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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. ...

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

(fl c. 976–1025).

Byzantine painter. The name ‘Pantoleon zographos’ (Gr.: ‘painter’) appears next to 79 of the 430 miniatures in the Menologion of Basil (976–1025) (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. gr. 1613). Pantoleon worked in Constantinople (now Istanbul), where he painted miniatures and icons and, according to a Life of St Athanasios the Athonite, witnessed a miraculous manifestation of that saint while he completed a commission for the Emperor. The Life reports that a certain Cosmas saw an icon of St Athanasios painted by Pantoleon and wanted one of his own. The owner agreed to find him a duplicate based on the original icon while Cosmas waited. When the owner arrived at Pantoleon’s shop to place the order the artist was perplexed, claiming that the day before he had received the same request from Athanasios, and that the icon was already completed. Pantoleon had experienced an ‘overshadowing’, having been visited by divine Grace....

Article

Byzantine illuminated manuscript. It contains a collection of 52 homilies by Bishop Gregory of Nazianzus (329–89) on 468 folios (418×305 mm; Paris, Bib. N., MS. gr. 510). It is prefaced by full-page miniatures of Christ Enthroned; Emperor Basil I Flanked by Elijah and Gabriel; Empress Eudokia, with her Sons Leo and Alexander and two full-page crosses. On this basis the manuscript can be dated 879–93, perhaps to late 879. It is further illustrated by 41 surviving full-page illustrations inserted into the text as part of a scheme to preface each homily with appropriate images. Most of the miniatures are subdivided to depict a number of separate scenes, and in general the pictorial content is rich and very complex.

The approach to the illustration of the homilies is often obscure and has defied attempts at a full explanation, but Brubaker has argued convincingly for the personal involvement of the learned Patriarch ...

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript. Comprised of 449 folios (360×260 mm; Paris, Bib. N., MS. gr. 139), it contains the Psalter with a catena. It has occupied a key position in the study of Byzantine art since the late 19th century. The prefatory image of the youthful shepherd David, in the guise of Orpheus, charming the natural world and accompanied by a personification of Melody (fol. 1v), bears comparison to late Roman works in the Hellenistic tradition (see fig.). Once thought to be a product of the 6th or 7th century ad and hence to some extent still in touch with antiquity, Weitzmann and Buchthal, working independently, redated the manuscript convincingly to the 10th century. It thus stands as the apogee of a highly self-conscious classicizing trend in Byzantine art, termed by Weitzmann the ‘Macedonian Renaissance’. Some controversy remains over whether the 14 surviving full-page miniatures reproduce older images (Buchthal) or were newly created in the 10th century from older elements (Weitzmann)....

Article

Debra Higgs Strickland

Early Christian allegorical and moralizing text about animals originally composed in Greek by an unknown author, probably during the 2nd century ad in Alexandria. The precise meaning of the name, Physiologus, is unclear, but it has been translated as ‘The Naturalist’ or ‘Natural Philosopher’. The text’s narrator discourses on the natural world, combining ancient animal myth and lore with biblical references in order to draw allegorical parallels between animal and human behaviour with references to Christ, the Devil and the Jews. For example, the hoopoe chicks’ diligent and loving care of their ageing parents is held up as an admirable example of obeying God’s commandment to ‘honour thy father and mother’. The panther, whose sweet breath attracts all animals except the dragon, is likened to the sweetness of Christ, which attracts everyone but the Devil. The unclean hyena, known to change its sex from male to female and back again, is compared to ‘the duplicitous Jews, who first worshiped the true God but were later given over to idolatry’. As testimony to its wide popularity, the Greek ...

Article

Psalter  

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Book containing the 150 psalms of the Old Testament. This article is concerned with manuscript Psalters used in the Western Church; for those used in the Orthodox Church see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §V, 2. The Psalter is usually divided into sections to be recited daily at Matins and Sunday Vespers and hence is a liturgical book used by the clergy in the Divine Office (forming the basis for the Breviary), or by the laity for private devotions. In addition to the psalms, Psalters generally contain an ecclesiastical Calendar, canticles, creeds, and the litany of the saints; the calendar and litany frequently provide evidence of the intended destination of a Psalter. Traditionally attributed to King David and his court musicians, the psalms are hymns in praise of God and pleas for his help and mercy. With the advent of Christianity, the psalms were interpreted in specifically Christian terms: the Lord of the Old Testament was understood as Christ the Messiah, and many passages of individual psalms were seen as Christian metaphors and prefigurations. The Hebrew text of the psalms reached the Latin West via the translations made by St Jerome in the 4th century AD, two from the Greek version (the Septuagint) and one directly from the original language. The three versions, known respectively as the Roman, Gallican, and Hebrew Psalters, differ in the numbering of the psalms (the Gallican will be followed here), and there are also many important textual differences. In the West, the Gallican translation became the standard text. Some Psalters, even illustrated examples such as the ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

Manuscript written on purple-dyed parchment. Almost always combined with the use of gold or silver script (see Chrysography), such books were particularly prevalent in the Byzantine East in the 5th and 6th centuries ad and in the West from the 8th to the 11th centuries in Carolingian, Ottonian and (rarely) Insular works. The use of purple, especially the costly Tyrian purple, had been considered a symbol of social, economic or official status since the first half of the 14th century bc. By the 4th century ad the use of purple became increasingly associated with the person of the Roman emperor and his court. By the end of the 4th century and beginning of the 5th, purple was being used for sacred vessels and vestments, and in art Roman Imperial costume was transferred to representations of Christ, the Virgin and angels, as can be seen later in the mosaics (...

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript, attributed to the 6th century ad. It is considered to be the earliest surviving illustrated New Testament, probably antedating the Syriac Rabbula Gospels of ad 586 by a generation or two. The manuscript (Rossano, Mus. Dioc.), which is now incomplete, consists of a prefatory cycle of illustrations and the texts of Matthew and almost all of Mark. It is probably the surviving first volume of a large, two-volume Gospel Book (c. 300×250 mm), with the text in a block 215 mm square, in two columns each of twenty lines. The text was written in silver on thin sheets of parchment that had previously been dyed purple, and the illustrations are also on purple leaves.

The prefatory cycle is disordered and only partially preserved. It consists of seven folios with a prefatory image for the Canon Tables (fol. 5r) and eight full-page miniatures. Loerke has proposed the loss of a further thirteen leaves, to supply Canon Tables, six folios of prefatory miniatures and a portrait of ...

Article

Leslie Ross

Writings, often of a legendary nature, intended to honour the saints. These have inspired copious literary and artistic productions since the Early Christian period, when churches, shrines and martyria dedicated to saints became popular sites of pilgrimage. Although little evidence survives for the decoration of these monuments, it is clear that early picture cycles existed, depicting the honoured saints and/or episodes from their lives: S Paolo fuori le Mura in Rome appears to have contained a 5th-century fresco cycle with hagiographic scenes; episodes from the Passions of SS Peter and Paul appear on Early Christian sarcophagi and images of saints and apostles are found in catacomb paintings. Also from this period are the first lists of saints, a form of commemoration that developed into the manuscript type known as the Martyrology (an abbreviated listing of saints in order of their feast days). The writing of saintly ‘biography’, or hagiography, provided more information about the commemorated saint, whether apostle, martyr, confessor, virgin or hermit. This could take the form of a ...

Article

Spanish, 16th century, male.

Died 1533, in Naples.

Painter, illuminator.

Antonio Vazquez worked for the monastery of Monteoliveto Maggiore near Siena, where he executed a Virgin and Child in Byzantine style.

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., cod. theol. gr. 31), attributed to the 6th century ad. Since the late 19th century it has been one of the most intensely studied Byzantine manuscripts. Only a fragment of the original survives, consisting of 24 single leaves of purple-dyed parchment, varying in size between 307×250 mm and 333×270 mm. Each page is divided approximately in half, with the biblical text of Genesis written entirely in silver in the upper part, and an accompanying miniature (48 in total) in the lower part (see fig.). The number of lines of text, and the script’s size and density, vary from page to page, according to the requirements of the miniatures; parts of the biblical text were omitted altogether. Gerstinger’s reconstruction of the manuscript as running to 96 folios, with 192 miniatures, has been generally accepted.

The Vienna Genesis was once held to be the oldest surviving illustrated ...