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Steven F. Ostrow

[il Bresciano; Prospero da Brescia]

(b Brescia, 1555–65; d Rome, 1592).

Italian sculptor. According to Baglione, he went to Rome from his native Brescia as a youth. He studied anatomy and the art of ancient Rome, and he gained fame for his anatomical models and small bozzetti. His skill as a modeller resulted in several commissions from Gregory XIII, including stucco angels (1580–81) for the Pauline Chapel and the Scala Regia in the Vatican. The success of these elegant, classicizing figures led to the commission (after 1585) for the sculptural components of the tomb of Gregory XIII in St Peter’s, consisting of a seated statue of the Pope, allegorical figures of Charity, Faith, Religion and Justice, and two angels bearing the papal arms. The tomb has undergone numerous transformations and much of its sculpture has been lost; its original appearance is recorded, however, in several engravings and in a drawing by Ciro Ferri (Florence, Uffizi). The surviving stucco figures of ...

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

F. B. Sear, Dericksen Brinkerhoff and John Pinto

(Tivoli)

The summer palace of the emperor Hadrian, built between AD 118 and 134 and situated on an elevated plateau south-west of Tivoli. Its unusual architecture and wealth of sculpture and mosaics have fascinated artists and scholars since the Renaissance.

F. B. Sear

The buildings on the 120 ha site (see fig. ) were named after such celebrated landmarks as the Lyceum, the Academy, and the Stoa Poikile at Athens (see Augustan History: Hadrian xxvi.5), although they were not precise copies of these monuments, but followed a Republican tradition established by such men as Cicero, who had an Academy and a Lyceum in his villa at Tusculum. The site was fairly level, but high enough to command views of Rome. The ground fell away to the north-east to form a broad, secluded valley known as the Vale of Tempe. In typical Roman fashion all the elements are a blend of art and nature. Practically every group of buildings is organized around a peristyle garden, ranging from the vast, park-like enclosure of the Poikile (a) to the small and intimate garden in the nymphaeum (b), although little is known of their actual plantings (...

Article

Gabriele Finaldi

(b Isola di Carturo, nr Padua, 1430–31; d Mantua Sept 13, 1506).

Italian painter and printmaker. He occupies a pre-eminent position among Italian artists of the 15th century. The profound enthusiasm for the civilization of ancient Rome that infuses his entire oeuvre was unprecedented in a painter. In addition to its antiquarian content, his art is characterized by brilliant compositional solutions, the bold and innovative use of perspective and foreshortening and a precise and deliberate manner of execution, an aspect that was commented on during his lifetime. He was held in great esteem by his contemporaries for his learning and skill and, significantly, he is the only artist of the period to have left a small corpus of self-portraits: two in the Ovetari Chapel; his presumed self-portrait in the Presentation in the Temple (Berlin, Gemäldegal.); one in the Camera Picta (Mantua, Pal. Ducale) and the funerary bust in his burial chapel in S Andrea, Mantua, designed and probably executed by himself. His printmaking activity is technically advanced and of great importance, although certain aspects of the execution remain to be clarified. Due to the survival of both the Paduan and Mantuan archives, Mantegna is one of the best-documented artists of the 15th century....

Article

William E. Metcalf

Large medal struck normally in commemoration of an event or as a reward of merit and used here to refer to Roman pieces; for Renaissance and later periods see Medal.

In the standard study of Roman medallions, J. M. C. Toynbee struggled to distinguish them from coins on the one hand and medals on the other, while admitting that medallions share features of each. She defined medallions as monetiform (coinlike) pieces that do not correspond completely to a denomination in regular use; they were ‘struck by the Emperor for special or solemn commemoration’ and were intended as ‘individual, personal gifts, any idea of their circulation as currency being either wholly absent or, at the most, quite secondary and subordinate’. This functional definition omits mention of the high level of artistry that characterizes the pieces and constitutes the internal evidence for their status as presentation pieces. For while medallions were produced at imperial mints using the same techniques as those employed for regular coinage, they uniformly display a higher level of artistry; their larger format invited more ambitious and original compositions even when they commemorated events otherwise noted in contemporary coinage....

Article

[Gk.: ‘all gods’]

Circular temple dedicated to all the gods. The best-known example is the Pantheon in Rome, built by the Emperor Hadrian in ad 118–25 (see Rome, §V, 8, and fig.). The Pantheon’s design was highly influential to many architects from the Renaissance onwards. During the French Revolution the church of Ste Geneviève in Paris was renamed the Panthéon (...