Roof Boss

Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share


In medieval architecture, a "boss" refers to an ornamentally carved, often painted and gilded, keystone. It was placed at the intersection of ribs in a vaulted roof in order to lock its members into position. Noteworthy examples are found in many of Europe's monastic cloisters and cathedrals. This example and the other shown nearby are reportedly from the vaulted ceiling of a monastery in Northern Spain. Their principal decorative motif consists of a spray of acanthus leaves.
Roof Boss

Roof Boss


Northern Spain, 15th century

Visually Similar Artworks

ArtLens App

Let the ArtLens App be your guide, featuring an interactive map, every artwork on view, and AR scanning. Keep track of your favorite artworks. Take a guided tour, or create your own. 

Download the App

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.