A carved or painted ornament that resembles the foliage of the acanthus. A classic design used by the greeks and Romans, it appears in Gothic art and architecture, and it was revived in the Renaissance. The acanthus leaf appears in the Corinthian and Composite capitals. The Greek design has pointed leaf edges, but the Roman version is rounded and broader with vigorous curves. In Byzantine and Romanesque decoration, the acanthus is stiffer and less delicate. It becomes rounded and more bulbous in the early Gothic period, then becomes bixarre with long thistle-like foliage in the late Gothic period. With the Renaissance, the acanthus and tendril motif reaches its highest degree of refinement and elegance.
A repoussé ornament resembling the foliage of the acanthus. A classical device used by both the Greeks and the Romans, the acanthus leaf further evolved in European decoration, becoming a favorite device of blacksmiths from the 17th Century forward.