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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

Catherine Harding

(b Lomello, Dec 24, 1296; d Avignon, c. 1354).

Italian parish priest, manuscript illuminator and scholar. His drawings explored the connections between vision, reason and spirituality. In particular, he was drawn to the idea of training the ‘inner eye’ of reason, and he hoped that his images would provide tools for spiritual discernment. He worked as a schoolmaster and priest until 1329, when he fled Pavia for political reasons and entered the papal court in Avignon. One year later, he was employed as a scribe in the office of the papal penitentiary.

He produced two illuminated works, both of which are untitled (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Pal. lat. 1993 and Vat. lat. 6435). The former, known simply as the Palatinus manuscript, encompasses 52 large individual parchment sheets drawn in pen and ink with images on both sides; they feature schematic compositions that combine portolan charts, zodiacs, calendars and human figures, to form complex composite images. The second work, the Vaticanus manuscript, is done in pen and ink on paper and is more of an author’s daybook, collecting thoughts, meditations and images on a variety of topics. His work was not known until the publication of the Palatinus manuscript by R. G. Salomon in ...

Article

Daniel H. Weiss

Extensively illustrated Old Testament manuscript (390×300 mm; New York, Morgan Lib., MS. M.638) produced in France. Containing more than 340 narrative episodes distributed across the recto and verso sides of 46 parchment leaves, the Old Testament cycle begins with the first chapters of Genesis and concludes with scenes from the life of King David from 2 Samuel. No longer in its original binding, three leaves are now separated from the Morgan volume; two being in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (Ms. nouv. acq. lat. 2294, fols 2, 3) and a single leaf in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (83. MA.55). Distinctive for the quality of its illustrations, the richness of its narrative cycle and the fact that the original codex probably contained no text, the Morgan manuscript was produced around the middle of the 13th century, most likely in Paris for King Louis IX (reg 1226–70) or a close associate. The ascription of the manuscript to a royal context is based primarily on thematic similarities to other works associated with the King, including especially the ...