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Article

Paul Davies and David Hemsoll

(b Genoa, Feb 14, 1404; d Rome, April 1472).

Italian architect, sculptor, painter, theorist and writer. The arts of painting, sculpture and architecture were, for Alberti, only three of an exceptionally broad range of interests, for he made his mark in fields as diverse as family ethics, philology and cryptography. It is for his contribution to the visual arts, however, that he is chiefly remembered. Alberti single-handedly established a theoretical foundation for the whole of Renaissance art with three revolutionary treatises, on painting, sculpture and architecture, which were the first works of their kind since Classical antiquity. Moreover, as a practitioner of the arts, he was no less innovative. In sculpture he seems to have been instrumental in popularizing, if not inventing, the portrait medal, but it was in architecture that he found his métier. Building on the achievements of his immediate predecessors, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, he reinterpreted anew the architecture of antiquity and introduced compositional formulae that have remained central to classical design ever since....

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

Isabel Mateo Gómez

(b ?Toledo; d 1595).

Spanish painter, miniaturist, sculptor, architect and writer. He belongs to the Toledan school of the second half of the 16th century. The son of the painter Lorenzo de Ávila, he developed a Mannerist style that is smooth and delicate and derives from his father’s and from that of Juan Correa de Vivar and of Francisco Comontes (d 1565). He worked as painter to Toledo Cathedral from 1565 to 1581 and was painter (Pintor del Rey) to Philip II from 1583. He acted frequently as a valuer for the work of other artists.

Between 1563 and 1564, in collaboration with Luis de Velasco, Hernando de Ávila painted the retable of the church of Miraflores (Madrid Province) with the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin (untraced); these are probably among his earliest works. He was commissioned to paint the retables of St John the Baptist and the ...

Article

Italian, 16th – 17th century, male.

Born 1559, in Castelvecchio, in Cigoli according to the Larousse Dictionary; died 1613, in Rome.

Painter, sculptor, architect, poet, musician.

Florentine School.

Lodovoco Cardi began his studies under Alessandro Allori, and later became one of the most brilliant followers of Santi di Tito. According to Lanzi, he was taught drawing by Buontalenti. He was elected to membership of the Florence academy, following the submission of his painting of ...

Article

Francesco Paolo Fiore and Pietro C. Marani

(Pollaiolo) [Francesco di Giorgio]

(b Siena, bapt Sept 23, 1439; d Siena, bur Nov 29, 1501).

Italian architect, engineer, painter, illuminator, sculptor, medallist, theorist and writer. He was the most outstanding artistic personality from Siena in the second half of the 15th century. His activities as a diplomat led to his employment at the courts of Naples, Milan and Urbino, as well as in Siena, and while most of his paintings and miniatures date from before 1475, by the 1480s and 1490s he was among the leading architects in Italy. He was particularly renowned for his work as a military architect, notably for his involvement in the development of the Bastion, which formed the basis of post-medieval fortifications (see Military architecture & fortification, §III, 2(ii) and 4(ii)). His subsequent palace and church architecture was influential in spreading the Urbino style, which he renewed with reference to the architecture of Leon Battista Alberti but giving emphasis to the purism of smooth surfaces. His theoretical works, which include the first important Western writings on military engineering, were not published until modern times but were keenly studied in manuscript, by Leonardo da Vinci among others; they foreshadowed a number of developments that came to fruition in the 16th century (...

Article

A. E. Werdehausen

[Antonio di Pietro Averlino]

(b c. 1400; d c. 1469).

Italian sculptor, architect and theorist. According to Vasari, he trained in the studio of Lorenzo Ghiberti, but he developed a personal style that was relatively independent of Florentine influence. His Trattato di architettura was the first Renaissance architectural treatise to be written in vernacular Italian and illustrated with drawings and was an important work in the development of Renaissance architectural theory.

Filarete is first recorded in 1433 in Rome, where he attended the coronation of the Emperor Sigismund. Presumably the same year he was commissioned by Pope Eugenius IV to design and execute the bronze door of the main porch of the old St Peter’s (inscribed and dated, 1445). The unsettled political conditions during the pontificate of Eugenius IV (1431–47) and the depiction of events during 1438–42 in the small, friezelike reliefs have led to the supposition (Spencer, 1978) that Filarete was not continuously engaged on the door and at one point was given a change of programme. The two wings of the door each consist of three rectangular fields of different size with large figures (...

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Anthony Hughes

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Lon R. Shelby

(b c. 1460; d after 1516).

German architect, sculptor, and military engineer.

On 23 June 1489 the Milan City Council rejected a recommendation from Simon Brunus, German, that ‘Master Laurentius, engineer’ should come to Milan for the task of completing the tiburium (?ciborium, baldacchino) for the cathedral. It has generally been thought that this letter referred to Lorenz Lechler, for on 25 August 1489 the City Council of Esslingen (near Stuttgart) also recommended Lechler to the Milanese for the completion of their cathedral. Lechler had constructed the sacrament house and choir-screen for St Dionysius, Esslingen, and he was commended to the Milanese for his ‘ingenuity, industry, and art’.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Lechler may have been involved with the construction of the sacrament house and choir-screen at Speyer Cathedral in the late 1490s. In 1509 he was called back to Speyer to supervise the completion of the Mount of Olives located just outside and south of the cathedral nave, which had been begun by ...

Article

Martin Kemp

(b Anchiano, nr Vinci, April 15, 1452; d Amboise, nr Tours, May 2, 1519).

Italian painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer and scientist. He was the founding father of what is called the High Renaissance style and exercised an enormous influence on contemporary and later artists. His writings on art helped establish the ideals of representation and expression that were to dominate European academies for the next 400 years. The standards he set in figure draughtsmanship, handling of space, depiction of light and shade, representation of landscape, evocation of character and techniques of narrative radically transformed the range of art. A number of his inventions in architecture and in various fields of decoration entered the general currency of 16th-century design.

Although he brought relatively few works to completion, and even fewer have survived, Leonardo was responsible for some of the most influential images in the history of art. The ‘Mona Lisa’ (Paris, Louvre) may fairly be described as the world’s most famous painting. When the extent of his writings on many branches of science became increasingly apparent during the 19th century, he appeared to epitomize the idea of the universal genius and was hailed as one of the prophets of the modern era. More recent assessments of his intellectual achievements have recognized the medieval and Classical framework on which his theories were constructed but have done nothing to detract from the awesome range and intensity of his thought....

Article

Anthony Hughes and Caroline Elam

(Buonarroti ) [Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni ]

(b Caprese, ?March 6, 1475; d Rome, Feb 18, 1564).

Italian sculptor, painter, draughtsman and architect. The elaborate exequies held in Florence after Michelangelo’s death celebrated him as the greatest practitioner of the three visual arts of sculpture, painting and architecture and as a respected poet. He is a central figure in the history of art: one of the chief creators of the Roman High Renaissance, and the supreme representative of the Florentine valuation of disegno (see Disegno e colore). As a poet and a student of anatomy, he is often cited as an example of the ‘universal genius’ supposedly typical of the period. His professional career lasted over 70 years, during which he participated in, and often stimulated, great stylistic changes. The characteristic most closely associated with him is terribilità, a term indicative of heroic and awe-inspiring grandeur. Reproductions of the Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel Ceiling (Rome, Vatican) or the Moses from the tomb of ...

Article

Jürgen Zimmer

(b Lugano, May 1, 1544; d Dresden, Sept 20, 1620).

Swiss sculptor, architect, painter, writer and collector, active in Germany. He was the son of Bernardinus Zamelinus Nosseni and Lucia Verda. His move to Dresden, via Florence, was organized by the intermediary Johann Albrecht von Sprintzenstein, and in 1575 he was appointed court sculptor, architect, painter and decorative artist on an annual salary of 400 taler. He was commissioned to exploit the sources of alabaster and marble in Saxony for the Electors Augustus and Christian I (reg 1586–91). In the following years Nosseni worked in the fields of sculpture and painting (including portraiture), made furniture and other stone and wooden objects for the royal art collection and designed buildings. He also devised triumphal processions, masked celebrations, allegorical plays and tournaments. The precious and semi-precious stones that he acquired were used for epitaphs, monuments, altars, sculptures and other works. It appears that he designed or conceived all these works but actually executed only a few of them. He created his own workshop, in which he employed Italian artists and craftsmen, whom he had engaged during a trip to Italy at the end of ...

Article

Spanish, 17th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 17th century.

Sculptor, writer, architect.

Alonso Sánchez carved many altars for churches in Seville. On 14 December 1622 he was commissioned by the parish church of S Miguel in Seville to carve a candlestick for the Tenebrae services of Holy Week....

Article

Gustina Scaglia

(di Jacopo)

(b Siena, Feb 4, 1382; d Siena, before 1458).

Italian engineer, writer–artist and wood-carver. His nickname Archimedes of Siena acknowledges his reputation for mechanical ingenuity. His illustrations of engines and other mechanical devices, with descriptions in Latin, were among the first of many in the development of the so-called Theatres of Machines of the military architect Agostino Ramelli (1531–?1600) and others. Examples of his wood-carvings (c. 1415–28) are among the 36 wooden busts preserved as relocated parts of the choir-stalls in Siena Cathedral but cannot be identified. Taccola began technical writing and illustration in 1419, producing De ingeneis, which includes, in Book II, a rare transcription of the Liber ignium of Marcus Graecus and, in a sequel to Book II, quotations from Filippo Brunelleschi concerning the need for inventors to maintain secrecy as well as describing some practical methods for executing river works and mills. He illustrated Brunelleschi’s inventions in Book III; in Book I he reported his own findings from hydraulic tests he had made in ...

Article

Alexander Kader

(b Florence, March 6, 1671; d Florence, 1744).

Italian sculptor, architect, medallist and writer. He was a pupil of Giovanni Battista Foggini in Florence and, like many of his contemporaries, studied at the Tuscan Accademia Granducale in Rome. His earliest surviving works are bronze medals: Giulio Benedetto Lorenzini (1701) and Lorenzo Bellini (c. 1704). None of his work in marble seems to have survived from his early years in Florence and Rome. In 1708 he left Florence for Vienna, where he is said to have been sculptor and architect to Emperor Joseph I until the latter’s death in 1712. He then returned to Florence. After Foggini’s death in 1725 Ticciati began to receive many important commissions. His marble tomb of Anton Domenico Gabbiani (1726; Florence, S Felice) follows the style established by Foggini, as does his life-size marble statue of Geometry for the tomb of Galileo Galilei (erected 1737) in Santa Croce, Florence. Ticciati’s main commission of the 1730s was the marble high altar (erected ...