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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. 1905; d. Hamburg, 1951).

Iranian scholar of Persian art. After graduating from the Dar al-Moallemin in Tehran in 1931, he worked at the court of Riza Pahlavi (r. 1925–41) until 1934, when he was sent to study art and archaeology in Europe. There, he studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and under Ernst Kühnel at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin. In 1937 he received his doctorate and returned to Tehran, where he specialized in the study of Islamic pottery at the Archaeological Museum and taught at the University. He was later appointed chief curator and then director of the museum. In 1948 he helped organize the Iranian exhibition at the Musée Cernuschi to coordinate with the XXI International Congress of Orientalists in Paris; in the following year, on the occasion of the Shah’s state visit to the USA, he brought an exhibition of Iranian art to New York (Met.) and Boston (Mus. F.A.)....

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Stephen Hill

(Margaret Lowthian)

(b Washington, Co. Durham, July 14, 1868; d Baghdad, 11/July 12, 1926).

English archaeologist and architectural historian. The first woman to achieve a first-class honours in modern history at Oxford University, she travelled widely in Europe, Japan and especially the Middle East in the 1890s, achieving fluency in a number of European languages as well as in Persian, Turkish and Arabic. She developed an interest in archaeology and architecture that was reflected in an authoritative set of articles on the Early Byzantine churches of Syria and southern Turkey, based on her travels in 1905. Her first major travel book, The Desert and the Sown, contains a mixture of travellers’ tales and archaeological information, as does her Amurath to Amurath. Between 1905 and 1914 she made archaeological studies of the Early Byzantine and Early Islamic monuments of Turkey, Syria and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). In 1905 and 1907 she surveyed Binbirkilise with Sir William Ramsay; their book, The Thousand and One Churches, remains the authoritative account of this important site. The architectural recording by survey and photography at Binbirkilise was carried out by Bell and is a lasting monument in its own right. Bell’s interest in Anatolia was inspired by Josef Strzygowski and his book ...

Article

Oleg Grabar

(b Geneva, March 16, 1863; d Geneva, March 13, 1921).

Epigrapher and historian of Islamic art and archaeology. Born to a well-to-do and intellectually active Genevan family of bankers (the scholar of linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) was a cousin), van Berchem was educated as a philologist and historian in Geneva, Germany and France. He combined the intellectual traditions of France and Germany and belonged to a supranational brotherhood of wealthy scholars independent of political or other contingencies. In 1889 he travelled through Egypt, Palestine and Syria and became convinced that ‘a well-studied monument is of greater value than the best text’. He discovered that the inscriptions typical of Islamic urban architecture provided an extraordinary documentation on everything from the means of construction and date to symbolic and esoteric meanings. This discovery, honed by other trips, led to a series of articles on what van Berchem called ‘l’archéologie arabe’, still the most profound statements about the methods of explaining classical Islamic architecture in context. Van Berchem also persuaded the French Academy to sponsor the series ...

Article

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

Delia Kottmann

Italian village in Lazio, north of Rome, known for its church. The church of SS Anastasius and Nonnosus is all that remains of the 6th-century Benedictine monastery, which submitted to Cluny in ad 940. Apart from some re-used fragments, the architecture is Romanesque, with a Cosmati pavement in opus sectile as well as an ambo and ciborium. The church is famous for its wall paintings from the first quarter of the 12th century. The apse and its adjacent walls, showing the 24 elders, are influenced by Romano–Christian motifs. Christ in the middle of the conch is flanked by Peter and Paul in a Traditio legis depiction, with a procession of lambs below. Underneath, Maria Regina has to be reconstructed in the middle, between two conserved angels followed by female saints in a Byzantine manner. No Romano–Christian iconography seems to have influenced the vast apocalyptic cycle painted on the side walls of the transept. A band of prophets runs beneath the roof on all the walls of the transept. An inscription in the apse indicates three Roman painters....

Article

[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

S. J. Vernoit

(b Lölling, July 27, 1878; d Vienna, July 8, 1961).

Austrian historian of Byzantine, Islamic and Indian art. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Vienna and Graz and in 1902 completed his doctorate at Graz under Josef Strzygowski and Wilhelm Gurlitt, a study of the paintings in a manuscript of Dioskurides’ De materia medica (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. med. gr. 1) copied for the Byzantine princess Juliana Anicia before ad 512. After military service (1902–3), Diez pursued further research in Rome and Istanbul and worked in Vienna as a volunteer (1905–7) at the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie. From 1908 to 1911 he worked in Berlin at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum with Max Jacob Friedländer, Wilhelm Bode and Friedrich Sarre. He was then appointed lecturer at the University of Vienna. From 1912 to 1914 he made trips to Iran, India, Egypt and Anatolia, which led to articles on Islamic art and architecture and ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. Eger, 1926).

Hungarian art historian and archaeologist active in Britain. After studing Arabic and Oriental Art in Budapest, Fehérvári began his career there in 1952 at the Francis Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts. Following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he moved to Vienna to begin a Ph.D. at the university of Vienna. He continued his doctoral research with a scholarship to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, working under the supervision of David Storm Rice. He was awarded a doctorate in 1961 for his study of the mihrab, and soon after he was appointed lecturer and later professor at SOAS. He conducted excavations in Iran (Ghubayra, 1971–6), Libya (Medinat al-Sultan, 1977–81) and Egypt (Bahnasa/Oxyrhynchus, 1985–7), and published on Islamic ceramics and metalwork. Following his retirement in 1991 and political changes in Hungary, he joined the Hungarian diplomatic service and was appointed Ambassador to Kuwait and other Gulf states, remaining in that position until ...

Article

(b Cérisières, Aug 2, 1883; d Bar-sur-Aube, Dec 23, 1972).

French architectural historian and archaeologist . He obtained a diploma in architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and from 1908 to 1911 he was attached to the French School at Athens, where he participated in the publication of the school’s excavations at Delos and studied the medieval buildings of Rhodes. During World War I he was an interpreter in Syria. He earned his license-ès-lettres at the University of Paris in 1921 with theses on the ramparts of Rhodes and the excavations at Fustat (Old Cairo). This double education as an architect and archaeologist shaped his later works on the Islamic monuments of medieval Anatolia, Iraq and Iran. He visited Syria and Cilicia in 1922 and Syria again in 1925; he taught at the universities of Caen (1923), Strasbourg (1925–46) and Istanbul (1926–30). From 1930 to 1955 he directed the Institut Français d’Archéologie in Istanbul. In ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Chaumont, Haute-Marne, Jan 21, 1881; d Paris, July 31, 1965).

French archaeologist and art historian, active in Iran. Godard qualified as an architect at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and in 1910 became involved with the urban planning of Baghdad. At this time, he began to develop an interest in the archaeology and art of the Middle East. He visited Egypt and Syria and, in 1923, went to Afghanistan to research Buddhist remains. In 1928 he settled in Iran, where he lived until 1960, except for the years 1953–6. During his years in Iran he directed the College of Fine Arts, Tehran, and the Department of Antiquities, founded the Archaeological (Iran Bastan) Museum and drew up plans for the museums of Mashhad and Abadan. He also initiated the documentation and restoration of many ancient monuments and archaeological remains and gained access to sites previously forbidden to non-Muslims. He published many of the principal monuments of Iran in such learned journals as ...

Article

(Mark David)

(b London, Aug 30, 1950).

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge (1968–71) and Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka (1971–4), experiences that profoundly inform his work. Influenced by the ideals of Indian sculpture as much as by those of modernism, his sculptures use the human form to explore man’s existence in and relation to the world. He is primarily known for the lead figures cast from his own body. Free of individualizing surface detail, with welding lines emphatically exposed, these remain physical casings rather than imitative representations of the universal human form. His belief that the spiritual and physical selves are inseparable is reflected in works such as Land, Sea and Air II (1982). Three figures, crouching, kneeling and standing, were placed on the seashore, embodying the process of Buddhist spiritual awareness. The work also referred to the earthly condition of the body and man’s relationship with his surroundings. These concerns are further reflected in Gormley’s full use of installation space, with sculptures suspended from ceiling and walls. Many works were made specifically for natural environments, most controversially ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Edhem, Osman Hamdi; Hamdi Bey]

(b Istanbul, Dec 30, 1842; d Eskihisar, Gebze, nr Istanbul, Feb 24, 1910).

Turkish painter, museum director and archaeologist. In 1857 he was sent to Paris, where he stayed for 11 years, training as a painter under Gustave Boulanger and Jean-Léon Gérôme. On returning to Turkey he served in various official positions, including two years in Baghdad as chargé d’affaires, while at the same time continuing to paint. In 1873 he worked on a catalogue of costumes of the Ottoman empire, with photographic illustrations, for the Weltausstellung in Vienna. In 1881 he was appointed director of the Archaeological Museum at the Çinili Köşk, Topkapı Palace, in Istanbul. He persuaded Sultan Abdülhamid II (reg 1876–1909) to issue an order against the traffic in antiquities, which was put into effect in 1883, and he began to direct excavations within the Ottoman empire. As a result he brought together Classical and Islamic objects for the museum in Istanbul, including the Sarcophagus of Alexander, unearthed in Sidon in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(Emil)

(b Celle, July 23, 1879; d Basle, Jan 21, 1948).

German architect, archaeologist, historian and philologist. He was educated at the universities of Munich and Berlin and at the Technische Hochschule, Charlottenburg, where he trained as an architect. In 1903 he visited the Middle East by participating as field architect in the excavation of Assur by the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft. The expedition was led by Friedrich Delitzsch, Herzfeld’s instructor in Assyrian and Arabic, and it enabled him to learn the techniques of excavation and to develop his interest in early Islamic culture. After returning to Germany, he made a journey through Luristan to visit Pasargadae and Persepolis, and following the acceptance of his doctoral thesis on Pasargadae by the University of Berlin in 1907, he travelled with Friedrich Sarre, his lifelong colleague and friend whom he had met in 1905, from Istanbul via Aleppo and Baghdad to the Gulf to find an Islamic site suitable for excavation. The choice fell upon ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Leningrad, July 3, 1929).

Russian curator and historian of Islamic art. He studied and taught at the University of Leningrad in the late 1940s and 1950s and received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the Institute of Archaeology there. From 1956 he worked in the Oriental Department at the Hermitage Museum, serving as Keeper from 1984. A specialist in the arts of Iran, he wrote many articles on metalwares and manuscript painting for such journals as Epigrafika Vostoka (Epigraphy of the East), Soobshcheniya Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha (the journal about the Hermitage collections) and Iran (the bulletin of the British Institute of Persian Studies). He contributed essays and entries to such important catalogues as Masterpieces of Islamic Art in the Hermitage Museum (Kuwait, Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah; 1990), Heavenly Art, Earthly Beauty: Art of Islam (Amsterdam, Nieuw Kerk; 1999–2000); Iran v Ermitazkhe: Formirovanie Kollektsii [Iran in the Hermitage: The Formation of the Collection] (St. Petersburg, Hermitage; ...

Article

(b Kayseri, Turkey, 1872; d 1962).

Archaeologist, collector and dealer of Armenian descent. He excavated in Iran at Sultanabad from 1903 and the medieval city of Rayy from c. 1907 and assembled an outstanding collection of Oriental art, especially Islamic and Persian. He exhibited Islamic ceramics in London in 1911 and works excavated under his supervision were shown in New York in 1914. Major sales of Islamic pieces from his collection, including lacquer doors and tile panels from Isfahan, books and paintings, carpets and ceramics, were held in the 1920s at the Anderson Gallery, New York. In 1929 he acquired at auction the Mughal album of calligraphy and painting that became known as the Kevorkian Album (now divided New York, Met., 55.121.10; Washington, DC, Freer; see also Indian sub-continent, §V, 4(i)(d)). His gifts to museums and universities included Assyrian reliefs to the Brooklyn Museum, New York. His desire to promote American interest in Middle Eastern art and archaeology was continued through the Hagop Kevorkian Fund....

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. Vienna, 6 Nov. 1941; d. Berlin, 10 Jan. 1995).

German art historian, archaeologist and museum curator of Islamic art. Meinecke already developed an interest in Islamic art and architecture during his stay in Istanbul at an early age. He read art history, archaeology and Islamic studies in Vienna and Hamburg and completed his dissertation on the ceramic architectural decoration of Saljuq monuments in Anatolia in 1968. A year later he joined the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, where he undertook an architectural survey of historical buildings in the old city. His magna opus on the study of Mamluk architecture, which was accepted as Habilitationschrift by the University of Hamburg in 1978 and published in 1992, remains a standard in the field of Islamic architectural studies. After a short teaching period at the University of Hamburg between 1977 and 1980, he returned to the Middle East and became involved in the foundation of the German Archaeological Institute in Damascus. He left Syria in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

b Milan, Jan 16, 1881; d Rome, Nov 4, 1954).

Italian archaeologist, art historian and epigrapher. Descended from a French noble family from Burgundy that had moved to Piedmont at the time of the French Revolution, he trained as an architect and then taught medieval architecture at the Politecnico in Milan. His early writings (to 1920) were devoted mainly to the art and architecture of Italy, especially Lombardy; his interests then turned to the Christian and Islamic Orient. In 1923 he published a work on the sculpture at Ahnas (see Herakleopolis Magna [anc. Egyp. Henen-nesut; Copt. Ahnas; Arab. Ihnasya el-Medina]), in which he showed how Coptic art developed out of Hellenistic and Egyptian traditions. This was followed in 1930 by a monograph on the Islamic necropolis at Aswan, and archaeological research in Nubia led him to explain the political and cultural significance of that region in the medieval period. In 1934 he moved to Rome and, after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in ...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

(b Kyoto, 1876; d Beppu, Ōita Prefect., 1948).

Japanese collector, geographer and Buddhist priest. In 1901, while studying in London, the young Otani became acquainted with Stein, Sir (Marc) Aurel, who had just returned from his first Central Asian expedition, and was inspired to undertake similar excavations. In 1902 Otani and four Japanese assistants set out for Central Asia, where they stayed until 1904, having worked in various sites in Khotan, Kuccha and Turfan (see Astana). A second, smaller expedition was organized in 1908–9 by Otani under the leadership of Zuichō Tachibana and Eizaburō Nomura, who excavated several sites on both the northern and the southern routes of the Silk Route. Finally, a third expedition was launched in 1910; this lasted nearly five years, ending in 1914. Although none of the Otani expeditions was conducted on a genuinely scientific basis, they led to the discovery of a considerable number of artefacts, including clay and terracotta sculptures, fragments of wall paintings, silk objects, as well as numerous manuscripts in Chinese and several Central Asian languages. Today most of the material collected by the Otani expeditions is in three collections; the Lüxun Museum in Liaoning, the National Museum of Korea in Seoul and the National Museum in Tokyo (...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. London, 17 Jan. 1919).

British art historian and archaeologist. After serving in the Indian Army, Pinder-Wilson read Persian and Arabic at Oxford, taking an MA in 1947. He joined the Oriental Department of the British Museum as Assistant Keeper in 1949 and was appointed Deputy Keeper in 1969. In 1976 he was appointed Director of the British Institute of Afghan Studies in Kabul. There he supervised preservation work, excavations and fieldwork and made major contributions to the field of Afghan studies. He participated in archaeological excavations at Harran and Siraf and was also an active member of the British Institute of Persian Studies for many years. After the British Institute in Kabul was closed in 1982 following the Soviet invasion, he returned to London and became involved in several research projects as a consultant. His expertise covers Islamic decorative arts from Persian painting to Islamic glass and rock crystal.

R. Pinder-Wilson: Persian Painting of the Fifteenth Century...