French term for openwork, used in the decorative arts principally with reference to metalwork, bookbinding and heraldry. In metalwork, it denotes the piercing or perforation of sheet metal, a practice found as early as the ancient Egyptian period. In bookbinding, the term ajouré binding refers to a style that emerged in late 15th-century Venice in which bindings were embellished with pierced or translucent patterns, typically open designs of foliage. In heraldry, an ...
Ancient science from which modern chemistry evolved. Based on the concept of transmutation—the changing of substances at the elemental level—it was both a mechanical art and an exalted philosophy. Practitioners attempted to combine substances containing the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air) in perfect balance, ultimately perfecting them into a fifth, the quintessence (also known as the philosopher’s stone) via the chemical process of distillation. The ultimate result was a substance, the ‘philosopher’s stone’, or ‘elixir of life’, believed capable of perfecting, or healing, all material things. Chemists imitated the Christian life cycle in their operations, allegorically marrying their ingredients, multiplying them, and destroying them so that they could then be cleansed and ‘resurrected’. They viewed their work as a means of attaining salvation and as a solemn Christian duty. As such, spiritual alchemy was sanctioned, legitimized, and patronized by the Church. Its mundane laboratory procedures were also supported by secular rulers for material gain. Metallurgists employed chemical apparatus in their attempts to transmute base metals into gold, whereas physicians and apothecaries sought ultimately to distill a cure-all elixir of life. The manifold possibilities inherent in such an outcome caused Papal and secular authorities to limit and control the practice of alchemy by requiring licences and punishing those who worked without authorization....
(b Bordeaux, Nov 4, 1761; d Paris, Dec 10, 1822).
French medallist, engraver and illustrator. He was first apprenticed to the medallist André Lavau (d 1808) and then attended the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture in Bordeaux. In 1786 he travelled to Paris and entered the workshop of Nicolas-Marie Gatteaux. His first great success was a large, realistic and highly detailed medal representing the Fall of the Bastille (1789); because it would have been difficult and risky to strike, he produced it in the form of single-sided lead impressions or clichés, coloured to resemble bronze. The following year he used this novel technique again, to produce an equally successful companion piece illustrating the Arrival of Louis XVI in Paris. Andrieu lay low during the latter part of the French Revolution, engraving vignettes and illustrating an edition of Virgil by Firmin Didot (1764–1836). He reappeared in 1800, with medals of the Passage of the Great St Bernard...
Italian, 15th – 16th century, male.
Born c. 1460; died 1528, in Bózzolo.
Goldsmith, sculptor, medallist, copyist. Statues, statuettes.
Antico was from Mantua and went to Rome in 1495 and 1497. His first commission was in 1479, for a pair of medals commemorating the wedding of Gianfranceso Gonzaga to Antonia del Banzo. His first visit to Rome, in ...
(b London, June 18, 1828; d London, Dec 4, 1905).
English sculptor, silversmith and illustrator. He was the son of a chaser and attended the Royal Academy Schools, London. At first he gave his attention equally to silverwork and to sculpture, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1851. An early bronze, St Michael and the Serpent, cast in 1852 for the Art Union, shows him conversant with the style of continental Romantics, and his debut in metalwork coincided with the introduction into England of virtuoso repoussé work by the Frenchman, Antoine Vechte (1799–1868). In the Outram Shield (London, V&A), Armstead displayed the full gamut of low-relief effects in silver, but its reception at the Royal Academy in 1862 disappointed him, and he turned his attention to monumental sculpture. Among a number of fruitful collaborations with architects, that with George Gilbert I Scott (ii) included a high degree of responsibility for the sculpture on the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London. Here Armstead’s main contribution was the execution of half of the podium frieze (...
[Fr.: ‘new art’]
Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.
Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...
Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.
The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....
Metal worker, engraver (burin).
On record as having worked on (bound or gilded) the choir books in Ferrara Cathedral.
Maria Clelia Galassi
French, 20th century, male.
Born 1920, in Paris.
Painter, lithographer, illustrator. Animals. Medals.
The son of an architect, and a gifted student of chemical engineering, Jacques Birr discovered painting at a very young age. As a Bachelor of Science, he pursued a career in the printed fabrics sector of industry. In ...
French, 19th – 20th century, male.
Born 25 November 1868, in Bordeaux; died 27 June 1947, in Paris.
Sculptor, illustrator. Statues, busts, medals.
Having chosen an artistic career, Léon Blanchot left university to train as a sculptor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, then went to Paris and settled there. He regularly took part in the Salon des Artistes Français, and became a member of this society. His main works are ...
British, 20th century, male.
Born 4 January 1887, in London; died 1941.
Painter, illustrator, metal worker, textile designer. Landscapes.
Gregory Brown designed posters for railway companies, the Empire Marketing Board and for the Underground Group from 1914 to 1940. He won a gold medal for textile design at the ...
Metal knob or boss used for decoration on a book or harness. The term can also denote a bull’s eye in glass and (in early modern English) trunk-hose that is puffed out at the top. It is also used to describe a heavy textile fringe in curtains, pelmets and the top covers of seat furniture....
(b 1759; d 1838).
American clockmaker and silversmith. After an apprenticeship in Norwich, CT, he established a business in East Windsor, CT. He made fine longcase clocks with brass works and faces of engraved silver. His day-books and ledgers survive, and show that he made and sold only 49 clocks in the course of 20 years....
British, 20th century, male.
Born 14 August 1888, in London; died 14 February 1929, in London.
Painter, medallist, illustrator. Portraits, landscapes.
Sydney Carline was the son of George Carline and brother of Richard and Hilda Carline. He studied from 1907 to 1910 at the Slade School of Art in London and then in Paris. During World War I he served the Royal Flying Corps with his brother Richard and was posted to Italy, the Western Front and in the Middle East. He was appointed official war artist with the R.A.F. in ...
Maria Clelia Galassi and Federica Lamera
Italian family of artists. The painter (1) Bernardo Castello was the brother of the goldsmith and illuminator Giovanni Battista Castello (1547–1637) and the sculptor Pietro Castello (fl 1582–92), both of whom worked for Philip II in Spain, and the father of the more famous painter (2) Valerio Castello.
(b Genoa, ?1557; d Genoa, Oct 4, 1629).
Painter and draughtsman. His first teacher was Andrea Semino, but Luca Cambiaso was more important to his development. He remained faithful throughout his career to Cambiaso’s artistic style, reworking it competently but superficially. The result is a pleasant, skilful style of painting that adapts 16th-century Venetian, Tusco-Roman and Genoese traditions to the simplified compositions and clear narratives favoured by the Catholic Counter-Reformation. He and Giovanni Battista Paggi were the principal Genoese artists between the period dominated by Cambiaso (who left for Madrid in 1583) and the birth of the 17th-century modern school of painting....
(fl 1670; d Jan 30, 1707).
Polish goldsmith, engraver and writer. He produced engraved frontispieces for J. Liberius’s book The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Sea Star (1670) and his own work St Elegius’s Life … (1687). He is noted in the guild records from 1689. Few of his silver pieces have been identified, as he did not use name marks. The impressive monstrance in St Mary’s church in Kraków is attributed to him. Works that are certainly by him include the ‘robes’ on the painting of the Holy Virgin in the Dominican church in Kraków and the small plate from the tabernacle in St Anne’s, Kraków. Ceypler’s most important work is an octagonal reliquary for the head of St Jan Kanty (1695; Kraków, St Anne), signed in Latin. It was designed by King John III’s court painter, Jerzy Eleuter Szymonowicz-Siemiginowski (c. 1660–1711), and was executed by Ceypler with the help of his pupil, ...
(b 1433; d Oct 27, 1484).
Italian illuminator and goldsmith. The creator of some of the liveliest miniatures of the 15th century, his manuscripts are rich in stylistic innovation and thematic invention, sometimes elaborated in a very limited space. He worked for the most important patrons in Italy and abroad, beginning his artistic career under Cosimo il Vecchio and Piero I de’ Medici, and continuing it under Lorenzo the Magnificent. Vespasiano da Bisticci was his contact with patrons outside Florence, who included Federigo II da Montefeltro, Ferdinand I, King of Naples, Louis XI of France and Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary. Francesco decorated texts of all kinds—literary, historical, scientific, religious—and of all sizes, from small Books of Hours to huge choir-books. Amid this variety of subjects his studies of the human figure and his introduction of portraits was innovative; he also established his own approach to landscape, with results similar to those of Antonio Pollaiuolo. His inventions, however, were reserved for privately commissioned books of small size. He created a new kind of ...
French, 19th – 20th century, male.
Born 1867, in Annecy; died after 1926.
Painter, watercolourist, engraver, medallist, illustrator, art writer. Portraits, scenes with figures.
André Charles Coppier exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français and at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, of which he was a member. He was awarded silver at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in ...
Czech, 20th century, male.
Active from 1912 in France; naturalised from 1926.
Born 22 October 1883, in Boskovice; died 17 October 1969, in Marseilles, France.
Painter, engraver (etching), illustrator, sculptor. Figures, nudes, landscapes with figures, still-lifes (flowers). Busts, low reliefs, medals.
Osma Group (The Eight)...