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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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Werner Broda

[Hans von Ulm]

(fl Ulm, 1413–61).

German painter. He belonged to an artist family of which several generations were documented in 15th-century Ulm. According to municipal tax lists, ‘Ackerlin, painter’ was a master by 1413. He received payments from the masons’ lodge of Ulm Cathedral from 1415. In 1441 the cathedral lodge in Berne paid ‘Master Hans of Ulm’ for the production and delivery of stained-glass windows: this Hans is identified with Acker (see also Gothic, §VIII, 5). The Berne Passion window (1441; Berne Cathedral, chancel), his only surviving documented work, demonstrates the capabilities of mid-15th-century German glass painting in dealing with box-shaped hall-church interiors. Its Apostle figures still belong to the tradition of the ‘Soft style’, inspired by Bohemian art, while the style of their robes is reminiscent of those in the chancel windows of Ulm Cathedral. The appearance of a landscape background reveals the influence of the glass paintings (c....

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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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Anna Nilsén

[Albertus Pictor]

(fl c. 1460; d after 1509).

Painter and textile designer, active in Sweden. He was probably of German origin. He married in 1473 and was a burgher of Stockholm, where he ran a workshop for liturgical embroidery. Apparently well-to-do, during the years 1501–7 he paid a higher tax than any other painter in Stockholm. About this time he also seems to have delivered an altarpiece to the Brigittine convent of Naantali (Swed. Nådendal) in Finland. He is last mentioned in 1509, when he played an instrument, probably the organ, at the Corpus Christi Guild of Stockholm.

Albert thus had many talents, but his main field must have been wall painting. His earliest works are in Södermanland and include the signed wall paintings in the church at Lid, where he also painted his self-portrait. It has been conjectured that Albert may have been an apprentice of a Master Peter, whose existence is deduced from a presumed signature in the church at Ösmo, but this theory is very tenuous. About 35 churches with paintings by Albert or his workshop are known in the provinces of Södermanland, Västmanland and Uppland. Some of the best-preserved paintings are in the churches at Floda (Södermanland), Kumla (Västmanland), Härkeberga, Härnevi, Almunge and Odensala (Uppland)....

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Maria Cristina Chiusa

(di Guido)

(b ?Ferrara, ?1390s; d before 1449).

Italian painter. His early career is hard to determine; Vasari improbably described him as a pupil of Agnolo Gaddi. He must have been well known in Ferrara before working for the condottiere Braccio Fortebraccio at Montone in Umbria, where he is documented in either 1420 or 1423. Frescoes at S Francesco in Montone depicting the Life of St Francis are almost certainly by him. In the same year he was in Urbino, where Vasari reported that he was working on frescoes (destr.) at S Francesco. The frescoes in the chapel of S Martino in S Maria, Carpi (the Sagra di Carpi), are of a similar date. They show a style in which formal elements deriving from Serafino Serafini are put into a Late Gothic context, under the influence of work by Gentile da Fabriano seen in central Italy. Other work by Alberti from between 1419 and 1431 includes the triptych of the ...

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Mathieu Hériard Dubreuil

[Gil Master]

(b ?Mallorca; fl 1408–47).

Spanish painter. First documented in Valencia in 1408, he was active as a painter in Barcelona in 1415, in Mallorca in 1420 (described as ‘painter of Majorca’), in Valencia between 1421 and 1432 and in Mallorca from 1433; he is last recorded in Mallorca in 1447. Of his documented commissions, only two fragmentary works can be identified: the wings of an altarpiece of St Michael (Lyon, Mus. B.-A.), painted in 1421 for the town of Jérica (Valencia), and two predella panels of the Death of the Virgin and St Thomas Receiving the Virgin’s Girdle from an altarpiece of the Virgin executed in 1442 in Mallorca (Alcudia, Mus. Parroq.). Other works have been attributed to Alcanyis on the basis of stylistic comparisons with these panels, and he has been identified as the Gil Master, an artist named after the fragmentary altarpiece—consisting of an Ascension and St Vincent (both New York, Hisp. Soc. America) and a ...

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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....

Article

[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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(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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Joan Isobel Friedman and A. Bustamante García

In 

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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....