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Joan Isobel Friedman and A. Bustamante García

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David A. Hinton

Anglo-Saxon jewel made of gold, rock crystal, and enamel (Oxford, Ashmolean), made in the reign of King Alfred (reg 871–99) and found in Somerset in 1693. The crystal is a teardrop-shaped polished, flat slab, with bevelled sides, set in a gold frame. Below the crystal, there is a cloisonné enamel figure of a seated male figure, apparently holding two flowering plants. Behind the enamel is a gold plate, engraved with a different plant. The frame is soldered to a sheet-gold beast’s head, its jaws holding a short tube with a rivet through the end. Soldered to the head and the sloping-sided frame are plain, beaded, and twisted gold wires, and gold granules. Cut into the frame are openwork Old English letters reading AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWRYCAN (‘Alfred ordered me to be made’).

Although no royal title is in the inscription, the Jewel is usually assumed to have been made for Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (...

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Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in 1249. Further excavations could shed much light on this history.

Highlights in the Algarve include remains at Milreu of a villa with elaborate mosaics that rank among the most substantial Roman sites in the region. The site further preserves foundations of a basilica, likely constructed in the 5th century, and traces of what may be a baptistery, perhaps added during the period of Byzantine occupation in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period of Islamic rule, from the 8th century through to the 13th, witnessed the construction of many fortifications, including examples at Aljezur, Loulé and Salir, which were mostly levelled by earthquakes. Silves, a city with origins in the Bronze Age, preserves a substantial concentration of relatively well-preserved Islamic monuments. These include a bridge, carved inscriptions, a castle, cistern and fortified walls, along which numerous ceramics have been excavated. Most extant medieval churches in Algarve date to the period after the Reconquest. These tend to be modest in design and small in scale, such as the 13th-century Vera Cruz de Marmelar, built over Visigothic or Mozarabic foundations. The relatively large cathedrals at Silves and at Faro preserve substantial portions dating to the 13th century, as well as fabric from subsequent medieval campaigns. Renaissance and Baroque churches and ecclesiastical furnishings can be found throughout Algarve....

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Joan Isobel Friedman

(b Florence, May 1265; d Ravenna, ?14 ?Sept 1321).

Italian writer. He is universally recognized as the greatest poet of the Middle Ages. His masterpiece, the Divine Comedy (begun 1307 or 1314), contains many passages in which Dante expressed his appreciation of painting and sculpture, and the themes in the poem have challenged artists from the 14th century to the present day.

Dante was the only child of a notary, Alighiero II, son of Bellincione degli Alighieri and his first wife Bella. The Alighieris were descendants of the Elisei, an ancient and noble Florentine family. Dante may have studied at Bologna University, but he admitted to having taught himself the art of versifying. About 1283 he married Gemma di Manetto Donati, who bore him four children. His sons Pietro and Jacopo wrote commentaries on the Divine Comedy.

Dante met Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, in 1274. He recorded his love for her in La vita nuova, c....

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Alimpy  

G. I. Vzdornov

(fl second half of 11th century; d Kiev).

Russian painter and monk. He learnt the art of painting in the Pecherskaya Lavra (cave monastery) in Kiev, working alongside Greek artists who were decorating the cathedral of the Dormition (1073–89; destr. 1941) with mosaics and wall paintings: ‘Alimpy himself helped them and studied under them’ (Kievo-Pechersky Paterikon). The Paterikon, the source of all information about Alimpy, relates that the monk produced icons for the monastery itself and on commission, and the numerous references to the use of silver and gold suggest that he also practised as a jeweller. A wealthy citizen of Kiev ordered seven icons from Alimpy to form a Deësis made up of images of Christ, the Virgin, John the Baptist, Archangels Michael and Gabriel and two Apostles. The Paterikon also states that Alimpy’s icon of the Virgin was sent by Vladimir Monomakh (reg 1076–8; 1094–1125) to Rostov, where it is mentioned in early 13th-century sources. No surviving Old Russian icon, however, can be definitively attributed to Alimpy. He is buried in the caves of the Pecherskaya Lavra, alongside other ‘venerable Fathers’....

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Eliot W. Rowlands

(di Domenico da Zevio)

(fl 1369; d before April 10, 1393).

Italian painter. He was one of the most important North Italian painters of the 14th century. His style is characterized by an interest in the depiction of space and volume and by a preference for soft colours bathed in suffused light. His narrative paintings have a solemnity and grandeur that is mitigated by the lively realism and animation of the figures, convincingly integrated into settings of architectural complexity.

He is first recorded in Verona, where he witnessed a contract on 2 March 1369. Vasari stated that he was a most trusted member of the household (famigliarissimo) of the della Scala, the rulers of Verona, and his Vita of Carpaccio contains an appreciative, first-hand description of Altichiero’s frescoes in the Sala del Podestà, originally the Sala Grande, of the della Scala palace (c. 1364) in Verona. The subject of the frescoes was taken from Flavius Josephus’s Jewish Wars...

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Emma Packer

(b ?London, c. 1470; d ?London, 1532).

English goldsmith. He was the son of a London goldsmith and was the most successful goldsmith working at the Tudor court; his work bridged the transition between the Gothic and the Renaissance styles. He was an official at the Mint from 1504 to almost the end of his life, his appointment possibly facilitated by his marriage to Elizabeth, granddaughter of Sir Hugh Bryce (d 1496), Court Goldsmith to Henry VIII. In 1524 Amadas became the first working goldsmith to become Master of the Jewel House to Henry VIII, an office he retained until 1532, supplying spangles, wire and ribbons to the court. In the 1520s his orders included a large amount of plate for gifts to foreign ambassadors; he also supplied a number of New Year’s gifts for the court. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was one of Amadas’ most important clients, and Amadas supplied him with a number of lavish objects. Other clients included ...

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Amalfi  

Antonio Milone

Italian city in the province of Salerno, Campania. One of the principal mercantile cities of the medieval period, it was ruled by an oligarchy of merchants who were active throughout the entire Mediterranean. The city, which was founded in late antiquity, still has traces of its Roman past. Documentary sources record that the city was founded by Roman patricians after a shipwreck (Chronicon Salernitanum, 10th century). Amalfi has been documented as a bishopric since 596, and it was elevated to an archbishopric in 978. The oligarchy that controlled the city first rose to power in the 9th century and was in control until the arrival of the Normans, when Amalfi was sacked twice by the Pisans (1135 and 1137). In 1208 Amalfi received the body of the apostle St Andrew, which was brought from Constantinople due to the efforts of the papal nuncio there, Cardinal Pietro Capuano....

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H. B. J. Maginnis

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Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between 1236 and 1238. The three volumes were illuminated by two artists, whose style is related to the 13th-century school of Würzburg. Illustrations with biblical scenes are located mainly within the initial word panels of the various biblical books, or at their end. Some of the illustrations carry a messianic or eschatological meaning. A broad cosmological composition occupies an opening at the end of the third volume, suggesting an impressive climax for the entire Bible. The full page miniature on the right illustrates the seven heavens, accompanied by the four animals of Ezekiel’s vision and the luminaries (fol. 135...

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Colum P. Hourihane

Public reference collection of all Latin and vernacular materials from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, now in Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN. Thanks to a collaborative project, the Medieval Institute in Notre Dame University has microfilms and photographic copies of nearly all of the Latin and vernacular manuscripts (as well as many of the Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic ones as well) belonging to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The collection consists of over 10,000 positive and negative microfilms of manuscripts from the medieval and Renaissance collections in the Biblioteca available for consultation in the Frank M. Folsom Microfilm and Photographic Collection. The collection also has over 50,000 photographs as well as 15,000 slides, all of which detail miniatures, illuminated initials, and post-medieval drawings. An extensive bibliographic archive of collection catalogues supporting the manuscripts is available for consultation. A digital index to all Western manuscripts was started in 1979 and is currently in progress. The Institute supports research through a series of stipends that are available for scholars....

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Ampel  

Gordon Campbell

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Don C. Skemer

Objects made of metal, gemstones, parchment, and other materials that can be worn on the body, especially around the neck, or used in other ways (placed upon an affliction or fixed to walls) in the belief that they offered magical protection against evil spirits, bad luck, sickness, and death (see Amulet). People of all social levels used amulets in the expectation of receiving protection and healing in an almost mechanical way. Theologians and canon lawyers might view such popular practices as superstition and idolatry, but many clerics and a large portion of the laity did not hesitate to use amulets. Today, terms such as amulet, talisman, charm, and phylactery are used interchangeably, however, medieval terminology for amulets varied. The ancient Latin word amuletum was not used in the Middle Ages, but was later revived to refer to reliquary capsules and other religious articles worn to secure divine intercession and protection against misfortune. Objects that we would readily identify as amulets were not necessarily perceived as magical during the Middle Ages, when the boundaries between religion and magic were fluid....