Word of the Day Archive
Saturday November 29, 2003
patina \PAT-n-uh; puh-TEEN-uh\ , noun:
1. The color or incrustation which age gives to works of art; especially, the green rust which covers ancient bronzes, coins, and medals.
2. The sheen on any surface, produced by age and use.
3. An appearance or aura produced by habit, practice, or use.
4. A superficial layer or exterior.
[The ship] was sleek and black, her decks scrubbed smooth with holystones, her deckhouses glistening with the yellowed patina of old varnish.
-- Gary Kinder, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea
A patina of coal dust lies over everything.
-- "A Railroad Runs Through It," review of Stations: An Imagined Journey, by Michael Flanagan, New York Times, October 23, 1994
Rothko himself was guilty of making ponderous statements about the religious and mythic dimensions of his art; and Mrs. Ashton has adopted this clumsy impulse, laying over his work a heavy patina of commentary that seems designed to show off her own wide-ranging intellect.
-- Michiko Kakutani, review of About Rothko, by Dore Ashton, New York Times, November 7, 1983
Patina is adopted from Italian, from Latin patina, "a dish" (from the incrustation on ancient metal plates and dishes).