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(b Venice, 1373; reg 15 April 1423–23 Oct 1457; d Nov 1, 1457).

Venetian ruler and patron. He was the longest-serving doge in the history of Venice. His reign was a period of constant warfare, during which Venice consolidated her hold on her mainland possessions and acquired further territory. His only surviving son, Jacopo Foscari (c. 1416–57), a celebrated humanist, was three times disgraced for alleged corruption. After his son’s final banishment and death, Francesco was persuaded by the Council of Ten to abdicate. He died a week later and was given a full ducal burial in the church of S Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice. His tomb monument (for illustration see Bregno, (1)) in the same church, probably executed either by Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino or by members of the Bregno family, was erected at the instigation of the doge’s grandson Niccolò Foscari. Its mixture of Gothic and Renaissance elements echoes the hybrid character of public art and architecture during his reign....

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Obelisk  

Erik Iversen

[Gr.: ‘little spit’]

Square or rectangular shaft, usually monolithic, with tapering sides and a pyramidal apex, first developed in Egypt in the 3rd millennium bc but also popular in Europe in Roman times, the Renaissance and the 19th century.

The Egyptian name for the obelisk was tekhen, from a verb meaning ‘pierce’, while its apex, clearly considered as a distinct part, was known as ben or benben. The interpretation of this term is controversial: according to one theory, it derived from the verb ben, which originally meant ‘shine’, ‘radiate’ or ‘reflect’. Thus, like the capstone of a pyramid, the function of the apex would have been to reflect or absorb the rays of the sun, charging the obelisk with solar energy and reviving the person whose name was inscribed on its shaft. In the case of the truncated obelisks placed in sun temples, such as that at Abu Ghurab, this pyramidion would guarantee the physical presence of the sun god in his sanctuary; in this context, it is significant that, in ancient representations of obelisks, the sun disc is often seen resting on or emerging from the apex....

Article

C. A. Keller

(reg c. 1290–c. 1279 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron, second ruler of the 19th Dynasty. The inclusion in his own titulary of the expression wehem–meswt (Egyp.: ‘renaissance’) explicitly stated the rationale for his vigorous political and architectural activity: in his aggressive military policy he sought to emulate the achievements of Tuthmosis III (reg c. 1479–c. 1426 bc) by re-establishing Egyptian power in Nubia and north Syria, and in his extensive building programme he attempted to restore monuments defaced during the Amarna period by iconoclastic followers of the sun god Aten. His repairs were frequently accompanied by a text, such as ‘a renewal of this monument that Sethos I made’.

His own monuments were fashioned on a large scale, possibly in imitation of the massive projects of Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc), and were decorated with characteristically fine reliefs. At Thebes, his most significant accomplishment was the completion of the ‘...

Article

(b Udine, 1540; d Venice, Dec 15, 1559).

Italian painter. Reputed to have studied for two years with Titian in Venice, she painted portraits as well as historical and religious subjects (e.g. the Flight into Egypt, ex-Count F. di Maniago col.), but few works have been identified. Lanzi wrote that her majestic figures, soft gradations of colour and use of glazing were reminiscent of Titian (Ellet). A three-quarter-length portrait of her sister, Emilia di Spilimbergo (Washington, DC, N.G.A.), with a landscape background, has been attributed to her. A pendant portrait of Irene di Spilimbergo (Washington, DC, N.G.A.) is thought to be by Titian. After her death, at 19, a volume of eulogies in her praise by poets including Lodovico Dolce and Torquato Tasso was published in 1561.

E. F. L. Ellet: Women Artists in All Ages and Countries (New York, 1859) F. Heinemann: ‘La bottega di Tiziano’, Tiziano e Venezia: Convegno internazionale di studi: Venice, 1976, p. 438...