AskDefine | Define overmantel

Dictionary Definition

overmantel n : a shelf over a mantelpiece

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A decorative structure, usually plasterwork or carved wood, and sometimes containing a mirror, over a mantelpiece

Extensive Definition

An "overdoor" (or "supraporte") is a painting, bas-relief or decorative panel, generally in a horizontal format, that is set within ornamental mouldings placed over a door.
The overdoor is usually architectural in form, but may take the form of a cartouche in Rococo settings, or it may be little more than a moulded shelf for the placement of ceramic vases, busts or curiosities. An overmantel serves a similar function above a fireplace mantel.
From the end of the sixeenth century, at first in interiors such as the Palazzo Sampieri, Bologna, where Annibale Carracci provided overdoor paintings, overdoor paintings developed into a minor genre of their own, in which the trompe l'oeil representations of stone bas-reliefs, or vases of flowers, in which Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer specialized, were heightened by sotto in su perspective, in which the light was often painted to reproduce the light, diffused from below, that was entering the room from its windows. Overdoors of allegorical subjects were favoured through the end of the eighteenth century.

See also


overmantel in German: Supraporte
overmantel in Italian: Soprapporta
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