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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

Alison Manges Nogueira

Monumental, marble paschal Candlestick of the late 12th to early 13th century with reliefs signed by Nicolaus de Angelo and Vassallettus now in S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. The imposing column (h. 5.6 m), adorned with six registers of reliefs and surmounted by a fluted candle holder, rests upon a base of sculpted lions, sphinxes, rams and female figures. The upper and lower reliefs bear vegetal and ornamental patterns while the three central registers portray Christ before Caiaphas, the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Pilate, Pilate Washing his Hands, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The culminating Easter scenes reflect the paschal candle’s function during the Easter season as a symbol of Christ resurrected, as evoked in an inscription on the base. A second fragmentary inscription refers to the unidentifiable patron’s desire for commemoration. A third inscription identifies Nicolaus de Angelo as the master sculptor and Petrus Vassallettus as playing a secondary role. Both were active in the second half of the 12th to the early 13th century and came from leading families of Roman sculptors: the Vassalletti and Cosmati (Nicolaus’s family). The candlestick is the only work signed by and securely attributed to Nicolaus and the scope of his contribution remains uncertain. A plausible theory attributes the base and first register to Petrus, based upon similarities to works signed by him and ascribed to his family, such as the cloister of S Giovanni in Laterano in Rome and the narthex of S Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Nicolaus probably executed the Christological scenes, distinguishable for their more dynamic, expressive figures and decorative chisel work, and appropriate for the master sculptor because of their centrality and significance. Early Christian sarcophagi and Carolingian ivories may have provided models for the figural types. This form of paschal candlestick was probably inspired by Roman columnar monuments carved with triumphal scenes....

Article

Italian, 16th century, male.

Born 1509, in Gandino near Bergamo; died 1579, in Madrid, in 1569 according to the Larousse Dictionary.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman (including wash), architect, decorative artist, art restorer. Religious subjects, historical subjects, mythological subjects. Wall decorations, frescoes.

After a study trip to Rome, paid for by his protector Tobia Pallavicini, Giovanni Battista Castello (Il Bergamasco) produced a series of works in Genoa and Bergamo. His best-known works in Bergamo include the fresco ...

Article

Italian, 15th century, male.

Born 5 June 1436, in Lucca; died 12 October 1501, in Lucca.

Sculptor, architect. Religious furnishings (altars).

Florentine School.

Matteo Civitali was a pupil of Antonio Rossellino, then worked with his master in Florence. He was responsible for introducing printing to Lucca. His work as an architect includes the Palazzo Pretorio in Lucca: its plans are attributed to him. He was a humanist, and his first works as a sculptor were representations of humanists of his day: ...

Article

Belgian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 14 October 1865, in Brussels; died 1959.

Painter, decorative designer, sculptor, architect. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, genre scenes, landscapes, seascapes.

Dierickx was a pupil of Jean Portaels and Joseph Stallaert. In 1887 he won the Godecharle Prize, which enabled him to travel in Italy. He regularly participated in the activities of the ...

Article

German, 17th century, male.

Stonemason, sculptor, painter, decorative designer. Religious subjects.

Dub was active in Cleves. He was made a burgher of Lucerne (Switzerland) on 7 March 1613 and member of the Brotherhood of St Luke. He worked on the choir of the main church and executed a tablet with a crucifix on the altar of St Henry which was destroyed by fire in ...

Article

French, 16th – 17th century, male.

Born to a family originally from Rouen.

Sculptor, architect. Religious subjects. Decorative schemes.

School of Normandy (Le Havre/Rouen).

Pierre Larbitre went to Le Havre in 1598 to continue work on the construction of the church of Our Lady with the architect Étienne Hallinguer. They built the chapels in the lower naves, the pendentives of the arches in the main nave, and the side portals. Larbitre also produced the crosses of the cemeteries in Lillebonne and Montivilliers, which have been destroyed, and an altarpiece of the story of Lazarus, which was placed in the church of St-Sauveur in Montivilliers. The best of his work extant in Le Havre is the portal of the church that gives onto the rue des Drapiers....

Article

Italian, 15th – 16th century, male.

Active from 1515 in France.

Born 15 April 1452, in Anchiano, near Vinci; died 2 May 1519, in Clos-Lucé, near Amboise, France.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, architect, engineer. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, portraits, topographic subjects, anatomical studies.

Leonardo da Vinci was the illegitimate son of the Florentine notary Ser Piero da Vinci, who married Albiera di Giovanni Amadori, the daughter of a patrician family, in the year Leonardo was born. Little is known about the artist’s natural mother, Caterina, other than that five years after Leonardo’s birth she married an artisan from Vinci named Chartabriga di Piero del Veccha. Leonardo was raised in his father’s home in Vinci by his paternal grandfather, Ser Antonio. Giorgio Vasari discusses Leonardo’s childhood at length, noting his aptitude for drawing and his taste for natural history and mathematics. Probably around 1470, Leonardo’s father apprenticed him to Andrea del Verrocchio; two years later, Leonardo’s name appears in the register of Florentine painters. Although officially a painter in his own right, Leonardo remained for a further five years or so in Verrocchio’s workshop, where Lorenzo di Credi and Pietro Perugino numbered among his fellow students....

Article

Italian, 16th century, male.

Born 6 March 1475, in Caprese, near Arezzo; died 18 February 1564, in Rome.

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, architect, engineer, poet. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, nudes, portraits.

At the time of Michelangelo’s birth, his father, Ludovico, son of Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, was resident magistrate for the Republic of Florence in the small, fortified town of Caprese, but soon after the family returned to Florence. Michelangelo lost his mother when he was six years old, and the family’s financial situation was poor, though previous generations of Buonarroti had been rich and powerful and among the ‘priori’, or governing councillors, of Florence. Michelangelo’s father would therefore have preferred a business career for his son, but Michelangelo was encouraged by his friend Francesco Granacci in his artistic ambitions. He prevailed over his father, and on 1 April 1488, at the age of 13, he joined the large workshop of the painters Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio. His apprenticeship agreement bound him to them for three years....

Article

German, 19th century, male.

Born 1839, in Obergünzburg.

Sculptor, architect. Religious furnishings (altars).

He was a pupil of Sickinger and Zibland in Munich.

Article

Austrian, 17th – 18th century, male.

Born c. 1644; died 18 April 1727, in Vienna.

Painter, sculptor (ivory), architect. Religious furnishings (altars), statuettes.

Matthias Steinl was one of the best-known Austrian Baroque artists.

Vienna (Kunsthistorisches Mus.): Leopold I (ivory); Joseph I (ivory); ...