festoon, sculptured or painted architectural or interior ornament consisting of a garland of leaves, flowers, or fruit, or some combination of these, held by ribbons or folds and draped at the ends. When a festoon hangs down from only one end, it is called a drop, but when it hangs from both ends it is termed a swag. The festoon reproduces the actual garland used on Greek and Roman festal altars and was much used as a decorative feature in Roman and Renaissance art. It was often represented as carried by putti, or infant figures.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.