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Article

Alberti, Romano  

Italian, 17th century, male.

Active in Rome.

Born 1593, in Borgo San Sepolcro.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, art theorist. Religious subjects. Frescoes.

Served as Secretary to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome (founded by Zuccharo). In 1585, he published in Rome a benchmark Treatise on the Noble Art of Painting...

Article

André, Yves-Marie de l’Isle  

Alexandra Skliar-Piguet

[Père André]

(b Châteaulin, Finistère, May 22, 1675; d Caen, Feb 26, 1764).

French priest, philosopher and writer. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1693, studied theology in Paris, then philosophy at the Collège de Clermont, and he was ordained a priest in 1706. He was a great scholar, who knew Greek, Latin and Hebrew; he devoted himself to philosophical research and poetry, at the same time teaching for the Society of Jesus in numerous institutions of learning in France. A staunch Cartesian, Père André inevitably incurred the hostility of the Society, which was wedded to Scholastic doctrines and Aristotelian philosophy. His innovative philosophical opinions and his suspect theology caused him to suffer various penalties, including imprisonment (1721). Under duress, he made a submission and in 1726 was appointed Royal Professor of Mathematics at Caen, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Père André is best known for his Essai sur le beau (1741), one of the earliest ...

Article

Astrology in medieval art  

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

Bermejo, Bartolomé  

Spanish, 15th century, male.

Born c. 1425 or 1430, in Cordova; died soon after 1498.

Painter. Religious subjects.

At present nothing is known about the Bartolomé Bermejo's life before around 1467; however, art historians have built up theories based on what is known of his later years. There are two salient features of the known part of his life: he travelled a great deal, so was international in outlook, and he was acquainted with Flemish technique and Italian painting. It is therefore tempting to think he must have travelled when he was younger. It has been suggested that he went to Valencia, Seville, Flanders and Italy. The presence of some of his works in Italy, in particular the ...

Article

Bernard of Clairvaux  

Christopher Holdsworth

(b nr Dijon, 1090; d Clairvaux, Aug 20, 1153; can 1174; fd 20 Aug).

French saint, Cistercian abbot, and writer. He was born into a noble family and spent most of his life at Clairvaux Abbey in southern Champagne. He became its first abbot in 1115, having entered Cîteaux, its mother house, in 1113. The Cistercians became the most successful monastic reform movement of the age. When Bernard died there were about 170 monasteries attached to Clairvaux, nearly half the Order’s total, their spread across Europe reflecting Bernard’s power to attract recruits and patrons. A superb orator and writer, he was involved in attacking heresy, ending a papal schism, and encouraging the Second Crusade.

The only place where Bernard wrote directly (but not extensively) on art and buildings was in his Apologia, addressed to his friend William of Saint-Thierry (c. 1075–1148), a Benedictine, whom he tried to reassure that Cistercian criticisms of other Benedictines were soundly based. Neither the traditional date of ...

Article

Bloch, Herbert  

Carmela Vircillo Franklin

(b Berlin, Aug 18, 1911; d Cambridge, MA, Sept 6, 2006).

German historian of antiquity and the Middle Ages, active also in Italy and America. Bloch was trained at the University of Berlin under the historian of ancient Greece Werner Jaeger, art historian Gerhart Rodenwaldt and medievalist Erich Caspar from 1930 until 1933, when the rise of National Socialism convinced him to move to Rome. There he received his tesi di laurea in ancient history in 1935 and his diploma di perfezionamento in 1937. He then participated in the excavations at Ostia, Rome’s ancient port, which was an important site in the revival of Italian archaeology under Fascism. At the outbreak of World War II, he immigrated to the USA, and began his teaching career in 1941 at Harvard University’s Department of Classics, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. His experience of totalitarianism shaped both his personal and professional beliefs.

Bloch applied a deep knowledge of epigraphy, history and material culture, art history, literary and archival sources to his research and he had a propensity for uncovering the significance of new or neglected evidence. One such area was Roman history. His first publications, on ancient Rome’s brick stamps (many of which he discovered ...

Article

Buchthal, Hugo  

Annemarie Weyl Carr

(b Berlin, Aug 11, 1909; d London, Nov 10, 1996).

German scholar of Byzantine, East Christian and European illuminated manuscripts. He took his degree in 1933 at the University of Hamburg in the heady community of the Warburg Library (later Institute) under the tutelage of Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl. Immigrating with the Warburg staff and library to London in 1934, he served from 1940 to 1949 as the Institute’s Librarian and from 1944 to 1965 as Lecturer, Reader and then Professor of Byzantine art at the University of London. In 1965 he came to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, becoming in 1970 the first Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor. He retired in 1975 to London, where he died in 1996.

Buchthal is best known for his Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1957), which laid the foundation for the now well-established art-historical field of Crusader studies. It exemplifies both his originality and the methods that made his scholarship so durable. Fundamental among these were his holistic approach to manuscripts, giving as much attention to ornament, liturgical usage, text traditions, palaeography and apparatus as to miniatures, and his relentlessly keen visual analysis. Aided by a powerful memory, he worked from original monuments, developing exceptional acuity in dissecting the formal components of their images. Mobilized in his dissertation, published in ...

Article

Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale  

Stephanie Luther

[CESCM]

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...

Article

Coptic art  

Lucy-Anne Hunt, Hero Granger-Taylor, and Dominic Montserrat

A disputed term adopted by art historians to denote early and medieval Christian art in Egypt as well as art undertaken for pagan patrons in Late Roman and Early Christian Egypt. ‘Copt’ derives from the pharaonic name for Egypt via the Greek aigyptos and the Arabic qibṭ, the word used by the Muslim Arab invaders after ad 641 to refer to the Christian inhabitants of Egypt; in modern usage the term is also applied in a narrow sense to the Monophysite national church.

Lucy-Anne Hunt

According to tradition, St Mark brought Christianity to Egypt in the reign of Nero (reg ad 54–68). Its rapid spread was undoubtedly accelerated by the deteriorating conditions that had prevailed in the country since the Roman conquest of 30 bc. Already by ad 190 the first important institution of religious learning in Christian antiquity, the Catechetical School, had been established in Alexandria; its emergence coincided with the first direct attacks on the city’s Christians. These continued under subsequent Roman emperors, culminating in the persecutions under Diocletian (...

Article

Opicinus de Canistris  

Catherine Harding

(b Lomello, Dec 24, 1296; d Avignon, c. 1354).

Italian parish priest, manuscript illuminator and scholar. His drawings explored the connections between vision, reason and spirituality. In particular, he was drawn to the idea of training the ‘inner eye’ of reason, and he hoped that his images would provide tools for spiritual discernment. He worked as a schoolmaster and priest until 1329, when he fled Pavia for political reasons and entered the papal court in Avignon. One year later, he was employed as a scribe in the office of the papal penitentiary.

He produced two illuminated works, both of which are untitled (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Pal. lat. 1993 and Vat. lat. 6435). The former, known simply as the Palatinus manuscript, encompasses 52 large individual parchment sheets drawn in pen and ink with images on both sides; they feature schematic compositions that combine portolan charts, zodiacs, calendars and human figures, to form complex composite images. The second work, the Vaticanus manuscript, is done in pen and ink on paper and is more of an author’s daybook, collecting thoughts, meditations and images on a variety of topics. His work was not known until the publication of the Palatinus manuscript by R. G. Salomon in ...

Article

De Rossi, Giovanni Battista  

John Curran

(b Rome, Feb 22, 1822; d Castelgandolfo, Sept 20, 1894).

Italian archaeologist. Educated at the Collegio Romano and the university of Rome, he was the founder of the scientific archaeology of early Christianity. Using his extensive knowledge of ancient topography, literary sources, and the researches of the humanists (especially those of Antonio Bosio), he illuminated contemporary understanding of Early Christian life and art in Rome. His earliest excavations were carried out between 1847 and 1850 at the ancient Christian Catacomb of Praetextatus. His researches revealed the extent of the underground galleries at the site as well as the richness of the material remains. He was a formidable epigrapher and in 1861 published the first volume of Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, in which he collected, discussed and often depicted the earliest Christian inscriptions from the city of Rome. In 1863 De Rossi founded the Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, which aimed to publish and discuss all aspects of Christian art, archaeology, and history. The following year he produced the first volume of his magisterial ...

Article

Dȩbno Church  

Ryszard Brykowski

Church dedicated to St Michael at Dȩbno in the province of Nowy Sa̧cz, southern Poland. The 15th-century wooden church at Dȩbno has interested art historians since the middle of the 19th century; the stencilled paintings that decorate the interior were then regarded as an expression of ‘Slavonic taste’; soon afterwards the monument was defined as ‘a work in the pointed arch style’. In the 1920s it was included in the ‘Tatra Highlands group of wooden churches’ and regarded as the most characteristic and earliest example of a medieval wooden church in Poland.

A church was first mentioned on the site in 1335. Most of the present church is now dated to the second half of the 15th century: the curtain arch surmounting the south door is typical of Saxon architecture of the period, and the paintings are independently dated c. 1500. The nave and the chancel are both rectangular with a narrow sacristy north of the chancel. The spacing of the roof rafters with collar-beams corresponds to the width of the chancel, creating ‘plank-boxes’ on the sides of the wider nave, a structural solution typical of wooden Gothic church architecture in Little Poland. The lap joints and dowels survive, with the incised carpenter’s marks. Also original are the beam-framed ceiling, the same height in the nave and chancel; the ornate rood-screen; the western choir gallery; the west door and the door leading to the sacristy, both with pointed arches, and the south door; and a window with a curtain arch in the east wall of the chancel....

Article

Destrez, Abbé Jean  

A. C. de la Mare

(b Paris, Oct 23, 1889; d Dec 1950)

French historian. He entered the Dominican Order in 1910 and studied at Paris, Rome and Fribourg. Extreme deafness resulting from service in World War I forced him to leave the Order in 1925 and he became a priest in the diocese of Versailles. He was the editor of Bulletin Thomiste 1924–8, and his early studies were on the works of Thomas Aquinas. In the manuscripts of Aquinas he frequently found marginal notes, which he realized related to provisions on the production of texts found in medieval university statutes (see Manuscript, §I). These covered the official examination and approval of exemplars of texts needed for study, which were to be hired out for copying by the university stationers. These official exemplars were divided into small gatherings of peciae (‘pieces’; generally of four leaves), which could be hired out one at a time to professional scribes or students, thus facilitating the multiplication of the texts, since several people could be copying different parts of an exemplar at the same time. Destrez realized that the notes that he had found were made by scribes indicating in their copies the beginning or end of the ...

Article

Driskell, David Clyde  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 June 1931, in Eatonton (Georgia).

Painter, draughtsman (including ink), collage artist, print artist, sculptor, collector, art historian. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, figure compositions, scenes with figures, landscapes. Designs for stained glass.

David C. Driskell earned a BFA at Howard University in ...

Article

Erdély, Miklós  

Annamaria Szőke

(b Budapest, July 4, 1928; d Budapest, May 22, 1986).

Hungarian architect, sculptor, conceptual and performance artist, teacher, theorist and film maker. He came from a Jewish–Christian family, many of whom were killed during World War II. In 1947 he began training as a sculptor at the College of Fine Arts in Budapest, but he left and continued his studies in the studio of Dezső Birman Bokros (1889–1965), before training as an architect from 1947 to 1951 at the Technical University in Budapest. During the 1950s and early 1960s he worked as an architect and began experimenting with painting and graphic art, as well as writing poems and short stories. During this period he became acquainted with such artists as Dezső Korniss, László Latner and, most importantly, Béla Kondor and Sándor Altorjai (1933–79), with whom he began a lifelong friendship. In 1959 and 1963 he also enrolled at the Budapest College of Theatre and Film Arts but was advised to leave both times....

Article

Fontenai, Abbé de  

Valerie Mainz

[Fontenay] [Bonafous, Louis-Abel]

(b Castelnau-de-Brassac, Tarn, 3 or 4 May 1736; d Paris, 28 March 1806). French writer. He was the son of a lawyer; having been a pupil of the Jesuits, he joined that Order in 1752 but was never ordained priest. He became in his turn a teacher at Jesuit colleges, first at Albi and then at Tournon. When in 1762 the Jesuit Order was suppressed in France, he moved to Paris and became a writer, publishing under the name of Abbé de Fontenai and continuing to wear clerical dress. In 1777 he published a Dictionnaire des Artistes that was, as the author acknowledged in his preface, extremely derivative of Pierre-Jean Mariette’s Abécédario. It differed from it, however, in that Fontenai also recounted the lives of some actors, dancers, musicians, watchmakers and other craftsmen. He expressly stated that the aims of the dictionary were to present worthy models for other artists to emulate; to outline the history of art for interested amateurs; and to give pleasure by including amusing anecdotes....

Article

Garrucci, Raffaele  

Olimpia Theodoli

(b Naples, Jan 23, 1812; d Rome, May 6, 1885).

Italian writer and Jesuit priest. Virtually self-taught, he had a vast and profound knowledge of Classical and Oriental languages, biblical history, and theology, which informed his writings on Classical, Christian, and Jewish archaeology. He applied his method of research, based on the study of sources and facts, mainly to Christian iconography and to the topography of catacombs. He made several discoveries, which he shared with other archaeologists and philologists, as his correspondence demonstrates, but he was occasionally critical of some German scholars, especially Theodore Mommsen, at a time when German academics were pre-eminent in this field. His publications number nearly 120, making him one of the most prolific scholars of his time. One of his earlier works was as editor of the Hagioglypta by Joannes Macarius after he had discovered a copy in Paris. After 1858 he began work on his major project, a comprehensive history of Christian art in the first eight centuries; it contained 500 plates illustrating over 2000 works. At the same time, Pope ...

Article

Giocondo (da Verona), Fra Giovanni  

Helen Geddes

(b Verona, 1433; d Rome, July 1, 1515).

Italian engineer, architect, epigraphist, and scholar. He was much sought after for his technical skills, particularly his expertise in hydraulics and military engineering, while his wide-ranging interests in archaeology, theology, urban planning, and philology earned him the regard of his contemporaries; Vasari described him as ‘un uomo rarissimo ed universale’. He was almost certainly a Franciscan friar, but it is not known where he acquired his architectural training. Given his lifelong and profound study of Classical architecture and inscriptions, Vasari’s assertion that he spent time in Rome as a youth is plausible. One of his earliest endeavours was to compile a collection of Latin inscriptions. The first version (1478–c. 1489), which included drawings and was dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici, became an important and much-copied reference work; it was also a major source for the Corpus inscriptionum latinarum, the principal 19th-century compilation. A fine copy survives (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. Vat. lat. 10228), transcribed by Giocondo’s friend and sometime collaborator, the eminent Paduan calligrapher, ...

Article

Gómez Moreno, Manuel  

(b Granada, Feb 21, 1870; d Madrid, June 7, 1970).

Spanish art historian. He was the son of a professor of art history and attended the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome at an early age. On his return he published articles on Arab and Christian art and prepared catalogues of the monuments of Ávila, Zamora, León and Salamanca, placing them in their historical context. At the same time, he studied Visigothic, Mozarabic, Romanesque and Hispano-Arabic art. He was appointed professor of Arab art at Madrid University in 1913 and collaborated with Elías Tormo y Monzó in the Centro de Estudios Históricos, founding the review Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueología in 1925. Leopoldo Torres Balbás, Elie Lambert and Diego Angulo Iñiguez trained with him. In 1951 he published Arte árabe hasta los Almohades in the series Ars Hispaniae. Outstanding among his publications are Escultura greco-romana (1912), Arquitectura Tartesiana and Las águilas del renacimiento español (1941). Gómez Moreno was interested in ancient Iberian inscriptions and established the ...

Article

Guarini, Guarino  

Peter Stein

(b Modena, Jan 17, 1624; d Milan, March 6, 1683).

Italian architect, mathematician, astronomer, theorist, writer and priest. Together with Francesco Borromini, he is the most renowned exponent of the anti-classical, anti-Vitruvian trend that dominated Italian architecture after Michelangelo but increasingly lost ground from the late 17th century. His subtly designed buildings, crowned with daring and complex domes, were ignored in Italy outside Piedmont, but illustrations published in 1686 and again in Guarini’s treatise Architettura civile (1737) proved a fruitful source of inspiration in the development of south German and Austrian late Baroque and Rococo architecture.

Guarini came from a deeply religious family; he and his four brothers all joined the Theatine Order. At the age of 15 he became a novice and was sent to Rome (1639–48), where he was able to study High Baroque architecture, in particular the work of Borromini, Gianlorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona. The details of Guarini’s architectural training are not known, but in the excellently equipped libraries of his Order he presumably studied such well-known treatises as those of Serlio and Jacopo Vignola. In ...