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Artistic manifestations of Arthurian legends antedate surviving textual traditions and sometimes bear witness to stories that have not survived in written form. Thus the Tristan sculptures (c. 1102–17) carved on a column from the north transept of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela show that the story was in circulation at least a generation before the earliest surviving written text was composed. The one surviving manuscript of Béroul’s Tristan is unillustrated, while the fragments of Thomas’s version include a single historiated initial showing Tristan playing the harp (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Fr. d. 16, fol. 10). Although Eilhart von Oberge’s Tristrant, composed in the late 12th century, is the earliest version of the Tristan story to survive complete, the only surviving illustrated copy dates from the 15th century (c. 1465–75; Heidelberg, UBib., Cpg 346), while the Munich manuscript of Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan was made in south Germany ...

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

French, 14th – 15th century, male.

Born c. 1335, in Valenciennes; died between 1403 and 1413, in Bourges.

Painter, illuminator, sculptor. Funerary monuments (recumbent statues).

Beauneveu has been described as the most distinguished sculptor and painter of his time. His hand was responsible for the illuminations in the ...

Article

Patrick M. de Winter

[Biauneveu, Andrieu]

(b Valenciennes, c. 1335; d ?Bourges, 1401–3).

South Netherlandish sculptor, painter, and illuminator. He possibly trained with, or in the circle of, Jean Pépin de Huy. He is presumably the ‘Master Andrieu the painter’ mentioned in the accounts of Yolande, Duchesse de Bar, as working intermittently between 1359 and 1362 in the chapel of her castle at Nieppe (destr.). In 1361–2 ‘Master Andrieu the carver’ restored the console of a statue (both destr.) in the aldermen’s hall in Valenciennes. By October 1364 and until June 1366 he is recorded in Paris, working with assistants for King Charles V, who spoke of him as ‘our esteemed Andrieu Biauneveu, our sculptor’. The monarch commissioned from him four tombs for Saint-Denis Abbey, for which he paid 4700 gold francs: tombs for his paternal grandparents Philip VI (reg 1328–50) and Joan of Burgundy (1294–1348); for his father, John II; and for himself (first mentioned on 12 December 1364...

Article

Hans Georg Gmelin

(b ?Minden, fl 1367; d Hamburg, between Feb 20, 1414 and May 13, 1415).

German painter, illuminator, and wood-carver. His major work, the Grabow Altarpiece (Hamburg, Ksthalle), a combination of carved figures and painted scenes, is one of the high points of late 14th-century north German art. In the many documentary references to him in Hamburg, he is referred to as ‘painter’, although he was also responsible for colouring statues. At least the designs of the sculpture of some of his altars have been attributed to him. His lively narrative style, with expressive and forceful gestures, made him one of the most influential of early German artists.

Probably originally from Minden in Westphalia, Bertram is mentioned for the first time in the Hamburg city accounts of 1367, when he was paid for painting a Virgin (untraced), restoring a sculpted angel and painting a letter case. Sixty documents relate to him from his lifetime, an astounding number for a 14th-century artist, and before 1487 he was the only painter mentioned by name in the Hamburg records. In ...

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

Flemish School, 14th century, male.

Died at the end of 1408.

Painter, illuminator.

He was the son of the sculptor Quentin Coene, and in 1388 painted a Last Judgement for the Magistrates' Hall in Bruges. He was an officer of the Guild in 1397. A Jehane Coene, master painter in the town of Bruges, worked at the château of Male ...

Article

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...

Article

(d c. 1417–20).

Goldsmith, sculptor, and painter, probably of German origin. None of his works is known to have survived, but he is mentioned twice in mid-15th-century texts: in the second book of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentarii and in the manuscript of the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Both texts relate that Gusmin died during the reign of Pope Martin (i.e. Martin V, reg 1417–31), in the year of the 438th Olympiad (i.e. between 1415 and 1420). He worked in the service of the Duke of Anjou, who was forced to destroy Gusmin’s greatest work, a golden altar, in order to provide cash for his ‘public needs’. Gusmin consequently retired to a hermitage where he led a saintly life, painting and teaching young artists. Although it is clear from his account that Ghiberti never knew the master or saw any of his original works, he stated that he had seen casts of his sculptures, which, he said, were as fine as the work of the ancient Greeks, although the figures were rather short. There have been numerous attempts to identify Gusmin with artists, both German and Italian, fitting the account of Ghiberti and the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Swarzenski first named Gusmin as the author of the alabaster Rimini altar (Frankfurt am Main, Liebieghaus), but this has now been demonstrated to be of Netherlandish workmanship. Krautheimer proposed a convincing reconstruction of Gusmin’s career, suggesting that his Angevin patron was ...

Article

Alison Stones

Legends and myths in medieval art are often symbolic rather than narrative, appearing as isolated representations on monuments and portable objects and following the tradition of Greek vase painting where individual subjects are depicted and rely on prior knowledge of the stories for recognition and understanding. World histories celebrated great heroes of the past, starting with Creation and biblical history, then the ancient and medieval world with the exploits of the Trojan heroes, Alexander the Great, King Arthur and the campaigns of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland. Northern gods such as Thor were depicted in cult statues (c. 1000; Reykjavík, N. Mus.) or through such ornamental hammers as those from north Jutland in the Copenhagen Nationalmuseum, and Freya, head of the Valkyries, was painted riding a cat on the walls of Schleswig Cathedral.

The Fall of Troy is most celebrated in the early 13th-century copy of Heinrich von Veldecke’s ...