Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...
the frieze (icon) is the wide central section part of an entablature
An entablature refers to the superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture, and are commonly divided into the architrave , the frieze ,...
and may be plain in the Ionic
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...
or Doric order
The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.-History:...
, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilaster
A pilaster is a slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall. Most commonly flattened or rectangular in form, pilasters can also take a half-round form or the shape of any type of column, including tortile....
s are expressed, on an astylar
Astylar is an architectural term given to a class of design in which neither columns nor pilasters are used for decorative purposes; thus the Riccardi and Strozzi palaces in Florence are astylar in their design, in contradistinction to Palladio's palaces at Vicenza, which are columnar....
wall it lies upon the architrave
An architrave is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. It is an architectural element in Classical architecture.-Classical architecture:...
('main beam') and is capped by the molding
Molding or moulding is a strip of material with various profiles used to cover transitions between surfaces or for decoration. It is traditionally made from solid milled wood or plaster but may be made from plastic or reformed wood...
s of the cornice. A frieze can be found on many Greek and Roman buildings, the Parthenon Frieze
The Parthenon frieze is the low relief, pentelic marble sculpture created to adorn the upper part of the Parthenon’s naos. It was sculpted between ca. 443 and 438 BC, most likely under the direction of Pheidias. Of the of the original frieze, survives—some 80 percent...
being the most famous, and perhaps the most elaborate.
In interiors, the frieze of a room is the section of wall above the picture rail and under the crown moldings or cornice. By extension, a frieze is a long stretch of painted
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...
or even calligraphic
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...
decoration in such a position, normally above eye-level. Frieze decorations may depict scenes in a sequence of discrete panels. The material of which the frieze is made of may be plasterwork
Plasterwork refers to construction or ornamentation done with plaster, such as a layer of plaster on an interior wall or plaster decorative moldings on ceilings or walls. This is also sometimes called pargeting...
, carved wood or other decorative medium.
In an example of an architectural frieze on the façade of a building, the octagonal Tower of the Winds
Tower of the Winds
The Tower of the Winds, also called horologion , is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower on the Roman agora in Athens. The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock and a wind vane...
in the Roman agora
The Agora was an open "place of assembly" in ancient Greek city-states. Early in Greek history , free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the Agora for military duty or to hear statements of the ruling king or council. Later, the Agora also served as a marketplace where...
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...
bears relief sculptures of the eight winds on its frieze.
A pulvinated frieze (or pulvino) is convex in section. Such friezes were features of 17th-century Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism is the term in European art history for the versions of Mannerism practiced in the visual arts north of the Alps in the 16th and early 17th century...
, especially in subsidiary friezes, and much employed in interior architecture and in furniture.
The concept of a frieze has been generalised in the mathematical
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...
construction of frieze patterns.