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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

(b ?Antwerp, c. 1475; d Antwerp, before Nov 10, 1528).

South Netherlandish painter and draughtsman. He is first mentioned in 1490 in the register of the Antwerp Guild of St Luke, apprenticed to the painter Gillis van Everen (fl 1477–1513). In 1504 de Beer became a master. He subsequently served as alderman of the guild in 1509 and dean in 1515, although he found himself temperamentally unsuited to the position of dean, as is known from a lawsuit he filed in 1519 regarding guild administration. This document also reveals that de Beer participated in the preparations for Charles V’s ‘Joyous Entry’ into Antwerp in 1515 and for the Antwerp Society of Rhetoricians’ entry that year in the Malines landjuweel (regional competition of the rhetoricians). In 1510 and 1513 de Beer enrolled apprentices; his son Aert de Beer (c. 1509–before 6 Aug 1540) became an Antwerp master in 1529. The artist is undocumented between 1519 and 1528...

Article

Rosa Alcoy

[Castayls, Jaime]

(b ?Berga; fl 1345–79).

Catalan sculptor, painter and architect. A citizen of Barcelona, he must have been trained among Italians, but in a school that was acquainted with developments in France and receptive to Sienese influences—possibly Pisa or Naples. Mallorcan painting—especially manuscript illumination, which was influenced by Pisan art—and the work of the Master of the San Michele in Borgo Pulpit (a Pisan sculptor who worked on the shrine of S Eulalia, 1327–39, in Barcelona Cathedral) also constituted important formative influences on his style. He married the daughter of Ferrer Bassa and was associated with the Bassa workshop in a commission for works for Saragossa in 1346. Like Ferrer Bassa, he was responsible for introducing Italianizing elements into Catalonia.

No authenticated paintings by Jaume Cascalls survive, however, and he is now known primarily for his sculpture, notably for the signed alabaster retable of the Virgin (c. 1345; 2.07×3.35 m) in S María, Cornellà del Conflent, which shows Italian characteristics in the treatment of continuous narrative and in the technique, in which some areas are deliberately left unfinished for expressive effect. At about this time, Jaume worked in Perpignan for the Aragonese crown. By ...

Article

Delia Kottmann

Italian village in Lazio, north of Rome, known for its church. The church of SS Anastasius and Nonnosus is all that remains of the 6th-century Benedictine monastery, which submitted to Cluny in ad 940. Apart from some re-used fragments, the architecture is Romanesque, with a Cosmati pavement in opus sectile as well as an ambo and ciborium. The church is famous for its wall paintings from the first quarter of the 12th century. The apse and its adjacent walls, showing the 24 elders, are influenced by Romano–Christian motifs. Christ in the middle of the conch is flanked by Peter and Paul in a Traditio legis depiction, with a procession of lambs below. Underneath, Maria Regina has to be reconstructed in the middle, between two conserved angels followed by female saints in a Byzantine manner. No Romano–Christian iconography seems to have influenced the vast apocalyptic cycle painted on the side walls of the transept. A band of prophets runs beneath the roof on all the walls of the transept. An inscription in the apse indicates three Roman painters....

Article

Dorothy Gillerman

(fl 1292–1352).

French architect, painter, and sculptor. He is first mentioned in the Parisian tax rolls of 1292, and a document of 1304 refers to him as ‘peintre du roi’. Between 1308 and 1328 he was employed as painter and architect at various royal châteaux, but his most important commission involved the additions ordered by Philip IV to his palace on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Guérout concluded that Evrard designed the portal of the Galerie des Merciers with facing statues of Philip IV and his minister, Enguerrand de Marigny (both destr.), and that he was in charge of the decoration in the Grand’Salle, which ran parallel to the river. The great vaulted hall was the setting for a series of life-size painted statues of the Kings of France (destr.), an ensemble that reflected Philip’s programmatic image of the French monarchy. The statues themselves, doubtless planned if not all executed by Evrard, impressed contemporaries with their ‘lifelike’ aspect. Evrard may have been a specialist in creating donor images that preserved the convincing presence, if not an actual likeness, of their subjects. He continued to supervise the work at the Palais de la Cité under ...

Article

Carl F. Barnes jr

[ Wilars dehonecort ; Vilars dehoncort ]

(b ?Honnecourt-sur-l’Escaut, nr Cambrai, Picardy; fl c. 1220–40).

French draughtsman. He is known only through a portfolio of some 250 drawings, about one-sixth of which are of architectural monuments (Paris, Bib. N. MS. Fr. 19093). His fame is due to the uniqueness of these drawings and to the 19th-century claim that he ‘erected churches throughout the length and breadth of Christendom’ (Mâle, Eng. trans., p. 55). However, there is no proof that he designed or built any church anywhere.

In his portfolio, Villard said nothing of his occupation and claimed not a single artistic creation of any type. He may not have been an architect or a professional craftsman but merely an inquisitive layman who travelled widely, recording some of the things he saw during his travels. The claim that Villard was educated in the Cistercian monastic school at Vaucelles is unsubstantiated, and the tradition that he knew Latin is suspect: the one Latin word attributed to him, ...

Article

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...

Article

(b Stuttgart, Feb 2, 1789; d Hassfurt, Sept 28, 1865).

German architect, painter, sculptor, printmaker and writer. He belonged to a large family of artists descended from Franz Joseph (Ignatz Anton) Heideloff (1676–1772), who was a sculptor and possibly also a painter. He was trained by the architect Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret, the sculptor Johann Heinrich von Dannecker and the painter Johann Baptist Seele. He also studied mural painting as assistant to his father, Victor (Wilhelm Peter) Heideloff (1757–1817). As a young man he became interested in Gothic and Romanesque architecture, and while he was in Mainz in 1814 he made the acquaintance of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (reg 1826–44), who employed him as his architect until 1821. In 1822, having settled in Nuremberg, he was appointed curator of the city’s historical monuments; he used this position to encourage widespread interest in early German art and to rescue many examples from destruction. He also taught at the local Polytechnische Schule from its foundation in ...

Article

Fernando Marías

(b Toledo, c. 1490; d Granada, Aug 4, 1550).

Spanish painter and architect. The form of his signature (Petrus Machuca, Hispanus. Toletanus …) on his earliest known work, the Virgin of Succour (1517; Madrid, Prado), suggests he was active at an early age in Italy. On the basis of the style of that work, a number of frescoes in the Vatican have been attributed to him, including Isaiah Blessing Jacob. Other works from the same period that have been attributed to him include a copy (Paris, Louvre) of the destroyed Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci and two paintings of the Virgin and Child (Rome, Gal. Borghese, and Turin, Gal. Sabauda), some drawings and the original drawings for reproductive engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi and Agostino Veneziano.

The uncertain nature of these attributions have made it difficult to follow Machuca’s early development as an artist. At first linked by critics with Michelangelo, Raphael and Fra Bartolommeo, he has also been considered an exponent of Italian Mannerism of the 1510s (Longhi, ...

Article

Teresa S. Watts

(b Mulhouse, Sept 28, 1727; d Kassel, bur May 1798).

Swiss architect, painter, draughtsman and writer. He served as an engineer in the French army (1748–54) and drew Gothic monuments in Spain (1748) and copied ancient vases and painted idyllic landscapes in Rome (1749–54). He then stayed from 1755 to 1759 with Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, where he worked as a topographical artist, portrait painter and architectural draughtsman. Having left Walpole after a domestic dispute, Müntz attempted to support himself through commissions, producing drawings of a Gothic cathedral and possibly the Alhambra for Kew Gardens, a dining room and cloister (New Haven, CT, Yale U., Lewis Walpole Lib.) for Richard Bateman, and an oval room for Lord Charlemont, to complement his vase collection. All were in the Gothic style, as were a number of architectural drawings later used in a guide by Robert Manwaring (1760). Müntz left England in 1762 and spent a year recording monuments in Greece and Jerusalem before settling in Holland, where he worked until ...

Article

Pomposa  

Charles B. McClendon

Italian former Benedictine abbey near the mouth of the Po River and 45 km north of Ravenna in the province of Emilia Romagna. Although first documented in ad 874, a monastic settlement probably existed there at least two centuries earlier. Pomposa rose to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries through the support of the Holy Roman emperors. Over the course of the 14th century, a notable series of wall paintings in three different buildings were sponsored despite the monastery’s waning fortunes. In 1663 the monastic community was suppressed by papal decree. The site was secularized in 1802 and became property of the Italian state after 1870.

The proportions of the wooden-roofed basilican church, along with the polygonal outline of its main apse, reflect influence from nearby Ravenna and Classe and suggest a date in the 8th or 9th century. An elaborate pavement of mosaic and cut stone (opus sectile...

Article

(b Pateley Bridge, Yorks, Sept 9, 1821; d London, Feb 5, 1889).

English painter, printmaker and writer. After being educated at a school for the sons of Methodist ministers, he was articled to the Gothic Revival architect Edward James Willson (1787–1854) in Lincoln. Willson allowed him to spend much of his time drawing the paintings and sculptures in Lincoln Cathedral and after three years let him leave to become a painter. Smetham then worked as a portrait painter in Shropshire before moving to London (1843), where he studied as a probationer at the Royal Academy Schools and met Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who became a close friend. In 1851 he made his début at the Royal Academy and was appointed drawing-master at Normal College in Westminster, London, a post he retained for the next 26 years. He met John Ruskin in 1854, who was greatly impressed by his work. The first of his many breakdowns occurred in 1857. His early work remains largely unknown, but such paintings as ...

Article

Ronald Alley

(b Rodez, Aveyron, Dec 24, 1919).

French painter, printmaker and sculptor. He was greatly impressed as a boy by the Celtic carvings (incised menhirs and graffiti) in the museum at Rodez and by the architecture and sculpture of the Romanesque abbey of Ste-Foy at Conques. In 1938 he went to Paris for the first time, where he visited the Louvre and saw exhibitions of Cézanne and Picasso. With the intention of training to be a drawing teacher, he enrolled in a studio in Paris but was encouraged instead to enter the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts; he was, however, bitterly disappointed by what was being taught there, which seemed to fall far short of what he had just seen, and returned to Rodez. The paintings he was making at this time were of trees in winter, without their leaves, with the black branches forming a tracery against the sky. He was called up in 1941 but demobilized almost at once. He moved to Montpellier to continue his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts there but spent most of the war working clandestinely on a farm in the Montpellier area to avoid forced labour in Germany. He was able to do very little painting during the Occupation, but he became aware of abstract art through his friendship with Sonia Delaunay, whom he met ...

Article

William M. Voelkle

Portable altar–reliquary (New York, Morgan Lib.), made c. 1156 for the Stavelot Abbey in the Ardennes, Belgium and decorated with both Mosan and Byzantine enamels (see fig.). The reliquary is named after the Benedictine abbey headed by Wibald of Stavelot, its enlightened abbot from 1130 to 1158. It is the first of a series of Mosan reliquary triptychs containing portions of the True Cross. Of these, only the Stavelot Triptych contains scenes from the life of Constantine and the legend of the finding of the True Cross by Empress Helena, his mother. Although two commissions by Wibald are documented (the St Remaclus Retable, destroyed during the French Revolution, and the Head Reliquary of Pope Alexander of 1145; Brussels, Musées Royaux A. & Hist.), the Stavelot Triptych is not. Wibald may have been given both the cross relic and the two small Byzantine enamel triptychs displayed on the centre panel of the Stavelot Triptych during his diplomatic mission (...