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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 ...