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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 (...

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Andrew Ladis

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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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Tereza-Irene Sinigalia

(fl second half of the 14th century ad).

Romanian painter. The only works attributed to him are in the narthex of Rîmet monastery church near Alba, in Transylvania province, Romania. One of the jambs of the archway connecting the narthex with the naos of the church shows a full-length St Gregory the Great accompanied by an inscription referring to Mihul, his patron Bishop Ghelasion and the date 1377. Other images include St Basil the Great on the jamb opposite, SS Anthony the Great and Andronicus on the intrados of the arch and a partially preserved Deësis above the arch. On the partitioning wall either side of the archway are SS Nicholas and Procopius, and SS John Chrysostomos and Nestor. In general the paintings reflect the influence of Palaiologan art, but they also contain certain Late Gothic elements found in the Catholic artistic environment of Transylvania. The figures are drawn with firm, expressive lines, while the volume of their bodies is rendered by subtle shading in ochres and browns with white highlights. They are shown in static, fully frontal or three-quarter poses, wearing a variety of fine vestments in ochres, greens, blues and reds. The restoration of these paintings was completed 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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[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 ...

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Lucília Verdelho da Costa

Cistercian abbey in Portugal. The abbey, dedicated to S Maria, was founded as part of the policy of repopulation and territorial improvement of the first king of Portugal, Alfonso I (reg 1139–85), who in 1152 granted a large area of land to St Bernard of Clairvaux by a charter known as the Carta dos Coutos (Lisbon, Arquiv. N.). Work on the monastery started in 1158 and adhered to the rigid precepts of the Order. Although the exterior was extended and altered in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially the Baroque façade of the church, the interior essentially preserves its original Early Gothic appearance.

W. Beckford: Recollections of an Excursion to the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha (London, 1835/R 1972) M. V. Natividade: Ignez de Castro e Pedro o Cru perante a iconografia dos seus túmulos (Lisbon, 1910) E. Korrodi: Alcobaça: Estudo histórico, arqueológico e artístico da Real Abadia de Alcobaça...

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Phillip Lindley

(fl 1291–1317).

English sculptor. His first recorded works are in connection with the funerary monuments for Queen Eleanor of Castile (d 1290), the first wife of King Edward I. Alexander of Abingdon supplied wax models for three small images cast by William of Suffolk for the heart tomb in the Dominican church of the Blackfriars, London, as well as a painted cloth and ironwork to stand round the tomb (all destr.). From 1291 to 1294 he was also employed with Dymenge de Legeris on carving the Purbeck marble tomb-chest for the bronze effigy (both destr.) of Eleanor in Lincoln Cathedral. From William Sedgwick’s drawing of c. 1641, which is included in Sir William Dugdale’s Book of Monuments (London, BL, Loan MS. 38, fol. 98v), it appears to have been very similar to that still surviving at Westminster Abbey, London. Alexander supplied seven images at a cost of 5 marks each for the Charing Mews Eleanor Cross (destr.; ...

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Joan Isobel Friedman and A. Bustamante García

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Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in 1249. Further excavations could shed much light on this history.

Highlights in the Algarve include remains at Milreu of a villa with elaborate mosaics that rank among the most substantial Roman sites in the region. The site further preserves foundations of a basilica, likely constructed in the 5th century, and traces of what may be a baptistery, perhaps added during the period of Byzantine occupation in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period of Islamic rule, from the 8th century through to the 13th, witnessed the construction of many fortifications, including examples at Aljezur, Loulé and Salir, which were mostly levelled by earthquakes. Silves, a city with origins in the Bronze Age, preserves a substantial concentration of relatively well-preserved Islamic monuments. These include a bridge, carved inscriptions, a castle, cistern and fortified walls, along which numerous ceramics have been excavated. Most extant medieval churches in Algarve date to the period after the Reconquest. These tend to be modest in design and small in scale, such as the 13th-century Vera Cruz de Marmelar, built over Visigothic or Mozarabic foundations. The relatively large cathedrals at Silves and at Faro preserve substantial portions dating to the 13th century, as well as fabric from subsequent medieval campaigns. Renaissance and Baroque churches and ecclesiastical furnishings can be found throughout Algarve....

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Joan Isobel Friedman

(b Florence, May 1265; d Ravenna, ?14 ?Sept 1321).

Italian writer. He is universally recognized as the greatest poet of the Middle Ages. His masterpiece, the Divine Comedy (begun 1307 or 1314), contains many passages in which Dante expressed his appreciation of painting and sculpture, and the themes in the poem have challenged artists from the 14th century to the present day.

Dante was the only child of a notary, Alighiero II, son of Bellincione degli Alighieri and his first wife Bella. The Alighieris were descendants of the Elisei, an ancient and noble Florentine family. Dante may have studied at Bologna University, but he admitted to having taught himself the art of versifying. About 1283 he married Gemma di Manetto Donati, who bore him four children. His sons Pietro and Jacopo wrote commentaries on the Divine Comedy.

Dante met Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, in 1274. He recorded his love for her in La vita nuova, c....

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Eliot W. Rowlands

(di Domenico da Zevio)

(fl 1369; d before April 10, 1393).

Italian painter. He was one of the most important North Italian painters of the 14th century. His style is characterized by an interest in the depiction of space and volume and by a preference for soft colours bathed in suffused light. His narrative paintings have a solemnity and grandeur that is mitigated by the lively realism and animation of the figures, convincingly integrated into settings of architectural complexity.

He is first recorded in Verona, where he witnessed a contract on 2 March 1369. Vasari stated that he was a most trusted member of the household (famigliarissimo) of the della Scala, the rulers of Verona, and his Vita of Carpaccio contains an appreciative, first-hand description of Altichiero’s frescoes in the Sala del Podestà, originally the Sala Grande, of the della Scala palace (c. 1364) in Verona. The subject of the frescoes was taken from Flavius Josephus’s Jewish Wars...

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