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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

South African, 20th century, male.

Born 8 May 1903, in Plungian, Lithuania; died 25 October 1980, in Kiryat Tivon, Israel.

Sculptor in diverse materials, draughtsman, printmaker.

In 1908, Isreal-Isaac Lipshitz emigrated to South Africa where he remained, apart from trips abroad, until his retirement to Israel in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Mukhtār, Maḥmūd; Moukhtar, Mahmoud]

(b Tanyra, May 10, 1891; d Cairo, March 27, 1934).

Egyptian sculptor. He studied at the School of Fine Arts, Cairo, and after graduating was sent in 1911 by the founder of the School, Prince Yusuf Kamal, to study sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Although Mukhtar was at ease in France, and regularly exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français, his aim increasingly was to search for an Egyptian identity in art. In order to re-establish an Egyptian style in monumental sculpture he developed a ‘neo-pharaonic’ style, and became the first Egyptian artist to use granite since Ancient Egyptian times. His massive pink granite statue Egyptian Awakening (1919–28), the most official of his works, was placed at the gateway to Cairo University. It shows a sphinx about to rise, and a woman unveiling.

During the 1920s Mukhtar became an influential figure in modern Egyptian art, and prominent in the group La Chimère, founded in 1927, which included the painters Raghib Ayyad (...

Article

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....