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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....


Sheila Edmunds

[Baemler, Johann; Bemler, Hans]

(fl 1453–1504).

German illuminator and printer . He is listed in the Augsburg tax rolls from 1453 as a scribe and from 1477 as a printer. Bämler belonged to the guild of painters, glassmakers, woodcut-makers and goldbeaters, eventually achieving the rank of Zwollfer (director). Examples of his youthful work are two signed miniatures dated 1457 (New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib., MS. M.45) and a signed historiated initial on a detached Antiphonal leaf (Philadelphia, PA, Free Lib., Lewis M 67:3). Between 1466 and 1468 he rubricated and decorated with calligraphic and painted ornament four books printed in Strasbourg: a Latin Bible (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bib., Bibel-S.2°155), a copy of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologica (Munich, Bayer Staatsbib., 2° Inc. s.a.1146a) and two copies of St Augustine’s City of God (Chantilly, Mus. Condé, XXII.D.11, and Manchester, John Rylands U. Lib., no. 3218, Inc. 3A8).

Bämler’s knowledge of printing was probably acquired in Augsburg, in the shop of ...


Italian, 15th century, male.

Active in Venice,c. 1443–1490.

Painter, manuscript illuminator.

Leonardo Bellini was the nephew of Jacopo Bellini and cousin of his sons Giovanni and Gentile, all three of whom were painters. A contract dated 1443 documents Leonardo as an apprentice to Jacopo, with whom he lived. Although a few panel paintings have been attributed to him, Leonardo was primarily active as an illuminator. He seems to have specialised in adding miniatures to ...


Libby Karlinger Escobedo

Illustrated manuscript (Chantilly, Mus. Condé, MS. 597/1424) of the Inferno by Dante Alighieri, probably made in Pisa c. 1345. Dante’s Inferno is the first part of his Divine Comedy, written sometime between 1308 and 1321, in which Dante himself, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, travels through the nine circles of Hell, encountering a variety of notable historical figures guilty of the various sins associated with each successive level. The many surviving manuscripts attest to the popularity of the text; more than 600 copies survive from the 14th century alone, including the Chantilly manuscript.

The Chantilly manuscript contains the Inferno as well as a Latin commentary on the text by Guido da Pisa. Most of the manuscript’s 55 miniatures accompany the commentary, though their iconography is drawn from the Inferno itself. The Chantilly manuscript is among the earliest illustrated copies of the Inferno and the only known illustrated copy of Guido da Pisa’s commentary. The manuscript includes the arms of the ...


Gabriele Bartz

[Jacobo; Jacobus]

(fl 1398–1404).

South Netherlandish painter. He came from Bruges and is known only through written sources, the earliest of which places him in Paris in 1398, when he dictated instructions on the production of colours to Johannes Alcherius. Alcherius reproduced Coene’s instructions, with information from other French and Italian painters, in a treatise of 1411. In 1399, on Alcherius’s recommendation, Coene was one of the three consultants summoned to Milan to advise on the construction of the cathedral (see Mason, §IV, 3, (iii)). In a surviving contract, Coene was required to produce a drawing of the cathedral, from the base to the tip. In 1407 it was recorded that Jacques Raponde, acting for the Burgundian dukes Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, had paid on Philip’s behalf the sum of 20 francs to Coene in 1404 for a Bible in Latin and French. Coene worked on this commission with ...


Robert G. Calkins

(fl 1380–1416).

Franco-Flemish draughtsman. He signed a sketchbook (Berlin, Staatsbib., lib. pict. A 74) consisting of studies of a variety of physiognomic types, occasional drawings of animals and a few more developed scenes of a pilgrimage, an innovative Man of Sorrows, an Annunciation and a Coronation of the Virgin. The stylistic, thematic and compositional similarities of some of these drawings, executed in grisaille on boxwood leaves, with manuscript illumination produced for Jean, Duc de Berry, especially those for the Hours of the Holy Ghost in the Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame (Paris, Bib. N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 3093), suggest that Daliwe was employed at the Duc de Berry’s court c. 1380–1416. The drawings are thought to be trial sketches. They fall into four stylistic groups: one showing affinities with the style of Jacquemart de Hesdin and André Beauneveu; naturalistic studies related to the miniatures of the Livre de chasse (...


M. Smeyers

[Esdin; Esdun; Hodin; Odin; Oudain]

(b ?Hesdin, Artois; fl 1384; d after 1413).

South Netherlandish illuminator, active in France. He was one of the Netherlandish artists who moved to France to work for the French royal family from the middle of the 14th century. By studying the work of Jean Pucelle and Italian painters he not only evolved his techniques of modelling and rendering of space but also modified the realism characteristic of Netherlandish painting to develop his own more refined style. On 28 November 1384 Jacquemart was paid for the first time by the administration of Jean, Duc de Berry (see Valois, House of family, §3). The payment concerned expenses that he and his wife had incurred in Bourges; he was also reimbursed for his clothing for the following winter months. Thereafter he was paid a regular salary by the Duc. In 1398, while he was working in the castle of Poitiers, he, his assistant Godefroy and his brother-in-law Jean Petit were accused of having stolen colours and patterns from Jean de Hollande, another painter in the service of the Duc de Berry. Jacquemart stayed temporarily in Bourges the following year....


(fl 1463–8).

French illuminator and painter. He is documented in the service of Charles, Duc de Berry, and, on one occasion, working for his older brother, King Louis XI. In all probability Jean de Laval is the true identity of the artist referred to as the Master of Charles of France (see Masters, anonymous, and monogrammists family, §I). Three painters have been connected with Charles of France: Jean de Laval, Henri de Vulcop and Jean Guillemer. Of these, Jean de Laval is the only one mentioned in ducal accounts as ‘peintre de mondit seigneur’. He was paid in 1463–4 the substantial sum of 66 livres tournois, 100 sous in 1467 and, in 1468, 8 livres, 8 sous and 12 livres for unspecified works. In May and September 1464 Laval is also mentioned in a royal account as ‘peintre de Mgr le duc de Berry’ when he painted a scarlet war pennant for the captain of Louis XI’s guard. ...


Bodo Brinkmann

(b c. 1420; d Bruges, 1479).

South Netherlandish illuminator. He was court illuminator to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who appointed him valet de chambre in 1467. From 1469 he was a member of the Bruges illuminators’ guild.

In 1467 Philippe de Mazerolles was commissioned by the municipal authorities of Bruges to decorate a Book of Hours with miniatures (‘diverse figuren ende historien’). The municipal accounts for 1465–6 record the purchase of this manuscript, which contained the Office of the Virgin and other prayers, for 200 Parisian livres. It was said to have been written and illuminated in gold and silver on black parchment. In February 1466 it was offered by the citizens of the free town of Bruges as a gift to the Comte de Charolais, later Duke Charles the Bold. At this time, the gatherings of the manuscript were still unbound, as the municipal authorities also purchased an ell of white silk to cover the work before its presentation, and the illumination was also incomplete. Philippe de Mazerolles was paid 420 Parisian livres for his work, more than twice the price of the original purchase; his contribution to the decoration of the manuscript must have been correspondingly large....


Hans Georg Gmelin

( fl ?c. Konstanz, 1486; d Nuremberg, 1517).

German painter and illuminator . Although there is no documentary reference to him in Nuremberg, he may have been the son of the wealthy Sebald Elsner, who became a citizen there in 1456. Elsner had apparently established his reputation as a portrait painter by c. 1490, but there is no evidence of his activity as a miniaturist before 1500. His skill as a lutenist led to friendship with Sebastian Imhof, Wilhelm Haller, and Lorenz Staiber, whose patronage probably promoted his work. The earliest portraits attributed to him, of long-since-dead participants in the Council of Konstanz (1414–18), suggest that he began his journeyman years in the Upper Rhine area, in Konstanz. In the portrait of the councillor Heinrich Schilther (c. 1486; Vienna, Akad. Bild. Kst.) the head fills out the picture, with highly lifelike features; Thomas Reuss (c. 1486; Austrian priv. col.) presents the first front-view portrait in German painting, pre-dating Dürer’s ...


Anne Hagopian van Buren

revised by John R. Decker

Netherlandish family of artists. The brothers (1) Hubert van Eyck, (2) Jan van Eyck and (3) Lambert van Eyck were all painters; a sister, Margaret, was also identified as a painter by van Vaernewijck (1568), who recorded that she was unmarried and was buried next to Hubert in Ghent. The tradition that the family originated in Maaseick [Maeseyck], near Maastricht, seems confirmed by the dialect of Jan van Eyck’s motto and colour notes on his portrait drawing of a man (Dresden, Kupferstichkab.) and by his gift of vestments to a convent in Maaseick, where his daughter Lievine became a nun. The family belonged to the gentry: the armorials of Jan’s epitaph in St Bavo’s, Ghent, showed that his father or grandfather came from Brabant, perhaps near ’s Hertogenbosch, and married a woman from a Mosan family. It is possible that Barthélemy d’Eyck, court painter to King René I of Anjou, belonged to the same family....


Hans Georg Gmelin

(fl c. Hamburg, 1424–36).

German painter. ‘Mester Francke(nn)’ was named in an entry (1541) in the memorial book of Hamburg’s England Traders’ Association, quoting a lost contract of 1424 commissioning a Passion altarpiece (remnants, Hamburg, Ksthalle), then still located in the Johanniskirche, probably having been set up in the south chapel soon after it came into the Association’s possession in 1436. It is thought that ‘Mester Francke’ was the ‘fratre Francone Zutphanico’ or ‘fratre Francone’ named in Anabaptistici furoris monasterium evertentis historica narratio (1573), in which Hermann von Kerssenbroich (1517–85) reported that pictures by that artist in Hamburg Cathedral had been profaned by Anabaptists. Die Ordnung der Wiedertäufer in Münster, based on a 1534 report by Hermann Ramert, mentioned the pictures of Brother ‘Frantz von Sudfeld’: Graf Otto von Hoya, Bishop of Münster (reg 1409–20), had unusually close ties with the Dominicans in Zutphen. It may thus be inferred that ‘mester Francke’, ‘fratre Francone Zutphanico’ and ‘Franz von Sudfeld’ were the same person. He may also have been the ‘black’ (i.e. Dominican) monk in Hamburg who painted the altar shrine that Hans Kinkelow, a joiner and carver from Reval [Tallinn], was commissioned in ...


Margaret M. Manion

(fl c. 1460–80).

French illuminator. He was one of the leading artists of the school that dominated book illumination in Paris during the second half of the 15th century. His only documented work—and thus the basis for the reconstruction of his oeuvre—is a two-volume French translation of St Augustine’s City of God (c. 1469–73; Paris, Bib. N., MSS fr. 18–19) bearing the arms of Charles de Gaucourt, Governor of Amiens and appointed Lieutenant General of Paris in 1472. Robert Gaguin, a noted scholar and general of the order of the Trinitarians, wrote to de Gaucourt in August 1473:

We gave to the excellent painter Franciscus the outlines of the pictures and the schemes of images which you ordered to be painted for the books of the City of God, and he has finished the work as he began it with the most perfect craftsmanship. Indeed, he is such an accomplished artist that Apelles would rightly have taken second place to him....


Nigel J. Morgan

(fl c. 1460; d after 1501).

German illuminator. He spent most of his career in Regensburg, and his workshop comprised the only group of painters of significance operating there at that time. The influences from which he formulated his style were from Nuremberg (Michael Wolgemut), Vienna (Martinus ‘opifex’ of the Austrian court school, who worked for a time in Regensburg) and the Netherlands. His hand is found in 14 manuscripts (c. 1465–1500), including illustrated copies of the Old Testament, missals and an astronomical manuscript. His style is characterized by somewhat bland facial expressions and calm figure compositions with little sense of movement. He used vibrant coloured contrasts and set the scenes and figures in verdant landscapes with hills and mountains. Rich decorative borders incorporate flowers, fruit and foliage ingeniously adapted as framing devices for the miniatures.

Among Furtmeyr’s main works are two illustrated copies of the Old Testament (c. 1465–70; Munich, Bayer. Staatsbib., Cgm 8010a; Augsburg, Ubib. 1.3.2°.III and IV), made for members of the family of ...


Claude Schaefer

(b Parthenay, Deux-Sèvres, 1430–35; d Parthenay, after 1497).

French painter, illuminator and priest. He was dean of the chapter of the collegiate church of Ste Croix, Parthenay, and one of the few French ecclesiastics who was also a painter. The form ‘Grymbault’ derives from an erroneous reading of his name in some of the documents. He worked for the Connétable, Arthur de Richemont (1393–1458), until the latter’s death, and then for Jean de Dunois, Bâtard d’Orléans (d Nov 1468), in whose castle chapel at Châteaudun he painted ‘several things’. He stayed at Châteaudun for at least a year, but between 1462 and 1464 he was ‘chaplain and illuminator’ to René of Anjou, King of Naples, at Bar-sur-Aube. He was also involved in the construction of the organ in St Hilaire, Poitiers. None of these works is known to have survived.

Jean Lemaire’s journal of his travels in south-west France in 1513 recorded that the church of Ste Croix contained ‘several rich paintings and images of “Duc Arthus de Bretaigne, connestable de France” [i.e. Arthur de Richemont], and again his face from life by a great painter and companion of Fouquet master Paoul’. A 16th-century crayon drawing of Arthur de Richemont (Paris, Bib. N., OA 14, fol. 48) by ...


(d c. 1417–20).

Goldsmith, sculptor, and painter, probably of German origin. None of his works is known to have survived, but he is mentioned twice in mid-15th-century texts: in the second book of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentarii and in the manuscript of the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Both texts relate that Gusmin died during the reign of Pope Martin (i.e. Martin V, reg 1417–31), in the year of the 438th Olympiad (i.e. between 1415 and 1420). He worked in the service of the Duke of Anjou, who was forced to destroy Gusmin’s greatest work, a golden altar, in order to provide cash for his ‘public needs’. Gusmin consequently retired to a hermitage where he led a saintly life, painting and teaching young artists. Although it is clear from his account that Ghiberti never knew the master or saw any of his original works, he stated that he had seen casts of his sculptures, which, he said, were as fine as the work of the ancient Greeks, although the figures were rather short. There have been numerous attempts to identify Gusmin with artists, both German and Italian, fitting the account of Ghiberti and the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Swarzenski first named Gusmin as the author of the alabaster Rimini altar (Frankfurt am Main, Liebieghaus), but this has now been demonstrated to be of Netherlandish workmanship. Krautheimer proposed a convincing reconstruction of Gusmin’s career, suggesting that his Angevin patron was ...


(d summer 1519).

German architect. He is mentioned in the Brotherhood book of the masons’ lodge at Strasbourg in 1471 and was apparently brought to Strasbourg that year. He was made a Citizen in 1482, by which time he was a foreman at the masons’ lodge of the cathedral (see Strasbourg, §III, 1). In 1486 he became Master of the Works but lost the position in 1490, when he applied unsuccessfully for the job of Master of the Works at Milan Cathedral. Hammer then entered the service of the Bishop of Strasbourg to carry out various works in his residence at Saverne. He was again made Master of the Works at Strasbourg Cathedral in 1513 and kept the position until his death.

The earliest works entrusted to Hammer were the tabernacle (destr.) in the choir of Strasbourg Cathedral and the pulpit for the nave, both made before he became Master of the Works. The pulpit, one of the richest and most beautiful works of the Late Gothic, was made in ...


Bodo Brinkmann

(fl 1454–70).

South Netherlandish illuminator. His name appears several times in the account books of the Burgundian court, and he was among the artists employed to produce decorations for the famous ‘banquet du faisan’ organized by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in Lille in 1454. Hennecart also worked for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, while the latter was still Comte de Charolais, painting coats of arms and producing banners for him, among other things. In 1457, on the occasion of the birth of Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, he illuminated a rotulus with a motet (untraced). One documented work by the artist survives: according to a bill of 1470 Hennecart was paid for the illumination of two copies of the Instruction d’un jeune prince, a didactic text formerly attributed to Georges Chastellain and now regarded as the work of Guillebert de Lannoy. One of these copies (Paris, Bib. Arsenal, MS. 5104), containing three miniatures, bears the initials of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York (fol. 66...


Anne Hagopian van Buren

(b Paris; fl Brussels, 1448; d c. 1468).

Franco-Flemish illuminator, scribe and designer. He was first paid for restoring old books and writing and illustrating new ones for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, on 26 January 1448, a task that he continued for the next eight years, being rewarded with the title of ducal valet de chambre in October 1449. In 1456 he ceased this exclusive work; in order to widen his clientele, he purchased citizenship in Bruges the following year, probably because of a new ordinance limiting the practice of illumination to citizens. He paid dues to the Bruges guild until 1462 but continued to live in Brussels near the ducal palace on the Coudenberg. Here he joined the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross in 1463, the membership of which comprised ducal servants and city leaders, including Rogier van der Weyden. In 1464 Jean became valet de chambre to the Duke’s heir, Charles de Charolais; he was probably still alive in ...


Bodo Brinkmann

[Jan de Tavernier]

(fl c. 1434–60).

South Netherlandish illuminator. He seems to have specialized in the illustration of chronicles and similar texts and to have undertaken commissions principally for the Burgundian ducal court. In 1434 Le Tavernier became a Master in Tournai, where he was still working in 1440 when he took on an apprentice. He contributed to the decorations for the ‘banquet du faisan’ organized in Lille in 1454 by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, for which Le Tavernier’s payment was higher than average. In the same year he was resident in Oudenaarde and received payment from Philip the Good for 230 grisailles and 2 full-colour miniatures in a Book of Hours belonging to the Duke, and for illuminating a ‘Livre de Godeffroy de Buillon’. In 1460 Le Tavernier received a payment for ‘certaines histoires de blanc et de noir’ (grisailles executed in the first volume of a ‘Livre de Charlemaigne’) and an advance payment for illustrations to be produced in the second volume of this work. The manuscript, the ...