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Italian, 15th century, male.

Painter, illuminator. Religious subjects.

Florentine School.

Alexander was the son of Antonio Simeone of Florence. A hermit of the Order of St Augustine, he created the illuminations for a book of prayers for Lorenzo Strozzi.

Cambridge (Fitzwilliam Library): Book of Prayers...


French, 12th century, male.

Miniaturist, illuminator. Religious subjects.

A monk, this artist illustrated a manuscript of St Augustine's City of God.

Boulogne-sur-Mer (Bibliothèque municipale): The City of God


German, 16th century, male.

Active between 1512 and 1561.

Painter, engraver (wood), illustrator. Religious subjects.

Erhard Altdorfer is believed to have been the brother of Albrecht Altdorfer. The latter mentions him in his will, dated 12 February 1538, as a citizen of Schwerin. Erhard was a painter to the court of Prince Henry the Peaceful and accompanied him to a royal wedding in Wittenburg. This occasion is believed to have given him the opportunity to meet Lucas Cranach, whose influence can be detected in some of his works. In 1516 he painted an altarpiece in Sternberg, Germany, which has been lost. In a 1552 letter to the young Duke John-Albert of Mecklenburg, he gives the impression of having been an architect along with his brother. Erhard Altdorfer is known today for his wood engravings, some of which are signed with a monogram formed by an intertwining of the letters ...


Dorothy Verkerk

Illuminated manuscript of the first five books of the Old Testament (now incomplete), dating from the late 6th or early 7th century (Paris, Bib.N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 2334) and named after the English collector Bertram Ashburnham. Also known as the Pentateuch of Tours, the Ashburnham Pentateuch is one of the oldest surviving pre-Carolingian Vulgate manuscripts of the Old Testament. In its present condition, it lacks the last verses of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy; while 18 pages of illustration and 1 frontispiece survive from the original 65 pages with illustrations. The illustrated pages comprise several scenes generally arranged in two or three bands, although some pages have one or two large scenes, others combine illustration and text. Painted tituli that follow the Vulgate accompany the miniatures; however, beneath the painted titutli are preliminary inscriptions penned in ink that follow the Vetus latina text.

Based upon stylistic, iconographical and codicological evidence, the Pentateuch appears to have been made in a late 6th- to early 7th-century Italian scriptorium. Twelve pages were added in the 8th century by scribes from Fleury; an additional restored page (fol. 33) was added in the 7th century by a Touronian scribe. The illustrations often deviate from the exact retelling of the biblical text. The column of smoke and fire, for example, in the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea is depicted as a large candle held in two hands, a reference to Easter Vigil liturgical ceremonies (fol. 68...


Debra Higgs Strickland

Richly illustrated bestiary manuscript (275×185mm, 105 fols; Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Ashmole 1511), written in Latin and illuminated probably in southern England around 1210. The original patron is unknown. It contains the text and illustrations of a complete bestiary, with prefatory Creation scenes and excerpts from Genesis and part of Hugh de Folieto’s Aviarium (Book of Birds). It is a luxury manuscript with lavish use of gold leaf, sometimes tooled, in the backgrounds of the full-page miniatures and numerous smaller framed animal ‘portraits’. Its images are especially notable for their ornamental qualities, evident in both the pictorial compositions and a wide variety of geometric framing devices. The prefatory cycle includes a full-page miniature of Adam Naming the Animals. The Ashmole Bestiary is considered a ‘sister’ manuscript to the Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen, U. Lib., MS. 24), to which it is iconographically very closely related, but owing to major stylistic differences the two manuscripts have been attributed to different artists. The chronological relationship between the two has been disputed: based on proposed workshop methods, Muratova (...


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....


Charles Buchanan

Type of large-format Bible, usually found in pandect (single-volume) form, produced in central Italy and Tuscany from around 1060 to the middle of the 12th century. They came out of the efforts of a reformist papacy intent on wresting control over ecclesiastical investiture from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Giant Bibles were produced in reformed canonries and monasteries and then exported to the same, not only in Italy but throughout Europe.

The term ‘Atlantic’ (from the mythological giant Atlas) is derived from their impressive size; dimensions range from 550 to 600 mms by 300 to 400 mms. Their script, derived from Caroline minuscule, is placed in two columns of around fifty-five lines. The texts are decorated with two initial types, which Edward B. Garrison designated as ‘geometrical’ and ‘full shaft’, both of which are derived from Carolingian and Ottonian exemplars, respectively. The iconography consists of full-length prophets, patriarchs, kings and saints as well as narrative scenes. The last are at times found as full-page cyclical illuminations and preface important textual divisions, especially Genesis. The iconography of the Giant Bibles is a specific Roman iconographical recension with its sources based in part on Early Christian pictorial cycles, such as the wall paintings of Old St Peter’s in Rome. These came from an era considered by the reformers to have been uncorrupted by the abuses that afflicted the Church when these Bibles were being made. While the Giant Bibles were promulgated by the Church of Rome as a symbol of its supreme authority, they also allowed the clergy to perform the liturgy, and the Divine Office in particular, properly....


German, 15th century, male.

Born c. 1435; died 1504.

Painter, miniaturist, illuminator, writer, printer. Religious subjects.

School of Alsace.

Hans Baemler's name appears for the first time in 1453. He established himself in Augsburg as a printer. His name appears on two miniatures, a Crucifixion...


Italian, 15th – 16th century, male.

Painter, engraver, illustrator. Religious subjects.

Florentine School.

Bartolommeo di Giovanni was a Florentine painter, active from 1483 to 1511. It has been possible to establish firm authorship of only one of his works: in an archive record of a contract dated ...


Italian, 15th century, male.

Active in Orvieto.

Illuminator, mosaicist, fresco artist. Religious subjects.

In 1410, Bartolommeo di Pietro executed a miniature of a crucifix for a cathedral missal produced by Angelo di Pietro. In 1417 he worked with Andrea di Giovanni da Orvieto on the restoration of old mosaics and execution of new ones on the cathedral façade. In ...


German, 16th century, male.

Born c. 1480, in Augsburg; died 1542, in Augsburg.

Painter, engraver, illuminator, illustrator. Religious subjects.

Augsburg School.

Both alone and in collaboration with his son, Leonhard Beck made numerous illuminations and woodcuts. He is believed to have assisted Holbein the Elder. Received as a master in ...


Adam S. Cohen

revised by Shirin Fozi

Illuminated manuscript (292 × 225 mm; London, BL, Add. MS. 49598) containing liturgical prayers recited by the bishop, produced in Winchester between ad 971 and 984 for Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, a leader of Anglo-Saxon monastic reform. It is a sumptuous work, with 28 full-page miniatures (another 15 have been lost) and 2 historiated initials lavishly executed in gold and vibrant colours (see Initial, manuscript). The decoration includes the finest examples of Winchester school borders, consisting of acanthus designs that fill the frame and shoot forth from the corner medallions. An inscription describes the manufacture of the book by the scribe Godeman and refers specifically to the ‘many frames well adorned’. The figural style, like the decorative and iconographic elements, is derived primarily from Carolingian models and is consistent with contemporaneous Anglo-Saxon art; what distinguishes the manuscript is its extremely luxurious illuminations and the complexity of its iconographic programme....


Flemish, 15th – 16th century, male.

Died in Ghent.

Painter, miniaturist, illustrator. Religious subjects.

Bruges School, Flemish School.

The first member of his family to be an artist, Alexander Bening was to be followed by a number of Flemish miniaturists of particular importance in 16th-century Flanders. He entered the Ghent painters' guild on ...


Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...


Dutch, 16th century, male.

Born 16 December 1534, in Mechelen; died 20 November 1593, in Amsterdam.

Painter (gouache), miniaturist, watercolourist, illuminator, engraver, draughtsman. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, portraits, village scenes, landscapes with figures.

Amsterdam School.

The son of Simon Bol and pupil of his father's brothers, Jean and Jacques Bol, Hans Bol worked initially in Heidelberg and then in Mons. On 10 February 1560, he was admitted to the guild in Mechelen. In 1572, after the sack of Mechelen, he left the town and, quite destitute, journeyed to Antwerp. Here he made the acquaintance of an art lover, Anton Couvreur, who became his patron. In 1574, he was admitted into the Antwerp painters' guild and, on 16 September of the same year, he was granted citizenship. Concerned that other artists were copying his work, he abandoned painting in egg tempera and started to produce small pictures in oil and gouache. In 1584, the war obliged him to flee Antwerp for Bergen-op-Zoom, Holland, where he remained until 1586. He then set up in Amsterdam, having first passed through Dordrecht and Delft. He married a widow whose son, Frans Boch, became his pupil. Other pupils were Jacquaes Savary of Courtrai and Pierre de Kleerck of Antwerp. The usual date given for his death, 1593, seems doubtful because of a miniature on parchment in existence in Berlin in 1883 depicting an ...


German, 16th century, male.

Born between 1475 and 1480, in Augsburg; died 1537, in Augsburg.

Painter, engraver, draughtsman, illustrator. History painting, religious subjects, allegorical subjects, battles, genre scenes, hunting scenes. Murals, designs for stained glass.

Danube School (Augsburg).

Jörg Breu the Elder is mentioned from 1501...


Jeremy Griffiths

(b ?Kings Lynn, April 21, 1393; d Kings Lynn, Aug 12, 1464).

English writer, translator, and scribe. He entered the Augustinian monastery at Kings Lynn, Norfolk, c. 1410, was ordained priest in 1416–17, and then studied in London (1417–22). By 1422 he had completed a verse translation of the Life of St Norbert. He studied at Cambridge from 1422, preaching his sermon, the Tretis of the Orders that be Undyr the Reule of Oure Fader Seynt Augustin, in that year. He became a bachelor in theology in 1423 and gained his doctorate in 1425. He is not recorded between 1427 and 1437, during which time he may have composed works now lost, for example, the Commentary on Kings, dedicated to Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, and John Lowe, Bishop of St Asaph (d 1467), which is referred to in the preface to Capgrave’s Commentary on Genesis (1437–8; Oxford, Oriel Coll.), a copy of which was presented to Duke ...


Italian, 16th century, male.

Born 1501, in Carpi (Emilia-Romagna); died 1556, in Ferrara, according to Vasari, in 1569 according to Baruffaldi.

Painter, fresco artist, copyist, draughtsman. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, allegorical subjects, portraits.

Girolamo was the son of Tommaso da Carpi. According to Mariette, who cites Superbi, his date of birth was in fact ...



French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...


Flemish School, 16th century, male.

Born c. 1500, in Bruges; died 1576.

Painter, illuminator. Religious subjects, portraits.

Bruges School.

Claessins was a pupil of Adrian Becaert and became a master painter in Bruges in 1530. From his marriage to Petronilla Roelants he had three sons, Gillis, Pieter II and Anthuensis, all painters. He continued the tradition of Gerardt David, Ambrosius Benson and Jan Provost, painted a ...