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Article

Paul Davies and David Hemsoll

(b Genoa, Feb 14, 1404; d Rome, April 1472).

Italian architect, sculptor, painter, theorist and writer. The arts of painting, sculpture and architecture were, for Alberti, only three of an exceptionally broad range of interests, for he made his mark in fields as diverse as family ethics, philology and cryptography. It is for his contribution to the visual arts, however, that he is chiefly remembered. Alberti single-handedly established a theoretical foundation for the whole of Renaissance art with three revolutionary treatises, on painting, sculpture and architecture, which were the first works of their kind since Classical antiquity. Moreover, as a practitioner of the arts, he was no less innovative. In sculpture he seems to have been instrumental in popularizing, if not inventing, the portrait medal, but it was in architecture that he found his métier. Building on the achievements of his immediate predecessors, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, he reinterpreted anew the architecture of antiquity and introduced compositional formulae that have remained central to classical design ever since....

Article

Aurora Scotti Tosini

(b Perugia, 1512; d Perugia, Dec 30, 1572).

Italian architect and writer. He was the leading High Renaissance architect in both Genoa and Milan, his villas and town palazzi establishing a definitive pattern for the genre. His greatest sacred building was S Maria Assunta in Carignano, the central planning of which shows the influence of Donato Bramante and Michelangelo.

The Perugia of Alessi’s youth was an important centre of the Papal States, with a lively humanist and philosophical cultural life. Alessi received his early training in the school of the architect and painter Giovan Battista Caporali, whose edition of Vitruvius is notable for its tendency to rationalize the Antique and for its reference to music as a means of further perfecting the study of harmonic proportion in the visual arts. Alessi was also friendly with the architect Giulio Danti (1500–75), who was equally well versed in rhetoric and philosophy.

Alessi’s diverse cultural experience recommended him to the papal court in Rome, where he moved in ...

Article

(b Carpi, nr Modena, c. 1523; d Ferrara, 1573).

Italian architect and writer. He worked intermittently in Rome from 1549 to 1558, probably on the Palazzo Farnese under Michelangelo and on the city fortifications decreed by Pope Paul III. He was in Loreto in 1549, working on the basilica of S Maria, and in 1550, outside Macerata, began the church of S Maria delle Vergini, on which work continued for the rest of his life. The plan is a Greek cross, with a tall, octagonal drum over the crossing, in which are set large rectangular windows that transmit a bright but diffused light to the centre of the church. The interior is impressive in its refined simplicity, with almost all architectural elements reduced to their most essential forms. The great square nave piers, for example, are devoid of decoration other than their simple plinths and cornice-like capitals. The church is built throughout in brick, which is left exposed, with decorative inlaid panels, in the cross-vaulting to the right-hand eastern chapel. The façade (...

Article

An antiquary (Lat. antiquarius) is a lover, collector and student of ancient learning, traditions and remains. Antiquarianism originated from the revived interest in Classical antiquity during the Renaissance and became a scientific and historical method in the 17th century. The difference between literary and non-literary sources distinguishes humanism from antiquarianism, the latter being based on those tangible remains of antiquity (inscriptions, coins and ruins) related to literary sources. From the 16th century new attitudes towards antiquity were discussed in antiquarian circles, later giving rise to antiquarian societies. Thereafter, antiquarianism was firmly linked to archaeological excavations and to the study and collecting of ancient art. It was also linked to the search for a national identity in the arts and for the origins of Western culture and was sustained by a curiosity about civilizations outside Europe. Antiquarianism, in fact, was associated with the Grand Tour and with travel more generally. Antiquaries and artist–antiquaries were responsible for producing numerous drawings, prints and illustrated volumes. High-quality illustrations of archaeological sites and ancient sculpture contributed to the growth of art history as an autonomous discipline. They also contributed to the popularization of the Antique and to the transformation of commercial dealing in objects associated with antiquarian interests (...

Article

Nicholas Penny

Term used between the 15th and the 18th century to refer in a general way to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. It was used to appeal to qualities and standards common, or thought to be common, to the art of that period. It was widely believed that such qualities should be revived, should inspire and (no less important) should control the productions of the modern artist. Progress in taste involved a return to the Antique. Such a vague index of excellence could not have survived for centuries had it not commanded general consent, and for this very reason it is fundamental to any understanding of European culture in this period. The Antique was indeed in many respects equivalent to the Classics—a category, quite as vague, that constituted the body of generally admired ancient Greek and Roman literature. These were also recommended as models, but for modern literature in the modern languages. Implicit in the pedagogic invocation of the Antique as a standard was the assumption that antique art was generally superior: it was not believed that all ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture were of the highest quality, but it was assumed that most of it was of high quality and worthy of special study. Moreover, within the four or more centuries of Greek and Roman civilization held up for special admiration, little development or variation was allowed for. This was certainly a false picture, but it is based on one important truth: patrons of high art of the Roman Empire and of the Hellenistic kingdoms seem to have acknowledged that certain models of excellence in art and architecture had been achieved that should be faithfully imitated and that could never be surpassed. It was indeed precisely because the concept of the superior ancient model was so powerful in antiquity that the Antique could reassume an equivalent role in the modern world....

Article

Norman E. Land

(b Arezzo, 19 or April 20, 1492; d Venice, 1556).

Italian art critic, writer, poet and collector. He was one of the most engaging literary figures of the Italian Renaissance, known not only for his famous Lettere but also for political lampoons, erotic books and religious writings. He was the son of a shoemaker, Luca del Tura. From before 1510 until 1517 he lived in Perugia. A book of poems that he published during these years, Opera nova (1512), suggests by its subtitle, in which the author is called ‘Pietro pictore Aretino’, and by a note to the first sonnet in which he claims to be ‘studioso … in pictura’, that he had some training as an artist. About 1517 he moved to Rome, after a short period in Siena, and joined the household of Agostino Chigi. He became friendly with Raphael, Michelangelo, Sebastiano del Piombo and Jacopo Sansovino. At this time too he became known for his political lampoons. For a period Aretino was a valet to Pope Leo X; on Leo’s death in ...

Article

François Quiviger

(b Faenza, c. 1525; d Faenza, April 1609).

Italian painter and writer. He probably began his apprenticeship at Faenza and at the beginning of the 1550s settled in Rome, where he worked as a copyist of ancient and modern works. Around 1556 he made a series of journeys across Italy before settling in Faenza in 1564, where he took orders. Of his artistic works, which he himself held in low esteem, we know only an Ascension of the Virgin (Faenza, Pin. Com.) and a few leaves from an album of drawings, dating from the 1550s, which show Raphael’s Logge. His most important contribution to the history of art is his treatise entitled De’ veri precetti della pittura (1587).

With this book Armenini wished to revive painting, which he felt had declined. He attributed its downfall to three main causes: the indifference of the great masters of the early 16th century to teaching, the lack of artists of sufficient stature to succeed them and a general depreciation of the art of painting. The ...

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

Patrizia Ferretti

[Vante di Gabriello di Vante Attavanti]

(b Castelfiorentino, 1452; d Florence, 1520–25).

Italian illuminator. He has been praised by art historians since his own times, although many of his autograph works were incorrectly assigned to his workshop. New attributions, supported by archival material, have made it possible to reconstruct his oeuvre and life more accurately. He worked for celebrated patrons and collaborated with the most important illuminators and painters of Florence: Francesco di Antonio del Chierico, the Master of the Hamilton Xenophon, the brothers Gherardo and Monte di Giovanni di Miniato del Foro and Domenico Ghirlandaio, and documents indicate contacts also with Leonardo da Vinci. Attavanti probably trained with del Chierico in 1471–2, while working on the Antiphonary for Florence Cathedral (Florence, Bib. Medicea–Laurenziana, MS. Edili 148). Among the work of late 15th-century illuminators, that of Attavanti is distinguished by his citations from the Antique, his ideas derived from Netherlandish and Florentine panel painting and his illustration of philosophical themes. Recurrent motifs include frontispieces with entablatures on columns, copies of sarcophagi as altar frontals, cameos, allegorical figures within medals and richly dressed figures isolated in framed medallions or symmetrically grouped....

Article

Isabel Mateo Gómez

(b ?Toledo; d 1595).

Spanish painter, miniaturist, sculptor, architect and writer. He belongs to the Toledan school of the second half of the 16th century. The son of the painter Lorenzo de Ávila, he developed a Mannerist style that is smooth and delicate and derives from his father’s and from that of Juan Correa de Vivar and of Francisco Comontes (d 1565). He worked as painter to Toledo Cathedral from 1565 to 1581 and was painter (Pintor del Rey) to Philip II from 1583. He acted frequently as a valuer for the work of other artists.

Between 1563 and 1564, in collaboration with Luis de Velasco, Hernando de Ávila painted the retable of the church of Miraflores (Madrid Province) with the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin (untraced); these are probably among his earliest works. He was commissioned to paint the retables of St John the Baptist and the ...

Article

(b London, Jan 22, 1561; d London, April 9, 1626).

English courtier, statesman, lawyer, philosopher and writer . He was the younger son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper under Elizabeth I; he was educated at Cambridge and trained as a lawyer at Gray’s Inn, London. He became a member of parliament in 1584; in his political career he enjoyed the patronage of the Queen’s favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, but after the latter’s fall from favour acted as prosecutor at his trial. Bacon’s political career prospered under James I, and in 1618 he was ennobled and became Lord Chancellor. However, in 1621 he was charged with corruption and, being disgraced, retired into private life.

Bacon was a polymath, who in 1592 wrote: ‘I have taken all knowledge to be my province.’ He wrote on philosophy, politics, history and law and is now most highly regarded for his contribution to the philosophy of science and the development of scientific method. However, his best-known book is the ...

Article

Adriano Ghisetti Giavarina

(b San Marino, Sept 27, 1506; d Pieve S Paolo, nr Pisa, March 25, 1554).

Italian architect. He was the son of Bartolo di Simone Belluzzi, an important political figure in the Republic of San Marino. He spent his youth in commerce and at the age of 18 was sent by his father to Bologna, where he remained for two years. In 1535 he settled in Rome, entering the service of Ascanio Colonna, whom he followed to Naples to meet Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. At the end of that year he returned to San Marino to marry a daughter of Girolamo Genga. From that time, without abandoning his business interests, he worked with his father-in-law, who was then employed by Francesco Maria I della Rovere, 4th Duke of Urbino, to enlarge the Villa Imperiale at San Bartolo, near Pesaro (for illustration see Genga family, §1), and on other architectural projects for the state. In September 1538 Belluzzi worked with his father-in-law on the fortifications of Pesaro and at the same time began to study Vitruvius. In ...

Article

(b Venice, Aug 14, 1530; d Turin, Jan 20, 1590).

Italian scientist, mathematician and writer. He studied mathematics with Niccolò Tartaglia (1500–59) and became one of the most progressive scientific thinkers of the later 16th century. From 1558 to 1567 he was in the service of Ottavio Farnese, 2nd Duke of Parma, and then moved to Turin at the invitation of Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, where he remained for the rest of his life. His interests extended to most branches of contemporary science, including astronomy (in De gnomonum he refers to his making of a meridian), acoustics, music and geometry. His studies of mechanics in particular made him an important forerunner of Galileo Galilei. The breadth of his interests is reflected in his principal published work, the Diversarum speculationum mathematicarum (1585), which includes a section on perspective and is dedicated to the Milanese architect at the court of Turin, Giacomo Soldati (fl 1561–1600)....

Article

David Cast

(fl 1500–?1530).

Italian connoisseur. He was possibly the owner and perhaps also the compiler of a collection of notes about the lives and works of the artists of Florence in the Renaissance. The text of this collection, first published in 1891 by Cornelius von Fabriczy, has survived in two versions in two different manuscripts in the Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence: the so-called Codice Strozziano (Cod. Magliabechiano cl XXV 636) and the Codice Petrei (Cod. Magliabechiano cl XIII 89). The first of these seems to be in fragments but is more accurate, the second somewhat careless but more complete; the two texts may be compared in the edition of 1892 by Karl Frey. The association of the texts with Billi was first made in writings by Fabriczy and Frey following Gaetano Milanesi’s 1872 citing of Billi’s name after an investigation of the Codice dell’Anonimo Magliabechiano (Florence, Bib. N. Cent. Cod. Magliabechiano cl XVII 17). Billi was a member of a distinguished family in Florence, who owned a chapel in SS Annunziata, for which, according to Vasari, they commissioned from ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Aleksandrovich)

(b St Petersburg, Nov 28, 1880; d Petrograd [now St Petersburg], Aug 7, 1921).

Russian poet and critic. Italian Renaissance painting and the work of contemporary Russian and foreign artists of the modern school greatly influenced Blok’s poetry, which in turn was exceptionally suggestive for masters of the fine arts as well as for many Symbolist poets. Blok belonged to the second generation of Russian Symbolist poets, who saw literature as a powerful theurgic force, capable of revealing the true, ideal world through temporal symbols. Symbolism in Russia was strongly influenced by the mystical philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900), who initiated the cult of the divine Sophia—the image of Eternal Woman as the soul of the universe and the link between the human and the divine. Blok reflected this cult in his Stikhi o prekrasnoy dame (‘Verses about the beautiful lady’). The beautiful lady whom Blok described is both a real woman and a transcendental figure, unattainable Beauty, the Ideal. She assumes an unearthly aspect, revealing herself to the poet in an atmosphere of dreams that are like fairy tales or medieval visions....

Article

M. J. T. M. Stompé

(b Lohr, c. 1525).

German architect, engraver and writer. After training as an architect in his native town, Hans Blum left Lohr because two architects were already working there: Peter Volckner (fl 1539–48) and Jost Wenzel (fl 1548–70). He then moved to Zurich, where he married Ragali Kuchymeister in 1550. Their eldest son Christoffel Blum (bapt 21 Jan 1552) was named after the publisher Christoffel Froschauer (?1490–1564), who later published Hans Blum’s treatises on architecture.

Hans Blum is primarily known as the author of Quinque columnarum exacta descriptio atque delinaeatio cum symmetrica (1550), a book on the five orders of architecture. He based his work on the fourth volume of Serlio’s Regole generali di architettura (Venice, 1537), a German edition of which was published in 1542. The second source for Blum’s book was Gualtherus Rivius’s edition of Vitruvius, published in 1548 and illustrated by Peter Flettner (...

Article

Donatella Pegazzano

(b Florence, c. 1537; d Florence, Dec 26, 1588).

Italian writer. He was born into a noble Florentine family and epitomizes the courtly and literary world of Florence in the second half of the 16th century. As a young man he was connected with those Florentine nobles who opposed the Medici, but later he became a supporter of the powerful family. Most of his life was spent in Florence, except for a period (1572–5) in France, where he was perhaps forced to stay for economic reasons, and where he enjoyed the patronage of the Comte de Carcès and his wife Marguerite.

On his return to Florence, Borghini began his prodigious activity as a man of letters, poet and writer of comedies, producing La donna costante in 1575 and L’amante furioso in 1584. He also began to frequent the cultured society around the court of Francesco I de’ Medici and moved in the circles of the Capponi, Vecchietti, Valori and Pitti families. In this milieu, under the influence of Francesco I, he assembled a collection that included not only works of art but also bizarre and curious natural objects, achieving a mixture of ‘naturalia’ and ‘artificialia’ that was typical of the German ...

Article

F. Hamilton Hazlehurst

(b Saint-Jean-d’Angely, Charente-Maritime, c. 1562; d Paris, c. 1634).

French garden designer and theorist. Of Huguenot origin, he seems early to have enjoyed the favour of Henry of Navarre, later Henry IV. A respected member of the royal entourage, Boyceau was appointed Surintendant des Jardins du Roi in the succeeding reign of Louis XIII. Consequently, he was in a position to exert substantial influence in determining the nature of garden design at that time. In his Traité du jardinage, published in 1638, Boyceau succinctly summarized the history of French gardening and codified the rules that would govern the 17th-century formal garden. For the first time a French designer adopted an aesthetic point of view, thereby promoting the intellectual climate that was to establish gardening as a fine art. He introduced a new feeling for monumental scale to the French garden, insisting that it should reflect a strong sense of organic unity in which order, symmetry, and visual harmony would be all-pervasive....

Article

Lionel Gossman

(Christoph)

(b Basle, May 25, 1818; d Basle, Aug 8, 1897).

Swiss historian and art historian. He was born into one of the leading families of Basle and was the son of the chief pastor. Raised on the neohumanist Humboldtian ideals adopted for the city’s schools by the ruling bourgeoisie in the aftermath of the French Revolution, he saw his world transformed by the rise of modern industrial society and the spread of social democracy and aggressive nationalism. His work reflects an intense experience of his own time by a citizen of one of the last city-republics in Europe.

Burckhardt first studied theology but lost his faith and switched to history and philosophy at the University of Berlin (1839–43). He took courses in art history, then a new discipline, from Franz Kugler, to whom he remained attached all his life. He also spent a term in Bonn, then a centre of German Romanticism. Later celebrated as the historian and admirer of the Italian Renaissance, he began his career as a German nationalist, a medievalist and an enthusiastic champion of the Gothic....

Article

François Quiviger

(b Friuli, c. 1480; d Milan, May 15, 1544).

Italian writer. He held a professorship in Bologna for some time, but dedicated the greater part of his life to elaborating his Teatro del Mondo (destr.). This was a wooden amphitheatre in Venice, constructed after the Vitruvian model, divided by seven gangways into seven sections that corresponded to the seven pillars of wisdom of the Temple of Solomon. The theatre was built on seven levels: the first, governed by the seven planets, was followed by others embodying a series of allegories dominated by mythological themes (Apollo, the Cave, the three Gorgons, Pasiphaë and the Bull, Mercury’s sandals, and Prometheus). Derived from both the Classical mnemonic and the hermetic tradition (Yates), the Teatro was intended to guarantee instant access to universal knowledge. Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo’s Tempio della pittura (Milan, 1590) took its inspiration from this. Towards 1530, Camillo wrote a treatise on imitation, in which he argued against Erasmus’s Ciceronianus...