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Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Barry Bergdoll

(b Cologne, June 15, 1790; d Paris, Dec 31, 1853).

French architect, writer and archaeologist of German birth. In 1810 he left Cologne with his lifelong friend J. I. Hittorff for Paris, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1811 under the tutelage of the ardent Neo-classicists Louis-Hippolyte Lebas and François Debret. But from the beginning Gau was exposed to a wider field of historical sources, first as assistant site architect under Debret on the restoration of the abbey church of Saint-Denis (1813–15) and then from 1815 in Nazarene circles in Rome, where he met the archaeologist and philologist Barthold Nieburh (1776–1831), who arranged a scholarship for him from the Prussian government and a trip through the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt Gau undertook an arduous trip down the Nile to visit and record the monuments of Nubia, which he published as the lavish folio Antiquités de la Nubie. He noted assiduously every trace of colour on the remains, just as he was to do in ...

Article

Dennis Radford

(b Dresden, Oct 16, 1813; d Stellenbosch, Oct 8, 1898).

German architect, builder, painter and photographer, active in South Africa. He showed a talent for drawing at an early age. In 1825 he entered the Akademie der Künste, Dresden, to study architecture, qualifying in 1829. He emigrated to Cape Town in 1838. His first commission in 1840 was the new Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary, Cape Town, undertaken with his partner Carel Sparmann, which was an unsuccessful venture. Hager then moved to Stellenbosch living principally by portrait painting (examples in Stellenbosch Mus.). It was not until 1854 that his next building, the Lutheran Church, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, was built. Only in 1863, however, did he receive his first major commission, the remodelling of the Dutch Reformed Church, Stellenbosch. This involved the addition of a large nave, aisles and tower to the existing cruciform church. All the additions were strongly Gothic Revival in character, and the rest of the church was given a Gothic appearance. It would be an exaggeration to claim that it was Hager who introduced the Gothic style into Dutch Reformed churches, but it can be said that he introduced a purer strain of the Revival, although this was still far from ‘correct’. The church at Stellenbosch differs most from previous attempts to Gothicize Dutch Reformed churches in the tower, which has triple-stage base tracery windows surmounted by a broach spire. The open Gothic trussed roof marks its first appearance in Dutch Reformed churches. In ...

Article

Melanie Hillebrand

(b London, June 5, 1856; d Durban, June 23, 1928).

South African architect of English birth. He studied at the University of London and was articled to W. W. Gwyther in London, then to J. McVicar Anderson and to Robert Hesketh. In 1881 he established his own practice in London. He moved to the colony of Natal c. 1886 and set up practice in Durban and Pietermaritzburg in partnership first with Percy Barr (d 1894), then with Arthur Fyfe until c. 1899, and finally with J. Wallace Paton (1874–1948) from c. 1899 until his death. Street-Wilson was a prolific architect and designed many houses, shops and office buildings, but his reputation was based on public commissions. The Pietermaritzburg Town Hall (1893; destr. 1898) was his first major work: a modest, two-storey ‘Free Renaissance design’ using the characteristic salmon-pink brick of the area. Invited to design a new structure after its destruction by fire, he created a florid three-storey version using imported plaster mouldings and cast iron. Other successful designs in this style include Scott’s Theatre (...