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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.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Valeria Farinati

(b Casale Monferrato, Oct 24, 1795; d Florence, Oct 17, 1856).

Italian architect, archaeologist and architectural historian. He studied architecture at the University of Turin (1810–12) under Ferdinando Bonsignore (1767–1843) and his assistant Giuseppe Talucchi (1782–1863). After serving (1812–14) in the fortress of Alessandria, he resumed his studies and obtained a degree in architecture in 1814. He served a period of apprenticeship under Talucchi, who helped him obtain a three-year grant from the Court of Turin for further study in Rome, where Canina settled in January 1818. He worked on engravings of Roman monuments under the antiquarian, scholar and publisher Mariano Vasi (1744–1820), and at the end of his three-year period as pensionato, he presented a survey of the Colosseum (Anfiteatro Flavio descritto, misurato e restaurato; dispersed) to the architects of the Accademia di S Luca, including Giuseppe Valadier, who were much impressed.

In 1824 Canina was appointed to execute his scheme for the expansion of the park of the ...

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 (c. 1000; Reykjavík, N. Mus.) or through such ornamental hammers as those from north Jutland in the Copenhagen Nationalmuseum, and Freya, head of the Valkyries, was painted riding a cat on the walls of Schleswig Cathedral.

The Fall of Troy is most celebrated in the early 13th-century copy of Heinrich von Veldecke’s ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, 1st century bc).

Greek sculptor and writer from South Italy. He is generally regarded as the head of a school producing eclectic, neo-classical statuary related to Neo-Attic decorative reliefs. Virtually everything known about Pasiteles is derived from a few literary references. No signatures of his are extant, although a marble statue of a youth (c. 50 bc; Rome, Villa Albani) is signed by Stephanos as his pupil. Pasiteles received Roman citizenship around 89–88 bc, when enfranchisement was extended as a result of the Social War (Pliny XXXIII.lv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He is mentioned as an expert in the chasing of metal (caelatura), especially elaborately decorated silver vessels (Pliny XXXV.xlv.156; Cicero: On Divination I.xxxvi.79). Despite being both a sculptor and metalworker, Pasiteles is never mentioned by Pliny in his section on sculptors in bronze. Rather, he is specifically identified as a modeller and ivory carver (XXXV.xlv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He must have worked in marble as well, since his name occurs twice in book XXXVI, where marble sculpture is treated, and his student ...

Article

John Wilton-Ely

[Giambattista]

(b Mogliano, nr Mestre, Oct 4, 1720; d Rome, Nov 9, 1778).

Italian etcher, engraver, designer, architect, archaeologist and theorist. He is considered one of the supreme exponents of topographical engraving, but his lifelong preoccupation with architecture was fundamental to his art. Although few of his architectural designs were executed, he had a seminal influence on European Neo-classicism through personal contacts with architects, patrons and visiting artists in Rome over the course of nearly four decades. His prolific output of etched plates, which combined remarkable flights of imagination with a strongly practical understanding of ancient Roman technology, fostered a new and lasting perception of antiquity. He was also a designer of festival structures and stage sets, interior decoration and furniture, as well as a restorer of antiquities. The interaction of this rare combination of activities led him to highly original concepts of design, which were advocated in a body of influential theoretical writings. The ultimate legacy of his unique vision of Roman civilization was an imaginative interpretation and re-creation of the past, which inspired writers and poets as much as artists and designers....

Article

Jordi Oliveras

(b Mataró, Oct 15, 1867; d Barcelona, Dec 24, 1956).

Spanish Catalan architect, architectural historian, archaeologist and politician. He graduated from the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura, Barcelona, in 1891, afterwards working as a municipal architect in Mataró. In 1897 he began working as an independent architect in Barcelona, while also teaching at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura and writing on architectural history. His first works as an architect, the Casa Martí (1896) in Carrer de Montsió, Barcelona, and the Casa Garí (1898), El Cros, Argentona, are typical of Catalan Art Nouveau (Modernismo) in that they show a neo-medieval influence, as do his slightly later projects in Barcelona, such as the improvements (1898–1900) to the Casa Ametller in the Passeig de Gràcia, the Casa Macaya (1901) in the Passeig de S Joan, the Casa Serra (1903–7; now the main seat of the Diputació de Catalunya) on the Rambla de Catalunya, the Casa Terrades or Casa de les Punxes (...

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

Eugene Dwyer, Peter Kidson and Pier Nicola Pagliara

(fl later 1st century bc). Roman architect, engineer and writer, renowned for his treatise in ten books, On Architecture (Lat. De architectura), the only text on architectural theory and practice to have survived from Classical antiquity.

Eugene Dwyer

Vitruvius is known in the earliest manuscripts of On Architecture only by this name, a nomen gentilicium or clan name. By his own testimony (I. Preface), he was already an older man at the time he dedicated his treatise to the Emperor Augustus (?27 or 14 bc). He had earlier served Augustus’ adoptive father, Julius Caesar, as a siege engineer, and at some time after Caesar’s death (44 bc) he entered the service of Octavian (after 27 bc called Augustus). He enjoyed Octavian’s continued patronage on the recommendation of the latter’s sister, Octavia, a fact that suggests a period of service under her second husband, the triumvir ...

Article

( fl Athens, c. 280 bc). Greek sculptor and writer. Though none of his work has survived, three statue bases signed by a Xenokrates and dating from the early 3rd century bc are extant. According to Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.lvxxxiii) he was a pupil either of Euthykrates, the son of Lysippos, or of Teisikrates, the pupil of Euthykrates (thus closely associated with the Sikyonian school of sculpture headed by Lysippos; see Greece, ancient §IV 2., (iv) ), and he ‘surpassed them both in the number of his statues, and wrote volumes about his art’. In the only other mention of Xenokrates in the text of the Natural History (he is also cited in the index to book XXXIV as having written a treatise on the working of sculpture in metal) Pliny named him, along with Antigonos of Karystos, as the source for the observation that the painter Parrhasios was a master draughtsman (XXXV.lxviii). In fact, Pliny’s whole discussion of the history of sculpture and painting is generally regarded as having been heavily influenced by Xenokrates. In this system, both arts gradually evolved towards perfection as each succeeding artist added something new, such as proportion or the rendering of certain details. In both cases the sequence culminated in a great master of the Sikyonian school, Lysippos in sculpture and Apelles in painting. Perhaps because he was a practising sculptor himself, Xenokrates seems to have used formal and technical criteria, rather than a work’s subject-matter or moral effect, to evaluate artistic achievement. Numerous references to the history of painting and sculpture in writers other than Pliny are thought to derive from Xenokrates’ accounts: he was the art critic best known to the Romans of the late Republic, whose taste he greatly influenced....