Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ............................ Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary
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A common plant of the Mediterranean, whose stylized leaves form the characteristic decoration on Corinthian and Composite capitals; also appears on acanthus capitals, friezes, panels, and modillions
Leaf borders and scroll motifs were used extensively in the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. Foremost of these was the acanthus motif. Some say the acanthus, one of the oldest flowers in the Mediterranean area, represents long life. Throughout most of its long history the leaf ornament generally known as acanthus is in fact an imaginary leaf adapted to many uses.
The symbolism and meaning associated with the Acanthus is that of enduring life, and the plant is traditionally displayed at funerary celebrations.
In Christianity the thorny leaves represent pain, sin and punishment. Acanthus symbolizes immortality in Mediterranean countries.
Scrolling acanthus plants: From the classical world, acanthus plants were depicted as scrolling
"In Greece 2 BC the acanthus was a clear reference to life emerging from a grave. It was not initially a reference to resurrection in Christian sense, but in a sense that life is cyclical." - Gus Tassara, "Plant Symbolism"
Drawings of 4 types of acanthus leaves: Roman /. Greek / Roman / Romanesque / Renaissance
Note the two forms of acanthus leaves
Anthemion: Acanthus leaves added at the bases of the lotus and palmette elements produced designs now usually known as anthemion or honeysuckle.
Found in Classical Greek and Roman architecture and derivatives, including Beaux Arts Classicism, ..... Classical Revival, ..... Federal, ..... Georgian Revival, ..... Greek Revival, Neoclassicism, ..... Renaissance Revival, ..... Second Empire
Motif in furniture design, usually carved on knees of Chippendale cabriole legs and on pedestal bases of Empire tables.
Examples from Buffalo architecture:
- Williams-Butler House
- Harlow C. Curtiss House / International Institute - fireplace
- Williams-Butler House - chandelier
- Williams-Butler House - capital
- St. Anthony RC Church - leaves and flowers
- Charles F. Sternberg House / The Mansion on Delaware Avenue - capital
- Charles W. Goodyear House - scrolling acanthus leaves
- 321 Ellicott Street - scrolling acanthus leaves
- Niagara Share Building- capital
- Mayflower Apartments - scrolling acanthus leaves, exterior terra cotta panel
- 626 Humboldt Pkwy - capital
- General Electric Building / Iskalo Building - capitals
- 103 Oakland Place - Column
- The Granite Works, 850 Main Street - capital
- Furniture: Sideboard - Saturn Club
- Furniture: Table leg - Seymour H. Knox House / Blessed Sacrament RC Church Parish Office
- Furniture: Queen Anne style wing chair knee - Private collection
- Furniture: Scroll on Renaissance kas panel - Private collection
- Furniture: Shield-back side chair - Private collection
- Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina - ancone
- Owens-Thomas House, Savannah, Georgia - ancones
- Harrietstown, NY, Town Hall - Corinthian capital
- Museum at Delphi, Greece
- Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece - Corinthian capitals
- Faience vase attributed to Delftware factory, c. 1685-1690, in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Delftware faience jardiniere, c. 1695-1715, in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Plaster ceiling decoration, Ariana Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass, Geneva, Switzerland - scrolling acanthus leaves
- Wedgewood, Ariana Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass, Geneva, Switzerland
- Pedlar People Sheetmetal Building Material Catalog: Ornamental Cresting, Canada
- Photo: Various acanthus motifs from Robert Adam's Classical Architecture
- Mosque of Christ of the Light, Toledo, Spain
- Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
- Forum Thermal Baths, Pompeii, Italy