Art Term

Verso / recto

Terms used for the front and back of a single sheet of paper, or the right-hand and left-hand page of an open book

John Constable, ‘The Mill Stream. Verso: Night Scene with Bridge’ c.1810
John Constable
The Mill Stream. Verso: Night Scene with Bridge c.1810
Tate

The front or face of a single sheet of paper, or the right-hand page of an open book is called the recto. The back or underside of a single sheet of paper, or the left-hand page of an open book is known as the verso.

The works illustrated here each have paintings on both the recto and verso.

Related terms and concepts

Selected artworks from the collection