Acanthus

A foliate motif much used in medieval art and derived from the depiction of the acanthus plant in a decorative context during Antiquity.

A foliate motif much used in medieval art and derived from the depiction of the acanthus plant in a decorative context during Antiquity. Medieval renditions of the acanthus are generally not as true to the actual plant as those of Antiquity, reducing it to a cipher consisting of stylized fleshy fronds. Acanthus ornament was particularly favoured by the Carolingians, for whom it represented a conscious revival of a Mediterranean form.

  • Arabic:
    أقنثـا
  • French:
    acanthe
  • Italian:
    acanto
  • Portuguese:
    acanto
  • Spanish:
    acanto

Michelle Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).