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Maria Leonor d’Orey

(b Guimarães, c. 1465–70; d Lisbon, c. 1536–7).

Portuguese writer, designer and goldsmith. He was active from 1502 to 1536 in the service of Queen Eleanor, Manuel I and John III as a playwright, goldsmith, musician, stage designer and actor. It is known, on the evidence of the King’s will, that in 1503 Manuel I entrusted to Vicente the gold from Quiloa that Vasco da Gama (c. 1460–1524) had brought as tribute from his second voyage to India and commissioned Vicente to make the Belém Monstrance (1506; Lisbon, Mus. N. A. Ant.) for the monastery of the Jerónimos at Belém. It is the only surviving example of his work as goldsmith and is one of the best examples of gold- and silverwork in the Manueline style.

At the end of the 19th century, however, there was controversy as to whether the playwright could be identified as the creator of the Belém Monstrance. Documents of the period refer to a ‘Gil Vicente’ without further identification, and biographical details of the poet are not easy to establish. Analysis of the work of the dramatist, however, reveals a profound knowledge of the goldsmith’s craft in the use of over 150 technical terms that would probably not have been familiar to a layman....


Richard J. Tuttle

[Giacomo] (Barozzi da)

(b Vignola, Oct 1, 1507; d Rome, July 7, 1573).

Italian painter, architect and theorist . Following three decades of diversified and mainly collaborative artistic activity, he emerged in the 1550s as the leading architect in Rome after Michelangelo and was in papal service for over three decades. His masterpieces (notably the Villa Farnese at Caprarola and the church of Il Gesù in Rome) were produced as house architect to the wealthy and powerful Farnese family. In an era of experimental and sometimes dramatically personal styles, his palaces, villas and churches manifested a cool and methodically reductive classicism that became a model of orthodoxy for a generation of architects during the Counter-Reformation. His Regola delli cinque ordini d’architettura (1562), a concise illustrated tract on the five orders, enjoyed immense popular and academic success throughout Europe and was the most influential book on classical architecture until the advent of Modernism.

Vignola was born to a family of artisans: although the occupation of his father Bartolomeo is unknown, one brother, ...


Javier Rivera

(b ?Cuenca de Campos; d after 1558).

Spanish writer. He studied at the universities of Alcalá, Valladolid and Salamanca and became a member of the circle of followers of Erasmus around Emperor Charles V. He visited France, England, Flanders and Italy and, after a stay in Constantinople, travelled through Greece and the Ionic Islands. Among his most interesting books are Siguesa la tragedia de Mirrha (1536), Prouechoso tractado de cambios y contrataciones de mercaderes y reprouacion de usura (1541) and Gramática castellana (1558). His most important work, however, is Ingeniosa comparación entre lo antiguo y lo presente (1539), which is composed in the characteristic Renaissance form of a dialogue. In this Villalón eruditely defended the modernity of his age, his understanding of which was moulded by his knowledge of the Spanish Renaissance—that is, the Plateresque or early Renaissance. Although Villalón praised Classical antiquity, using a broad range of criteria he considered that this had been surpassed in modern times, a period that he judged to have begun with the Gothic and to have continued with the Renaissance. The works that he considered superior to those of the Greeks and Romans were buildings with Gothic or early Renaissance tendencies, such as the Hospital de los Reyes Catolicós (...


Fernando Marías

(b Villalpando, Zamora, c. 1510; d Toledo, before July 2, 1561).

Spanish metalworker, architect and writer. He came from a family of artists, his brothers being the architects and stuccoists Juan (c. 1505–after 1563) and Jerónimo (c. 1505–before 1561) del Corral de Villalpando and the wrought-iron worker Ruy Díez del Corral. Later, the architect Gaspar de Vega (d 1576) became his brother-in-law. Villalpando must have been trained by his family, and he may have travelled to Italy between 1533 and 1537. In 1540 he was living in Valladolid; there he came into contact with Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera, who took him to Toledo and commissioned him to execute the ironwork (1541–8) for the chancel of the cathedral. Villalpando also worked for the college of San Ildefonso de Alcalá de Henares, where he executed the ironwork for some of the library windows (1542–6). He settled, however, in Toledo and carried out his most important creations as a metalworker for the cathedral there: the pulpits (...


Helen M. Hills

(b Córdoba, 1552; d Rome, 1608).

Spanish architect, writer and theorist. He claimed that he owed his education to Philip II (although exactly how is not clear), that he studied mathematics and that his master was Juan de Herrera, the royal architect of the Escorial. It was probably at the Jesuit College in Baeza c. 1583 that Villalpando met Jerónimo del Prado (1547–95), theologian, sculptor and architect, with whom he undertook a detailed reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple and a full commentary on the prophecy of Ezekiel. Villalpando believed that only by translating Ezechiel’s vision into terms of real architecture could its mystical significance be understood. The form and proportions of the Temple, inspired by God and therefore perfect, provided an insight into the perfection of the City of God. He argued that the compatibility that he had demonstrated between Christian revelation and the culture of Classical antiquity was not coincidental; Classical architecture itself ultimately derived from the architecture of King Solomon. After fierce disagreement between the authors, volume one of ...


Martin Kemp

(b Anchiano, nr Vinci, April 15, 1452; d Amboise, nr Tours, May 2, 1519).

Italian painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer and scientist. He was the founding father of what is called the High Renaissance style and exercised an enormous influence on contemporary and later artists. His writings on art helped establish the ideals of representation and expression that were to dominate European academies for the next 400 years. The standards he set in figure draughtsmanship, handling of space, depiction of light and shade, representation of landscape, evocation of character and techniques of narrative radically transformed the range of art. A number of his inventions in architecture and in various fields of decoration entered the general currency of 16th-century design.

Although he brought relatively few works to completion, and even fewer have survived, Leonardo was responsible for some of the most influential images in the history of art. The ‘Mona Lisa’ (Paris, Louvre) may fairly be described as the world’s most famous painting. When the extent of his writings on many branches of science became increasingly apparent during the 19th century, he appeared to epitomize the idea of the universal genius and was hailed as one of the prophets of the modern era. More recent assessments of his intellectual achievements have recognized the medieval and Classical framework on which his theories were constructed but have done nothing to detract from the awesome range and intensity of his thought....


Janet Southorn

(b L’Aquila; fl 1588–90).

Italian priest, jurist and wax modeller. As a student in Rome he became proficient in modelling lifelike reliefs in coloured wax on slate. His only recorded work (1588; untraced) was a model of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement (1536–41; Rome, Vatican, Sistine Chapel), which was presented to Pope Sixtus V. According to Vivio’s published description, there were 146 images set in a frame reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. The work comprised Old and New Testaments scenes, with prophets, sibyls, saints and Christian heroes, including Charlemagne, Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) and Philip II, King of Spain; the central field had a portrait of Michelangelo and Vivio included a self-portrait at one end. The work was much admired in its day: it earned its inventor Roman citizenship and the Roman Senate considered buying it for display on the Capitol.

Discorso sopra la mirabil opera di basso rilievo di cera stuccata con colori scolpita in pietra negra colle storie del Vecchio e del Nuovo Testamento...


Madeleine Van De Winckel

[Jan] [Frisio, Johan]

(b Leeuwarden, 1527; d ?Antwerp, ?1606).

Dutch designer, architect and painter, active in the southern Netherlands and throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Though an artist of many talents, it was through his engravings that he most influenced his contemporaries. The distribution of his works by the publishers of Antwerp made him one of the leading and best-known exponents of Mannerist decoration and the instigator of a new urban vision in northern and central Europe.

He first studied drawing in his native Leeuwarden in Friesland for five years with Reijer Gerritsz., a glass painter from Amsterdam, who moved to Leuven c. 1544. Vredeman de Vries then spent two years in Kampen, before moving to Mechelen, where he learnt to paint in watercolour on canvas, a technique typical of that town. In 1549 he assisted Pieter Coecke van Aelst on the decoration of the triumphal arches constructed for the ceremonial entry into Antwerp of Charles V and his son, the future Philip II. On Vredeman de Vries’s return to Friesland, he was briefly in Kollum, where he is reported to have applied himself ‘night and day’ to copying the works of Sebastiano Serlio and Vitruvius from editions published and translated by Coecke van Aelst. Vredeman de Vries returned to Mechelen to stay with the painter and art dealer ...


Xu Wei  

Vyvyan Brunst and James Cahill

[Hsü Wei; zi Wenchang]

(b Shanyin [modern Shaoxing], Zhejiang Province, March 12, 1521; d 1593).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, essayist, poet and Dramatist . He was born to the concubine of a minor official and was reared by his father’s second wife after his father’s death. In 1540 he passed the first test leading to higher government examinations. He was married the following year and moved with his wife’s family to Guangzhou (Canton). Xu retreated to a monastery in 1550, after the deaths of his wife and stepbrothers, and attempted the higher civil service examination but failed repeatedly. While in the monastery Xu Wei turned his energies to writing and painting, producing paintings, plays, poetry and essays on opera. His literary reputation resulted in his appointment as personal secretary to Hu Zongxian, the commander–governor of the south-east coastal provinces, a post he held until 1562, when his patron was accused of treason and imprisoned. Between 1552 and 1561 Xu Wei four times attempted the provincial examinations, the second stage in the civil service examinations, with no success. From ...


David Rodgers

(b Boughton Malherbe, Kent, 1568; d Eton, Berks, Dec 1639).

English diplomat, collector and writer . He spent much of his life as English ambassador in Venice, where he helped many important collectors associated with the Stuart court to buy works of art. He later published the first book devoted to the theory of architecture to be written in English.

He was the fourth son of Thomas Wotton, a landed gentleman, and was educated at Winchester and at New and Queens Colleges, Oxford. In 1587 his father died, leaving him a miserly annuity that was to have adverse financial repercussions for the rest of his life. In the following year he left England and travelled abroad for seven years, latterly acting as an intelligence agent for Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. In 1595 he returned to England, where he was admitted to the Inner Temple and became a secretary to Essex. The following year he took over responsibility for the Earl’s intelligence network in Transylvania, Poland, Italy and Germany....


Alice R. M. Hyland

[T’ang Yin; zi Bohu; hao Ziwei, Liuru]

(b Suzhou, April 6, 1470; d Suzhou, Jan 7, 1524).

Chinese painter, poet and calligrapher. He was born into the merchant class of Suzhou, where his father was a restaurateur, and although lacking social standing, he received an excellent education. He was a brilliant student and became the protégé of Wen Lin (1445–99), the father of Wen Zhengming. His friends in Suzhou scholarly circles included Shen Zhou, Wu Kuan (1436–1504) and Zhu Yunming. In 1498 Tang Yin came first in the provincial examinations in Nanjing, the second stage in the civil service examination ladder. The following year he went to Beijing to sit the national examinations, but he and his friend Xu Jing (d 1507) were accused of bribing the servant of one of the chief examiners to give them the examination questions in advance. All parties were jailed, and Tang Yin returned to Suzhou in disgrace, his justifiably high hopes for a distinguished civil service career dashed forever....


Ho Chuan-Hsing

[Chu Yün-ming; zi Xizhe; hao Jishan]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, c. 1460–61; d Suzhou, 1527).

Chinese calligrapher, scholar, essayist and poet . Born into an illustrious Suzhou family, he was commended in the provincial examinations, the second stage of the civil service career ladder, at the age of 33 but failed in several attempts at the national examinations. In 1514 he took office as magistrate of Xingning County in Guangdong Province and in 1522 was promoted to assistant prefectural magistrate of Yingtian District (now Nanjing). He retired after less than a year and died at the age of 67. Zhu was an outstanding representative of certain literary circles in Suzhou, revered not only for his calligraphy, but also for his scholarship, essays and poetry. His individual and non-conformist beliefs made him severely critical of Song Neo-Confucianism, the orthodox teaching of his day, seeing it as both ill-founded and constricting. His love of liberty and adherence to the classics are reflected in his calligraphy, which is at once informed by a thorough acquaintance with the classical masters and executed with an expansive and uninhibited flair....


(b Cesena, bapt April 12, 1574; d Rome, July 13, 1630).

Italian painter and writer . After studying optics and perspective in Cesena with the scientist Scipione Chiaramonti, he established himself in Rome from 1599 as a specialist in perspective. He painted the fictive architecture and decorative borders for Baldassare Croce’s frescoes (1598–1600) of scenes from the life of the saint in the nave of S Susanna, Rome. In collaboration with Giuseppe Agellio (c. 1570–after 1650), a pupil of Cristofano Roncalli, he painted the rear choir vault of S Silvestro al Quirinale, Rome, in 1602 with an illusionistic opening to the sky, revealing his interest in the contemporary ceiling decorations of Cherubino Alberti and his brother Giovanni Alberti, who had decorated the front choir vault. After joining the Theatine Order in 1605, he worked exclusively for its monasteries and churches, including spending some time in Naples (c. 1621–3). He is known for a four-volume treatise on ...


Lu Zhi  

Louise Yuhas

[Lu Chih; zi Shuping; hao Baoshan]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1496; d Suzhou, 1576).

Chinese painter and minor poet (see fig.). He is associated with the Wu school of painters active in Suzhou during the Ming period (1368–1644). Lu’s surviving paintings date to 1523–74; the most distinctive, executed between 1547 and 1555, represent a synthesis between the literati style of painting (wenren hua), as exemplified by Wen Zhengming (see Wen family, §1), and the professional tradition, as epitomized by Qiu Ying. Lu himself was a literatus: after he passed the local civil-service examination, his studies were supported by the prefectural government, though he never succeeded in the provincial examination. In 1557, at the age of 61, he was awarded the largely honorary gongsheng degree and allowed to retire.

Lu lived a life of genteel poverty. With the exception of two years as an instructor in a Confucian school in the early 1520s, he did not accept employment, refusing the hopeful students who sought him out. In the mid-1550s he built a retreat outside Suzhou on Mt Zhixing, where he lived in relative seclusion until the age of 80, when failing health forced him to return to the city. His biographer Wang Shizhen noted that Lu was somewhat misanthropic: he barred the door and hid at the approach of unwanted guests, though he might talk the night away over home-made chrysanthemum wine with a few select friends....