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Article

Syrian, 13th century, male.

Metal worker.

Ahmad ibn Umar al Dhaki is thought to have come from Mosul, and had a famous workshop and numerous apprentices. Three leather objects, one in Cleveland Museum, one at the Louvre and one in a private collection in Switzerland, are signed by him and dated between ...

Article

Alchemy  

Laurinda Dixon

Ancient science from which modern chemistry evolved. Based on the concept of transmutation—the changing of substances at the elemental level—it was both a mechanical art and an exalted philosophy. Practitioners attempted to combine substances containing the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air) in perfect balance, ultimately perfecting them into a fifth, the quintessence (also known as the philosopher’s stone) via the chemical process of distillation. The ultimate result was a substance, the ‘philosopher’s stone’, or ‘elixir of life’, believed capable of perfecting, or healing, all material things. Chemists imitated the Christian life cycle in their operations, allegorically marrying their ingredients, multiplying them, and destroying them so that they could then be cleansed and ‘resurrected’. They viewed their work as a means of attaining salvation and as a solemn Christian duty. As such, spiritual alchemy was sanctioned, legitimized, and patronized by the Church. Its mundane laboratory procedures were also supported by secular rulers for material gain. Metallurgists employed chemical apparatus in their attempts to transmute base metals into gold, whereas physicians and apothecaries sought ultimately to distill a cure-all elixir of life. The manifold possibilities inherent in such an outcome caused Papal and secular authorities to limit and control the practice of alchemy by requiring licences and punishing those who worked without authorization....

Article

John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of ...

Article

Malcolm W. Norris

A term used to describe any inscription, figure, shield of arms, or other device engraved for a commemorative purpose in flat sheet brass. It is found as early as 1486 in the will of William Norreys of Ash-next-Sandwich, Kent. Such memorials became established in 13th-century Europe as a very satisfactory form of inlay for a grave slab. They recorded the death and status of the deceased and, particularly important, attracted prayers for the soul in Purgatory. Monumental brasses are therefore usually found in churches....

Article

A. M. Koldeweij

South Netherlandish metalworker. According to the chronicle of Oignies (Mons, Archvs Etat), which gives the details of his birth, he had three brothers who, led by the eldest, Egidius or Gilles de Walcourt, founded the Priory of St Nicolas at Oignies on the banks of the River Sambre, in the diocese of Liège. Hugo worked in precious metals in the Meuse region and the surrounding area until ...

Article

Francis Woodman

English cleric, sculptor, and possibly metalworker. A native of West Dereham in Norfolk, he has sometimes been identified with Master Elias, steward to Gilbert de Glanville, Bishop of Rochester. He served in the household of Hubert Walter, Bishop of Salisbury and later Archbishop of Canterbury (...

Article

Italian goldsmith. His earliest documented work dates from 1286, when together with his brother Tallino he made a chalice, identified by Gai (1988) with the chalice of S Atto (Pistoia, Mus. Dioc.), for the Opera di S Jacopo; he was paid 48 lire for this work on ...

Article

Italian goldsmith. One of the most important goldsmiths of the period, he is first documented on 5 July 1292 in a payment for a seal, in which he is referred to as ‘Guccio Mannaie aurifici’. A further three payments for seals are recorded on 1 January 1294...

Article

Cordelia Warr

Hungarian saint and patron. She was the daughter of the Arpád King Andrew II of Hungary (reg 1205–35) and Gertrude of Andechs-Meran (1185–1213) and married Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (reg 1217–27) in 1221. After Ludwig’s death (11 September 1227...

Article

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the ...

Article

Cristina De Benedictis

Italian painter and illuminator. He was the son of the goldsmith Filippuccio (fl 1273–93). In 1948 Longhi attributed a fresco of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with SS James and John the Evangelist in the church of S Jacopo, San Gimignano, and others in the tower of the Palazzo del Popolo there to Memmo, who is documented as having lived and worked in the town from ...

Article

Søren Kaspersen

Gilded copper altar frontals found in seven parish churches in Jutland (Lisbjerg, Odder, Tamdrup, Sindbjerg, Ølst, Sahl, and Stadil), one in Schleswig, Germany (Quern), and one in southern Sweden (Broddetorp), as a general rule they date from c. 1135–1225 and were most likely made in different workshops in Jutland. An altar frontal in Lyngsjö Church in Scania (now Skåne, Sweden) is stylistically close to the gilded copper altar frontal (...

Article

Walloon School, 13th century, male.

Born in Walcourt; died after 1240.

Worker in precious metals, miniaturist. Religious furnishings.

Friar Hugo went to live with four brother priests at Oignies, in Hainaut, where they founded a religious community. Before long, they had set up a goldsmith's workshop. Hugo made many pieces for the Treasury. His work included religious objects such as reliquaries, phylacteries, a gospel-book, a manuscript, an engraved chalice and a cross. In ...

Article

Barbara Drake Boehm

French goldsmith. He is documented principally in the royal accounts of Philip IV, but no authenticated work by him survives. His atelier was on the Grand Pont in Paris, and his sons may also have been active there because they became proprietors after his death. In ...

Article

Jutland  

Harriet Sonne de Torrens

Mainland peninsula of modern-day Denmark and one of the three provinces (Jutland, Zealand and Skåne, southern Sweden) that constituted medieval Denmark. The conversion of the Danes to Christianity initiated a reorganization of the economic, social and legal structures of Denmark that would change the shape of Jutland dramatically between the 11th and 14th centuries. Under Knut the Great, King of Denmark and England (...

Article

British, 13th century, male.

Born c. 1200, in St Albans; died 1259, in St Albans.

Painter, miniaturist, goldsmith, sculptor.

A Benedictine monk in the monastery of St Albans, he worked there and in London. He spent 1248 and 1249 in Norway. He is considered one of the best English miniaturists of the 13th century....

Article

13th – 14th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century.

Metal worker.

Muhammad ibn al-Zayn is known for the famous Baptistère de St Louis (Paris, Louvre), a tin basin encrusted with gold and silver dating from between 1290...

Article

Paul Binski

Term used to describe a convention of drapery representation in the figurative arts in north-western Europe between c. 1180 and c. 1240. It was typical of metalwork, sculpture, and painting executed in the region between the River Meuse and the Ile-de-France and is one of the most distinctive features of art of the so-called ...

Article

P. Cornelius Claussen

French goldsmith. His known works indicate that he was one of the leading metalworkers of his day and an early exponent of the classicizing styles around 1200 that formed a transition between Romanesque and Gothic. In his two dated signatures, nicolaus virdunensis (1181) on the enamel decoration of the former pulpit in Klosterneuburg Abbey, Austria (...

Article

Ravello  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. Ravello has been documented as an urban centre since the 10th century and as a bishopric since 1087. The centre, near the Toro quarter, is high up between the two rivers that separate the city from ...