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Letter "I" Glossary

icon — Images for devotional use in the church, principally in the Byzantine church, designed according to prescribed formulas of composition and subject (Christ, the Virgin, saints, and the great feasts), most commonly on movable panels, usually painted in tempera and with a gold background. Mosaic was also used for icons. The form was also popular in the Russian church.

iconostasis — Large wall-sized screens in Byzantine churches located to separate the sanctuary including the high altar from the nave, usually pierced by three doors and sometimes covered with a number of individual icons.

illumination — Ornamental or narrative paintings illustrating secular and religious manuscripts and sometimes early printed books.

impost block — Architectural elements, usually in the shape of a truncated inverted pyramid, placed between capitals and the arches that spring from them.

intercolumniation — The distance between columns in an arcade or colonnade.

interlace — General term to describe any one of a variety of decorative patterns, both painted and carved, composed of interweaving lines or bands. The most famous examples of interlace design occur in Hiberno-Saxon manuscript illumination (Book of Kells).

intrados — Inner curves or faces of arches or vaults forming the concave underside. Cf. extrados.

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