A bas-relief is a form of sculpture that is carved from a flat two-dimensional plane creating a three-dimensional appearance. The backgrounds are kept shallow from the raised features, usually between a fraction of an inch to a few inches deep. It was predominately used as a decorative feature in the ancient architecture of countries such as Egypt, Greece and Italy.
The term is French and is derived from the Italian basso-relievo (‘low relief’).
A bas-relief is created in one of two ways:
- By carving away material such as wood, stone, ivory, and so on.
- By applying material, such as strips of clay, to the top of an otherwise smooth surface.
The natural contours and shape of that being represented should be retained, which means that the bas-relief can be viewed from different angles without undue visual distortion.
Alto-relievo (high relief) is where the technique is applied to much deeper backgrounds, usually of between a foot and several feet in depth.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural styles.
- Classical orders in architecture.
- Elements of classical columns.
- Large-scale murals.
- Pendentive dome.
- The history of fabric structures.
- Trompe l’oeil.
Featured articles and news
We would like to hear from members with ideas on these matters, and/or any interest in joining an IHBC European Special Interest Group.
The 2nd IHBC Marsh Awards celebrating retired members and successful learners is now open - prizes include £500 and a free place at the IHBC’s Annual School.
Director’s top pick features a call from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council for a specialist consultant to develop Town Centre Strategies.
Peter Williams, CEO of Better Bankside in London, talks about how these can influence change on a local level in Planning & Building Control Today.
More than half of heritage sites and monuments managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) are at risk, according to a recent report.
The review will consider if the system is working appropriately in today’s economy and identify simplification opportunities.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concludes there is a role to play for everyone who has a stake or interest in improving health and safety in the workplace.
New social platform and smartphone applications (apps) will be developed by a European consortium to aid the documentation of Europe’s cultural heritage.
Lord Prior of Brampton replaces Jesse Norman, who has become energy minister after just six months in the construction role.
Plans to demolish a 1920s theatre have been approved by councillors amid an angry protest by more than 100 campaigners, according to the BBC.