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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....


French, 15th – 16th century, male.

Active in Limoges.

Born c. 1470; died 1542 or 1543.


Art historian Maurice Ardant places this artist's date of birth as 1470 at the latest. His name features on a property deed in favour of the Brotherhood of the Needy in 1495, and an enamel by him in the Musée de Cluny is dated to 1503. In 1511 he was appointed as a census-taker and registrar for local elections and in 1513 he was himself elected to the post of consul. His name appears on a number of property deeds in respect of his house in Limoges; these are dated 1535, 1537 and 1539. Léonard/Nardon Penicaud appears to have worked in two distinct styles: in the first, he is firmly in the tradition of 15th century French Gothic art, whereas later he exhibits pronounced Italian influences. The Louvre houses eight items loosely attributed to Nardon Penicaud; De Laborde identifies one monogram as that of Léonard Penicaud the Elder, though Maurice Ardant, who studied Limousin enamel artists in great detail and depth, attributes the item in question to Pierre Viger (also known as Calet), the husband of Valérie Limousin, an artist known to have been active in 1528 and in 1535. Another item in the Louvre collection bears the generic monogram of the Penicaud family, while another still is generally attributed to Jean Penicaud, although there is no consensus on which of the various artists known as Jean Penicaud....