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Article

[Abū’l-Ḥasan ‛Alī ibn Hilāl al-Bawwāb]

(d Baghdad, 1022).

Arab calligrapher and illuminator. He began as a house decorator but turned to calligraphy and refined the ‘proportioned script’ developed a century earlier by Ibn Muqla, in which letters were measured in terms of dots, circles and semicircles. An intimate of court circles in Baghdad, Ibn al-Bawwab was appointed librarian to the Buyid ruler Baha’ al-Dawla (reg 998–1012) at Shiraz. There Ibn al-Bawwab calligraphed the volume missing from a Koran manuscript penned by his predecessor so perfectly that the patron was unable to distinguish the new work from the original. In addition to an epistle and didactic poem on penmanship, Ibn al-Bawwab is said to have copied 64 manuscripts of the Koran, but only one survives: a manuscript copied at Baghdad in 1000–01 (Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1431). The small volume contains 286 folios (trimmed size 175×135 mm). Each page of text has 15 lines in naskh...

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

Charles Buchanan

Type of large-format Bible, usually found in pandect (single-volume) form, produced in central Italy and Tuscany from around 1060 to the middle of the 12th century. They came out of the efforts of a reformist papacy intent on wresting control over ecclesiastical investiture from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Giant Bibles were produced in reformed canonries and monasteries and then exported to the same, not only in Italy but throughout Europe.

The term ‘Atlantic’ (from the mythological giant Atlas) is derived from their impressive size; dimensions range from 550 to 600 mms by 300 to 400 mms. Their script, derived from Caroline minuscule, is placed in two columns of around fifty-five lines. The texts are decorated with two initial types, which Edward B. Garrison designated as ‘geometrical’ and ‘full shaft’, both of which are derived from Carolingian and Ottonian exemplars, respectively. The iconography consists of full-length prophets, patriarchs, kings and saints as well as narrative scenes. The last are at times found as full-page cyclical illuminations and preface important textual divisions, especially Genesis. The iconography of the Giant Bibles is a specific Roman iconographical recension with its sources based in part on Early Christian pictorial cycles, such as the wall paintings of Old St Peter’s in Rome. These came from an era considered by the reformers to have been uncorrupted by the abuses that afflicted the Church when these Bibles were being made. While the Giant Bibles were promulgated by the Church of Rome as a symbol of its supreme authority, they also allowed the clergy to perform the liturgy, and the Divine Office in particular, properly....

Article

Richard K. Emmerson

Illuminated Ottonian manuscript (205×295 mm; Bamberg, Staatsbibl., MS. Bibl. 140) comprising 106 folios, divided into two halves, the first containing 50 miniatures illustrating the Book of Revelation, the second with 5 full-page miniatures illustrating Gospel readings from the Nativity to Pentecost. Separating the sections are two full-page images each with two registers. On the left St Peter and St Paul crown a young ruler, who is given obeisance by personifications of the four peoples of the empire, depicted below. They recall the personifications bringing gifts to the emperor in the Gospels of Otto III (Munich, Bayer. Staatsbib., Clm. 4453). Facing this imperial scene, on the right, Old Testament figures are paired with four personifications of the victorious virtues they model for the ruler: Abraham/Obedience, Moses/Purity, David/Repentance, and Job/Patience. The Apocalypse miniatures, of varying size and interspersed within the Latin text, are painted on gold grounds. Their iconography, descending from a Roman archetype, is related to the Carolingian Valenciennes Apocalypse (early 9th century; Valenciennes, Bib. Mun., MS. 99) and the contemporary Apocalypse fresco of Novara Baptistery. The vigorous colours and sumptuous execution of the miniatures, including an early detailed ...

Article

Bobbio  

Michael Richter

Monastery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Approximately 50 km south of Piacenza in the Apennines, it was founded c. ad 613 through the cooperation of the Lombard king Agilulf (reg 590–615) and the Irish abbot and saint Columbanus (c. 540–615). Its nucleus was an older dilapidated church dedicated to St Peter. Columbanus died on 23 November 615, but his name and renown remained alive in the following centuries. Through cooperation with the Lombard monarchs as well as later the Carolingian kings, Bobbio became a very prominent monastery in Northern Italy. In 628 it was granted the earliest monastic exemption from supervision by the local diocesan, the bishop of Tortona. The community of Bobbio apparently lived according to the Rule of Columbanus as well as the Rule of Basil of Caesarea. The presence of the Rule of St Benedict cannot be documented there before the early 9th century. Bobbio became a known not only as a centre of Irish learning but also as a centre of grammatical as well as computational studies. Its early library also contained Classical texts as well as important palimpsests (a ‘catalogue’ survives from the late 9th century). In the late 9th and early 10th centuries (a period of economic decline) important illuminated manuscripts were produced there. The abbatial church was rebuilt under Abbot Agilulf (...

Article

Kathryn B. Gerry

Illuminated Gospel book (210×272 mm; London, BL, Harley MS, 76) made in the first half of the 11th century, probably at Canterbury, Christ Church. This is one of a group of manuscripts associated with the scribe and monk Eadui and several other unnamed scribes; other manuscripts in the group include the Eadui Codex (Hannover, Kestner-Mus., WM XXIa 36) and the Eadui Psalter (London, BL, Arundel MS. 155). The script in the Bury Gospels has not been attributed to these particular scribes, but the style of the remaining ornamental work is similar to others in this group. It is likely that the book was produced at Canterbury for export, either to Bury St Edmunds or some other house, perhaps commissioned by King Canute (reg 1016–35) and Queen Emma (d 1052). The manuscript was at Bury St Edmunds by the end of the 11th century, as shown by added material related to that house copied by a Bury scribe (fols 137...

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

Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full Bibles. It was customary to surround them with ornament and, despite the wide geographical and chronological range of this practice, the basic decorative format remained fairly constant. The tables are divided and framed by representations of architectural columns surmounted by arcades or, occasionally, pediments; pictorial matter is concentrated in the upper part of the design, which might contain decorative and symbolic bird and plant motifs as well as more explicit illustrative features, such as the Evangelist symbols or the Twelve Apostles. In Eastern manuscripts the tables are sometimes preceded by two or three pages of introductory text, similarly framed by architectural designs, and a further page of related ornament (e.g. a tempietto) might be included at the beginning or end....

Article

Charter  

James D’Emilio

Legal document typically written in documentary script on a single parchment sheet and authenticated by subscriptions, notarial signs or seals. In archives, originals were sometimes stitched into booklets or rolls. Notarial charters were registered, while deeds of ecclesiastical and civil institutions were copied in cartularies organized by place, date or issuer. Charters include contracts, property transactions, marriage agreements, dispute settlements, official privileges and decrees.

Besides their value as historical documents, collections of early medieval charters, such as those at St Gall, Lucca or Catalonia, furnish insights into law, literacy and linguistic change. In the mid- to late Middle Ages, the texts, scripts and physical features of papal bulls, charters from monastic or episcopal scriptoria, and the burgeoning output of royal chanceries and civil notaries chart pathways of education and cultural exchange geographically and through social strata. In relation to medieval art, charters have fourfold importance. As historical sources, some document artists, patrons or artworks. Signed and dated originals of known provenance help to date manuscripts and reveal practices of scribes and scriptoria responsible for book production and illumination. In contrast with the dearth of medieval artists’ signatures, signed charters represent a sizeable corpus of securely attributed work with ample contextual information that facilitates study of individual style and artistic careers. Lastly, some are of artistic interest for their execution in a book hand or embellishment with decoration comparable to that in manuscripts: decorated lettering; calligraphic flourishes; the chrismon, cross and other religious symbols; validation signs, monograms and seals; and, rarely, illuminations....

Article

One of the few surviving, early medieval, Latin technical treatises. Its attribution, localization, and dating rest largely on internal evidence variously interpreted and inconclusive. The treatise now comprises three books: it is generally agreed that Books I and II, written in verse by one hand at some time between the 7th and 12th centuries, constitute the original text; Book III, written in prose, was added piecemeal during the 12th and 13th centuries. The treatise is commonly attributed to (H)Eraclius, who is cited as the author in Books I and III but probably wrote only Books I and II. It is not known whether he was a native of Italy or a northerner promoting his knowledge of Roman techniques, and accordingly De coloribus has been located to either Italy or northern Europe.

Relatively complete versions of the text survive in two manuscripts, both accompanied by Theophilus’s treatise De diversis artibus (extracts of the text within compilations of technical material are more common): the first (ex-Trinity Coll., Cambridge, MS. R. 15 5; London, BL, Egerton MS. 840 A) is German and dated ...

Article

Eadui  

Janet Backhouse

(fl c. Canterbury, 1010–30).

Scribe and illuminator working in England. He was a monk of Christ Church cathedral priory, Canterbury, and his name (Eaduuius cognomento Basan) appears as that of the scribe in the colophon of a Gospel book (Hannover, Kestner-Mus., MS. WM XXI a 36), which has been in Germany since at least the late 11th century. His characteristic English Caroline minuscule script has been identified in a number of liturgical manuscripts and secular documents, including a charter of Canute (reg 1016–35) in favour of Canterbury, dated 1018 (London, BL, Stowe Ch. 38). Another, copied into a Gospel book from Canterbury (London, BL, MS. Royal 1 D. IX), is Canute’s confirmation of the privileges of Christ Church, delivered in person on a visit between 1016 and 1019. Both apparently show Eadui’s hand at its most confident.

Eadui participated in the production of several of the magnificent Gospel books apparently produced at ...

Article

Ulrich Kuder

Former monastery in Luxembourg on the Sûre, a tributary of the Moselle. Archaeological finds and excavations have revealed a prehistoric settlement, a Roman villa (c. ad 60–70), and a small fortress (c. ad 260–75, with subsequent reinforcements) on the hill housing the later parish church of SS Peter and Paul. There are documentary records of the donation in ad 697–8 of part of the Villa Epternacus, together with a monasteriolum (small monastery), by St Irmina, Abbess of Oeren near Trier, to the Northumbrian missionary monk St Willibrord (658–739). The remaining part of the villa was donated by St Plektrudis and her husband Pepin II in 706. The first church was replaced c. 800 by a three-aisled basilica.

The monastery was run in the 8th century by Anglo-Saxons, and its scriptorium was the most important centre of Anglo-Saxon copyists and illuminators in continental Europe. The so-called ...

Article

German, 11th century, male.

Died 1056.

Illuminator, copyist.

At first an ordinary monk in the monastery of Tegernsee, Ellinger became abbot and encouraged his monks to cultivate the art of calligraphy and illumination. Known to be by him are miniatures in the four gospels, and a painting showing Jesus Christ offering his hand to the Pope that is in a manuscript dated ...

Article

Ende  

Marsha Meskimmon

[En]

(fl c. 10th century ad)

Spanish illuminator. Probably the earliest European female artist on record, Ende was a nun who lived and worked in Spain in the latter half of the 10th century. While there are questions of attribution surrounding her work, most sources now suggest that it is possible to discern her hand in the painting of the Beatus of Girona, an illustrated manuscript copy of the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus of Liébana (ad 975; Girona, Mus. Catedralicio). The work is typical of the Mozarabic manuscripts produced in Spain in this period with stylized figures arranged against bands of contrasting colour, but the Christological cycle included in the decoration is unusual in that it includes images of The Illness of Herod, Christ Before Caiaphus, and Judas Hanged with the more conventional Annunciation and Nativity scenes.

The primary evidence of Ende’s work on the Beatus comes from the inscription found in the colophon: ‘Ende pintrix et D(e)i aiutrix fr(a)ter Emeterius et pr(e)s(bite)r’ (‘Ende, paintress and helper of God; Emeterius, brother and priest’). This inscription refers to both Ende and Emeterius and it had formerly been assumed that it was he who made the more definitive contribution to the work. This debate raises significant issues concerning both the difficulties of attribution and the ways in which we have come to understand and evaluate the varying contributions of women and men to artistic culture. By and large, scholars are now content to acknowledge Ende’s work in the ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

Long scrolls, usually of parchment, containing the music and words of the liturgical chant for the Easter Vigil. Named after the opening word of the chant announcing Easter, ‘Exultet iam angelica turba coelorum …’, these rolls were used during the ceremony of the blessing and lighting of the Easter Candle, which symbolizes both the Pillar of Fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness and the Resurrection of Christ, the Light of the World, on Easter Day. This liturgy, derived from the Pontifical, is attributed to Bishop Landolfo I of Benevento (reg 957–82) and became widespread among the churches in southern Italy dominated by Montecassino Abbey. As a result, such scrolls were prevalent in the Benevento and around Montecassino from the 10th to the 13th centuries (see Montecassino, §2, (i)).

Although they served a liturgical function, these scrolls were primarily ceremonial display pieces. Decorated with large elaborate interlace initials in the Beneventan style, they also contain miniatures painted in a Byzantinizing style. The miniatures were often painted upside down in relation to the text, so that when the scrolls were draped over the pulpit and the deacon intoned the words of the chant, the congregation could see the succession of illustrations right side up (e.g. Bari, Mus. Dioc., Cod. 1)....

Article

Spanish, 11th century, male.

Illuminator.

Madrid (Biblioteca Nacional): miniature

Article

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...

Article

Flemish School, 11th century, male.

Active in Liègec.1081.

Sculptor, illuminator.

This artist was a monk at the abbey of St-Hubert in the Ardennes.

Article

Term traditionally used to refer collectively to four Chinese masters of calligraphy active in the Northern Song period (ad 960–1279) whose influence was profound throughout the succeeding Jin and Southern Song periods. They were Su Shi, Huang Tingjian, Cai Xiang and Mi family.

See China, People’s Republic of §IV 2., (iv), (a)...

Article

Spanish, 11th century, male.

Illuminator.

This artist painted miniatures and decorations for a commentary by Beatus on the Apocalypse, and illustrated the Apocalypse of St-Sever.