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Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Nigerian painter, sculptor, illustrator and poet. After attending Bishop Shanahan Secondary School, Orlu (1950–53), he received a degree in Fine Arts from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria (1957–61). In 1958 he founded the Asele Institute in Kafanchan for research in Nigerian art and culture. In the 1960s he was a member of the Ibadan Mbari Club, and a few years later formed the Enugu branch of Mbari that became a centre for artists of the Eastern region. His interest in Nigerian visual culture, especially that of his own Ibgo people, was most evident in his attention to and use of ...

Article

Chika Okeke

Nigerian painter, graphic artist, illustrator and poet. After studying at Central Art School, Onitsha, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1965–6), he received his BA (1972) and MFA (1977) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he studied with Uche Okeke. He worked as a commercial artist and graphic designer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Enugu, and the Ministry of Information, Aba. Among his many honours are the Department of Fine Arts Prize (University of Nigeria, Nsukka), the T. A. Fasuyi Prize for painting, the Commercial Art Cup, the Shell d’Arcy Cup for painting, and the ...

Article

Blanca García Vega

Spanish lithographer, illustrator and painter. In 1859 he enlisted for the African Campaign in Morocco, and the studies he did in Africa led to drawings for an atlas of the battles in Africa (Madrid, 1860), as well as those for Crónicas de la guerra de Africa...

Article

Esmé Berman

South African painter and printmaker of Dutch birth. He was a self-taught artist and left Holland in 1905 to take up employment in the Pretoria branch of a Dutch bookselling firm. He painted and etched landscapes and still-lifes during weekends only until 1916, when a group of patrons made it possible for him to spend three months painting full-time in Cape Town. He found the misty winter climate of the Cape peninsula, being closer to the atmosphere of his homeland than the harsh, sunlit expanses of the Transvaal, suited to his temperament and style. During that and later visits he produced enough saleable work to repay his benefactors and to continue painting full-time. Unfortunately his practice of working incessantly outdoors, regardless of inclement weather, also undermined the fragile health that had originally driven him from Holland....