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

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  • David Bomberg, Richard Michelmore, 'Recto: Messiah. Verso: Messiah' 1953
    David Bomberg, Richard Michelmore
    Recto: Messiah. Verso: Messiah 1953
    Oil on board
    frame: 715 x 1080 x 100 mm
    support: 609 x 925 mm
    Presented by Richard Michelmore 1983© Tate & Richard Michelmore
  • Vanessa Bell, 'Studland Beach. Verso: Group of Male Nudes by Duncan Grant' circa 1912
    Vanessa Bell
    Studland Beach. Verso: Group of Male Nudes by Duncan Grant circa 1912
    Oil on canvas
    support: 762 x 1016 mm
    frame: 898 x 1153 x 87 mm
    Purchased 1976© The estate of Vanessa Bell
  • Aubrey Beardsley, 'Caprice. Verso: Masked Woman with a White Mouse' circa 1894
    Aubrey Beardsley
    Caprice. Verso: Masked Woman with a White Mouse circa 1894
    Oil on canvas
    support: 762 x 635 mm
    Purchased 1923

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.