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A relief is a sculptured artwork where a modelled form is raised, or, in a sunken-relief, lowered, from a plane from which the main elements of the composition project (or sink). Reliefs are common throughout the world, for example on the walls of monumental buildings. The frieze in the classical Corinthian order is often enriched with bas-relief (low relief). Alto-relievo (high-relief) may be seen in the pediments of classical temples, e.g., the Parthenonmarker. Several panels or sections of relief together may represent a sequence of scenes.


There are three main types of relief. The drawing of the distinction between high and low is often drawn differently, and in fact the two are very often combined in a single work - in particular most "high-reliefs" contain sections in "low-relief". Dashes may or may not be used in all these terms.

Bas-relief or low relief

A bas-relief ("low relief", , from the Italian basso rilievo) or low relief is the quality of a projecting image where the overall depth is shallow. The background is very compressed or completely flat, as on most coins, on which all images are in low-relief.
Bas-relief is very suitable for scenes with many figures and other elements such as a landscape or architectural background. A bas-relief may use any medium or technique of sculpture, but stone carving and metal casting are the traditional ones. If more than 50% of most rounded or cylindrical elements such as heads and legs project from the background, a sculpture is usually considered to be "alto rilievo" or "high relief", although the degree of relief within both types may vary across a composition, with prominent features such as faces in higher relief.

High relief

High relief (or alto relievo, from Italian) is where the most prominent elements of the composition are undercut and rendered at more than 50% in the round against the background.

All cultures and periods where large sculptures were created used this technique as one of their sculptural options. Seen in "monumental sculpture" and architecture from ancient times to present.

Sunken relief

Sunken-relief, also known as intaglio or hollow-relief, is where the image is made by carving into a flat surface - usually the images are mostly linear in nature. It is most notably associated with the Art of Ancient Egypt, where the strong sunlight usually needed to make the technique successful for images is present most of the time. In the sculpture of many cultures, including Europe, it is mostly used for inscriptions and engraved gems - the most likely meaning for "an intaglio".

Notable reliefs

Notable examples of reliefs include:

==See also==SamanthaRenee


File:Nowruz Zoroastrian.jpg|Bas-relief in Persepolismarker - a symbol of Zoroastrian Nowruz - in day of a spring equinox power of eternally fighting bull (personifying the Earth), and a lion (personifying the Sun), are equalImage:PersepolistwoPersianSoldiers.jpg|Two Persian Soldiers in PersepolismarkerImage:Bas relief nagsh-e-rostam al.jpg|Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustammarker of Iranian emperor Shapur I (on horseback) capturing Roman emperor Valerian (kneeing) and Philip the Arab (standing)Image:Ancient Egyptian Alto-relievo.jpg|Egyptian figures in "alto relievo"Image:Atropos.jpg|Atropos cutting the thread of life. Ancient Greek low relief.Image:Mayapanel.JPG|Yaxchilanmarker Lintel 24, a Mayan carving depicting a blood sacrificeImage:Banteay Srei in Angkor.jpg|A bas-relief at Banteay Sreimarker in Cambodiamarker depicts Ravana shaking Mount Kailasamarker, the residence of Siva.File:Abadia de Saint-Pierre de Moissac - Portalada Sud de Moissac.JPG|12th century Romanesque portal of Christ in Majesty at Moissacmarker AbbeyFile:Abraham (Gates of Paradise) 01.JPG|Angled view of a panel with the story of Abraham from the Florence Gates of Paradise (see above).Image:Relief - side view.jpg|Side view of high relief: Madonna and Child, marble of c. 1500/1510 by an unknown north Italian sculptorImage:St GuadensShaw Mem.jpg|Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, 1897, Boston, combining free-standing elements with high and low relief.File:Relief_on_building_in_Bishopsgate,_London_2.JPG|A relatively modern high relief (depicting shipbuilding) in Bishopsgatemarker, Londonmarker. Note that some elements jut out of the frame of the image.Image:Iowa City Press Citizen Bldg.jpg|Art Deco tiled bas relief, old Press-Citizen Building, Iowa City, Iowamarker.

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