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Artistic manifestations of Arthurian legends antedate surviving textual traditions and sometimes bear witness to stories that have not survived in written form. Thus the Tristan sculptures (c. 1102–17) carved on a column from the north transept of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela show that the story was in circulation at least a generation before the earliest surviving written text was composed. The one surviving manuscript of Béroul’s Tristan is unillustrated, while the fragments of Thomas’s version include a single historiated initial showing Tristan playing the harp (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Fr. d. 16, fol. 10). Although Eilhart von Oberge’s Tristrant, composed in the late 12th century, is the earliest version of the Tristan story to survive complete, the only surviving illustrated copy dates from the 15th century (c. 1465–75; Heidelberg, UBib., Cpg 346), while the Munich manuscript of Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan was made in south Germany ...


Debra Higgs Strickland

Richly illustrated bestiary manuscript (275×185mm, 105 fols; Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Ashmole 1511), written in Latin and illuminated probably in southern England around 1210. The original patron is unknown. It contains the text and illustrations of a complete bestiary, with prefatory Creation scenes and excerpts from Genesis and part of Hugh de Folieto’s Aviarium (Book of Birds). It is a luxury manuscript with lavish use of gold leaf, sometimes tooled, in the backgrounds of the full-page miniatures and numerous smaller framed animal ‘portraits’. Its images are especially notable for their ornamental qualities, evident in both the pictorial compositions and a wide variety of geometric framing devices. The prefatory cycle includes a full-page miniature of Adam Naming the Animals. The Ashmole Bestiary is considered a ‘sister’ manuscript to the Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen, U. Lib., MS. 24), to which it is iconographically very closely related, but owing to major stylistic differences the two manuscripts have been attributed to different artists. The chronological relationship between the two has been disputed: based on proposed workshop methods, Muratova (...


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....


Charles Buchanan

Type of large-format Bible, usually found in pandect (single-volume) form, produced in central Italy and Tuscany from around 1060 to the middle of the 12th century. They came out of the efforts of a reformist papacy intent on wresting control over ecclesiastical investiture from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Giant Bibles were produced in reformed canonries and monasteries and then exported to the same, not only in Italy but throughout Europe.

The term ‘Atlantic’ (from the mythological giant Atlas) is derived from their impressive size; dimensions range from 550 to 600 mms by 300 to 400 mms. Their script, derived from Caroline minuscule, is placed in two columns of around fifty-five lines. The texts are decorated with two initial types, which Edward B. Garrison designated as ‘geometrical’ and ‘full shaft’, both of which are derived from Carolingian and Ottonian exemplars, respectively. The iconography consists of full-length prophets, patriarchs, kings and saints as well as narrative scenes. The last are at times found as full-page cyclical illuminations and preface important textual divisions, especially Genesis. The iconography of the Giant Bibles is a specific Roman iconographical recension with its sources based in part on Early Christian pictorial cycles, such as the wall paintings of Old St Peter’s in Rome. These came from an era considered by the reformers to have been uncorrupted by the abuses that afflicted the Church when these Bibles were being made. While the Giant Bibles were promulgated by the Church of Rome as a symbol of its supreme authority, they also allowed the clergy to perform the liturgy, and the Divine Office in particular, properly....


Joan Stanley-Baker

[ Chao Po-chü ; zi Qianli]

(b Zhuo xian, Hebei Province, before 1123; d 1160–73).

Chinese painter . His paintings of landscapes, figures, flowers, fruit and birds apparently ranged in size and format from large screens to handscrolls, album leaves and fans. The critic Zhao Xigu ( fl 1180–1240) considered Zhao Boju the best of all Southern Song (1127–1279) painters. However, no authentic work by Zhao Boju survives, leaving the question of his style open to interpretation.

Zhao Boju and his younger brother, Zhao Bosu, also a painter, were 7th-generation descendants of the founder of the Song dynasty (960–1279), Emperor Taizu (reg 960–75). When Emperor Gaozong (reg 1127–62) was presented with a fan painting done by Zhao Boju, he was enormously pleased. On meeting Zhao in person and discovering him to be a kinsman, he addressed him as ‘royal cousin’ and assigned him the title of Military Commander of the eastern Zhejiang circuit, an office the short-lived Zhao held until his death. The Emperor commissioned Zhao to paint the screens for the hall called the Jiying dian and is known often to have inscribed Zhao’s works....


Richard Edwards

[ Yang Pu-chih ; zi Wujiu ; hao Taochan Laoren, Qingyi Zhangzhe ]

(b Qingjiang, Jiangxi Province, 1098; d after 1167).

Chinese painter . Although documented primarily as a painter of plum blossom, he is also reported to have specialized in the human figure and to have painted bamboo, pine trees, rocks and narcissus. Xia Wenyan, writing in 1365, noted Yang’s personal integrity in refusing to serve the government of the Song dynasty (960–1279) because of its policy of appeasement towards the Jurchen, a nomadic people who conquered northern China and ruled as the Jin dynasty (1115–1234). Yang was one of the earliest exponents of the tradition of painting plum blossom in monochrome ink, subject-matter approved of by the literati painters whose ideals dominated painting of the following Yuan period (1279–1368). He was preceded by the Chan Buddhist priest Zhongren (d 1123), whose paintings define the shape of the blossoms solely in ink wash. In contrast, Yang created the circled petal (quanban) technique wherein the flexibility of the brush hairs is employed to outline the shape of the whole flower. In placing greater emphasis on control of the brush, Yang brought the genre closer to calligraphy, the most scholarly of the Chinese arts. The only securely attributed example of Yang’s painting that survives is ...


In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...


Roderick Whitfield

[ Yen Tz’u-p’ing ]

( fl 1163–89).

Chinese painter . He was the son of an Academy painter, Yan Zhong, originally from Shanxi Province; Yan Zhong served under Emperor Huizong (reg 1101–25) and moved south to serve under Emperor Gaozong (reg 1127–62). Yan Ciping served as daizhao (‘painter in attendance’) under the latter and his successor Xiaozong (reg 1163–90). Together with his brother, Yan Ciyu, he painted landscapes, figures and buffaloes, surpassing his father’s achievement. Towards the end of his career, Emperor Xiaozong rewarded him with distinctions and official positions. Both Yan Ciping and Yan Ciyu (album leaves by whom are in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the National Palace Museum, Taipei) are regarded as having made an important contribution to the transformation of landscape painting begun by Li Tang (see Edwards).

Yan Ciping’s work is known from a few paintings only. One is a signed circular fan painting, Villa by the Pine Path...


Li Di  

Henrik H. Sørensen

[Li Ti]

(b Qiantang, near Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, c. 1125; d c. 1200).

Chinese painter. He was probably born around the time of the fall of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), after which the Song court moved to Lin’an (modern Hangzhou). Li Di’s activity as a court painter is documented in a small number of dated works from the period 1174–97. According to the Huaji buyi (‘Supplement to the succession of painters’; 1298), attributed to Zhuang Su (fl late 13th century), he worked in the Imperial Painting Academy under three emperors from 1163 until his death and is said to have served as the assistant director (fushi). Although he is known primarily for his paintings of flowers, bamboo and various animals, including birds, he also painted landscapes with figures in the style of the Northern Song academy. Surviving works ascribed to him include a number of album leaves as well as some painted fans; his favoured media were ink and colours on silk....


Kathryn B. Gerry

Extensively illuminated triple psalter (460×330 mm; Cambridge, Trinity Coll., MS. R.17.1) made at Christ Church, Canterbury, in the 1150s with material added in the 1160s. Modelled in part on the Utrecht Psalter (Utrecht, Bib. Rijksuniv., MS. 32). The Eadwine Psalter contains three Latin versions of the psalms in parallel columns: Gallicanum (accompanied by a Latin gloss), Romanum (with interlinear Old English translation), and Hebraicum (with interlinear Anglo-Norman translation). Each psalm is accompanied by a tinted drawing, tituli, preface and collect; the text of the psalms is followed by a prayer naming the scribe Eadwine (fol. 262r), and several canticles and creeds. The manuscript also includes a calendar and other prefatory texts (fols 1r–5v), a marginal note related to a comet (fol. 10r), texts on divination (fols 282r, 282v), a portrait of Eadwine (fol. 283v), and a plan of the monastic compound of Christ Church and its waterworks (fols 284...


Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...


G. I. Vzdornov

(fl second half of the 12th century-early 13th).

Russian painter and priest. The epithet ‘Grechin’, which suggests that Olisey may have been of Greek origin, appeared on three birch-bark texts found on the artist’s estate in Novgorod (nos 502, 549 and 558). He produced icons on commission, as indicated by letters addressed to him: ‘Paint me two six-winged angels on two icons for the top row of a Deësis’ and ‘Be here with the icons of seraphim by St Peter’s Day’. Olisey is now thought to have been the wall painter who decorated the church of the Protective Veil of the Mother of God (1196; destr.) above the gates of the Novgorod kremlin. Numerous objects linked with the painter’s craft and large supplies of paints for use in wall painting were found on the artist’s estate, which may imply that Olisey contributed to the wall paintings (1199; almost all destr. 1941–3) in the Church of the Saviour (Spas) on Nereditsa Hill....


Xia Gui  

Richard Edwards

[Hsia Kuei; zi Yuyu]

(b Lin’an [modern Hangzhou], Zhejiang Province; fl c. 1195–c. 1235).

Chinese painter. Xia Gui and his close contemporary Ma Yuan are considered the two greatest painters of the Southern Song (1127–1279) Academy (see China, People’s Republic of, §V, 4, (i), (c)). They established the Ma–Xia style, a term that came to describe not merely their own work but an entire aesthetic.

Early writers provide little biographical information about Xia Gui. Zhou Mi, in his account of the Southern Song capital Lin’an (c. 1280), included both Xia and Ma Yuan in a list of ten painters under the heading Yuqian huayuan (‘Art academy in the imperial presence’). Zhuang Su wrote (1298) that Xia was a zhihou (usher) in the Academy under Emperor Lizong (reg 1225–64) and that he painted landscapes and figures. This is partly corroborated by the deciphering of a seal belonging to Lizong’s empress, Xie, on a handscroll of Twelve Views of Landscape...


Richard Edwards

[Su Han-ch’en]

(fl c. Lin’an [modern Hangzhou], Zhejiang Province, 1131–c. 1170).

Chinese painter. Su may originally have come from northern China, for the compiler Xia Wenyan claimed that Su was from Bianliang (modern Kaifeng), in Henan Province, the Northern Song (960–1127) capital, and that he served in Emperor Huizong’s Hanlin Painting Academy there from 1119 to 1125, learning figure painting from a court painter, Liu Zonggu. Xia noted that subsequent to the Jin conquest in 1125 and the removal of the court to the south, sometime after 1131 Su was reinstated at Lin’an, the Southern Song (1127–1279) capital (see China, People’s Republic of §V 4., (i), (c)). In 1163, after painting a Buddha image for Emperor Xiaozong (reg 1163–1190), Su was elevated to the rank of chengxin lang (‘Gentleman of trust’). However, Zhuang Su claimed that Su Hanchen was from Qiantang (the Hangzhou area), mentioned only the position of zhihou (usher) and gave no dates, nor any hint of emperors served. These somewhat contradictory accounts at least concur in suggesting that Su reached full maturity in Hangzhou under Emperor ...


Julia K. Murray

[Ma Ho-chih]

(fl Qiantang, Lin’an [now Hangzhou], Zhejiang Province, c. second half of 12th century).

Chinese painter. A painter of classical themes at the Southern Song (1127–1279) court in Lin’an, modern Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, Ma was known for his distinctive brushwork, marked by variations in hand pressure. However, the details of his life are obscure; sparse and contradictory information appears in different sources. A native of the Hangzhou area, Ma probably came from a humble family and did not interact with prominent men of letters, whose occasional poems and other writings might otherwise have mentioned his name.

Zhuang Su records that Ma studied for the national-level civil service examination to gain the title of jinshi and that he rose to become an executive in the Board of Works. A competing tradition, originating with a list of court painters compiled by the connoisseur Zhou Mi (1232–98), places Ma in the Imperial Academy rather than among educated officials working in the esteemed literati painting tradition (...


Mary S. Lawton


(b Tianshui, Gansu Province, 1082; reg 1101–26; d Wuguocheng, Yilan, Heilongjiang Province, 1135). Chinese ruler and painter. The last emperor of the Northern Song period (960–1127), he was the 11th son of the emperor Shenzong (reg 1068–85). Huizong is considered to be the only accomplished artist in a line of emperors who all shared an interest in the arts. The fall of the Northern Song dynasty is usually attributed to Huizong’s neglect of his official duties in favour of religious and cultural pursuits. This preoccupation is described in miscellaneous notes of Deng Chun (fl 1127–67) in the Hua ji (‘Painting continued’; 1167) and by Tang Hou (fl 1322) in the Gujin huajian (‘Mirror of past and present painting’; 1320s), as well as in later chronicles such as the Tuhui baojian (‘Precious mirror for examining painting’; preface dated 1365) by Xia Wenyan....


Yi Sŏng-mi

[cha Misu ; childhood name Tŭggok ]

(b Inch-on, Kyŏnggi Province, 1152; d 1220).

Korean literati painter, calligrapher and writer . He wrote the P’ahanjip (Chin. Poxian ji: ‘Breaking the doldrums’), a collection of poems and miscellaneous stories in the sihwa (Chin. shihua) literary genre. Active in the Koryŏ period (918–1392), he was born into a well-to-do family; he became a monk but soon abandoned the religious life, passing the civil service examination in 1180. Because of his literary talent and excellence in calligraphy, he served in the Office of Compilation of History. None of his painting or calligraphy has survived, but he was supposed to have excelled in the cursive and clerical scripts and learned ink bamboo painting from An Ch’i-min, another literati painter of the Koryŏ period. According to a poem written by him on his own ink bamboo painting and recorded in the P’ahanjip, he considered himself an incarnation of Wen Tong , the Chinese ink bamboo painter of the Northern Song period (...


Karen L. Brock

A school of Japanese painters, active from the 9th century to the 15th, often credited with originating a truly Japanese painting style known as Yamatoe (see Japan §VI 3., (iii)). The genealogy of Kose painters (compiled in 1472) claims the Heian period (ad 794–1185) court painter ...


Alison Stones

Legends and myths in medieval art are often symbolic rather than narrative, appearing as isolated representations on monuments and portable objects and following the tradition of Greek vase painting where individual subjects are depicted and rely on prior knowledge of the stories for recognition and understanding. World histories celebrated great heroes of the past, starting with Creation and biblical history, then the ancient and medieval world with the exploits of the Trojan heroes, Alexander the Great, King Arthur and the campaigns of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland. Northern gods such as Thor were depicted in cult statues (c. 1000; Reykjavík, N. Mus.) or through such ornamental hammers as those from north Jutland in the Copenhagen Nationalmuseum, and Freya, head of the Valkyries, was painted riding a cat on the walls of Schleswig Cathedral.

The Fall of Troy is most celebrated in the early 13th-century copy of Heinrich von Veldecke’s ...


Patricia Stirnemann

Encyclopedia compiled in the early 12th century by Lambert of Saint-Omer, a canon of the collegiate church of Notre-Dame. Lambert compiled, wrote, and illustrated the original Liber Floridus (Ghent, Bib. Rijksuniv., MS. 92), which he finished it in 1120 or 1121, having consulted nearly 100 sources. There are ten remaining copies of the encyclopaedia, ranging in date from 1121 to the 16th century, as well as three related manuscripts; all are from north France or Flanders. Every copy of the Ghent manuscript omits, rearranges, and adds texts. Eight are extensively illuminated. Lambert’s work moves in a somewhat disorderly fashion from the Creation to the Last Judgement, containing notes on such matters as astronomy, cosmography, geography, beasts, heresy, history, lists of popes and potentates, the First Crusade and local history, as well as the plants in the Song of Songs. The manuscript originally had over 70 miniatures and numerous diagrams. The 12th-century copy in Wolfenbüttel (Herzog August Bib., Cod. Gudeanus lat. 1) is from Hainault; the one in Paris (Bib. N., MS. lat. 8865) was made in the mid-13th century for the Charterhouse at Montdieu, while the one at Leiden (Bib. Rijksuniv., Voss. lat. fol. 31), which comes from the royal Parisian Charterhouse of Vauvert, was made around ...