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Article

Nicholas Penny

Term used between the 15th and the 18th century to refer in a general way to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. It was used to appeal to qualities and standards common, or thought to be common, to the art of that period. It was widely believed that such qualities should be revived, should inspire and (no less important) should control the productions of the modern artist. Progress in taste involved a return to the Antique. Such a vague index of excellence could not have survived for centuries had it not commanded general consent, and for this very reason it is fundamental to any understanding of European culture in this period. The Antique was indeed in many respects equivalent to the Classics—a category, quite as vague, that constituted the body of generally admired ancient Greek and Roman literature. These were also recommended as models, but for modern literature in the modern languages. Implicit in the pedagogic invocation of the Antique as a standard was the assumption that antique art was generally superior: it was not believed that all ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture were of the highest quality, but it was assumed that most of it was of high quality and worthy of special study. Moreover, within the four or more centuries of Greek and Roman civilization held up for special admiration, little development or variation was allowed for. This was certainly a false picture, but it is based on one important truth: patrons of high art of the Roman Empire and of the Hellenistic kingdoms seem to have acknowledged that certain models of excellence in art and architecture had been achieved that should be faithfully imitated and that could never be surpassed. It was indeed precisely because the concept of the superior ancient model was so powerful in antiquity that the Antique could reassume an equivalent role in the modern world....

Article

Geoffrey Waywell

(b Ilford, June 22, 1894; d Peebles, Feb 25, 1988).

English archaeologist . One of the most distinguished Classical scholars of the 20th century, specializing in Greek and Roman sculpture, he was equally well-known for his skills as an administrator and teacher. He was appointed Assistant Curator of Coins at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in 1922, leaving the post to become Director of the British School in Rome in 1925. Tempted by the opportunity of proximity to the British Museum collections and library, Ashmole returned to England in 1929 to take up the Yates Chair of Classical Archaeology at the University of London (1929–48), soon arranging a transfer to the university of the museum’s collection of plaster casts. As Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum (1939–56), he was largely responsible for the eventual display of the Elgin Marbles in the Duveen Gallery. He returned to Oxford in 1956 as Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology, from which post he retired in ...

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

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

(b Glasgow, Sept 13, 1885; d Oxford, May 6, 1970).

British scholar and archaeologist. He is best known for his life-long study of Athenian figure-decorated vases. His career at Oxford began in 1903, when he went up to Balliol College as a student. From 1907 to 1920 he was a lecturer at Christ Church College, from 1920 to 1925 University Lecturer in Classical Archaeology, and in 1925–56 Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology. He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1949 and a Companion of Honour in 1959.

Beazley contributed significantly to many aspects of Classical scholarship. His extensive work on Athenian vase painting of the 6th, 5th and 4th centuries bc includes such publications as Attic Black-figure Vase-painters (1956) and, in 1963, the expanded edition of his Attic Red-figure Vase-painters (1942). These volumes together list over 50,000 vases, which he assigned to more than 1000 artists, classes and groups. Further attributions followed in Paralipomena (1970...

Article

V. Ya. Petrukhin

(Dmitriyevich)

(b St Petersburg, Sept 12, 1899; d Moscow, Nov 10, 1980).

Russian archaeologist and art historian. He graduated from the social sciences department at Moscow University in 1923 and joined the staff of, first, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and then the State Academy of Art Sciences (later the Research Institute for the Theory and History of Fine Art), taking part in several archaeological expeditions. From 1925 to 1929 he was a postgraduate student at the Russian Association of Social Sciences Research Institutes and took part in excavations of Ol’viya under the direction of Boris Farmakovsky. In the 1930s he was on the staff of the State Academy for the History of Material Culture, teaching and conducting excavations at the ancient cities of Charaxes, Panticapaeum (now Kerch) and Phanagoreia. His general works on Classical architecture and Greek sculpture were published in this period. In 1943 he defended his doctoral thesis on the techniques of Classical sculpture and became a professor of archaeology at Moscow University. In ...

Article

Donald F. Easton

(William)

(b Minneapolis, Jan 27, 1887; d Athens, Aug 24, 1971).

American archaeologist. From 1911 to 1927 he held posts at the American School of Classical Studies, Athens; from 1927 onwards he was Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cincinnati. Early surveys and soundings around Corinth led to excavations at Korakou (1915–6), which established a full Bronze Age sequence for the Greek mainland, a sequence then confirmed at Zygouries (1921–2). Excavations at Nemea (1924–6) and Acrocorinth (1926) dealt mainly with Classical periods. But at Prosymna in the Argolid (1925–8) Blegen exposed a large Middle and Late Helladic cemetery. Further study of burial customs and of the distribution of prehistoric sites convinced him that Greek-speakers entered Greece c. 1900 bc, a view long influential but now doubted. His excavations at Troy (1932–8) greatly refined previous findings by Heinrich Schliemann and Wilhelm Dörpfeld and suggested that Troy VIIa, not VI, was destroyed in the Trojan War (...

Article

Carmela Vircillo Franklin

(b Berlin, Aug 18, 1911; d Cambridge, MA, Sept 6, 2006).

German historian of antiquity and the Middle Ages, active also in Italy and America. Bloch was trained at the University of Berlin under the historian of ancient Greece Werner Jaeger, art historian Gerhart Rodenwaldt and medievalist Erich Caspar from 1930 until 1933, when the rise of National Socialism convinced him to move to Rome. There he received his tesi di laurea in ancient history in 1935 and his diploma di perfezionamento in 1937. He then participated in the excavations at Ostia, Rome’s ancient port, which was an important site in the revival of Italian archaeology under Fascism. At the outbreak of World War II, he immigrated to the USA, and began his teaching career in 1941 at Harvard University’s Department of Classics, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. His experience of totalitarianism shaped both his personal and professional beliefs.

Bloch applied a deep knowledge of epigraphy, history and material culture, art history, literary and archival sources to his research and he had a propensity for uncovering the significance of new or neglected evidence. One such area was Roman history. His first publications, on ancient Rome’s brick stamps (many of which he discovered ...

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

Maria Adelaide Miranda

[Virgílio]

(b Régua, Oct 19, 1888; d Coimbra, June 3, 1944).

Portuguese art historian, writer, archaeologist and museum official. He studied Law at the Universidade de Coimbra but soon became involved in research in the history of art, archaeology and ethnography, and in 1921 he was appointed as a lecturer in art history and aesthetics at the university. He was also a distinguished museum official, serving as Curator of the Museu Etnológico Português and of the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, in Lisbon. In 1929 he was appointed Director of the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, in Coimbra. Among his archaeological activities was that of directing the excavations at Conímbriga, south of Coimbra. Aware of the lack of objectivity in the study of archaeology and art history in Portugal, he investigated these disciplines thoroughly and sought to found them on direct observation and the consultation of sources. He favoured a method of research based on the study of documents, believing that only the document and the work of art remained constant, whereas aesthetic appreciation constantly changed. However, he thought that the document alone was not enough but had to be supported by material from photographic archives and by the gathering of data from museums, such that everything that might clarify the subject of study was brought together in one place. His vast body of published work includes ...