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Article

Alexander Nagel

[Fr. postautel, retable; Ger. Altar, Altaraufsatz, Altarbild, Altarretabel, Altarrückwand, Retabel; It. ancona, dossale, pala (d’altare); Sp. retablo]

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a retable, following the medieval term retrotabulum [retabulum, retrotabularium].

The altarpiece was never officially prescribed by the Church, but it did perform a prescribed function alternatively carried out by a simple inscription on the altarblock: to declare to which saint or mystery the altar was dedicated. In fact, the altarpiece did more than merely identify the altar; its form and content evoked the mystery or personage whose cult was celebrated at the altar. This original and lasting function influenced the many forms taken by the altarpiece throughout its history. Since the altarpiece was not prescribed by the Church, its form varied enormously. For this reason, it is often impossible, and historically inaccurate, to draw neat distinctions between the altarpiece and other elements occasionally associated with the altar apparatus. For example, movable statues, often of the Virgin and Child, were occasionally placed on altars according to ritual needs, and at those times fulfilled the function of the altarpiece....

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Ferenc Batári

(b c. 1704; d after 1767).

Hungarian wood-carver and Jesuit. He was a novice in the Society of Jesus at Trencsén (now Trenčín, Slovakia) and worked as a wood-carver in the Jesuit workshop until 1735; following this he worked in Esztergom and Vienna. From 1749 to 1760 he was the head of the Jesuit workshop at Székesfehérvár. The furnishings and fittings of the former Jesuit church there, St John of Nepomuk, and the rich, ornamental carvings of the priory and pharmacy (all ...

Article

Hannelore Hägele

(b Pfarrkirchen, Upper Bavaria, c. 1660; d Augsburg, Jan 31, 1738).

German sculptor. He was the son of the sculptor Johann Christian Bendl, with whom he trained. Having become a journeyman, he travelled for six years, probably to Bohemia and Venice. On his return he entered in 1684 the workshop in Augsburg of Johann Jakob Rill (fl c. 1686–99); on 26 November 1687 he was made a master and also became a citizen of Augsburg. He was the city’s leading sculptor during the late Baroque period; many important churches in and outside of Augsburg had sculptures by him. He worked mostly in wood, but also in stone, terracotta and stucco, and probably in ivory and metal as well. For jewellers and goldsmiths he produced models, such as a figure of St Sebastian (1714–15) and a crucifix (1716). His major work included two series of life-size statues: one, of the Apostles, for St Moritz and the other, of the ...

Article

Veerle Poupeye

(b St Ann, 1917).

Jamaican painter and sculptor. A self-taught mystic and visionary, unknown until the late 1960s, he drew his artistic inspiration from a very personal interpretation of two Afro-Christian Jamaican cults, Rastafarianism and Revivalism. His imagery developed through meditation and techniques similar to the automatism of the Surrealists. The curious limestone formations found in Jamaica frequently served as a source of inspiration, as in Bush Have Ears (1976; Kingston, N.G.). He also made ritual objects, such as carved wooden staffs and decorated musical instruments. During the 1970s he worked in close collaboration with his son Clinton Brown (b 1954), who also received substantial critical acclaim.

V. Poupeye-Rammelaere: ‘The Rainbow Valley: The Life and Work of Brother Everald Brown’, Jamaica Journal, 21/2 (May–June 1988), pp. 2–14G. Mosquera: ‘Everald Brown’, Ante América (exh. cat. by G. Mosquera and others, Bogotá, Banco de la República, 1992), pp. 25–30V. Poupeye: Caribbean Art...

Article

Robin A. Branstator

[Morten]

(d Copenhagen, 1553).

Danish sculptor and architect. His sculptural work shows a precocious awareness of early Renaissance art, suggesting that he trained in the workshop of Claus Berg in Odense. He first served Christian II, King of Denmark (reg 1512–23), as architect and sculptor and had settled in Copenhagen by 1523. His tombstone sculptures equal or surpass his architectural successes. The first in his series of gravestone reliefs was of Elisabeth of Habsburg (c. 1523; Copenhagen, Nmus.), Christian II’s queen, a pendant to an earlier representation of King John (1503; Copenhagen, Nmus.), sculpted by Adam van Düren. The limestone high relief had a conventional Gothic framework but hinted at Bussaert’s mature work in the more naturalistic folds of Elisabeth’s gown. After Christian II fled to the Netherlands in 1523, Bussaert elected to remain in Copenhagen in the employ of the newly crowned Frederick I (reg 1523–34). Frederick rewarded Bussaert well, naming him master builder in ...

Article

Alison Manges Nogueira

Monumental, marble paschal Candlestick of the late 12th to early 13th century with reliefs signed by Nicolaus de Angelo and Vassallettus now in S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. The imposing column (h. 5.6 m), adorned with six registers of reliefs and surmounted by a fluted candle holder, rests upon a base of sculpted lions, sphinxes, rams and female figures. The upper and lower reliefs bear vegetal and ornamental patterns while the three central registers portray Christ before Caiaphas, the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Pilate, Pilate Washing his Hands, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The culminating Easter scenes reflect the paschal candle’s function during the Easter season as a symbol of Christ resurrected, as evoked in an inscription on the base. A second fragmentary inscription refers to the unidentifiable patron’s desire for commemoration. A third inscription identifies Nicolaus de Angelo as the master sculptor and Petrus Vassallettus as playing a secondary role. Both were active in the second half of the 12th to the early 13th century and came from leading families of Roman sculptors: the Vassalletti and Cosmati (Nicolaus’s family). The candlestick is the only work signed by and securely attributed to Nicolaus and the scope of his contribution remains uncertain. A plausible theory attributes the base and first register to Petrus, based upon similarities to works signed by him and ascribed to his family, such as the cloister of S Giovanni in Laterano in Rome and the narthex of S Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Nicolaus probably executed the Christological scenes, distinguishable for their more dynamic, expressive figures and decorative chisel work, and appropriate for the master sculptor because of their centrality and significance. Early Christian sarcophagi and Carolingian ivories may have provided models for the figural types. This form of paschal candlestick was probably inspired by Roman columnar monuments carved with triumphal scenes....

Article

Gudrun Schmidt

German family of artists. The sculptor Emil Cauer the elder (b Dresden, 19 Nov 1800; d Bad Kreuznach, 4 Aug 1867) studied in Berlin under Christian Daniel Rauch. He taught art at Bonn University. At first he was more interested in painting, but then turned enthusiastically to sculpture. He settled in Bad Kreuznach in 1832. Much of his work comprises small genre scenes and figures taken from fairytales. He also modelled important figures from German history and the Reformation, such as Ulpich von Hutten and Philipp Melancthon, and characters from Shakespeare’s plays. His two sons, Carl Cauer (b Bonn, 14 Feb 1828; d Bad Kreuznach, 17 April 1885) and Robert Cauer the elder (b Dresden, 13 Feb 1831; d Kassel, 2 April 1893), both became successful sculptors. Carl was the most important member of the family. He trained with his father and then with ...

Article

Pedro Dias

[Manuel de Sousa]

(b Braga, c. 1650; d Tibães, 1716).

Portuguese sculptor. He was born to a family of craftsmen and later entered one of the many workshops of wood-carvers in Braga. In 1676, however, he entered the Benedictine order at its Portuguese mother house of Tibães, near Braga. Here he made statues and reliefs for the church of S Martinho. From this period date his St Benedict and St Gregory the Great and the relief of the Visitation, now in the Benedictine church, S Romão do Neiva. Between 1680 and 1683, during the abbotship of Frei João Osório, he made terracotta sculptures of the eight Virtues and the four Benedictine kings (Tibães, Sacristy), images that appear rather rigid and stereotyped.

Frei Cipriano da Cruz moved to Coimbra before July 1691, when it is recorded that he made the St Catherine in the chapel of the University of Coimbra. This contact with the main centre for sculpture in Portugal had a broadening effect on his art. His most important work outside Tibães is the group of serene and dignified sculptures (dispersed) that he made for the Colégio de S Bento (Benedict), Coimbra. This group includes his gilt and polychromed wooden ...

Article

Barbara Daentler

(b Wernfels-Theilenhofen, near Spalt, 1690; d Munich, March 24, 1753).

German sculptor. He was the son of a cabinetmaker. In 1712–13 he began his travels as a journeyman from Eichstätt, where he probably trained under the sculptor Christian Handschuher (fl c. 1699–1701). He visited Prague, where he met Matyás Václav Jäckel, and Italy. Around 1720 Dietrich settled near Munich and worked as an independent sculptor in turn for the court sculptor Anton Faistenberger and in the court joinery of Johann Adam Pichler (fl 1717–61). His first independent works that can be exactly dated—and the only signed ones—are two picture retable altars (1726–7) in the church at Schloss Urfarn near Reisach. The altar of the Fathers of the Church (c. 1739) at Diessen is one of the finest examples of Rococo sculpture in South Germany. Other notable works by Dietrich are the decoration of the frame altars and a Crucifix (1732) in the Hofmarkskirche at Schönbrunn; a reliquary altar (...