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Article

Persian School, 14th – 15th century, male.

Active at the end of the 14th and at the beginning of the 15th century.

Painter.

Abd al Havy was a pupil of Shams al Din. In 1393, Tamburlaine (Timur) took him to Samarkand, where it is believed that he ran the city’s artistic workshops. No work has been attributed to him with any certainty....

Article

Persian School, 14th century, male.

Painter.

Ahmad Mousa worked as an artist between 1317 and 1335, and is considered to be the founder of classical Persian painting. There are a number of manuscripts preserved in Istanbul featuring paintings attributed to him.

Article

[Khwāja ‛Abd al-Ḥayy]

(fl c. 1374; d Samarkand, 1405).

Illustrator and painter. According to the Safavid chronicler Dust Muhammad, ‛Abd al-Hayy trained under Shams al-Din at Baghdad during the reign of the Jalayirid sultan Uways I (reg 1356–74) and became the leading painter under his son Ahmad (reg 1382–1410), who was also ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil. When Timur took Baghdad, ‛Abd al-Hayy was sent to Samarkand, either in 1393 or in 1401, where he spent the rest of his life. He seems to have specialized in monochrome ink drawings: Dust Muhammad recorded that ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil, Ahmad Jalayir, contributed a black-and-white drawing to a manuscript of the Abūsa‛īdnāma (‘Book of Abu Sa‛id’), and a number of examples attributed to the late 14th century and preserved in various albums (e.g. Berlin, Staatsbib. Preuss. Kultbes., Orientabt. Diez A. 70–73) bear the notation that they were copied from ‛Abd al-Hayy’s drawings by Muhammad ibn Mahmud Shah Khayyam. In his album (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. ...

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

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Junayd  

Persian School, 14th century, male.

Active at the end of the 14th century.

Born probably in Baghdad.

Painter.

Junayd has been identified as the painter whose signature Imperial Painter appears on the miniatures of the Diwan of Khwaju Kirmani (1396), in the British Museum. These miniatures are elegantly designed, combining brilliant colours with an idealised landscape and characters which reappear repeatedly over the course of the following centuries....

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

[Ustād Muḥammad Siyāh Qalam]

(fl late 14th century or 15th).

Name associated with a Persian, Turkmen or western Central Asian painter or painters. The full name, which translates as Master Muhammad Black Pen, refers in the narrowest sense to the inscriptions on 65 paintings and drawings, mostly of demons, nomads and workers, in two albums (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. 2153 and H. 2160). Whether the inscriptions are signatures, attributions to a specific artist or references to a type of painting is debatable; no consensus of opinion has been reached as to when, where and why the works were produced. The two albums contain no introduction, patron’s name or date of compilation. They are known as the Ya‛qub Beg Albums on the basis of the number of calligraphies signed by scribes with the epithet Ya‛qubi, referring to the Aqqoyunlu Turkmen Ya‛qub Beg (reg 1478–90). The latest calligraphy in one album (H. 2160) is dated 1511–12 and the first and last folios are stamped with the seal of the Ottoman sultan ...

Article

Persian School, 14th century, male.

Painter.

Ustadh Shams al-Din was active in the second half of the 14th century. He was the student of Ahmad Mousa and the master of Abd al-Havy and Junayd. A number of other painters also bear the name Shams al-Din. Although nothing remains of his art, he was undoubtedly one of the most important Persian painters of his era. It is known that he illustrated a famous ...