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Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time....

Article

Christopher Holdsworth

French saint, Cistercian abbot, and writer. He was born into a noble family and spent most of his life at Clairvaux Abbey in southern Champagne. He became its first abbot in 1115, having entered Cîteaux, its mother house, in 1113. The Cistercians became the most successful monastic reform movement of the age. When Bernard died there were about 170 monasteries attached to Clairvaux, nearly half the Order’s total, their spread across Europe reflecting Bernard’s power to attract recruits and patrons. A superb orator and writer, he was involved in attacking heresy, ending a papal schism, and encouraging the Second Crusade....

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ...

Article

One of the few surviving, early medieval, Latin technical treatises. Its attribution, localization, and dating rest largely on internal evidence variously interpreted and inconclusive. The treatise now comprises three books: it is generally agreed that Books I and II, written in verse by one hand at some time between the 7th and 12th centuries, constitute the original text; Book III, written in prose, was added piecemeal during the 12th and 13th centuries. The treatise is commonly attributed to ...

Article

Pamela A. Patton

Embroidered textile (Girona, Cathedral; see Girona, §1) produced in Catalonia c. 1100. Although popularly labelled a tapestry, it is in fact a monumental embroidery in wool and linen on fine wool twill. It might have been produced for the cathedral following its consecration in ...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Illustrated encyclopedia compiled by Herrad von Landsberg, Abbess of Hohenbourg, Alsace, in the late 12th century. The only copy was held in the municipal library of Strasbourg but was completely destroyed by fire in the bombardment of the city in 1870. Fortunately, records had been made of some parts of the text and copies made of some of the illustrations: ...

Article

Huesca  

Daniel Rico

Spanish provincial capital, to the north of Saragossa in Aragón. Known in pre-Roman Iberia as Bolskan and as Osca under the Romans, it was the seat of the Quintus Sertorius government, a municipium (free town) since the time of Augustus and a bishopric under the Visigoths. During the period of Muslim domination from the 8th to the 11th centuries, the town, known as Wasqa, became a defensive settlement with a city wall stretching for more than 1.8 km, of which some sections still remain. Although the city was recovered by the Christians 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

Kei  

Hiromichi Soejima

School of Japanese sculptors. It was active from the late 12th century to the 19th but flourished particularly during the Kamakura period (1185–1333). The name has been applied by modern art historians to sculptors in this mode from Kōkei onwards, and derives from the suffix ...

Article

Alison Stones

Legends and myths in medieval art are often symbolic rather than narrative, appearing as isolated representations on monuments and portable objects and following the tradition of Greek vase painting where individual subjects are depicted and rely on prior knowledge of the stories for recognition and understanding. World histories celebrated great heroes of the past, starting with Creation and biblical history, then the ancient and medieval world with the exploits of the Trojan heroes, Alexander the Great, King Arthur and the campaigns of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland. Northern gods such as Thor were depicted in cult statues (...

Article

Kate Wilson

Lineage of Chinese landscape painting defined in the late 16th century and early 17th by the critics and theorists Dong Qichang, Chen Jiru and Mo Shilong (c.1538–87). The Northern school is seen as opposed to the Southern school. Dong Qichang and his contemporaries sought to rejuvenate painting by studying correct ancient models and identified the two schools as the main painting traditions, positioning major artists of the past within one or the other. The terms Northern and Southern relate not to geographical areas but to a division in Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhism. Thus artists of the Northern school are associated with the Northern division of Chan, which holds that enlightenment is gradual and achieved through diligent application. This is not to suggest that Northern school artists were necessarily followers of Chan Buddhism; rather, their approach to painting was, in the opinion of the theorists, analogous with the courtly, instructional teaching of Northern Chan. The analogy applies both to the artists’ manner of working and to their style of painting....

Article

Louis I. Hamilton

Italian pope and patron. Paschal is often considered a weak successor to popes Gregory VII (reg 1073–85) and Urban II (reg 1088–99), and his contributions have been overshadowed by the ‘Privelegium’ dispute with the Emperor Henry V in 1111. He has come to be appreciated as a formidable pope in the tradition of Urban II for his effective use of papal itinerary, pontifical liturgy, church consecrations and an increasingly coherent set of ‘Gregorian’ liturgical commentaries. He dedicated twenty-six churches during his papacy; that seven of those were after 1111 bespeaks his ability to resecure his authority (Hamilton, ...

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 ...

Article

Scala  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. According to the 10th-century Chronicon Salernitanum, where it is referred to as Cama, Scala is the oldest centre along the entire Amalfi coast and has its origins in Late Antiquity. However, documentary proof that the city existed is only available from the beginning of the 10th century. Throughout history it has been home to a commercial aristocracy with commercial and political power throughout the entire Kingdom of Sicily. The Sasso and d’Afflitto families stood out from others in this group. Monasteries have been recorded in the city from the 10th century and it was under the control of the Duchy of Amalfi for the entire medieval period....

Article

Kate Wilson

Lineage of Chinese landscape painting defined in the late 16th century and the early 17th by the critics and theorists Dong Qichang, Chen Jiru and Mo Shilong (c. 1538–87). The Southern school is seen as opposed to the Northern school. Dong Qichang and his contemporaries positioned major artists of the past within one or the other school. The artists of the Southern school are associated with the Southern Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhist concept of the individual self as the key to sudden and intuitive enlightenment. This is not to suggest that Southern school artists were necessarily followers of Chan Buddhism, but that their approach to the creative process of painting and the styles they adopted were in keeping with the Southern Chan emphasis on direct personal experience. Dong Qichang advocated the Southern school as the ‘correct line of transmission’ in painting, and this view has acted as a filter for subsequent Chinese art history. In the Qing period (...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Belgian or German monk and writer. He is the author of a treatise on artistic techniques, De diversis artibus, which is the fullest account of the working methods of artists from the medieval period. The text survives in many copies and was used throughout the Middle Ages. The name Theophilus is a pseudonym since the author, as he explained in the preface, did not wish to achieve fame but to dedicate his skills to God. One manuscript of the text has a 17th-century interpolation that records that Theophilus is also called ‘Rugerus’. From the date and provenance of the earliest manuscripts of the text and from comparison with extant works of art of the techniques described, it is clear that the treatise was written during the first half of the 12th century in north-west Germany. There is a strong likelihood that Theophilus can be identified with the goldsmith monk ...