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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

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 ...

Article

Patrizia Ferretti

(di Domenico)

(b Florence, 1445; d Florence, March 28, 1527).

Italian illuminator and stationer. He was trained in the climate created by such painters and illuminators as Zanobi Strozzi and Apollonio di Giovanni, who were important during the 1450s. Their influence accounts for the dynamism and the sculptural treatment of his figures, which gives them a courtly flavour reminiscent of the work of Andrea del Verrocchio or Antonio del Pollaiuolo. Antonio di Niccolò di Lorenzo’s interest in larger-scale works—frescoes or panel paintings—is apparent from his repeated depiction, especially in border decoration, of metal objects, individually characterized interiors, portraits and contemporary fashions. He took his inspiration from scenes painted on cassoni, and from Apollonio’s late work. Stylistic affinities between Antonio and Francesco di Antonio del Chierico have sometimes led to confusion between their work; however, enough of Antonio’s works have been traced to distinguish him substantially from the del Foro bottega, Giovanni Boccardi and many other illuminators.

The discovery of a catalogue recording the sale in ...

Article

Marianne Grivel

(b Bourges, 1480; d Paris, 1533).

French printer, publisher, book designer and bookseller. He left Bourges in 1503 to study in Rome and Bologna. After returning to France in 1507, he published Classical works and taught at the Collège du Plessis in Paris (1508–11) and then, from 1512, at the Collège de Bourgogne (Paris), before a second stay in Italy from about 1516 to 1518. In 1518 he was admitted to the Paris booksellers’ guild. He worked under the sign of the Pot-Cassé, first on the Petit-Pont adjoining the Hôtel-Dieu (1512–23) and then on the Rue St Jacques; finally he settled on the Rue de la Juiverie from 1532 to 1533.

From 1529 Tory was active as a printer. Influenced by Classical art and by Italy, he adopted a new approach to the aesthetics of book production in France, concerning himself with a correct balance between text and illustration. From his first book, ...

Article

Patrizia Ferretti

(b Florence, 1410; d Florence, 1479).

Italian illuminator and stationer. He is documented from 1440, when he enrolled in the Arte de’ Medici e Speziali, and began to work for the Badia in Florence with his brother Giovanni. When the latter died, Bartolomeo entered the bottega of his younger brother, Chimenti. Bartolomeo was not an innovator and was of second rank compared to such skilled illuminators as Francesco d’Antonio del Chierico, Gherardo di Giovanni di Miniato del Foro, Monte di Giovanni di Miniato del Foro and Attavante degli Attavanti. His handling of volume, the sculptural quality of his scrolls and his use of large, densely hatched areas in landscapes, beards and hair, are reminiscent of contemporary sculpture; the influence of Donatello’s low reliefs is especially evident in Bartolomeo’s use of the ‘heroic putto’ (e.g. initial S, Florence, Bib. Medicea–Laurenziana, MS. S Marco 616, fol. 4r).

Bartolomeo worked mainly on liturgical manuscripts and Books of Hours, sometimes in collaboration with other artists. For example he came into contact with Battista di Niccolò da Padova and Ser Ricciardo di Nanni while working on the four-volume Lectionary (Florence, Bib. Medicea–Laurenziana, MSS Edili 141–7) for Florence Cathedral. Among his large-scale works are two Missals (Florence, Bib. Medicea–Laurenziana, MSS Edili 103–4), also commissioned by the cathedral authorities, in ...