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Ingeborg Wikborg

(Sigurd)

(b Inderøy, Nord-Trøndelag, April 21, 1933).

Norwegian sculptor, designer and medallist. He became familiar with handicraft in his father’s furniture workshop. In 1954 he began five years’ study as a commercial artist at the Håndverks- og Kunstindustriskole in Oslo and from 1957 to 1963 he worked as an illustrator for a newspaper. He studied at the Kunstakademi in Oslo from 1959 to 1962 under the sculptor Per Palle Storm (1910–94) who advocated naturalism in sculpture. As an assistant to Arnold Haukeland from 1961 to 1964, Aas lost his apprehension of the untried and cultivated his sense of daring, as he gained experience with welding techniques. Highly imaginative and versatile, Aas worked in both abstract and figurative modes and is reckoned one of the foremost sculptors in Norway; in 1990 he was honoured with St Olav.

Aas’s first sculpture was an equestrian monument in snow, made in Inderøy while he was a schoolboy. His first public project was the abstract steel figure ...

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Philip Attwood

(b Amsterdam, 1608; d Amsterdam, 1684).

Dutch medallist. One of the foremost Dutch medallists of the 17th century, he was influential in developing a style that was more sculptural than before. Most of his medals consist of two silver plates of repoussé work, chased and joined together at the rim to create a hollow medal. This novel technique allowed the artist to create portraits in very high relief. His medals date from 1650 to 1678. One of the earliest, portrays on one side Prince Frederick Henry of Orange and on the other Prince Maurice of Orange. More usually, the reverses of his medals bear a coat of arms, as for example the medal commemorating the settlement of the disputes between William II of Orange and the States of Holland (1650). Here the reverse bears William’s armorial shield, a crown, and the English garter. The ground of the obverse is covered with orange branches in the manner typical of van Abeele and demonstrates his mastery of chasing. On his medal of ...

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J. G. Pollard and Rudolf-Alexander Schütte

Italian family of medallists and wax modellers, active in central Europe. (1) Antonio Abondio worked first in Italy and later for the imperial courts in Vienna and Prague. He worked in an eclectic style drawn from Italian and northern sources. His oeuvre consists principally of some 60 medals, though he also produced some wax portraits (13 of which survive) and a few plaquettes of religious and mythological themes. His son and pupil, (2) Alessandro Abondio, continued his father’s work at the imperial court, developing the genre of portraiture in wax. He also made figure subjects. Alessandro’s output was highly regarded by collectors.

H. Stoecklein: ‘Urkunden und Regesten: Alessandro Abondio’, Archiv für Medaillen- und Plakettenkunde, 1 (1913–14), pp. 42–7

J. G. Pollard

(b Riva del Garda, Trento, 1538; d Vienna, May 22, 1591).

He and Leone Leoni were the only Italian medallists to be highly successful as court ...

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Gordon Campbell

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Timothy Schroder

In 

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Jeffrey Chipps Smith

(b ?Munich, fl 1535; d Munich, 1567).

German sculptor, mason and medallist. In 1536 he became a master sculptor in Munich and shortly afterwards entered the service of Ludwig X, Duke of Bavaria. He moved to Landshut in 1537 to work on the construction of the Italian wing of the ducal Stadtresidenz. In 1555 he travelled to Neuburg an der Donau to oversee the shipment of stone for the palace’s chimneys. He was influenced by and may have assisted Thomas Hering, the sculptor of these chimneys (See under Hering, Loy). Also in 1555 he reverted to Munich citizenship.

The few surviving examples of his sculpture show him to have been an accomplished if somewhat derivative artist. Many seem to have been commissioned by Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, who paid him an annual salary from 1558 (and perhaps as early as 1551) to 1567. Aesslinger’s limestone reliefs (both 1550) of the Massacre of the Innocents...

Article

Hannelore Hägele

(b Nuremberg, May 6, 1813; d Nuremberg, Dec 25, 1882).

German sculptor. After an apprenticeship as a metal worker, having spent seven years as a journeyman in a silver-plating factory and having taught himself drawing and sculpting, he received a scholarship that allowed him to attend art school. In 1840 he met Christian Daniel Rauch who invited him to Berlin as his pupil, and there he was influenced by the prevalent Neo-classical style. However, his early works, such as the colossal figure of Christ that he carved in 1842 for the church in Dinkelsbühl, Mittelfranken, owe much to the tradition of the medieval sculptors of Nuremberg. In 1846 he founded his own workshop and in 1850 sculpted the much admired marble statuette of the actress Elisa Rachel (Berlin, Pfaueninsel). At the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 he won a commendation for his two medallions of the Prince and Princess of Prussia. During his long career Afinger produced 116 portraits in the form of medallions, busts and statuettes. He also carved a series of saints in sandstone for the ...

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Article

Ajouré  

Gordon Campbell

French term for openwork, used in the decorative arts principally with reference to metalwork, bookbinding and heraldry. In metalwork, it denotes the piercing or perforation of sheet metal, a practice found as early as the ancient Egyptian period. In bookbinding, the term ajouré binding refers to a style that emerged in late 15th-century Venice in which bindings were embellished with pierced or translucent patterns, typically open designs of foliage. In heraldry, an ...

Article

J. M. Rogers

[Muh‛ammad ibn al-Zayn; Ibn al-Zayn]

(fl early 14th century).

Arab metalworker. He is known from signatures on two undated inlaid wares, the Baptistère de St Louis (Paris, Louvre, LP 16, signed in six places) and the Vasselot Bowl (Paris, Louvre, MAO 331, signed once). His style is characterized by bold compositions of large figures encrusted with silver plaques on which details are elaborately chased. His repertory develops themes characteristic of later 13th-century metalwork from Mosul (see Islamic art, §IV, 3(ii) and (iii))—mounted or enthroned rulers, bands of running or prowling animals, an elaborate Nilotic composition, courtiers bearing insignia of office, and battle scenes on scroll grounds with strikingly naturalistic fauna. His work is marked by a realism of facial expression, in which Turco-Mongolian physiognomy, dress, headgear and even coiffure are prominent, and a vigour of movement, gesture or stance that enlivens and transforms even the running animals and rows of standing courtiers, some in Frankish costume. The technique and style of these pieces allow their attribution to the Bahri Mamluk period in Egypt and Syria (...

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....

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Peter Strieder

In 

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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....

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Rudolf-Alexander Schütte

In 

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Article

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 (...

Article

‛Ali  

S. J. Vernoit

[‛Alī; Ḥusayn ‛Alī]

(fl c. 1800–20).

Persian enamel painter. All of his work is associated with the patronage of the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834). ‛Ali signed his work with the title ghulām khānazād (‘slave born in the household’) signifying ‘artist in the royal service’. A jewelled nephrite dish (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus., Samml. Plastik & Kstgew., M3223) presented in 1819 by the Persian ambassador Abu’l-Hassan Khan to the Austrian emperor Francis I (reg 1792–1835) has a central gold plaque enamelled with a full-length portrait of Fath ‛Ali Shah (dated 1817–18), inspired by Mihr ‛Alis life-size oil portrait (Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.). Other objects enamelled by ‛Ali include an oval mirror with a carved jade handle (Tehran, Bank Markazi, Crown Jewels Col.); on the back is an enamel portrait of Fath ‛Ali Shah seated within a floral frame, probably the finest painted enamel in the collection (see Islamic art, §viii, 3...

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

Mark Firth and Louis Skoler

Silvery white metal. The third most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is found only in the form of its compounds, such as alumina or aluminium oxide. Its name is derived from alumen, the Latin name for alum, and in the 18th century the French word alumine was proposed for the oxide of the metal, then undiscovered. The name aluminium was adopted in the early 19th century and is used world-wide except in the USA, where the spelling is aluminum, and in Italy where alluminio is used. Following the discovery of processes for separating the metal from the oxide, at first experimentally in 1825, then commercially in 1854 and industrially in 1886–8, aluminium rapidly came to be valued as an adaptable material with both functional and decorative properties. Thus in addition to being used in engineering, transport, industrial design and household products, it was also widely adopted in architecture, sculpture and the decorative arts....

Article

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 ...