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Article

[Alfonso, King of Germany]

(b Toledo, Nov 23, 1221; reg 1252–84; d Seville, April 4, 1284).

Spanish ruler and patron. He was a man of wide learning, a legislator and a poet. Although moderately successful in the Reconquest, following the tradition of his father Ferdinand III, King of Castile and León (reg 1217–52), he provoked opposition by raising taxes and seeking election as Holy Roman Emperor (1256).

Alfonso sponsored translations of Arab writings on astronomy and astrology. He himself composed works of history, poetry and law. His Cantigas de Santa María, a collection of over 400 poems, which survive in four manuscripts (Madrid, Escorial, Real Bib. Monasterio S Lorenzo, MSS B.I.2 and T.I.1; Madrid, Bib. N., MS. 10069; Florence, Bib. N. Cent., MS. B.R.20), were written in Galician over a period of 25 years ending in 1279. The songs of the Virgin are accompanied by an important and extensive series of over 1000 small genre scenes ‘structured like a modern comic-strip to tell the song’s narrative visually’ (Burns). Bullfights and street scenes are shown; battles depict both Christians and Muslims, and several pictures reveal Alfonso himself (he considered himself to be a troubadour of the Virgin Mary, ...

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

(b Bar-sur-Aube, Aube, Aug 31, 1779; d Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, Aug 19, 1842).

French civil servant, collector and art historian. Descended from a rich family of financial administrators under the Bourbon monarchy, he served in the Revolutionary army after 1789 and then entered the civil service. In 1807 he became a Councillor of the Revenue Court, and he retained this post until he died after returning from a journey to Italy.

Du Sommerard started his career as a collector by acquiring the works of contemporary French masters. In 1825–6, however, he sold these to devote himself entirely to French art from the Middle Ages to the 17th century. His new collection was moved in 1832 to one of the last 15th-century Parisian palaces, the Hôtel des Abbés de Cluny, near the Roman baths of ancient Lutetia. This private museum was managed with purely historical and artistic aims: Du Sommerard intended to reveal the gaps inevitable in any history of France based entirely on written documents, and to make people aware of the progress of history through the history of art....

Article

Einhard  

D. A. Bullough

[Eginhard; Einhart]

(b c. ad 770; d 837).

German patron, writer, and possibly metalworker. He married Emma, sister of Bernharius, Bishop of Worms, and they possibly had a son, Hussin. He received his early education at Fulda Abbey, where he wrote documents between 788 and 791, although he was not ordained or professed as a monk. He then moved to the court at Aachen, which had recently been established, to continue his studies under Alcuin (c. 735–804) and others. His most notable product was the Life of his patron Charlemagne, written in the late 820s. It was after Charlemagne had died that his son Louis the Pious elevated Einhard to the post of private secretary. It was in this post and under Louis’s patronage that he wrote the Vita Karoli Magni, which is still one of the principal sources for much of our knowledge of Charlemagne. Contemporaries recorded his small stature and lively conduct, and his nickname Be(se)leel, after Bezaleel, the worker in precious metals in Exodus 31:2–5....

Article

Jeremy Griffiths

(b c. 1415; d Aug 1483).

English writer and collector. He was the nephew of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln and founder of Lincoln College, Oxford. Robert is recorded at University College, Oxford, in 1430 and was elected Proctor in 1438, but he left Oxford in 1443 to pursue his studies abroad; in 1444 he matriculated at Cologne University, where he may have met the humanist William Gray, later Bishop of Ely. In 1446 he gained a degree in divinity at Padua, where he transcribed a copy of Cicero’s De officiis, in a script influenced by humanist manuscripts. He attended the lectures of Guarino da Verona at Ferrara, gaining some knowledge of Greek. On his return to England he became Dean of Lincoln College in 1452 and chaplain to Henry VI by 1453. He was appointed to several posts in Rome from 1455, although he is not recorded there until the autumn of 1458. From 1462 to 1472...

Article

(b Geneva, March 20, 1826; d London, May 21, 1897).

English museum curator and writer. (All objects mentioned are in London, BM.) He spent his early years abroad, mainly in Geneva and Rome, and was then educated at Eton College in Berkshire (1839–43) and Trinity College, Cambridge (1845–9), where he was a founder-member of the Cambridge Architectural Society and a member of the Antiquarian Society. In the year of his graduation he published A Book of Ornamental Glazing Quarries, on medieval glazing patterns. After leaving Cambridge he became involved with the recently founded Royal Archaeological Institute and was honorary secretary to the Committee for its medieval exhibition of 1850. In 1851 he was appointed an assistant in the British Museum, London, with special charge of the British and medieval collections, which he started to expand with tenacious energy. At the sale of the Ralph Bernal Collection in 1855, he bought some of the best works, including the famous ...

Article

Paul Williamson

(b New York, 1876; d London, Nov 25, 1955).

American collector and art historian. He was a man of private means who travelled widely before settling in London in 1912. Initially trained as a scientist, he turned to the arts and from the beginning of the 20th century was an avid collector with wide-ranging interests and was one of the greatest benefactors of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, especially in the fields of sculpture and metalwork. Perhaps his most significant and conspicuous gift to the museum was his entire collection of over 260 English medieval alabaster carvings, which he donated on his 70th birthday in 1946. Hildburgh’s collections formed the starting-point for his numerous publications and for his many lectures presented to the Society of Antiquaries of London, of which he became a Fellow in 1915. He added greatly to the research of St John Hope and Philip Nelson on English alabasters, publishing his findings almost every year from ...

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

(b ?Volterra, late 4th century ad; elected Sept 29, 440; d Rome, Nov 10, 461; fd 10 Nov, Western Church; 18 Feb, Eastern Church).

Saint, pope, writer, and patron. He was dedicated to maintaining the unity of the church against such heretics as the Pelagians, the Manichaeans, and the Priscillianists, as is clear from his numerous sermons and letters (see Christianity §III 3., (i)). His reforms included maintaining strict ecclesiastical discipline at a time when barbarian culture threatened the stability of the Church in Rome. As an active patron of the arts, Leo funded the construction of a basilica over the grave of Pope Cornelius (251–3) on the Via Appia; he restored and redecorated S Paolo fuori le mura (395–408) after its roof collapsed in 441, even persuading Galla Placidia to pay for the mosaics (largely destr. 1823) on the Triumphal Arch; and he restored parts of Old St Peter’s (see Rome, §V, 14(i)(a)). He encouraged the construction of S Stefano on the Via Latina, the ruins of which have been excavated....

Article

Walter Geis

(b Andernach, April 15, 1823; d Cologne, Sept 13, 1888).

German sculptor, writer, designer, collector, dealer and furniture-restorer. From 1846 to 1871 he made gothicizing sculptures for Cologne Cathedral: for example figures of evangelists, martyrs and angels and figured reliefs (limestone; south transept, portals and buttresses). He also produced sculpture in period styles for castles, public buildings and private houses, for example 36 limestone statues of German emperors (1882–7; Aachen, Rathaus). The balanced form of his blocklike standing figures shows the influence of classical sculpture, and their generally pensive expression may be traced to the influence of the Lukasbrüder (see Nazarenes). With the help of costumes, Mohr adapted sculpted figures to the style of architecture, but in general his work after 1860 is characterized by massiveness, broad surfaces and an expression of pathos.

Mohr’s later work suggests an admiration for Michelangelo and for the monumental sculpture of Mohr’s contemporaries Ernst Rietschel and Johannes Schilling. The sculptures Mohr made between ...

Article

Dutch, 16th century, male.

Painter, poet, collector.

A glass painter by this name is on record as having being active in Herzogenbuch in 1520.

Article

Anne-Françoise Leurquin

Manual for religious and moral instruction commissioned by Philip III, King of France (reg 1270–85), from his confessor, the Dominican Frère Laurent. The work was finished in 1279–80 and was a literary success. Over 100 manuscript copies have survived, with printed editions appearing in the 15th century, and translations were made into English, Castilian, Catalan, Italian, Dutch and Occitan.

Although the presentation copy is lost, 7 manuscripts have a complete cycle of 15 full-page images and another 20 have selected images. The scenes include representations of the Ten Commandments, the Credo, the Pater noster, the Apocalyptic beast, the Last Judgement and personifications of the virtues and vices paired with moralizing scenes taken mainly from the Old Testament. The images, like the text, are extremely didactic. Nearly all the fully illuminated manuscripts were made for the royal entourage at the turn of the 14th century, often by exceptional artists. Two books were made for the royal family in ...

Article

Peter Kidson

(b c. 1081; d Saint-Denis, 1151).

French ecclesiastic, patron, and writer. He was born of an obscure and perhaps humble family, and at the age of ten he was presented as an oblate to Saint-Denis Abbey, around which his entire life and career revolved. As his competence and flair for business were recognized he was promoted secretary to the abbot, provost of outlying properties, and envoy to the papal court. In 1122 he became abbot. While in statu pupillari he formed a lifelong friendship with the future King Louis VI of France (reg 1108–37). During the Second Crusade he was Regent in the King’s absence.

As a man of affairs and adviser to kings, Suger was not fundamentally different from other eminent 12th-century ecclesiastics, but under his abbacy the administration of the resources of Saint-Denis was completely overhauled, monastic life in some sense ‘reformed’, and the abbey church itself partially rebuilt and refurbished. It is the fact that he wrote about the building operations that makes Suger a subject of interest to art historians. Contemporary accounts of medieval buildings are rare, and sufficient in themselves to make the buildings historically interesting, but Suger’s texts are exceptionally important because the west portals of Saint-Denis had perhaps the earliest ...

Article

(d ad 821).

Bishop, patron and writer. The finest poet of his age, Theodulf was an aristocratic Visigoth who fled Moorish oppression in Spain for a notable career under Charlemagne. He composed the so-called Libri Carolini, which challenged in Charlemagne’s name the apparently idolatrous decrees of the Second Council of Nicaea (ad 787), received from Rome in a garbled translation from the Greek. Often misinterpreted as an attack on images, this treatise follows Pope Gregory in approving the use of images to embellish churches and instruct the illiterate and thus adopts a middle ground between iconodules and iconoclasts. It is also a source of evidence for the practice of various arts in Carolingian times; in opposition to the Byzantine view it presents an entirely pragmatic theory of art, with no place for divine inspiration or supernatural elements. The oratory built for Theodulf at Germigny-des-Prés survives together with a mosaic depicting the ...

Article

R. Windsor Liscombe

(b Norwich, Aug 31, 1778; d Cambridge, Aug 31, 1839).

English architect, writer and collector . A ‘profound knowledge of the principles both of Grecian and Gothic architecture’ generated the career of Wilkins, who was also remembered as ‘a most amiable and honourable man’. He promoted the archaeological Greek Revival in Britain and a Tudor Gothic style. More intellectual than imaginative, his architecture was distinguished by a deft and disciplined manipulation of select historical motifs, a refined sense of scale and intelligent planning, outmoded by the time of his death. Besides his architecture and extensive antiquarian writings, Wilkins assembled an eclectic art collection and owned, or had a financial interest in, several theatres in East Anglia.

The theatres and Wilkins’s architectural bent were inherited from his father, a Norwich architect also called William Wilkins (1751–1815), who assisted Humphry Repton from 1785 to 1796 and established a successful domestic practice, mainly in the Gothick style. His eldest son was educated at Norwich School, then at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from which he graduated Sixth Wrangler in ...

Article

Chinese, 15th century, male.

Born 1423, in Jiashan, now Ningbo (Zhejiang); died 1495.

Painter, calligrapher, poet.

Yao Shou was the son of Yao Fu, a collector of calligraphy and paintings. He passed the national triennial examinations with the grade jinshi (accepted scholar) in the reign of Emperor Tanshun (...

Article

Chinese, 9th century, male.

Born c. 810; died c. 880.

Art critic, art historian, collector.

The scion of an illustrious line of officials, Zhang Yanyuan probably took his first steps as an art historian in his family’s own rich collections. He wrote a monumental work of art history, the ...