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Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Peter Bloch

(b Niederscheidweiler, nr Wittlich, 1835; d Cologne, 1874).

German sculptor. Early in his career he worked in Cologne with the neo-Gothic sculptor Christoph Stephan (1797–1864). Alexander Schnütgen, the Domkapitular of Cologne Cathedral, recommended him to August Ottmar von Essenwein, who from 1868 had been restoring St Maria im Kapitol in Cologne. For this church Elscheid sculpted the life-size Pietà (c. 1870) for the south transept (now in the crypt) and the over-life-size wooden Triumphant Crucifixion group (c. 1870; Bonn-Poppelsdorf, St Sebastian), the latter inspired by the late Romanesque group depicting the same subject in the chapel of Schloss Wechselburg. A Vesperbild in the Katholische Pfarrkirche Mariae Himmelfahrt in Mönchengladbach and one in Kempen (Städt. Kramer-Mus.) are so similar stylistically that they can be attributed to Elscheid. A Heart of Jesus (c. 1870) in the narthex of St Maria im Kapitol may also be by Elscheid. In addition to these commissions, he carved small hard-wood statues in the High Gothic style that was prevalent in Cologne. They were rendered with such skill that in later years they were assumed to be either authentic Gothic works or fakes. It is uncertain, however, whether he intentionally intended these sculptures to deceive the viewer. The controversy over their origins has resulted in a renewed interest in them and has led to the rediscovery of several that were previously little-known. Such works (all ...

Article

Marie-Therese Thibierge

(b Paris, Sept 29, 1816; d Valmondois, Val-d’Oise, Aug 25, 1892).

French goldsmith, sculptor and museum curator. He studied in Paris, first at the Ecole Gratuite de Dessin and from 1831 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he was a pupil of David d’Angers and James Pradier. He worked principally as a goldsmith until 1848 but then devoted himself to the study of medieval sculpture. Throughout his career he collaborated on the restoration of many important Gothic buildings in France, notably with Emile Boeswillwald on Laon Cathedral, with Victor-Marie-Charles Ruprich-Robert on Bayeux Cathedral and with Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc on the Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame in Paris. At the Sainte-Chapelle he was responsible for the 12 stone statues of the Apostles at the base of the spire (in situ); from 1848 to 1864 he ran the sculpture studio at Notre-Dame, where among many other works in an elegant neo-Gothic style he executed 12 copper statues of the Apostles for the base of the spire (...

Article

(b Cologne, July 13, 1768; d Cologne, Dec 20, 1844).

German sculptor. He came from a family of sculptors resident in Cologne since the early 18th century. He learnt his craft from his father, Johann Joseph Imhoff (1739–1802), and he probably also studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. From the 1790s onwards he produced portrait sculptures (most now untraced), sacred and secular figures, as well as decorative sculpture and reproductions after ancient sculpture, working in both stone and terracotta. Surviving early works include terracotta busts of the collector Johann Wilhelm Baron von Hüpsch (1786–90; Cologne, Stadtmus.) and his housekeeper Eva Mechthild Happerts (1786–90; Darmstadt, Hess. Landesmus.), which show a brilliantly lucid realism emerging from the traditions of Rococo. Around 1800 and for some time afterwards, in striking red sandstone tomb statues and stelae decorated with reliefs, Imhoff evolved a classicizing austerity in the style of Bertel Thorvaldsen (e.g. tombs for Louise Knobel (1823) and ...

Article

(b Cologne, Oct 10, 1837; d Utrecht, Feb 6, 1919).

German sculptor, painter and architect. He was the grandson of the painter Egidius Mengelberg (1770–1849) and received his training in the art school founded by the latter in Cologne, where his tutors included the architect Friedrich von Schmidt and the sculptor Christoph Stefan (1797–1864). Mengelberg then established a studio in Cologne, which from about 1860 was led in his absence by his brother Heinrich Otto Mengelberg (1841–91). From this period Mengelberg produced several altars with reliefs, statues and plaques, for example the high altar (1867) for St Paul in Aachen and the side altar (1882–3) for St Mariae Rosenkranz in Mönchengladbach. He also provided oil paintings and furniture for Cologne Cathedral, as well as designs for decorations and frescoes.

From 1869 onwards Mengelberg worked mainly for the Dutch bishopric of Utrecht. He was a leading member of the Guild of St Barnulphus, which took a great interest in medieval art, and, with the help of a large workshop, he created the archiepiscopal throne, the ciborium altars and the rood screen for the cathedral of St Catharina (now Utrecht, Catharijneconvent). He also provided the decoration for St Willibrordus (...

Article

Mark Stocker

(b Inverness, Scotland, Oct 26, 1825; d Cannes, Jan 1, 1871).

Scottish sculptor, active in England. With the help of Harriet Egerton, Duchess of Sutherland, he obtained work in London, where in 1844 he assisted with carving in the Houses of Parliament, then being rebuilt following destruction by fire. After working under Edward Hodges Baily, he enrolled in 1847 at the Royal Academy Schools, where he met members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle; he befriended Dante Gabriel Rossetti and shared his studio with Arthur Hughes. Munro’s most obviously Pre-Raphaelite work is Paolo and Francesca (marble, 1851–2; Birmingham, Mus. & A.G.). Although it is traditionally seen as following Rossetti, it preceded the latter’s Paolo and Francesca da Rimini (1855; London, Tate) and reflected Munro’s admiration of John Flaxman. Pre-Raphaelitism is evident in Paolo’s gauche pose and the work’s emotional intensity; the unrealistically smooth modelling emphasizes its visionary and poetic qualities. Munro’s stone tympanum relief King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table...

Article

Ravello  

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 (...