Definition of bas-relief in US English:



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    see relief (sense 4)
    • ‘He marks the walking sticks and sculptures with geometric motifs, vivid color contrasts, emphatic figures and depictions of reptiles, and applies similar aesthetics to the masterfully stylized bas-relief panels.’
    • ‘Basso relievo, low relief or bas-relief, is used when the scale of projection is very much less than that of the other dimensions and there is no undercutting at all.’
    • ‘In all forms of illustration, from bas-relief to classical statuary, the helmet symbolized the warrior and individuals wishing to be so remembered would deliberately be portrayed in helmets.’
    • ‘In addition, they might also be seen as a hybrid of painting and bas-relief, so emphatic are their materiality and objectness, their presence as things in the world.’
    • ‘His works are wall pieces that look like drawings rendered in bas-relief.’
    • ‘He ornamented early works with painted scenes and bas-relief glass embellishments, and created high-relief decorated surfaces, using glass, auto-reflectors, mirrors, and other found objects.’
    • ‘The medal should be seen as it was originally conceived - as a work of art, the highest expression of bas-relief sculpture.’
    • ‘The heavily paint-loaded areas, here as elsewhere, have a bas-relief quality while the thinner, drier brushstrokes delicately abrade the weave of the canvas and create an atmospheric effect.’
    • ‘Inside the temples, however, bas-relief was employed, since it does not produce such contrasts and creates a serene effect in the semi-dark.’
    • ‘Ornaments carved in bas-relief presented flowing full figures, cherubs, flowers, and crowns.’
    1. 1.1 A sculpture, carving, or molding in bas-relief.
      • ‘We noticed the simple geometric design patterns and bas-relief carvings with interest.’
      • ‘Our house sported gables and towers, gingerbread and scrollwork, stained-glass and leering wooden gargoyle bas-reliefs.’
      • ‘As would be expected from the shallow depths of a bas-relief, there is no background.’
      • ‘From the drawings a bas-relief was fashioned, the molds taken, and the clay cameos cast.’
      • ‘He also made cut drawings using a knife and mat board, and, more recently, small, painted wood bas-reliefs with criss-crossing incised grooves.’


Early 17th century (as basse relieve): from Italian basso-rilievo ‘low relief’, later altered to the French form.