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Maria Adelaide Miranda

(fl first half of the 15th century).

Portuguese sculptor. He probably trained in the workshops of Batalha Abbey, where he absorbed the traditions of Coimbra, and he was the leading Portuguese sculptor of his time. In 1439–40 he worked on the tomb of Fernão de Góis in the church at Oliveira do Conde, where a Gothic inscription says that the work was carried out in 12 months by João Afonso, mestre de Sinos. The tomb is in the 14th-century tradition of Mestre Pêro and somewhat archaic in structure, comprising a chest borne by lions, with a recumbent figure on the cover and figures within aedicules at the sides. The treatment is more delicate than in most carving of the time; the arches and columns are slender and elegant, while the figures, with their animated poses and gracefully arranged drapery, are well modelled and show individual character. The same movement is found in the serene angels bearing the chalice in the ...

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Paul Davies and David Hemsoll

(b Genoa, Feb 14, 1404; d Rome, April 1472).

Italian architect, sculptor, painter, theorist and writer. The arts of painting, sculpture and architecture were, for Alberti, only three of an exceptionally broad range of interests, for he made his mark in fields as diverse as family ethics, philology and cryptography. It is for his contribution to the visual arts, however, that he is chiefly remembered. Alberti single-handedly established a theoretical foundation for the whole of Renaissance art with three revolutionary treatises, on painting, sculpture and architecture, which were the first works of their kind since Classical antiquity. Moreover, as a practitioner of the arts, he was no less innovative. In sculpture he seems to have been instrumental in popularizing, if not inventing, the portrait medal, but it was in architecture that he found his métier. Building on the achievements of his immediate predecessors, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, he reinterpreted anew the architecture of antiquity and introduced compositional formulae that have remained central to classical design ever since....

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(b c. 1398; d c. 1468).

Sculptor, possibly of Netherlandish or German origin (Sp. alemán: ‘German’), active in Spain. He worked on the Puerta de los Leones on the south transept of Toledo Cathedral, which was begun in 1452 under the direction of the Master of the Works, Hanequin de Bruselas. The portal is important because it establishes Netherlandish influence in Toledo from the middle of the 15th century. Juan Alemán collaborated on the portal with Egas Cueman and Francisco de la Cuevas, but he was given the commission for the most important sculptures: the statues of four Apostles, the three Marys and Nicodemus (for the embrasures) and twenty-four angel groups (for the archivolts). His style shows strong German influence, seen in the accentuated, metallic drapery folds, which impart strong chiaroscuro effects and add to the nobility of the stylized figures. The tympanum of the inner portal, depicting the Tree of Jesse, must also be by Juan Alemán; it includes the original iconographic motif of the tree sprouting from Jesse’s cheek. He probably carved the ...

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José María Azcárate Ristori

(fl 1485; d before 1512).

Spanish wood-carver. He was the most important wood-carver in Toledo in the last decade of the 15th century. His family name was probably Duque, because he is named Rodrigo Duque in a document of Sigüenza Cathedral (Guadalajara). He is first recorded in 1485 in connection with the lower choir-stalls of Toledo Cathedral, which were completed in 1495. The ornamental detail is carefully executed and shows Lower Rhenish stylistic characteristics. The unusual iconography of the 52 stalls represents events in the reconquest of Granada from the Moors, according to accounts of contemporary chroniclers (notably Fernando del Pulgar). The narrative is brisk and lively and enriched by the inclusion of realistic incidents. Alemán was next commissioned to execute the central section of the base of the high altar retable in Toledo Cathedral, which bears fine ornamental carving.

From 1497 Alemán worked simultaneously on the magnificent choir-stalls in the cathedrals of Plasencia (Cáceres) and Ciudad Rodrigo (Salamanca). The former include portraits of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and animated biblical scenes, while the latter are dominated by tracery. Alemán probably also provided designs or contributed to the initial stages of work on the choir-stalls of Zamora Cathedral. In ...

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Samo Štefanac

[Aleši, Andrija; Alexii, Andreas; Andrea di Niccolò da Durazzo]

(b Dürres, c. 1425; d Split, 1504).

Dalmatian sculptor and architect of Albanian birth. Although he is recorded in 1435 at Zadar as a pupil of Marco di Pietro da Troia, his most important artistic influence was the Late Gothic style of Giorgio da Sebenico, with whom he worked in 1445 on Šibenik Cathedral and in 1452 at Ancona on the Loggia dei Mercanti. Between 1448 and 1460 Alessi also controlled his own workshop at Split and Rab. In 1466 he began work on his masterpiece, the baptistery at Trogir, which was finished in 1467. The chapel is rectangular in plan, covered with a barrel vault with acute angled coffers; its richly decorated interior is an eclectic blend of Late Gothic and Renaissance elements. The sculpture shares these characteristics: the Baptism of Christ over the entrance, with its elongated figures and complex drapery patterns, derives from Giorgio da Sebenico’s mannered style, while St Jerome in the Desert...

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Richard Schofield and Janice Shell

(b Pavia, c. 1447; d Milan, Aug 28, 1522).

Italian sculptor and architect. He was principally active in Bergamo, Cremona, Milan and Pavia. His professional success, in terms of the architectural and sculptural commissions and official appointments that he received, was far greater than that of any of his contemporaries in Lombardy in the late 15th century, including Bramante. Amadeo’s influence in both fields, for example in his use of all’antica ornament of local origin, was considerable.

He was trained as a sculptor and evidently apprenticed to Francesco Solari (fl 1464–71) in Milan and at the Certosa di Pavia (see Pavia, §2, (i)). In 1466 Amadeo assisted in the decoration of the large cloister of the Certosa and was apparently responsible for the terracotta lavabo in the small cloister. His first signed work, directly influenced by the Late Gothic style of Solari, is the carved portal in the small cloister with a lunette of the ...

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[Annichini; Nichini; Nichino]

Italian family of gem-engravers. Francesco Anichini (b Bagnacavallo, fl 1449–1526; d ?1545), active in Ferrara, was highly praised by his contemporaries, including Vasari and Jacopo Tagliacarne (fl late 15th century). He was also criticized for being self-willed and slow-working. From 1492 to 1497 he is recorded as having worked for Isabella d’Este, Marchioness of Mantua, who referred to him in a letter as ‘il migliore maestro d’Italia’. Documents indicate that Francesco supplied her in 1492 with a turquoise Head of a Child, some rubies and a cameo, in 1494 with gems for rings and in 1496 with two turquoises with figures of Orpheus and Victory, after a design by the Marchioness, and a gem with a symbolic emblem (all untraced). For a physician from Ferrara, Francesco carved a glow-worm in lapis lazuli (untraced) in such a way that the natural gold veins of the stone appeared as the luminous parts of the insect’s body. In ...

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Antico  

Charles Avery

[Alari-Bonacolsi, Pier Jacopo di Antonio]

(b Mantua, c. 1460; d Gazzuolo, 1528).

Italian sculptor. An expert in goldsmith work, bronze sculpture and medals, he earned his nickname ‘Antico’ because of his ‘astonishing penetration of antiquity’ (Nesselrath). He achieved lasting fame through his small-scale re-creations (often also reinterpretations) of famous, but often fragmentary, statues of antiquity (e.g. the Apollo Belvedere, Rome, Vatican, Mus. Pio-Clementino, and the Spinario, Rome, Mus. Conserv.). Most of these bronze statuettes were made for the Gonzaga family, notably for Ludovico, Bishop of Mantua, and for Isabella d’Este, wife of Francesco II Gonzaga, 4th Marchese of Mantua. Antico also restored ancient marble statues and acted as an adviser to collectors.

A birth date of 1460 has been calculated on the basis of Antico’s earliest recorded commission (1479), and he is presumed to have been born in Mantua because his father, a butcher, owned a house there and he himself was granted the privilege of owning a stall in the meat market by Federico I Gonzaga, 3rd Marchese of Mantua. A training as a goldsmith is inferred from the fact that he began as a medallist in relief and in intaglio. In addition, he is documented (see below) as the maker of a pair of silver gilt vases and later demonstrated great skill at casting and chasing bronze statuettes, and at gilding and inlaying them with silver. His restoration of antique marble statues also implies an expertise in working that material, but nothing is known of how he acquired this skill....

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Hanno-Walter Kruft

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Shelley E. Zuraw

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Heribert Meurer

(fl 1460; d Zwolle, 1492).

Netherlandish sculptor. He is first mentioned in Kalkar (Germany) in 1460, moving to Zwolle (Netherlands) in 1484. In records he is always given the professional title ‘Beeldesnider’ (sculptor). His style was influenced by the paintings of Weyden, van der family, §1 and by the sculpture of Utrecht (stone sculpture in the cathedral and works by Adriaen van Wesel); some connections with painting in the Duchy of Guelders have also been established. His main extant works are sculptures in oak, many of which were commissioned by the Liebfrauenbruderschaft (Brotherhood of the Virgin) in Kalkar, St Nikolai.

Documented works are the Entombment, delivered to Kalkar from Zwolle in 1487, and the design and some parts of the high altar in Kalkar, which was commissioned in 1490 but remained unfinished at his death. The Ymago Salvatoris, delivered to Xanten in 1476, may also be Arnt’s work and may be identical with the Ascension...

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Phyllis Pray Bober

(b Bologna, 1474–5; d Bologna, Nov 19, 1552).

Italian painter, sculptor, illuminator, printmaker and draughtsman . He was born into a family of painters, and his youthful facility reportedly astonished his contemporaries. His work developed in the Emilian–Ferrarese tradition of Ercole de’ Roberti, Lorenzo Costa the elder and, above all, Francesco Francia. Until the re-evaluation by Longhi, critical assessment of Amico’s oeuvre was over-reliant on literary sources, especially Vasari’s unsympathetic account of an eccentric, half-insane master working so rapidly with both hands (the ‘chiaro’ in one, the ‘scuro’ in the other) that he was able to finish decorating an entire house façade in one day.

Longhi presented Amico as a creative master whose expressive intensity and sensitive use of colour rescued Bolognese painting of the early 16th century from sterile echoes of Raphael. Today Aspertini is viewed as an influential precursor of Mannerism, and his highly individual study of antiquity has been brought to the fore by the publication of his sketchbooks. Amico was not a mere imitator of ancient artists, but their imaginative rival, whether in his grotesques derived from the decorations of Nero’s Domus Aurea in Rome (e.g. the Parma sketchbook and the borders of his ...

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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....