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Article

Persian School, 14th – 15th century, male.

Active at the end of the 14th and at the beginning of the 15th century.

Painter.

Abd al Havy was a pupil of Shams al Din. In 1393, Tamburlaine (Timur) took him to Samarkand, where it is believed that he ran the city’s artistic workshops. No work has been attributed to him with any certainty....

Article

Persian School, 16th century, male.

Active at the end of the 16th century.

Born to a family originally from Shiraz.

Painter, draughtsman.

Abdous Samad worked at the Persian court and while there was chosen by the Mogul Emperor Humayun to teach drawing both to himself and to his son Akbar, the heir to the throne. He took over from Mir Sayid Ali and completed the illumination of the poet Amir-Hamzah, who recounted the adventures of the uncle of Mohammed. He ended his days as head of the royal treasury....

Article

Persian School, 14th century, male.

Painter.

Ahmad Mousa worked as an artist between 1317 and 1335, and is considered to be the founder of classical Persian painting. There are a number of manuscripts preserved in Istanbul featuring paintings attributed to him.

Article

Egyptian, 10th century, male.

Painter. Historical subjects, landscapes.

Al-Kutami was a member of the Kutama tribe and was brought up by Banu-el-Muallim, who painted the mosque situated high up in the Karafa mountains, near Cairo in 976 AD. He painted a work entitled Joseph at the Fountain...

Article

Persian School, 13th century, male.

Active at the beginning of the 13th century.

Born probably, in Wasit.

Painter.

Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti was a painter and calligrapher. He provided illustrations for a manuscript of al-Hariri’s Assemblies ( Maqamat) dated 1237 and now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. The stylistic discrepancies between the different miniatures that appear in this manuscript make it difficult to discern the originality of al-Wasiti....

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

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

Persian School, 16th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 16th century.

Painter, calligrapher.

As is the case for the painter Bizhad, we have an unusual amount of information about the career of this painter who worked at the court of the Safavid ruler Shah Tahmasp I. He contributed to the Shah’s great ...

Article

Persian School, 16th century, male.

Born in the 16th century, in Esfahan.

Painter, calligrapher.

This artist was ordered in 1575 by Shah Tahmasp to copy a Qu’ran intended as a gift for Sultan Mourah III. He was part of a mission to China, during which he made notes on everything interesting that he observed....

Article

Turkish, 16th century, male.

Painter.

Haidar Bey worked at the court of Selim I and Suleiman I, where he enjoyed something of a reputation. He painted portraits in the European style of Clouet and other artists.

Paris (BNF): Portrait of Selim I (attributed)...

Article

Egyptian, 10th century, male.

Active at the end of the 10th century.

Painter. Local scenes.

Ibn El Azîz was a painter at the court of the Fatimids in Cairo. He was mainly in the service of Vizir Bazuri, for whom he painted among other works a ...

Article

Junayd  

Persian School, 14th century, male.

Active at the end of the 14th century.

Born probably in Baghdad.

Painter.

Junayd has been identified as the painter whose signature Imperial Painter appears on the miniatures of the Diwan of Khwaju Kirmani (1396), in the British Museum. These miniatures are elegantly designed, combining brilliant colours with an idealised landscape and characters which reappear repeatedly over the course of the following centuries....

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Persian, 16th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 16th century.

Born in Sultaniyah.

Painter, miniaturist.

Persian School.

Mir Musavvir worked on the decoration of a pavilion built for the Persian prince Bahram Mirza. He is thought to have worked on several miniatures for the great ...

Article

Mirak  

Persian School, 15th century, male.

Died 1507.

Painter, calligrapher, illuminator, engraver. Miniatures.

Mirak was the master of Bihzad, the most famous Persian painter of miniatures. Little else is known of his life or works, except that he practised martial arts and was probably responsible for some of the miniature paintings in the luxury illuminated copy of the poet Nizami’s ...

Article

Persian School (Herât), 16th century, male.

Active at the end of the 16th century.

Painter.

Little is known about Musavvir Muhammadi’s life. He painted genre scenes and portraits but illustrated few manuscripts. An assured draughtsman, he was one of the first artists who sought true realism, not only in his portraits but through scenes of everyday life. A signed and dated ink drawing, conserved in the Louvre, evokes rural life with a shepherd playing a pipe in a nomadic campsite, and a worker with a pair of zebus and a lumberjack. Muhammadi is likely to have been a early proponent of the realist movement that characterised 17th century Persian art....

Article

Nigari  

Turkish, 16th century, male.

Painter.

Nigari is known for his Portrait of Admiral Barbaros Hayrettin, who was appointed admiral-in-chief of the Ottoman navy by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1534.

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

(fl c. 976–1025).

Byzantine painter. The name ‘Pantoleon zographos’ (Gr.: ‘painter’) appears next to 79 of the 430 miniatures in the Menologion of Basil (976–1025) (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. gr. 1613). Pantoleon worked in Constantinople (now Istanbul), where he painted miniatures and icons and, according to a Life of St Athanasios the Athonite, witnessed a miraculous manifestation of that saint while he completed a commission for the Emperor. The Life reports that a certain Cosmas saw an icon of St Athanasios painted by Pantoleon and wanted one of his own. The owner agreed to find him a duplicate based on the original icon while Cosmas waited. When the owner arrived at Pantoleon’s shop to place the order the artist was perplexed, claiming that the day before he had received the same request from Athanasios, and that the icon was already completed. Pantoleon had experienced an ‘overshadowing’, having been visited by divine Grace....

Article

Persian School, 14th century, male.

Painter.

Ustadh Shams al-Din was active in the second half of the 14th century. He was the student of Ahmad Mousa and the master of Abd al-Havy and Junayd. A number of other painters also bear the name Shams al-Din. Although nothing remains of his art, he was undoubtedly one of the most important Persian painters of his era. It is known that he illustrated a famous ...

Article

Persian School, 16th century, male.

Active at the end of the 16th century.

Painter.

Sultan-Muhammad was responsible for the miniature The Court of Gayumars, the most dazzling painting in the Book of Kings ( Shah-Nama) produced between 1525 and 1535 for the Safavid ruler Shah Tahmasp. The painting shows Gayumars, the legendary first Shah of Iran, amidst his family and retinue in a dreamy landscape. Richly detailed and in glorious colour, including gold leaf, it was already recognised as an extraordinary achievement in its own time....