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Article

Annemarie Weyl Carr

(b Berlin, Aug 11, 1909; d London, Nov 10, 1996).

German scholar of Byzantine, East Christian and European illuminated manuscripts. He took his degree in 1933 at the University of Hamburg in the heady community of the Warburg Library (later Institute) under the tutelage of Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl. Immigrating with the Warburg staff and library to London in 1934, he served from 1940 to 1949 as the Institute’s Librarian and from 1944 to 1965 as Lecturer, Reader and then Professor of Byzantine art at the University of London. In 1965 he came to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, becoming in 1970 the first Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor. He retired in 1975 to London, where he died in 1996.

Buchthal is best known for his Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1957), which laid the foundation for the now well-established art-historical field of Crusader studies. It exemplifies both his originality and the methods that made his scholarship so durable. Fundamental among these were his holistic approach to manuscripts, giving as much attention to ornament, liturgical usage, text traditions, palaeography and apparatus as to miniatures, and his relentlessly keen visual analysis. Aided by a powerful memory, he worked from original monuments, developing exceptional acuity in dissecting the formal components of their images. Mobilized in his dissertation, published in ...

Article

(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...

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 ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (Moscow, Hist. Mus. MS. D.29). It is a small Marginal Psalter (195×150 mm) of 169 folios, in which broad spaces were left blank on the outer edges of the pages to be filled with numerous unframed illustrations, glossing the biblical text in various ways (see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §V, 2, (iv), (f)). The original text and captions to the illustrations were elegantly written in a small uncial script around the mid-9th century ad. In the 12th century, however, most of the text was crudely overwritten in minuscule, giving the book a messy appearance. This evidence of continued use over a long period is also reflected in the state of the miniatures, many of which are heavily worn and flaked, yet the manuscript is still more complete than two other roughly contemporary Psalters (Paris, Bib. N., MS. grec 20; Mt Athos, Pantokrator Monastery, MS. 61)....

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (London, BL, Cotton MS. Otho B. VI), probably of the late 5th century ad. It consists of the fragments of 129 folios, shrunken and charred by a fire in 1731, which are all that remain of one of the most profusely illustrated and magnificent books of the period. The manuscript has long been the focus of scholarly attention, and work on a facsimile was begun in 1621–2 by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, although it probably did not advance far.

All discussion of the Cotton Genesis starts from the ingenious reconstruction by Weitzmann and Kessler, according to whom the manuscript originally comprised some 221 folios (c. 330×250 mm) and contained the text of Genesis, illustrated by some 339 illuminations distributed throughout the book, most half-page or larger (including perhaps 36 full-page). These adopted a literal approach to the text, but some contained extra-biblical details derived from written commentaries (Christian or Jewish) or possibly from more informal, oral traditions. They were framed scenes with fully painted illusionistic settings, and they used a full range of pigments, including gold leaf for some details. Although Weitzmann and Kessler argued for an origin in Egypt, the evidence for this has been questioned by Wenzel....

Article

Florentine Mütherich

The manuscript (Munich, Bayer. Staatsbib., Clm. 4453) comprises 276 pages measuring 334×242 mm; it has been preserved with its original front cover, in the centre of which is a 10th-century Byzantine ivory representing the Dormition of the Virgin. It was produced on the island of Reichenau c. 1000. The text is embellished with 12 canon tables magnificently arranged in arcades (fols 11v–22r), a double-page picture of the Emperor (fols 23v–24r), portraits of the Four Evangelists paired with incipit pages (fols 25v–26r, 94v–95r, 139v–140r, 206v–207r), and 29 full-page miniatures illustrating scenes from the New Testament, which are interspersed throughout the text (see fig.). The Emperor is shown enthroned amid the secular and spiritual representatives of his realm; figures of the four provinces, Roma, Gallia, Germania, and Sclavinia, approach from the left with gifts to offer their allegiance. The subject-matter suggests that the Emperor should be identified as Otto III in his final years when Rome was central to his policy, a dating that accords with the style of the painting. Described as ‘Visionary Evangelists’, the portraits of the ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

Enlarged or otherwise accentuated letter that introduces sentences, paragraphs or major divisions of a text. The use of initials, accentuated by size, placement or decoration, evolved in the Late Antique or Early Christian period in conjunction with the growing prevalence of texts written in the codex format. Perhaps as a result of an increased dependence on the authority of the written word occasioned by the growing needs of the Christian Church, combined with a developing sense of the aesthetic and practical requirements of the codex, various devices were invented to mark significant divisions of the text. In the late 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus (London, BL, Add. MS. 43725) the divisions between books are marked by explicit (ending) inscriptions; in the 5th-century Codex Alexandrinus (London, BL, Royal MS. 1. D. V–VIII) sentences are introduced by larger letters moved into the margins, and the explicit is accompanied by penned decoration. At about the same time a ...

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. palat. gr. 431). It consists of 15 separate sheets of parchment, which were originally pasted together to form a roll 315 mm high and 10.42 m long. Although its manufacture is now dated to the mid-10th century (Weitzmann), a wide range of earlier dates were proposed in the older literature. On one side of the parchment is a continuous picture frieze, illustrating events from Joshua 2:15–10:27, with brief biblical excerpts in a contemporary hand below; the versos of some of the sheets have various texts added, perhaps in the 13th century. The manuscript is damaged and incomplete at both ends, and Weitzmann proposed that it originally covered the narrative of the conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 1–12). The picture frieze is the work of a highly accomplished artist working in a technique of thin washes of colour, unusual in a Byzantine manuscript....

Article

Valerie Nunn

The earliest surviving illustrated Byzantine Bible (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. Reg. gr. 1), produced in the 9th century ad or the first half of the 10th. It is named after the Byzantine official who commissioned it and is also known as the Bible of Queen Christina (of Sweden; reg 1626–89), from whose collection it passed to the Vatican Library. Leo, patrikios, praepositos (grand chamberlain and highest-ranking eunuch) and imperial sakellarios (treasurer), is identified in a metrical preface, and he had himself depicted in the first gathering of the manuscript, proffering his Bible to the Virgin. He is portrayed as white-haired and beardless, and it may be assumed that he was an elderly eunuch, a status eminently compatible with the office of praepositos.

Only one volume survives, containing the books from Genesis to Psalms. Both the preface and a contents page, however, testify that the original project comprised the whole of the Old and New Testaments. The volume (more than once trimmed and rebound) is distinguished by its unusually large format (410×270 mm). The full-page miniatures that preface selected books were inserted on separate leaves, which may imply that they were added after the completion of the text. There are also two dedicatory miniatures, one depicting Leo in the presence of the Virgin and Christ and the other his brother Constantine with Abbot Makar, kneeling before St Nicholas. All the miniatures are framed by verse inscriptions, which were apparently composed by ...

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated calendar manuscript (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. Vat. gr. 1613) of 439 pages (363×287 mm). It covers the first half of the administrative year (1 Sept–28 Feb) and contains up to eight commemorations for each day. It is presumed to be the surviving first volume of a two-volume set and, according to the dedicatory poem on p. XIII, was made for Emperor Basil II (reg 976–1025). It is organized as a picture book, with each page divided horizontally in half for a miniature and its accompanying 16-line text. The 430 miniatures alternate between the upper and lower halves of the page, and include scenes from the Life of Christ (e.g. Nativity, Baptism), as well as standing saints, numerous scenes of martyrdom, and more unusual events, such as the discovery of relics.

There are some peculiar features about the book. On 15 pages the illuminations lack any accompanying text, indicating that, contrary to normal practice, the illustrations were supplied first. Eight different names (e.g. ...