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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

Annamaria Szőke

(b Budapest, July 4, 1928; d Budapest, May 22, 1986).

Hungarian architect, sculptor, conceptual and performance artist, teacher, theorist and film maker. He came from a Jewish–Christian family, many of whom were killed during World War II. In 1947 he began training as a sculptor at the College of Fine Arts in Budapest, but he left and continued his studies in the studio of Dezső Birman Bokros (1889–1965), before training as an architect from 1947 to 1951 at the Technical University in Budapest. During the 1950s and early 1960s he worked as an architect and began experimenting with painting and graphic art, as well as writing poems and short stories. During this period he became acquainted with such artists as Dezső Korniss, László Latner and, most importantly, Béla Kondor and Sándor Altorjai (1933–79), with whom he began a lifelong friendship. In 1959 and 1963 he also enrolled at the Budapest College of Theatre and Film Arts but was advised to leave both times....

Article

Italian, 16th century, male.

Born 6 March 1475, in Caprese, near Arezzo; died 18 February 1564, in Rome.

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, architect, engineer, poet. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, nudes, portraits.

At the time of Michelangelo’s birth, his father, Ludovico, son of Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, was resident magistrate for the Republic of Florence in the small, fortified town of Caprese, but soon after the family returned to Florence. Michelangelo lost his mother when he was six years old, and the family’s financial situation was poor, though previous generations of Buonarroti had been rich and powerful and among the ‘priori’, or governing councillors, of Florence. Michelangelo’s father would therefore have preferred a business career for his son, but Michelangelo was encouraged by his friend Francesco Granacci in his artistic ambitions. He prevailed over his father, and on 1 April 1488, at the age of 13, he joined the large workshop of the painters Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio. His apprenticeship agreement bound him to them for three years....

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Natália Marinho Ferreira Alves

(b Braga, Dec 18, 1731; d Tibães, Aug 30, 1808).

Portuguese designer, wood-carver, sculptor and architect.

His godfather, the Reverend Constantino da Cunha Soto Maior (d 1757), was treasurer of the Cathedral of Braga, and one of his brothers, João de Araújo Ferreira Vilaça (b 1720), was clerk to the Vicar General of Vila Real in Trás-os-Montes. Frei José’s early training was with his father, Custódio Ferreira, a skilled carpenter. In November 1754 Frei José signed his first contract to carve the retable of the high altar of the church of the convent of S Clara, Amarante. From 1757 he worked at Tibães, near Braga, the headquarters of the Benedictine Order in Portugal, where, with José de Álvares de Araújo, he collaborated on carving the magnificent talha (carved and gilded wood) designed for the church of S Martinho by André Ribeiro Soares da Silva. The work began with the high altar, for which Frei José carved the statues of SS Martinho, Bento and Escolástica, and the whole scheme, one of the finest in Portugal, was subsequently completed in ...