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Article

Jane Geddes

Deluxe manuscript (Aberdeen, U. Lib., MS. 24) made in England around 1200. It is remarkable for its lavish illustrations, amply covered in gold leaf; for the wealth of its codicological data and for its close relationship to the Ashmole Bestiary. The book was left unfinished, so sketches and the detailed instructions for its colouring and assembly remain visible. The last few pages were completed in the 14th century. The book begins with a Creation cycle of full-page miniatures culminating in Adam Naming the Animals and Christ in Majesty. A portrait or narrative illustration of each animal precedes every text description.

The manuscript contains the press mark of King Henry VIII’s library, mainly assembled after the dissolution of the monasteries, but its provenance before 1542 is not known. Muratova (1986, pp. 118–144) uses cumulative information from a group of related manuscripts to suggest a provenance in the north-east Midlands; Geddes (...

Article

[Khwāja ‛Abd al-Ḥayy]

(fl c. 1374; d Samarkand, 1405).

Illustrator and painter. According to the Safavid chronicler Dust Muhammad, ‛Abd al-Hayy trained under Shams al-Din at Baghdad during the reign of the Jalayirid sultan Uways I (reg 1356–74) and became the leading painter under his son Ahmad (reg 1382–1410), who was also ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil. When Timur took Baghdad, ‛Abd al-Hayy was sent to Samarkand, either in 1393 or in 1401, where he spent the rest of his life. He seems to have specialized in monochrome ink drawings: Dust Muhammad recorded that ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil, Ahmad Jalayir, contributed a black-and-white drawing to a manuscript of the Abūsa‛īdnāma (‘Book of Abu Sa‛id’), and a number of examples attributed to the late 14th century and preserved in various albums (e.g. Berlin, Staatsbib. Preuss. Kultbes., Orientabt. Diez A. 70–73) bear the notation that they were copied from ‛Abd al-Hayy’s drawings by Muhammad ibn Mahmud Shah Khayyam. In his album (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair

[ Pīr Yaḥyā ibn Naṣr al-Ṣūfī al-Jamālī ]

( fl 1330–51).

Ilkhanid Calligrapher . According to the Safavid chronicler Qazi Ahmad, Yahya studied calligraphy with Mubarakshah ibn Qutb Tabrizi ( fl c. 1323), one of six pupils of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi ( see also Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)(c) ). Yahya was a mystic, hence his epithet al-Sufi, and, after working for the warlord Amir Chupan, he moved to the court of the Injuid ruler of Shiraz, Jamal al-Din Abu Ishaq (reg 1343–54), hence his epithet al-Jamali. He penned several manuscripts of the Koran, including small, single-volume copies (1338–9, Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. K 430; 1339–40, Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1475) and a large, 30-volume copy (4 vols, 1344–6; Shiraz, Pars Mus., MS. 456). The latter manuscript was probably commissioned by Abu Ishaq’s mother, Tashi-khatun, who bequeathed it to the Shah Chiragh Mosque at Shiraz. Each folio has five lines of majestic mu ḥaqqaq script, although the illumination by ...

Article

[Aḥmad ibn al-Shaykh al-Suhrawardī al-Bakrī]

(b Baghdad; fl 1302–28).

Calligrapher. He came from a well-known family of mystics and was probably the grandson of the Sufi master Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‛Umar al-Suhrawardi (1145–1234). He was often called Shaykhzada (‘Son of the shaykh’). Ahmad was one of the six disciples of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi (see also Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)) and is said to have transcribed the Koran 33 times. He penned several small, single-volume copies (e.g. 1301–2, Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1467; 1318, Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. 486), but the most famous is a large 30-volume manuscript (dispersed, Tehran, N. Mus.; Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib.; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib.; New York, Met.; see fig.) copied at Baghdad between 1302 and 1308 and illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn ‛Abdallah. Although no patron is mentioned, the stunning size of the manuscript (500×350 mm) suggests that it was probably produced under royal auspices. Each folio has five lines of majestic ...

Article

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....

Article

[ho Kunhae ; Koun ; Ch’oja ; Haengch’on ]

(b 1297; d 1364).

Korean calligrapher. He is considered one of the last great calligraphers of the Koryŏ period (918–1392). Born into a noble family, at the age of 17 he passed his first examinations and entered the Confucian academy in Kaesŏng, where he eventually rose to prominence in the central administration. Information on his life, and in particular on his career as an official, can be found in the Koryŏsa, the history of the Koryŏ dynasty.

Yi was directly influenced by the calligraphic works of Zhao Mengfu, who at that time was considered among the greatest painters and calligraphers of Yuan-period (1279–1368) China, with which Korea had close political and cultural contacts. However, only one of Yi’s calligraphic works survives, and that only as a rubbing (Seoul, priv. col.) from a stele inscription. This is the celebrated Munsu ṣa changgyŏng pi (‘Inscription for the sūtra repository of Munsu Temple’; see Kim, Choi and Im, pl. 118), a piece written to commemorate the building of a new library for sacred texts (Skt ...

Article

Béla Zsolt Szakács

Luxuriously illustrated hagiographical picture book from the 14th century. The codex is fragmented; the biggest part is preserved in the Vatican (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Vat. Lat. 8541, 106 fols),while single pages are kept in St Petersburg (Hermitage, 16930–16934), Berkeley (U. CA, Bancroft Lib., f2MSA2M21300–37), New York (Met., 1994.516) and Paris (Louvre, RF 29940), and 85 miniatures are in the Morgan Library, New York (M.360.1–26).

Presently 549 miniatures of the original of more than 700 are known on 142 folios. The manuscript consists of pictures exclusively, without the full texts of the legends; one-line tituli are written in rubrics beside the images. The 58 existing cycles depict the life of Christ, the Death of the Virgin, and the legends of John the Baptist, the apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins and holy women in hierarchical order. The narrative follows the Legenda aurea or Golden Legend of Jacopo da Voragine and, in the cases of Eastern and Central European saints (Gerhard of Csanád, Ladislas, Emeric, Stanislas), other local legends, creating an extraordinarily rich iconographic treasury. The longest cycle is dedicated to James the Greater, originally with 72 scenes; other legends consist of between 2 and 24 scenes. The selection of saints points to a commission from the Hungarian Angevin court. Its style, typical of the second quarter of the 14th century, is closest to Bolognese manuscripts but with unique features, and as such Hungary has also been proposed as the place of execution....

Article

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 ...

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

Patrick M. de Winter

[Biauneveu, Andrieu]

(b Valenciennes, c. 1335; d ?Bourges, 1401–3).

South Netherlandish sculptor, painter, and illuminator. He possibly trained with, or in the circle of, Jean Pépin de Huy. He is presumably the ‘Master Andrieu the painter’ mentioned in the accounts of Yolande, Duchesse de Bar, as working intermittently between 1359 and 1362 in the chapel of her castle at Nieppe (destr.). In 1361–2 ‘Master Andrieu the carver’ restored the console of a statue (both destr.) in the aldermen’s hall in Valenciennes. By October 1364 and until June 1366 he is recorded in Paris, working with assistants for King Charles V, who spoke of him as ‘our esteemed Andrieu Biauneveu, our sculptor’. The monarch commissioned from him four tombs for Saint-Denis Abbey, for which he paid 4700 gold francs: tombs for his paternal grandparents Philip VI (reg 1328–50) and Joan of Burgundy (1294–1348); for his father, John II; and for himself (first mentioned on 12 December 1364...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Service book of Dominican use (240×170 mm; Paris, Bib. N., MSS lat. 10483–4). It was made for Jeanne de Belleville, wife of Olivier de Clisson, later passing to Charles V, King of France, and then to his brother Jean, Duc de Berry. Liturgical evidence indicates that the book was probably made for Jeanne in the years 1323–6, before her marriage to Olivier. Notes in the margins refer to names of illuminators and include ‘J. Pucelle’ (fol. 33r) undoubtedly the well-known Parisian illuminator Jean Pucelle, who worked c. 1319–34. His exact role in the decoration of the Breviary is unclear, but at the very least he coordinated the book’s production. Despite losses, there remain 79 illustrated folios, on many of which there are richly decorated borders. It is one of the most profusely decorated medieval Breviaries and parts of its illustrative scheme were copied in manuscripts made for its subsequent owners: for example, the ...

Article

Hans Georg Gmelin

(b ?Minden, fl 1367; d Hamburg, between Feb 20, 1414 and May 13, 1415).

German painter, illuminator, and wood-carver. His major work, the Grabow Altarpiece (Hamburg, Ksthalle), a combination of carved figures and painted scenes, is one of the high points of late 14th-century north German art. In the many documentary references to him in Hamburg, he is referred to as ‘painter’, although he was also responsible for colouring statues. At least the designs of the sculpture of some of his altars have been attributed to him. His lively narrative style, with expressive and forceful gestures, made him one of the most influential of early German artists.

Probably originally from Minden in Westphalia, Bertram is mentioned for the first time in the Hamburg city accounts of 1367, when he was paid for painting a Virgin (untraced), restoring a sculpted angel and painting a letter case. Sixty documents relate to him from his lifetime, an astounding number for a 14th-century artist, and before 1487 he was the only painter mentioned by name in the Hamburg records. In ...

Article

(fl 1388; d after 1450).

Italian painter and illuminator. Milanese writers from the humanist Uberto Decembrio (1350–1427) to Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo in the 16th century described Michelino as the greatest artist of his time. He was especially praised for his skill and prodigious talent in the naturalistic portrayal of animals and birds. Records of payments made in 1388 to a ‘Michelino pictore’ who painted scenes from the Life of St Augustine in the second cloister of the Augustinian convent of S Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, Pavia, are thought to be the earliest references to the artist. He was still resident in Pavia in 1404, when the Fabbrica (Cathedral Works) of Milan Cathedral decided to consult him as ‘the greatest in the arts of painting and design’. The frescoes in S Pietro in Ciel d’Oro and a panel by Michelino dated 1394 that was in S Mustiola, Pavia, in the 17th century have not survived, but two of the manuscripts with illumination firmly attributed to Michelino date from his time in Pavia: St Augustine’s ...

Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Earliest surviving illuminated Ashkenazi Haggadah (Jerusalem, Israel Mus., Ms. 180/57), copied around 1300 for an unknown patron by a scribe named Menahem. The style of the figures depicted against the bare parchment and designed in unified contrasting colours is paralleled in manuscripts of the early 14th century Upper Rhine region. The programme of decoration focuses on text illustrations, including ritual and biblical scenes, dispersed along the outer margins. They are arranged in several narrative clusters and some of them bear polemic meanings. Full-page miniatures appear at the beginning and end of the manuscript: the master of the house seated with his wife at the festive Seder table opens the Haggadah (fol. 1v), while an image of the heavenly Jerusalem fills the last page (fol. 47r), in direct association with the concluding phrase, ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’, written in large letters on the opposite folio. Birds’ beaks are assigned to most of the human figures in the Haggadah, sometimes with the addition of pigs’ ears, a combination giving them the appearance of griffins. Bird- and animal-headed figures are a phenomenon typical of 13th- and 14th-century Ashkenazi illumination whose meaning has yet to be fully understood....

Article

Bobbio  

Michael Richter

Monastery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Approximately 50 km south of Piacenza in the Apennines, it was founded c. ad 613 through the cooperation of the Lombard king Agilulf (reg 590–615) and the Irish abbot and saint Columbanus (c. 540–615). Its nucleus was an older dilapidated church dedicated to St Peter. Columbanus died on 23 November 615, but his name and renown remained alive in the following centuries. Through cooperation with the Lombard monarchs as well as later the Carolingian kings, Bobbio became a very prominent monastery in Northern Italy. In 628 it was granted the earliest monastic exemption from supervision by the local diocesan, the bishop of Tortona. The community of Bobbio apparently lived according to the Rule of Columbanus as well as the Rule of Basil of Caesarea. The presence of the Rule of St Benedict cannot be documented there before the early 9th century. Bobbio became a known not only as a centre of Irish learning but also as a centre of grammatical as well as computational studies. Its early library also contained Classical texts as well as important palimpsests (a ‘catalogue’ survives from the late 9th century). In the late 9th and early 10th centuries (a period of economic decline) important illuminated manuscripts were produced there. The abbatial church was rebuilt under Abbot Agilulf (...

Article

Bohun  

L. E. Dennison

English family of patrons. Between the 1340s and the 1390s the Bohun earls of Hereford and their relations were the most significant patrons of manuscript illumination in England. There was a tradition of book-collecting in the family. An Apocalypse in French of c. 1280 (Oxford, New Coll., MS. 65) was probably made for Joanna de Bohun (d 1283). Humphrey de Bohun IV (c. 1276–1321/2) commissioned the Longleat Breviary (Longleat House, Wilts, MS. 10) and had additions made to the Alfonso Psalter (London, BL, Add. MS. 24686), partly by the so-called Subsidiary Queen Mary Artist (see Queen Mary Psalter), probably after the death of his wife Princess Elizabeth in 1316. In the 1340s Elizabeth (d 1355), wife of William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, commissioned a Dominican Psalter-Hours (ex-Astor priv. col., Ginge Manor, Berks), the chief illuminator of which can be associated with Cambridge....

Article

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...

Article

Alessandro Conti

(fl Bologna, 1349–1403).

Italianilluminator. He was one of the most successful illuminators working in Bologna at a time when it was a major centre of manuscript production. He is unusual in that he signed some of his illuminations, but his earliest known work, a Book of Hours (Kremsmünster, Stiftsgal., Clm. 4), predates the first signatures as well as the earliest documentary references. It was undersigned by the scribe Bartolomeo de’ Bartoli, and it bears the date 1349, and it is signed again in an illuminated frieze Andreas me pinsit. This must have been the contractor of the decoration and, it has been suggested, should be identified with Andrea de’ Bartoli, but the decoration is unquestionably linked to the early style of Niccolò di Giacomo and to the late works of the Master of 1346. The earliest example of a signed work by Niccolò di Giacomo is the illumination of a copy of the ...

Article

Masatomo Kawai

[Gyokukei]

(1348–c. 1420).

Japanese Zen monk, scholar, calligrapher, poet and painter. He began his training as a monk at Nanzenji in Kyoto, under Shun’oku Myōha, the nephew and disciple of Musō Sōseki, one of the leading Zen prelates of the Muromachi period (1333–1568). His other teachers included the Zen recluse Shakushitsu Genkō and Gidō Shūshin, under whom he studied literature. A trusted adviser of the fourth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimochi, Gyokuen was appointed to the prestigious abbacies of Kenninji (c. 1409) and Nanzenji (1413) in Kyoto. His true wish, however, was to retire from the world, and in 1420, after a disagreement with Yoshimochi, he left Kyoto to lead a life of seclusion. An accomplished poet, Gyokuen also brushed colophons on many shigajiku (poem-painting scrolls) of the period, including Josetsu’s Catching a Catfish with a Gourd (c. 1413–15; Kyoto, Myōshinji). His own painting, which shows the influence of the mid-14th-century Chinese priest–painter Xue Chuang and of Tesshū Tokusai, strongly reflects his literary disposition. He is especially well known for his subdued monochrome ink paintings of orchids (emblems of moral virtue), 30 of which have survived (...

Article

Christopher de Hamel

Late medieval prayerbook containing, as its principal text, psalms, and devotions (primarily invoking the Virgin Mary) for the eight canonical hours of the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. They were intended for private reading and meditation by the laity, forming a shorter version of the cycle of daily prayers and psalms recited from the Breviary by members of religious orders. Each office is usually no more than a few pages long, and the books are generally small and portable, often of octavo size. Most surviving Books of Hours were made in the 15th century and early 16th, and they were produced in such numbers that they still form the most common surviving group of European illuminated manuscripts.

The offering of psalms eight times a day can be traced back to early monasticism, and parallel forms of worship are found in lay devotions (see Service book...