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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

Cassone  

Ellen Callmann and J. W. Taylor

[It.: ‘chest’]

Term used for large, lavishly decorated chests made in Italy from the 14th century to the end of the 16th. The word is an anachronism, taken from Vasari (2/1568, ed. G. Milanesi, 1878–85, ii, p. 148), the 15th-century term being forziero. Wealthy households needed many chests, but the ornate cassoni, painted and often combined with pastiglia decoration, were usually commissioned in pairs when a house was renovated for a newly married couple and were ordered, together with other furnishings, by the groom. Florence was the main centre of production, though cassoni were also produced in Siena and occasionally in the Veneto and elsewhere.

The earliest cassoni were simple structures with rounded lids, probably painted in solid colours, such as the red cassone in Giotto’s Annunciation to St Anne (c. 1305; Padua, Arena Chapel). The earliest known chests with painted designs are all from the same shop (e.g. Florence, Pal. Davanzati, inv. mob. 162). Like the much more numerous contemporary chests with gilded low-relief in pastiglia (...

Article

Maria Cristina Chiusa

[de Fesulis]

(fl c. 1393; d 1427).

Italian sculptor and architect, sometimes confused with Andrea (di Piero) Ferrucci (1465–1526), who was also known as Andrea da Fiesole. The only work that can definitely be attributed to the earlier of the two sculptors is the tomb of Bartolomeo da Saliceto (1412; ex-S Domenico, Bologna; Bologna, Mus. Civ. Med.), which is dated and signed opus Andreae de Fesulis. Saliceto was a reader in law at Bologna University, and the tomb sculpture represents him among his pupils. Motifs and facial types are borrowed directly from the tombs in the Bolognese tradition of Giovanni di Legnano (1383) by Pierpaolo dalle Masegne and of Carlo, Roberto, and Riccardo Saliceto (1403; both Bologna, Mus. Civ. Med.), a work indebted to Masegne, but despite this Andrea’s Tuscan origins remain apparent. Gnudi was of the opinion that Andrea da Fiesole was in Florence until c. 1410. However, Andrea subsequently moved away from the Tuscan Renaissance tradition towards a northern Gothic style, following his contact with Venetian–Emilian sculpture. This can be seen in the tomb of ...

Article

Kim W. Woods

[Rouppi; de Rouppy; Rupy]

(fl 1375–6; d 1438).

South Netherlandish sculptor. The name de Rouppy suggests that he was born in the village of Roupy, near Saint-Quentin in the region of Cambrai. He is first documented among the stone-carvers working on the spire of Cambrai Cathedral in 1375–6. In 1386–7 he was paid a salary of 15 francs a month by Jean, Duc de Berry, the first indication that he was in the Duc’s service at Bourges, apparently working with the sculptor André Beauneveu. In 1397 he was referred to as the Duc’s ‘varlet de chambre’, and in 1401–2 as the ‘imagier’ of the Duc, presumably succeeding Beauneveu, who had previously held the post and who died in 1401–3. He received presents from Jean de Berry in 1401 and 1413, and the collar of broom-cods (one of the Duc’s emblems) was bestowed on him by the Duc’s nephew, Charles VI, King of France, in 1403.

In 1449 Jean de Cambrai’s heirs were paid 300 livres for the alabaster effigy of the Duc de Berry that he had carved for the ...

Article

J. Steyaert

(d Oct 8, 1439).

Netherlandish sculptor, active in France. He was the nephew and follower of Claus Sluter. From his arrival in Dijon in December 1396 he was principal assistant to his uncle on the monumental Calvary group, the Moses Well, commissioned by Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, for the cloister of the Charterhouse in Champmol near Dijon. After Sluter’s death in 1406, de Werve was named ‘tailleur d’ymages et varlet de chambre’ to Duke John the Fearless, a position renewed under Philip the Good. Between 1406 and 1410 he completed the marble and alabaster tomb of Philip the Bold (Dijon, Mus. B.-A.) begun by Jean de Marville and Sluter. De Werve travelled to Savoy in 1408 at the request of Duke Amadeus VIII, possibly to work on the Sainte-Chapelle at Chambéry. He was in Paris in 1411–12 and was sent to Grenoble in 1436 in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find alabaster for the tombs of ...

Article

Steven Bule

(b Siena, fl 1392; d ?Perugia, after July 27, 1434).

Italian sculptor and architect. First mentioned in 1392, he was paid for executing a frieze in Siena Cathedral in 1398. Between 1407 and 1425 he served as capomaestro of the workshop at Orvieto Cathedral. He made the octagonal cover for the baptismal font and also worked on the Cappella Nuova in the cathedral. Sano’s individual style is difficult to isolate, since he often worked in collaboration with other Sienese masters. On 10 November 1413 he contracted with Jacopo della Quercia to carve marble elements for the Fonte Gaia in Siena, and in 1416, while still documented as working on the Fonte Gaia, he was also working on the baptismal font in the Baptistery in Siena together with Nanni da Lucca and Giacomo di Corso (c. 1382–after 1427), colleagues with whom he seems to have collaborated on many projects. Sano is also documented in 1428 as one of many masters who assisted in the decoration of the Loggia di S Paolo in Siena. The precise nature of his contribution to these commissions, however, is not specified. As architect and engineer, Sano was involved with the construction of the façade of S Fortunato, Todi, during the early 1430s, and was also responsible for the building of canals and wells in Perugia in ...

Article

Franz Bischoff

(b Frankfurt am Main, c. 1360; d Frankfurt am Main, 1430/31).

German architect and sculptor. He was one of the most important architects of the generation following the Parler family. His work in Frankfurt and the middle Rhine Valley exerted a lasting influence on the Late Gothic architecture and architectural sculpture of the early 15th century, extending over a wide area. His style was influenced by the formal vocabulary of the Parlers, and he ranks as an important exponent of the Schöne Stil c. 1400. He was born into a respected family of stone masons: with his father, Johann, he occupies the second place among stone masons on a list of inhabitants of Frankfurt dated 1387. Presumably he trained in his father’s workshop, and as there is no evidence that he was in Frankfurt between 1387 and 1391 he may have gained wider experience through travel during those years. He probably visited the workshops in Nuremberg, Prague, Ulm, and Vienna, all closely associated with the Parlers. His eventual contact with the art of the Burgundian court is now considered less significant....

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

David Young Kim

[Fr.: ‘rebirth’]

Term generally used to designate a historical period of cultural revival. In art historical scholarship, the Renaissance refers to the pivotal era of artistic production in creative imitation of classical models and values which began in the late 14th century in Italy and spread over the course of the 16th century throughout Europe and beyond. Historiographically, the concept of the Renaissance has defined itself against the Middle Ages (see Carolingian art, §I) with its negative connotations of ignorance, economic decline, and, in the arts, lack of naturalism and depth. Even so, Romanesque , Gothic, and Byzantine (see Early Christian and Byzantine art) formats, iconography, and styles established in previous centuries continued to provide prototypes for Renaissance artists such that art making in this period can be seen as an act of exchange and interaction with the medieval past. While drawing upon medieval strategies and attitudes towards images and image-making, Renaissance artists placed emphasis on certain modes of composition, aesthetic effect, and self-conception. In addition to the renewed interest in antiquity, these included the formulation of perspective, naturalistic depiction of the human figure and landscape, emphasis on proportional architectural forms, and the growing self-consciousness of artists as prominent creative individuals and intellectuals. More than a hermetically sealed epoch with clearly defined geographic and temporal boundaries, the Renaissance and its art continues to raise questions about the possibilities of representation, art making, and selfhood which confront artists and scholars in the present day: how do images forge a relation with the physical remains of the past, and, by extension, ideas about heritage, political legitimacy, and the state? How do reproducible media impact notions of authorship and originality? What role do works of art and representational strategies play in the individual and collective understanding of the world, in both temporal and spiritual dimensions?...

Article

Elinor M. Richter

(fl Siena, 1382–1427).

Italian sculptor and goldsmith. He was married in 1382 and had three sons: Barna, a wood-carver; Lorenzo (b 1407; fl 1456), a goldsmith; and Giovanni, or Nanni (c. 1385–1455), who was also a sculptor and goldsmith. Mentioned in Pisa in 1394, Turino di Sano’s earliest documented work in Siena was the design of an engraved seal with the image of the Virgin (1410; untraced). In 1413 he was commissioned to execute a silver statue of St Crescentius (untraced) for Siena Cathedral.

On 16 April 1417 he and his son Giovanni di Turino were authorized to design two bronze reliefs for the Siena Baptistery font (in situ), which were not delivered until July 1427. The two reliefs depict the Birth of St John the Baptist (c. 1417–18) and St John the Baptist Preaching (c. 1419–20) and are both relatively conservative in design and eclectic in nature. Evident familiarity with current developments in Florence can be seen in the ...

Article

Sara Jane Pearman

[Celoistre, Claux; de Slutere, Claes; de Slutere, Claves; Slutre, Claux]

(b Haarlem, c. 1360; d Dijon, before Feb 1406).

Netherlandish sculptor, active in Burgundy. He formulated the 15th-century Burgundian style and strongly influenced northern Renaissance sculpture ( see fig.). The name Claes de Slutere van Herlam appears in the guild list of the Brussels stone-cutters and masons about 1379. After possibly training in a family workshop in Haarlem, his formal training probably took place after he arrived in Brussels. This would make a birth date of c. 1360 more probable than 1340, as has been suggested. The various changes in the spelling of Sluter’s name, his continued association with contemporaries in the guild list, and the influence of Brussels artists on his work, all indicate that he spent a considerable length of time there.