Illuminated 14th-century deluxe Icelandic manuscript (420×290 mm, 202 fols; Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute, GKS 1005 fol.) of King Sverrir’s Saga. It was compiled by the priests Jón Þórðarson and Magnús Þórhallsson for Jón Hákonarson (1350–before 1416), a wealthy landowner in northern Iceland who collected sagas of the kings of Norway. A note on folio 4r dates Jón Þórðarson’s contribution to 1387, and Magnús Þórhallsson’s annals at the end of the manuscript indicate the book was completed in 1394 or 1395. Magnús illuminated the whole manuscript and was the scribe of King Sverrir’s Saga (composed in part by Abbot Karl Jónsson of Þingeyrar, Iceland, c. 1185). The saga contains eight initials decorated in a style combining Gothic curved and draped human figures with Romanesque grotesques and acanthus motifs. Five initials depict Sverrir (with crown, orb and weapons), his opponent Sigurðr, and their soldiers. One initial is foliate, and two depict hybrid monsters. The taunting grotesque (fol. 156...
Elizabeth Ashman Rowe
Richly illuminated manuscript of the Passover liturgy together with a series of liturgical poems to be read during the Passover week (London, BL, Add. MS. 27210), possibly made in Barcelona, c. 1320. This text was to be recited during the seder ceremony at the eve of the Passover holiday. Like most medieval Haggadot (see Haggadah), the Golden Haggadah has no colophon, and its scribe and patrons are unknown. It contains both marginal decorations and a series of full-page miniatures preceding the text and displaying a fully fledged cycle of biblical illustrations following the books of Genesis and Exodus from the Creation of Man to the Crossing of the Red Sea. Stylistically both types of decoration are indebted to early 14th-century Catalan Gothic art.
Similarly, the imagery of the biblical picture cycle also draws on Christian Old Testament iconography and reflects a familiarity with Christian art. The artists and patrons of the Golden Haggadah adopted Christian pictorial sources in a complex process of adaptation and modification, translating the Christian models into a Jewish visual language meaningful in its messages to the Jewish readership. Avoiding themes and iconographic features of a particular Christological concern, the imagery also reflects a close affinity with the traditions of late antique Bible interpretation (Midrash). This points to a specific circle of scholars active in Iberia during the 13th and early 14th centuries as being responsible for the imagery of the cycle. The use of traditional midrashic Bible exegesis is typical for Sephardic Rabbis of anti-rationalist standing, who opposed earlier philosophical trends and followed, rather, scholarly trends common among the Tosafists of northern France. It has also been observed that some images adopt a more specific anti-Christian stance and address polemical issues....
(b Dresden, Oct 16, 1813; d Stellenbosch, Oct 8, 1898).
German architect, builder, painter and photographer, active in South Africa. He showed a talent for drawing at an early age. In 1825 he entered the Akademie der Künste, Dresden, to study architecture, qualifying in 1829. He emigrated to Cape Town in 1838. His first commission in 1840 was the new Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary, Cape Town, undertaken with his partner Carel Sparmann, which was an unsuccessful venture. Hager then moved to Stellenbosch living principally by portrait painting (examples in Stellenbosch Mus.). It was not until 1854 that his next building, the Lutheran Church, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, was built. Only in 1863, however, did he receive his first major commission, the remodelling of the Dutch Reformed Church, Stellenbosch. This involved the addition of a large nave, aisles and tower to the existing cruciform church. All the additions were strongly Gothic Revival in character, and the rest of the church was given a Gothic appearance. It would be an exaggeration to claim that it was Hager who introduced the Gothic style into Dutch Reformed churches, but it can be said that he introduced a purer strain of the Revival, although this was still far from ‘correct’. The church at Stellenbosch differs most from previous attempts to Gothicize Dutch Reformed churches in the tower, which has triple-stage base tracery windows surmounted by a broach spire. The open Gothic trussed roof marks its first appearance in Dutch Reformed churches. In ...
Cinzia Maria Sicca
(b Bridlington, bapt Jan 1, 1685; d London, April 12, 1748).
English architect, painter, landscape gardener and designer. He was the most exuberant and innovative architect and designer active in England in the first half of the 18th century. He was trained as a painter but was not particularly successful or remarkable in this work, showing greater skill as a draughtsman. As an architect he was highly versatile, practising in both the Palladian and Gothick styles, and this versatility extended to his work as a designer, which included interior decoration, furniture and silverware, book illustration, stage sets and gardens.
Kent was born into a poor family in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Nothing is known of his early education, nor of the circumstances that led to his apprenticeship to a coach-painter in Hull at about the age of 15. Kent is first recorded in London in 1709, when he applied for a passport to go to Italy. He was then 24 and, according to ...
(b Glasgow, May 21, 1839; d Helensburgh, May 27, 1916).
Scottish architect and painter. He was apprenticed to Charles Wilson’s pupils James Boucher (1832–1906) and James Cousland (c. 1832–66) in 1855. In 1860 he went to London, where he worked in turn for J. L. Pearson and William White and entered the circle of William Burges, who in 1881 proposed him as an FRIBA. He returned to Scotland in 1862 to work for Andrew Heiton (1823–94) and then entered a short-lived partnership with Robert Grieve Melvin in 1864. Leiper’s reputation was established when he won the competition for Dowanhill Church, Glasgow, in 1864. The spire was derived from Pearson’s design for St Peter’s (1863–4), Vauxhall, London, the 13th-century church spires of Rutland (now Leics) and examples illustrated in W. E. Nesfield’s Specimens of Medieval Architecture (1862). The interior had a wide single-span roof, probably inspired by E. W. Godwin’s Northampton Town Hall (...
(b Cologne, Oct 10, 1837; d Utrecht, Feb 6, 1919).
German sculptor, painter and architect. He was the grandson of the painter Egidius Mengelberg (1770–1849) and received his training in the art school founded by the latter in Cologne, where his tutors included the architect Friedrich von Schmidt and the sculptor Christoph Stefan (1797–1864). Mengelberg then established a studio in Cologne, which from about 1860 was led in his absence by his brother Heinrich Otto Mengelberg (1841–91). From this period Mengelberg produced several altars with reliefs, statues and plaques, for example the high altar (1867) for St Paul in Aachen and the side altar (1882–3) for St Mariae Rosenkranz in Mönchengladbach. He also provided oil paintings and furniture for Cologne Cathedral, as well as designs for decorations and frescoes.
From 1869 onwards Mengelberg worked mainly for the Dutch bishopric of Utrecht. He was a leading member of the Guild of St Barnulphus, which took a great interest in medieval art, and, with the help of a large workshop, he created the archiepiscopal throne, the ciborium altars and the rood screen for the cathedral of St Catharina (now Utrecht, Catharijneconvent). He also provided the decoration for St Willibrordus (...
Daniel H. Weiss
Extensively illustrated Old Testament manuscript (390×300 mm; New York, Morgan Lib., MS. M.638) produced in France. Containing more than 340 narrative episodes distributed across the recto and verso sides of 46 parchment leaves, the Old Testament cycle begins with the first chapters of Genesis and concludes with scenes from the life of King David from 2 Samuel. No longer in its original binding, three leaves are now separated from the Morgan volume; two being in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (Ms. nouv. acq. lat. 2294, fols 2, 3) and a single leaf in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (83. MA.55). Distinctive for the quality of its illustrations, the richness of its narrative cycle and the fact that the original codex probably contained no text, the Morgan manuscript was produced around the middle of the 13th century, most likely in Paris for King Louis IX (reg 1226–70) or a close associate. The ascription of the manuscript to a royal context is based primarily on thematic similarities to other works associated with the King, including especially the ...
Teresa S. Watts
(b Mulhouse, Sept 28, 1727; d Kassel, bur May 1798).
Swiss architect, painter, draughtsman and writer. He served as an engineer in the French army (1748–54) and drew Gothic monuments in Spain (1748) and copied ancient vases and painted idyllic landscapes in Rome (1749–54). He then stayed from 1755 to 1759 with Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, where he worked as a topographical artist, portrait painter and architectural draughtsman. Having left Walpole after a domestic dispute, Müntz attempted to support himself through commissions, producing drawings of a Gothic cathedral and possibly the Alhambra for Kew Gardens, a dining room and cloister (New Haven, CT, Yale U., Lewis Walpole Lib.) for Richard Bateman, and an oval room for Lord Charlemont, to complement his vase collection. All were in the Gothic style, as were a number of architectural drawings later used in a guide by Robert Manwaring (1760). Müntz left England in 1762 and spent a year recording monuments in Greece and Jerusalem before settling in Holland, where he worked until ...
Roberta J. M. Olson
(b Bologna, 15 May ?1775–7; d Turin, March 6, 1860).
Italian painter, architect, designer and collector. At the age of 12 he began to frequent the house in Bologna of his patron Conte Carlo Filippo Aldrovandi Marescotti (1763–1823), whose collections and library provided his early artistic education and engendered his taste for collecting. From 1795 he worked on several decorative schemes with the theatre designer and decorator Antonio Basoli (1774–1848), and it was perhaps in theatre designs that Palagi was first exposed to an eclectic range of motifs from exotic cultures. He was influenced by the linear, mannered style of Felice Giani, with whom he frequented the important evening drawing sessions at the house of the engraver Francesco Rosaspina (1762–1841). Beginning in 1802, he participated in the informal Accademia della Pace, Bologna, as well as studying at the Accademia Clementina, and was elected to the Accademia Nazionale di Belle Arti of Bologna in 1803...
(b London, Feb 8, 1819; d Brantwood, Cumbria, Jan 20, 1900).
English writer, draughtsman, painter and collector. He was one of the most influential voices in the art world of the 19th century. His early writings, eloquent in their advocation of J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam) Turner and Pre-Raphaelitism and their enthusiasm for medieval Gothic, had a major impact on contemporary views of painting and architecture. His later and more controversial works focused attention on the relation between art and politics and were bitter in their condemnation of what he saw as the mechanistic materialism of his age.
Ruskin was the only child of prosperous Scottish parents living in London: his father was a wine merchant, his mother a spirited Evangelical devoted to her husband and son. Ruskin had a sequestered but happy childhood. He became an accomplished draughtsman (taught by Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding) and acquired, through engravings encountered in Samuel Rogers’s poem Italy (1830), an early enthusiasm for Turner’s art. He was also an eager student of natural science, particularly geology. He travelled with his parents, seeing Venice for the first time in ...
(b Neuruppin, Mark Brandenburg, March 13, 1781; d Berlin, Oct 9, 1841).
German architect, painter and stage designer. He was the greatest architect in 19th-century Germany, and his most important surviving buildings in Berlin (see Berlin, §I, 3) and Potsdam (see Potsdam, §1) show his sense of German idealism and technical mastery. He became Geheimer Oberlandesbaudirektor of the Prussian state and influenced many architects in Germany and abroad.
Schinkel’s father, a Lutheran pastor, died after attempting to save victims of a fire in 1787 that destroyed most of Neuruppin, a town 27 km north-west of Berlin. Much of Schinkel’s boyhood was spent in a town under reconstruction, a model of royal benevolence and rational planning. In 1794 his mother and her six children moved to Berlin to a home for the widows of Lutheran pastors. At the 1797 Akademie der Künste exhibition in Berlin the 16-year-old Schinkel was so fascinated by a project for a monument to Frederick II of Prussia...
(b Pateley Bridge, Yorks, Sept 9, 1821; d London, Feb 5, 1889).
English painter, printmaker and writer. After being educated at a school for the sons of Methodist ministers, he was articled to the Gothic Revival architect Edward James Willson (1787–1854) in Lincoln. Willson allowed him to spend much of his time drawing the paintings and sculptures in Lincoln Cathedral and after three years let him leave to become a painter. Smetham then worked as a portrait painter in Shropshire before moving to London (1843), where he studied as a probationer at the Royal Academy Schools and met Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who became a close friend. In 1851 he made his début at the Royal Academy and was appointed drawing-master at Normal College in Westminster, London, a post he retained for the next 26 years. He met John Ruskin in 1854, who was greatly impressed by his work. The first of his many breakdowns occurred in 1857. His early work remains largely unknown, but such paintings as ...
(b Aigburth, Liverpool, July 19, 1830; d Yattendon, Berks, Aug 22, 1905).
English architect, furniture designer and painter. In financial terms he was probably the most successful architect of the 19th century, and his office, of a dozen or so full-time staff, was able to produce large quantities of high-quality drawings with speed and efficiency. His skill in planning was recognized at an early stage, but appreciation of his stylistic achievement has been slower. He was influenced by Ruskin and A. W. N. Pugin, as well as by the more practical approach of George Gilbert Scott, but he developed his own approach to the composition of forms and a preference for bold simple ornament to match the increasing scale of his buildings. He did not confine himself to a single style but was adept in Gothic and, later, free Renaissance styles, and he developed a preference for the neo-Romanesque. He distinguished between carved or moulded ornament on plain stone and decorative materials such as veined marble, which he generally left unornamented. His concern for hard-wearing surface materials led him to adopt terracotta as a facing material, in which he was both a pioneer and protagonist. His sensitive handling of materials approached the aims of the Arts and Crafts Movement, but he always accepted that building was an industrial process. His buildings are characterized by sound planning and bold and picturesque outline, with particular attention given to the skyline in urban buildings....