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[Jehan; Giovanni]

(fl 1382–1411).

Writer, active in Paris. Between 1382 and 1410 he travelled to Italy on a number of occasions, where he collected recipes for the manufacture of pigments and other techniques from the artists that he met. He also borrowed manuals or handbooks on the washing, purifying and grinding of colours to assist him in his research. In 1431 his collection of recipes was obtained by Jehan Le Bègue (1368–after 1431), a licentiate in the law and notary to the Master of the Mint in Paris. Le Bègue copied out the recipes in his own hand and incorporated them in two sections (De coloribus diversis modis tractatur and De diversis coloribus) into a collection of texts discussing the practice of painting, entitled Experimenta de coloribus (Paris, Bib. N., MS. 6741), first published in 1849 (trans. M. Merrifield). Le Bègue’s compilation begins with a glossary of terms, mostly taken from Alcherius and the ...


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....


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 ...


Libby Karlinger Escobedo

Illustrated manuscript (Chantilly, Mus. Condé, MS. 597/1424) of the Inferno by Dante Alighieri, probably made in Pisa c. 1345. Dante’s Inferno is the first part of his Divine Comedy, written sometime between 1308 and 1321, in which Dante himself, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, travels through the nine circles of Hell, encountering a variety of notable historical figures guilty of the various sins associated with each successive level. The many surviving manuscripts attest to the popularity of the text; more than 600 copies survive from the 14th century alone, including the Chantilly manuscript.

The Chantilly manuscript contains the Inferno as well as a Latin commentary on the text by Guido da Pisa. Most of the manuscript’s 55 miniatures accompany the commentary, though their iconography is drawn from the Inferno itself. The Chantilly manuscript is among the earliest illustrated copies of the Inferno and the only known illustrated copy of Guido da Pisa’s commentary. The manuscript includes the arms of the ...


A. Wallert

Medieval treatise and the most important source on the techniques of manuscript illumination (see Manual, manuscript). The manuscript (Naples, Bib. N., MS. XII.E.27) has no title or signature and was entitled De arte illuminandi by its first editor, Demetrio Salazaro. Containing recipes for the making, preparation and mixing of pigments and colorants, it is a simple and well-organized manual, clearly composed for teaching the illuminator’s craft. It describes consecutively the colours, gold, the temperas and various applications. Unlike most other medieval technical sources, De arte illuminandi is not a compilation of earlier treatises. The manuscript was probably written in southern Italy and dates from the end of the 14th century. No other copies of this text are known.

D. Salazaro: L’arte de la miniatura nel secolo XIV (Naples, 1877)A. Lecoy de la Marche: L’Art d’enluminer (Paris, 1890)D. V. Thompson and G. H. Hamilton: An Anonymous Fourteenth-century Treatise, ‘De arte illuminandi’: The Technique of Manuscript Illumination...


Catherine Harding

(b Lomello, Dec 24, 1296; d Avignon, c. 1354).

Italian parish priest, manuscript illuminator and scholar. His drawings explored the connections between vision, reason and spirituality. In particular, he was drawn to the idea of training the ‘inner eye’ of reason, and he hoped that his images would provide tools for spiritual discernment. He worked as a schoolmaster and priest until 1329, when he fled Pavia for political reasons and entered the papal court in Avignon. One year later, he was employed as a scribe in the office of the papal penitentiary.

He produced two illuminated works, both of which are untitled (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Pal. lat. 1993 and Vat. lat. 6435). The former, known simply as the Palatinus manuscript, encompasses 52 large individual parchment sheets drawn in pen and ink with images on both sides; they feature schematic compositions that combine portolan charts, zodiacs, calendars and human figures, to form complex composite images. The second work, the Vaticanus manuscript, is done in pen and ink on paper and is more of an author’s daybook, collecting thoughts, meditations and images on a variety of topics. His work was not known until the publication of the Palatinus manuscript by R. G. Salomon in ...


Qingli Wan and Chu-Tsing Li

[Huang Kung-wang; zi Zijiu; hao Yifeng, Dachi, Jingxi Daoren]

(b Changshu, Jiangsu Province, 1269; d Changshu, 1354).

Chinese painter. He was designated one of the Four Masters of the Yuan, together with Ni Zan, Wu Zhen and Wang Meng. Born into a family named Lu, he was orphaned when very young. The impoverished Lu family had him adopted when he was seven or eight by a Mr Huang of Yongjia, Zhejiang Province, who was living in Changshu at the time. Since Huang was about 90 years old and without male offspring, the names Huang Gongwang and Zijiu were chosen, which together mean ‘Mr Huang has desired a son for a long time’.

Huang Gongwang received a good education, and some documents suggest that he was a child prodigy. In his youth, he served as a legal clerk in the Office of Surveillance in western Zhejiang Province and was put in charge of matters related to the collection of land taxes for helping poor peasants. In 1315, when he was working in Beijing at the Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Imperial Censor, Zhang Lu, he was imprisoned for alleged involvement in mishandling of land taxes in Zhejiang. A plan to collect taxes that Zhang proposed to the court in fact had been undermined by rich landowners and corrupt officials; later, when Zhang was cleared, Huang was released. As a result of this Huang decided to give up official life, changing his name to Yifeng (‘One Peak’)....



Daniel Rico

Spanish provincial capital, to the north of Saragossa in Aragón. Known in pre-Roman Iberia as Bolskan and as Osca under the Romans, it was the seat of the Quintus Sertorius government, a municipium (free town) since the time of Augustus and a bishopric under the Visigoths. During the period of Muslim domination from the 8th to the 11th centuries, the town, known as Wasqa, became a defensive settlement with a city wall stretching for more than 1.8 km, of which some sections still remain. Although the city was recovered by the Christians in 1096 and the episcopal see restored the following year, the architectural transformation of Huesca was not immediate. During the 12th century only two edifices of any real importance were constructed. One of these was the Benedictine monastery of S Pedro el Viejo, of which three Romanesque structures have survived: the church—a simple construction which nevertheless has two interesting tympana carved by sculptors from Jaca; a small chapel, possibly inherited from the Mozarab community in the 11th century, which was used as the Chapter House and then as a funeral chapel; and a cloister decorated around ...



Harriet Sonne de Torrens

Mainland peninsula of modern-day Denmark and one of the three provinces (Jutland, Zealand and Skåne, southern Sweden) that constituted medieval Denmark. The conversion of the Danes to Christianity initiated a reorganization of the economic, social and legal structures of Denmark that would change the shape of Jutland dramatically between the 11th and 14th centuries. Under Knut the Great, King of Denmark and England (reg 1019–35), Jutland acquired a stable diocesan system (1060) that enabled a systematic collection of tithes and the growth of religious institutions between 1050 and 1250. During this period, agricultural practices changed as manor houses and landed estates were established, producing wealth for the ruling families. Under Valdemar I (reg 1157–82) and Knut VI (reg 1182–1202), Jutland witnessed a great building activity; on Jutland more than 700 stone churches were constructed, some replacing earlier wooden churches, each needing liturgical furnishings. Workshops, such as that of the renowned sculptor Horder and many others, were actively engaged in carving stone baptismal fonts (e.g. Malt, Skodborg, Ut, Stenild), capitals, reliefs (Vestervig, Aalborg) and tympana (Gjøl, Ørsted, Stjaer, Skibet), wooden cult figures, Jutland’s golden altars (Lisbjerg, Sahl, Stadil, Tamdrup) and wall paintings. Evidence of the earliest wall paintings in Jutland, ...


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 ...


Kate Wilson

Lineage of Chinese landscape painting defined in the late 16th century and early 17th by the critics and theorists Dong Qichang, Chen Jiru and Mo Shilong (c.1538–87). The Northern school is seen as opposed to the Southern school. Dong Qichang and his contemporaries sought to rejuvenate painting by studying correct ancient models and identified the two schools as the main painting traditions, positioning major artists of the past within one or the other. The terms Northern and Southern relate not to geographical areas but to a division in Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhism. Thus artists of the Northern school are associated with the Northern division of Chan, which holds that enlightenment is gradual and achieved through diligent application. This is not to suggest that Northern school artists were necessarily followers of Chan Buddhism; rather, their approach to painting was, in the opinion of the theorists, analogous with the courtly, instructional teaching of Northern Chan. The analogy applies both to the artists’ manner of working and to their style of painting....



Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. Ravello has been documented as an urban centre since the 10th century and as a bishopric since 1087. The centre, near the Toro quarter, is high up between the two rivers that separate the city from Scala and Minori. The city’s fortifications were damaged and the city itself was sacked by a Pisan assault in 1135 and in 1137. At the end of the 14th century, its inhabitants also clashed with the neighbouring city of Scala. In the 13th century a mercantile oligarchy with power throughout all of Sicily and close relations to the Crown took control of the city, celebrated in Boccaccio’s Decameron (II.4), and enriched it with numerous monuments and artworks.

The cathedral, dedicated to S Pantaleone, dates to 1087 but was extensively altered in the late 18th century. The cathedral has three naves and the façade has three portals—the central one has a bronze door (...



Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. According to the 10th-century Chronicon Salernitanum, where it is referred to as Cama, Scala is the oldest centre along the entire Amalfi coast and has its origins in Late Antiquity. However, documentary proof that the city existed is only available from the beginning of the 10th century. Throughout history it has been home to a commercial aristocracy with commercial and political power throughout the entire Kingdom of Sicily. The Sasso and d’Afflitto families stood out from others in this group. Monasteries have been recorded in the city from the 10th century and it was under the control of the Duchy of Amalfi for the entire medieval period.

The settlement is characterized by numerous villages, such as Pontone and Minuta, which are found high up in the mountains behind Amalfi as well as in front of Ravello . Although the city is defended by a series of fortifications, it was damaged and sacked by a Pisan assault in ...


Jan Białostocki

[Ger.: ‘special Gothic’]. Term first used by some German art historians to describe Late Gothic German art, mostly architecture. In 1913 the German art historian Kurt Gerstenberg published Deutsche Sondergotik, in which he considered the Late Gothic style in architecture as the German version of Gothic. In his concept this German ‘special’ Gothic was chiefly characterized by the widespread use of the Hall church (Ger. Hallenkirche) in which the nave and the aisles are of equal height: therefore the chronological extent of Sondergotik was the same as that in which the hall-church type was used, that is c. 1350–1550.

Gerstenberg believed that if High Gothic were a French creation, Sondergotik was a German development, and that it paraded qualities that characterize German conceptions of architecture. He found ‘irrational’ features in the formal character of Sondergotik that he thought corresponded to the ‘irrationality’ of the German spirit in general. The substitution in many cases of the hall church for the basilica meant that in German architecture the clear articulation of space had been abandoned. In contrast to the earlier clearly defined spatial units, the interior was unified into a whole. In the German Late Gothic buildings described by Gerstenberg as representing ...


Kate Wilson

Lineage of Chinese landscape painting defined in the late 16th century and the early 17th by the critics and theorists Dong Qichang, Chen Jiru and Mo Shilong (c. 1538–87). The Southern school is seen as opposed to the Northern school. Dong Qichang and his contemporaries positioned major artists of the past within one or the other school. The artists of the Southern school are associated with the Southern Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhist concept of the individual self as the key to sudden and intuitive enlightenment. This is not to suggest that Southern school artists were necessarily followers of Chan Buddhism, but that their approach to the creative process of painting and the styles they adopted were in keeping with the Southern Chan emphasis on direct personal experience. Dong Qichang advocated the Southern school as the ‘correct line of transmission’ in painting, and this view has acted as a filter for subsequent Chinese art history. In the Qing period (...


Sheila R. Canby

[Mīr ‛Alī ibn Ḥasan al-Tabrīzī al-Sulṭānī]

(fl c. 1340–1420).

Persian calligrapher. He is acknowledged as the inventor of nasta‛līq, a fluid, rhythmic and curvilinear script, but his life and identity are shrouded in confusion. In a treatise by the Timurid calligrapher Sultan ‛Ali Mashhadi, Mir ‛Ali is mentioned as a contemporary of the poet Khwaju Khujandi (d 1400), an older contemporary of the poet Hafiz (1325–90). Two calligraphers named Mir ‛Ali Tabrizi were active in the late 14th century: Mir ‛Ali ibn Ilyas, who worked for the last Jalayirid ruler of Baghdad, Ahmad ibn Uways (reg 1382–1410), and Mir ‛Ali ibn Hasan al-Sultani, described by his most famous student Ja‛far Baysunghuri as the ‘inventor of the archetype’, namely nasta‛līq script. The only surviving example of Mir ‛Ali’s hand is an incomplete manuscript (Washington, DC, Freer) of Nizami’s Khusraw and Shirin copied at Tabriz. The date of the manuscript is lost, but the style of its fine paintings, which are contemporary with the text, suggests it was copied between ...


Doris Fletcher

(b Villa di S Procolo, nr Florence, c. 1325; d Florence, c. 1405).

Italian historian, lawyer, and administrator. He was Chancellor of the Commune of Perugia from 1376 to 1381. He gave public lectures (1401–4) on Dante in Florence and wrote a Latin commentary on Inferno i. After the death of his father, Matteo Villani ( fl c. 1285–1363), he added a volume covering the year 1364 to the Cronica, a work that his uncle, Giovanni Villani ( fl c. 1275–1348), was planning, which would recount history from the fall of the Tower of Babel to his own time. Filippo also wrote the Liber de origine Florentinae et eiusdem famosis civibus (1375–1404), which contains the biographies of many eminent Florentines, including painters. In it he claimed that 13th- and 14th-century Florentine painters had resuscitated the art of ancient Greece and Rome, starting with Cimabue, who, like the Ancients, imitated nature in a way forgotten for many centuries. Cimabue was followed by Giotto, who, according to Villani, enjoyed poetry and history. Villani argued that Giotto did not merely equal the painters of antiquity but surpassed them in talent, restoring painting to its former dignity; he listed among the artist’s work the ...