AskDefine | Define lunette

Dictionary Definition



1 temporary fortification like a detached bastion
2 oval or circular opening; to allow light into a dome or vault [syn: fenestella]

User Contributed Dictionary

see lunettes



French, diminutive of lune, “moon”.


  1. a small circular or crescent-shaped opening in a vaulted roof
  2. a crescent-shaped recess or void space above a window or door
  3. a field work consisting of two projecting faces forming a wedge each of which extends from one of two parallel flanks
  4. (the shape of) a crescent-shaped dune
  5. goggles for swimming under water
  6. a crescent-shaped clip for holding the host upright when exposed in the monstrance


Extensive Definition

In architecture, a lunette (French lunette, "little moon" and also "glasses") is a half-moon shaped space, either masonry or void. A lunette is formed when a horizontal cornice transects a round-headed arch at the level of the imposts, where the arch springs. If a door is set within a round-headed arch, the space within the arch above the door, masonry or glass, is a lunette. If the door is a major access, and the lunette above is massive and deeply set, it may be called a tympanum.
The term is usefully employed to describe the section of interior wall between the curves of a vault and its springing line. A system of intersecting vaults produces lunettes on the wall surfaces above a cornice. The lunettes in the structure of the Sistine Chapel inspired Michelangelo to come up with inventive compositions for the spaces.
In neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam and his French contemporaries, like Ange-Jacques Gabriel, a favorite scheme set a series of windows within shallow blind arches. The lunettes above lent themselves to radiating motifs: a sunburst of bellflower husks, radiating fluting, a low vase of flowers, etc.
A lunette may also be segmental, and the arch may be an arc taken from an oval. The spaces are still lunettes.
A lunette is commonly called a half-moon window, when the space is used as a window.

See also

lunette in German: Lünette (Bildende Kunst)
lunette in Spanish: Luneta (arquitectura)
lunette in Italian: Lunetta
lunette in Hebrew: לונטה
lunette in Lithuanian: Liunetė
lunette in Norwegian: Lunett
lunette in Polish: Luneta (architektura)
lunette in Russian: Люнет (архитектура)
lunette in Swedish: Lunett
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