Erased. Cut off uneven or jagged, as if torn off; said of a portrait or bust at the place of truncation. One method of indicating erased portraits is by the use of clouds or cloud-like formations below the portrait, giving it an ethereal or heavenly effect. Artists have infrequently used this means of symbolizing a deceased person as on a memorial or commemorative medal (the symbolism being the person has died and gone to heaven thus his deeds on earth must have been good).
excerpted with permission from
For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators
COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY D. WAYNE JOHNSON
Roger W. Burdette, Editor