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Sebastian Wormell

French art and architectural historian. His main interest was in Byzantine art of the medieval period, and he was one of the first Western European scholars to take a serious interest in the art of the Palaiologan period (1261–1453). Most of his original research was based on field work undertaken between ...

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Ruth Rosengarten

Portuguese painter, draughtsman and writer. His early caricatures attracted the attention of the poet Fernando Pessoa whose posthumous portrait he painted in 1954 (Lisbon, Câmara Mun.; replica, 1964, Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). He choreographed, designed and danced in a number of ballets (1915–19), before spending a year (...

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A. V. Ikonnikov

Russian architect, urban planner and theorist. He studied (1892–8) at the Institute of Civil Engineers, St Petersburg, and then fought in South Africa as a Boer volunteer in the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1901). After returning to Russia he worked in the Caucasus until ...

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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....