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Article

Harriet Sonne de Torrens

[Aakirkeby]

Ornately carved baptismal font in church of St Hans, Åkirkeby, on the island of Bornholm, Denmark, dating to c. 1200–25 (see Åkirkeby, Å kirke). It is one of more than 25 baptismal fonts attributed to the Sighraf workshop, which was active on the Swedish island of Gotland in the late 12th century and early 13th, and made architectural reliefs, graveslabs, reliquaries, and baptismal fonts for local use and for export to regions in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the northern villages of Germany. Made from Gotland sandstone, the two-piece font stands 845 mm high (without a plinth) and the diameter of the upper basin (including the outside rim) is 795–805 mm.

The remarkable condition of the Åkirkeby font, despite having been whitewashed during the Reformation and carved from a soft stone that easily erodes, demonstrates that this font was carved by a highly skilled stone mason. A sophisticated pictorial cycle ornaments the sides of the upper basin accompanied by a runic inscription that identifies the name of the artist, Sighraf. Runes, in addition to Latin inscriptions, are found on several Scandinavian baptismal fonts, but this is one of the longest known runic verses and is written in a Gotlandic dialect (Wimmer, ...

Article

Mary Gough

[Koca Kalesi]

Early Christian monastery on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in Isauria, part of the Roman province of Cilicia in south-western Turkey. It is some 300 m above the main road between Silifke (anc. Seleucia) and Konya (anc. Iconium), 21 km north of Mut (anc. Claudiopolis). From two funerary inscriptions, pottery and coins, the monastery may be securely dated to the reigns of two Isaurian emperors, Leo (reg ad 457–74) and Zeno (reg 474–91).

The monastery was originally founded in a series of caves in a limestone outcrop at the west end of a narrow mountain ledge. The largest of these caves contained two rock-cut churches. The ledge was later enlarged by quarrying to the north and by the construction of a retaining wall to the south. The earliest building, immediately to the east of the caves, was the three-aisled Basilica. It was originally lavishly decorated, both inside and out, with architectural sculpture in a flowing naturalistic style, including plant forms, birds and fishes; figures occur only on the jambs and lintel of the main doorway between the narthex and the central aisle. On the west side of the lintel is a head of Christ set in a circle supported by angels, and at each end of the lintel and on the doorposts are four busts in high relief, possibly of the Evangelists. On the inner faces of the jambs are full-length figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel in flat relief, while on the underside of the lintel is a remarkable relief of the four ...

Article

Matthew Woodworth

(b Walsingham, Norfolk; d Ely, Cambs, 1363).

English cleric, architect, and goldsmith. Already an accomplished goldsmith when first recorded as monk of Ely Cathedral in 1314, Walsingham was appointed sub-prior of Ely in 1316, sacrist in 1321, and served as prior from 1341 until his death. As sacrist, Alan of Walsingham was responsible for the building fabric, particularly finances and general repair. He also supervised new construction projects, organized and paid the labour force, and arranged for delivery of materials. During his tenure, Walsingham oversaw the building of a new sacristy (1322–5), the spacious Lady Chapel (1321–49), Prior Crauden’s Chapel (1322–8), guest quarters (1330), and Bishop Hotham’s partly remodelled choir (1338–50). Walsingham’s most ambitious project at Ely was the soaring Octagon and central lantern (1322–49), built to replace the original Romanesque crossing tower after it collapsed in 1322. Surviving Sacrist Rolls hold Alan himself responsible for the Octagon’s design, specifying that he measured out the locations of its eight supports, secured their foundations, and carried the walls up to their full height. Scholarship is divided as to Walsingham’s precise role in the Octagon’s final appearance, but, whether as architect or industrious layman, he brought to completion one of the most innovative and spatially complex structures of the 14th century....

Article

Alfonso Rodríguez Ceballos

(b Alava, c. 1480; d Salamanca, Sept 3, 1537).

Spanish architect. After an initial training in Burgos, an important centre of Gothic architecture towards the end of the 15th century, he moved to Salamanca, where his patrons included Alonso de Fonseca, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela and Patriarch of Alexandria, and subsequently his son, Alonso de Fonseca y Acevedo, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela and then of Toledo. Alava worked during a period of transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance style and made a synthesis of the two that was not entirely successful. Even his late churches have a Gothic structure, with rib vaults and buttresses terminating in pinnacles. His façades are embellished with early Renaissance motifs, such as friezes, grotesques and medallion busts. In his use of the orders, he was notably uninhibited by conventional forms and proportions. In 1505 Alava built the sacristy for the chapel of Salamanca University, and he may have contributed to the university façade (...

Article

Tereza-Irene Sinigalia

(fl second half of the 14th century ad).

Romanian painter. The only works attributed to him are in the narthex of Rîmet monastery church near Alba, in Transylvania province, Romania. One of the jambs of the archway connecting the narthex with the naos of the church shows a full-length St Gregory the Great accompanied by an inscription referring to Mihul, his patron Bishop Ghelasion and the date 1377. Other images include St Basil the Great on the jamb opposite, SS Anthony the Great and Andronicus on the intrados of the arch and a partially preserved Deësis above the arch. On the partitioning wall either side of the archway are SS Nicholas and Procopius, and SS John Chrysostomos and Nestor. In general the paintings reflect the influence of Palaiologan art, but they also contain certain Late Gothic elements found in the Catholic artistic environment of Transylvania. The figures are drawn with firm, expressive lines, while the volume of their bodies is rendered by subtle shading in ochres and browns with white highlights. They are shown in static, fully frontal or three-quarter poses, wearing a variety of fine vestments in ochres, greens, blues and reds. The restoration of these paintings was completed in ...

Article

Albenga  

Franz Rickert

[Lat. Albingaunum; Albium Ingaunum; Album Ingaunum]

Italian town and bishopric, 72 km south-west of Genoa. It was a port in the Roman period, and its street grid-plan has partly survived, but, with the silting of the River Centa, it is now 1 km inland. Pottery and sections of the hull of a merchant ship that sank offshore c. 80–60 bc are preserved in the Museo Navale Romano in the Palazzo Peloso-Cepolla (13th century). The Civico Museo Inguano is housed in the Palazzo Vecchio del Comune (1387 and 1421). The cathedral, which was built in the 11th century and enlarged in the early 14th century, has a galleried apse and a campanile built in 1391.

The most important monument, however, is the 5th-century baptistery. Its ground-plan is decagonal without and octagonal within, the alternating rectangular and semicircular niches being flanked by columns. The original cupola was destroyed in the 19th century. The edge of the octagonal font at the centre of the hall has starlike points and was surmounted by a baldacchino. The only mosaics that survive are on the front wall of the building and on the vaulting of the presbytery niche. Although the latter has been heavily restored, it can be dated to the 5th century. At the centre of the vault is a christogram comprising the letters A and ...

Article

Anna Nilsén

[Albertus Pictor]

(fl c. 1460; d after 1509).

Painter and textile designer, active in Sweden. He was probably of German origin. He married in 1473 and was a burgher of Stockholm, where he ran a workshop for liturgical embroidery. Apparently well-to-do, during the years 1501–7 he paid a higher tax than any other painter in Stockholm. About this time he also seems to have delivered an altarpiece to the Brigittine convent of Naantali (Swed. Nådendal) in Finland. He is last mentioned in 1509, when he played an instrument, probably the organ, at the Corpus Christi Guild of Stockholm.

Albert thus had many talents, but his main field must have been wall painting. His earliest works are in Södermanland and include the signed wall paintings in the church at Lid, where he also painted his self-portrait. It has been conjectured that Albert may have been an apprentice of a Master Peter, whose existence is deduced from a presumed signature in the church at Ösmo, but this theory is very tenuous. About 35 churches with paintings by Albert or his workshop are known in the provinces of Södermanland, Västmanland and Uppland. Some of the best-preserved paintings are in the churches at Floda (Södermanland), Kumla (Västmanland), Härkeberga, Härnevi, Almunge and Odensala (Uppland)....

Article

Article

Maria Cristina Chiusa

(di Guido)

(b ?Ferrara, ?1390s; d before 1449).

Italian painter. His early career is hard to determine; Vasari improbably described him as a pupil of Agnolo Gaddi. He must have been well known in Ferrara before working for the condottiere Braccio Fortebraccio at Montone in Umbria, where he is documented in either 1420 or 1423. Frescoes at S Francesco in Montone depicting the Life of St Francis are almost certainly by him. In the same year he was in Urbino, where Vasari reported that he was working on frescoes (destr.) at S Francesco. The frescoes in the chapel of S Martino in S Maria, Carpi (the Sagra di Carpi), are of a similar date. They show a style in which formal elements deriving from Serafino Serafini are put into a Late Gothic context, under the influence of work by Gentile da Fabriano seen in central Italy. Other work by Alberti from between 1419 and 1431 includes the triptych of the ...

Article

Mathieu Hériard Dubreuil

[Gil Master]

(b ?Mallorca; fl 1408–47).

Spanish painter. First documented in Valencia in 1408, he was active as a painter in Barcelona in 1415, in Mallorca in 1420 (described as ‘painter of Majorca’), in Valencia between 1421 and 1432 and in Mallorca from 1433; he is last recorded in Mallorca in 1447. Of his documented commissions, only two fragmentary works can be identified: the wings of an altarpiece of St Michael (Lyon, Mus. B.-A.), painted in 1421 for the town of Jérica (Valencia), and two predella panels of the Death of the Virgin and St Thomas Receiving the Virgin’s Girdle from an altarpiece of the Virgin executed in 1442 in Mallorca (Alcudia, Mus. Parroq.). Other works have been attributed to Alcanyis on the basis of stylistic comparisons with these panels, and he has been identified as the Gil Master, an artist named after the fragmentary altarpiece—consisting of an Ascension and St Vincent (both New York, Hisp. Soc. America) and a ...

Article

Alchemy  

Laurinda Dixon

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....

Article

[Jehan; Giovanni]

(fl 1382–1411).

Writer, active in Paris. Between 1382 and 1410 he travelled to Italy on a number of occasions, where he collected recipes for the manufacture of pigments and other techniques from the artists that he met. He also borrowed manuals or handbooks on the washing, purifying and grinding of colours to assist him in his research. In 1431 his collection of recipes was obtained by Jehan Le Bègue (1368–after 1431), a licentiate in the law and notary to the Master of the Mint in Paris. Le Bègue copied out the recipes in his own hand and incorporated them in two sections (De coloribus diversis modis tractatur and De diversis coloribus) into a collection of texts discussing the practice of painting, entitled Experimenta de coloribus (Paris, Bib. N., MS. 6741), first published in 1849 (trans. M. Merrifield). Le Bègue’s compilation begins with a glossary of terms, mostly taken from Alcherius and the ...

Article

Lucília Verdelho da Costa

Cistercian abbey in Portugal. The abbey, dedicated to S Maria, was founded as part of the policy of repopulation and territorial improvement of the first king of Portugal, Alfonso I (reg 1139–85), who in 1152 granted a large area of land to St Bernard of Clairvaux by a charter known as the Carta dos Coutos (Lisbon, Arquiv. N.). Work on the monastery started in 1158 and adhered to the rigid precepts of the Order. Although the exterior was extended and altered in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially the Baroque façade of the church, the interior essentially preserves its original Early Gothic appearance.

W. Beckford: Recollections of an Excursion to the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha (London, 1835/R 1972) M. V. Natividade: Ignez de Castro e Pedro o Cru perante a iconografia dos seus túmulos (Lisbon, 1910) E. Korrodi: Alcobaça: Estudo histórico, arqueológico e artístico da Real Abadia de Alcobaça...

Article

(b c. 1398; d c. 1468).

Sculptor, possibly of Netherlandish or German origin (Sp. alemán: ‘German’), active in Spain. He worked on the Puerta de los Leones on the south transept of Toledo Cathedral, which was begun in 1452 under the direction of the Master of the Works, Hanequin de Bruselas. The portal is important because it establishes Netherlandish influence in Toledo from the middle of the 15th century. Juan Alemán collaborated on the portal with Egas Cueman and Francisco de la Cuevas, but he was given the commission for the most important sculptures: the statues of four Apostles, the three Marys and Nicodemus (for the embrasures) and twenty-four angel groups (for the archivolts). His style shows strong German influence, seen in the accentuated, metallic drapery folds, which impart strong chiaroscuro effects and add to the nobility of the stylized figures. The tympanum of the inner portal, depicting the Tree of Jesse, must also be by Juan Alemán; it includes the original iconographic motif of the tree sprouting from Jesse’s cheek. He probably carved the ...

Article

José María Azcárate Ristori

(fl 1485; d before 1512).

Spanish wood-carver. He was the most important wood-carver in Toledo in the last decade of the 15th century. His family name was probably Duque, because he is named Rodrigo Duque in a document of Sigüenza Cathedral (Guadalajara). He is first recorded in 1485 in connection with the lower choir-stalls of Toledo Cathedral, which were completed in 1495. The ornamental detail is carefully executed and shows Lower Rhenish stylistic characteristics. The unusual iconography of the 52 stalls represents events in the reconquest of Granada from the Moors, according to accounts of contemporary chroniclers (notably Fernando del Pulgar). The narrative is brisk and lively and enriched by the inclusion of realistic incidents. Alemán was next commissioned to execute the central section of the base of the high altar retable in Toledo Cathedral, which bears fine ornamental carving.

From 1497 Alemán worked simultaneously on the magnificent choir-stalls in the cathedrals of Plasencia (Cáceres) and Ciudad Rodrigo (Salamanca). The former include portraits of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and animated biblical scenes, while the latter are dominated by tracery. Alemán probably also provided designs or contributed to the initial stages of work on the choir-stalls of Zamora Cathedral. In ...

Article

Samo Štefanac

[Aleši, Andrija; Alexii, Andreas; Andrea di Niccolò da Durazzo]

(b Dürres, c. 1425; d Split, 1504).

Dalmatian sculptor and architect of Albanian birth. Although he is recorded in 1435 at Zadar as a pupil of Marco di Pietro da Troia, his most important artistic influence was the Late Gothic style of Giorgio da Sebenico, with whom he worked in 1445 on Šibenik Cathedral and in 1452 at Ancona on the Loggia dei Mercanti. Between 1448 and 1460 Alessi also controlled his own workshop at Split and Rab. In 1466 he began work on his masterpiece, the baptistery at Trogir, which was finished in 1467. The chapel is rectangular in plan, covered with a barrel vault with acute angled coffers; its richly decorated interior is an eclectic blend of Late Gothic and Renaissance elements. The sculpture shares these characteristics: the Baptism of Christ over the entrance, with its elongated figures and complex drapery patterns, derives from Giorgio da Sebenico’s mannered style, while St Jerome in the Desert...

Article

Phillip Lindley

(fl 1291–1317).

English sculptor. His first recorded works are in connection with the funerary monuments for Queen Eleanor of Castile (d 1290), the first wife of King Edward I. Alexander of Abingdon supplied wax models for three small images cast by William of Suffolk for the heart tomb in the Dominican church of the Blackfriars, London, as well as a painted cloth and ironwork to stand round the tomb (all destr.). From 1291 to 1294 he was also employed with Dymenge de Legeris on carving the Purbeck marble tomb-chest for the bronze effigy (both destr.) of Eleanor in Lincoln Cathedral. From William Sedgwick’s drawing of c. 1641, which is included in Sir William Dugdale’s Book of Monuments (London, BL, Loan MS. 38, fol. 98v), it appears to have been very similar to that still surviving at Westminster Abbey, London. Alexander supplied seven images at a cost of 5 marks each for the Charing Mews Eleanor Cross (destr.; ...

Article

Judith McKenzie, Gordon Campbell, R. R. R. Smith, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. H. Enklaar, Dominic Montserrat, C. Walters, Wladyslaw B. Kubiak, Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Egyptian city situated on the Mediterranean coast west of the delta of the River Nile, capital of Egypt from c. 320 bc to ad 642, seaport and centre of ancient Greek culture.

Judith McKenzie

Alexandria was founded in 331 bc by Alexander, on the site of the small Egyptian settlement of Rhakotis. Its location, with access by canal to the River Nile, enabled it to become an important and highly prosperous trading centre, and by c. 320 bc Alexandria was the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt. During Ptolemaic times (304–30 bc) it became a major centre of learning, with famous scholars of literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and geography, and it played a major role in the transmission of Greek culture to the East.

With the defeat of the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII (51–30 bc), by Octavian (later called Augustus) at the Battle of Actium in 30...

Article

Giuseppa Z. Zanichelli

[Alphanus]

(b Salerno, 1010/20; d Salerno, Oct 9, 1085; fd 9 Oct).

Saint, doctor, archbishop of Salerno, and patron. Born of a noble Lombard family in Salerno, Alfanus pursued humanistic and scientific studies, studying at the Medical School in Salerno. In 1058, Leo of Ostia recorded that he was ‘prudentissimus et nobilissimus clericus e miram cantandi peritia, et medicinae artis scientiam non parvam habebat’ (Chronicon casinense II, 7). Around this time he became acquainted with Desiderius of Montecassino, who visited Salerno and helped him to flee the town when he came under suspicion for murder. Alfanus, who was a monk at this stage, stayed in the monasteries of S Sofia in Benevento and St Benedict in Montecassino where he met Frederick of Lorraine, the future Pope Stephen IX, and Petrus Damianus. In 1058 Prince Gisulf II (reg 1052–77) recalled him to Salerno as abbot of the local independent monastery of St Benedict, and the same year the Pope made him archbishop. In ...

Article

[Alfonso, King of Germany]

(b Toledo, Nov 23, 1221; reg 1252–84; d Seville, April 4, 1284).

Spanish ruler and patron. He was a man of wide learning, a legislator and a poet. Although moderately successful in the Reconquest, following the tradition of his father Ferdinand III, King of Castile and León (reg 1217–52), he provoked opposition by raising taxes and seeking election as Holy Roman Emperor (1256).

Alfonso sponsored translations of Arab writings on astronomy and astrology. He himself composed works of history, poetry and law. His Cantigas de Santa María, a collection of over 400 poems, which survive in four manuscripts (Madrid, Escorial, Real Bib. Monasterio S Lorenzo, MSS B.I.2 and T.I.1; Madrid, Bib. N., MS. 10069; Florence, Bib. N. Cent., MS. B.R.20), were written in Galician over a period of 25 years ending in 1279. The songs of the Virgin are accompanied by an important and extensive series of over 1000 small genre scenes ‘structured like a modern comic-strip to tell the song’s narrative visually’ (Burns). Bullfights and street scenes are shown; battles depict both Christians and Muslims, and several pictures reveal Alfonso himself (he considered himself to be a troubadour of the Virgin Mary, ...