hand. When the paper is peeled from the plate, it takes with it the ground which adhered to it. The plate is then bitten with acid, the remaining ground is removed, and the plate is inked and printed.
The extreme overexposure in the camera of a light source like the sun, causing a reversal in tones. This effect usually occurs accidentally, but in 1862 Armand Sabbatier (1834-1910) discovered an intentional way to reproduce a similar effect in the darkroom. During development, a negative or print is momentarily exposed to light and then developed normally. The Sabbatier process produces unpredictable effects, with tone reversal usually occurring in the lighter background areas. A distinct black outline is created around areas where the reversal of tone meets areas where it has not occurred.
A way of describing the amount of a substance that will dissolve in a given amount of another substance.
The process of applying spackle, a powder mixed with water to form a paste and used as a filler for cracks in a surface before painting.
To facilitate the transfer or enlargement of a design from a drawing to another surface, artists often placed a grid of lines over the design in a process known as squaring. The drawing could then be copied square by square to the transfer surface, which was squared with an identical, appropriately scaled grid. Varying the relative scale of the grids allows one to change the scale of the composition during transfer. We often see it on drawings used to plan larger compositions, as in this black chalk sheet by Domenichino.
Any stage in the development of a print at which impressions are taken. A change of state occurs only with the addition or removal of lines on a plate.
The process of coating a copper plate with a thin layer of steel by electrolysis, thus strengthening its surface for further printing.
Prints are hand-colored through specially cut stencils.
In etching and engraving, a method of rendering tone by means of dots and short strokes.
The artist uses a tightly rolled piece of paper or leather, known as a stump, in order to rub chalk, charcoal, graphite, or pastel and achieve subtle shading and tonal effects. Piazzetta used a stump to vary the rich blacks in this detail from a crayon drawing.
A pointed instrument used for inserting prickings in vellum; also used for drypoint ruling and drawing.
A point made of metal used to make linear indentations in the support surface. Artists sometimes use a stylus to make preliminary sketches, or to incise an existing drawing to help aid in its transfer to another surface.
Prayers of petition to the saints for intercession or aid; found in books of hours.
Sugarlift Aquatint
The artist uses a mixture of sugar syrup and ink to draw on the copper plate. When dry, the entire plate is covered with a varnish that is impervious to acid and put in warm water. As the sugar melts, it lifts the varnish off and exposes the copper plate where the artist had drawn. These areas are now aquatinted.