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Article

Alexander Nagel

[Fr. postautel, retable; Ger. Altar, Altaraufsatz, Altarbild, Altarretabel, Altarrückwand, Retabel; It. ancona, dossale, pala (d’altare); Sp. retablo]

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a retable, following the medieval term retrotabulum [retabulum, retrotabularium].

The altarpiece was never officially prescribed by the Church, but it did perform a prescribed function alternatively carried out by a simple inscription on the altarblock: to declare to which saint or mystery the altar was dedicated. In fact, the altarpiece did more than merely identify the altar; its form and content evoked the mystery or personage whose cult was celebrated at the altar. This original and lasting function influenced the many forms taken by the altarpiece throughout its history. Since the altarpiece was not prescribed by the Church, its form varied enormously. For this reason, it is often impossible, and historically inaccurate, to draw neat distinctions between the altarpiece and other elements occasionally associated with the altar apparatus. For example, movable statues, often of the Virgin and Child, were occasionally placed on altars according to ritual needs, and at those times fulfilled the function of the altarpiece....

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b 1843; d 1901).

Norwegian silversmith. Founder of the Oslo company of silversmiths now known as David-Andersen. In 1876 Andersen established a workshop and retail shop in Christiania (Oslo). His early work, mostly in 830 silver, uses traditional Nordic motifs. David’s son Arthur (1875–1970), who became the principal designer for the firm and inherited it in ...

Article

John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of aquamanilia is associated with Mosan art of the Meuse Valley in northern France, and with Lower Saxony in north-east Germany. The majority of surviving examples are made of a variety of bronze that resembles gold when polished, while nearly all those made of precious metals are known only from church inventories.

Church documents refer to aquamanilia as early as the 5th century, when canon regulations stipulated that on ordination the subdeacon should receive such a vessel. Various documents from the 5th century to the beginning of the 11th sometimes use the term to denote both the ewer and its basin. Sometime after the beginning of the 11th century the term became transferred to a type of vessel, usually in the shape of an animal (e.g. lion, stag, horse; ...

Article

Helmut Börsch-Supan

In 

Article

Helmut Börsch-Supan

In 

Article

Censer  

John N. Lupia

[thurible; Lat. incensarium, thuribulum, thymiamaterium]

Footed brazier, chafing-dish, or portable grate for burning incense or coals to produce aromatic fumes for liturgical and secular purposes. Censers commonly have two to four rings on the outside of the bowl, with chains or rods attached for holding and swinging. There is frequently a pierced lid or cover, attached by rings, through which the chains or rods pass. Typically the finial or knob of the lid has a separate chain attached.

Censers were produced from c. 700 bc. In the Greek and Roman worlds they were frequently made of precious metals such as gold and silver and functioned as votive gifts; a great number are recorded in temple inventories. (In Rome, bronze turibula were also common.) Censers were used mainly for burning incense as an offering to deities, frequently in conjunction with animal sacrifices, and at funerals. Other uses were secular: incense was believed to have pharmacopic and therapeutic powers and was used to sweeten the air. Censers were also used in court festivals and processions in Rome. Imperial court processions had acolytes carrying torches and candles before the Roman consuls; attendants accompanied the acolytes bearing censers in the form of pans with hot burning coals for rekindling torches and candles when they blew out....

Article

Chalice  

Peter Springer

[Lat. calix: ‘drinking vessel’]

Liturgical implement in which the eucharistic wine is offered, consecrated and distributed to communicants. Other names for it are scyphus, crater, proculum and fons. In the Early Christian period the same materials were used for the eucharistic chalice as for secular drinking vessels: glass, rock crystal, hardstones and wood, horn and ivory, but especially precious and base metals. This diversity reflects the lack of restrictions governing the materials to be used for its manufacture until the Carolingian period. Thus most surviving chalices from pre-Carolingian and Carolingian times—even such a splendid example as the Tassilo Chalice (c. 769–88; Kremsmünster, Stiftskirche, Schatzkam.)—were still made from gilt-copper. From the late 8th century, however, synodal decrees repeatedly forbade the use of materials such as glass, wood, copper, bronze, ivory, horn and pewter. The chalice was instead to be made at least from silver, with the inside of the bowl gilded. (The same injunctions were applicable to the ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

American metalwork company established in Philadelphia in 1810 by Christian Cornelius, a silversmith who had emigrated from the Netherlands in 1783. He soon turned to the casting of bronze, and by 1825 he had become a lamp manufacturer. The company passed to Cornelius’s son Robert (1809–93), under whose management it became an important lighting business. The company made lamps and chandeliers, often finished in gold lacquer; it also made candlesticks, including the earliest documented American brass candlestick. The best known product of the company was the ...

Article

Fibula  

Niamh Whitfield

[Lat.: ‘brooch’]

Metal dress-pin that not only was used as a clothes’ fastener, but also acted as a sign of an individual’s allegiance, wealth, and status (see fig.). Brooches are common finds in pre-Christian graves of the Germanic peoples and Vikings, enabling inferences to be drawn about their uses, the garments to which they were attached, and migration patterns. For the later Middle Ages, comparable information can be gleaned not only from the objects but also figural representations, wills, and inventories.

Many brooches from the early Middle Ages descend from Roman fibulae of different types. These include the penannular brooches from Ireland and Britain, fastened by a pin slotted through a gap in a ring; disc-brooches, fastened by a pin on the back, and worn especially by Germanic women; and the various elongated Germanic bow brooches, which seem to be adaptations of the cross-bow fibulae worn by Roman officials in Late Antiquity (...

Article

(b Ilmenau, Thuringia, May 21, 1731; d Erfurt, Oct 18, 1794).

German painter. He received his training from his father, Johann Christian Heintze, who was originally a gunsmith before becoming court painter in the tiny principality of Saxony-Hildburghausen. In 1772 Heinsius was appointed court painter in Weimar, which became one of the centres of intellectual life in Germany at this period. There he painted portraits, for example of Charles Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Weimar and of poets of the ‘Musenhof’ such as Johann Wilhelm Gleim and Johann Karl Musäus. However, he did not receive particular recognition with these works. A period of leave in Hamburg (1781–4) was more successful and artistically fruitful. He returned to Weimar and produced a number of portraits, for example Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, of great maturity.

Heinsius’ awkward, choleric temperament and his lack of education did not help to make him popular at a time when the artist–scholar was in demand. His financial position was somewhat improved by an appointment as artist at the Freie Zeichen Schule at Weimar. He was a simple craftsman who had turned his hand to portraits; these had an unvarnished truthfulness that did not flatter the sitter. His conception of art owed much to the ideals of the Baroque, his portraits lacking pathos and sentimentality and showing no trace of classical idealization. However, due to their naturalism, his portraits are of great documentary value. His brother, ...

Article

Jutland  

Harriet Sonne de Torrens

Mainland peninsula of modern-day Denmark and one of the three provinces (Jutland, Zealand and Skåne, southern Sweden) that constituted medieval Denmark. The conversion of the Danes to Christianity initiated a reorganization of the economic, social and legal structures of Denmark that would change the shape of Jutland dramatically between the 11th and 14th centuries. Under Knut the Great, King of Denmark and England (reg 1019–35), Jutland acquired a stable diocesan system (1060) that enabled a systematic collection of tithes and the growth of religious institutions between 1050 and 1250. During this period, agricultural practices changed as manor houses and landed estates were established, producing wealth for the ruling families. Under Valdemar I (reg 1157–82) and Knut VI (reg 1182–1202), Jutland witnessed a great building activity; on Jutland more than 700 stone churches were constructed, some replacing earlier wooden churches, each needing liturgical furnishings. Workshops, such as that of the renowned sculptor Horder and many others, were actively engaged in carving stone baptismal fonts (e.g. Malt, Skodborg, Ut, Stenild), capitals, reliefs (Vestervig, Aalborg) and tympana (Gjøl, Ørsted, Stjaer, Skibet), wooden cult figures, Jutland’s golden altars (Lisbjerg, Sahl, Stadil, Tamdrup) and wall paintings. Evidence of the earliest wall paintings in Jutland, ...

Article

Helmut Börsch-Supan

German family of artists. Christian Wilhelm Kolbe (c. 1715–1800) lived in Berlin where he made embroideries worked in gold thread; his brother Johann Diederich Kolbe (d 1786) was a goldsmith. Christian Wilhelm’s wife came from a Huguenot family, and their two sons Christian Friedrich Kolbe (b 1758), who was an embroiderer working in gold thread, and (1) Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (i) grew up in an atmosphere steeped in French culture. Carl Wilhelm’s son was (2) Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (ii), the most important representative of the Romantic history painting movement in Berlin, and a relation by marriage to Daniel Chodowiecki, who influenced his career. Johann Diederich’s son, Heinrich Christian Kolbe (1771–1836), was a painter in Düsseldorf, whose realistic portraits were executed in a Neo-classical style that he alone employed after the appointment of Wilhelm Schadow as Director of the Staatliche Kunstakademie in 1826...

Article

Name given to the 76 specially commissioned devotional paintings given, one each May, from 1630 to 1708 by the goldsmiths’ corporation of Paris to the cathedral of Notre-Dame (none was commissioned in 1683 or 1684). The paintings were approximately 3.50×2.75 m in size and usually drew their subjects from the Acts of the Apostles. The commissions were awarded to established artists or, occasionally, to younger painters, indicating their rising reputation. Until the ‘Mays’ were dispersed during the French Revolution they were hung on the arcades of the choir and nave of the cathedral. A number are untraced, but eight have been returned to the side chapels of Notre-Dame, including works by Jacques Blanchard (Descent of the Holy Ghost, 1634); Sébastien Bourdon (Crucifixion of St Peter, 1634) and Charles Le Brun (Stoning of St Stephen, 1651). Another eleven, including Bon Boullogne’s Jesus Healing the Sick...

Article

Hermann Maué

(b c. 1645; d Copenhagen, Jan 1, 1702).

Danish medallist, die-cutter and wax sculptor of German or Dutch origin. He probably learnt the trade of die-cutting in Copenhagen, where from 1667 onwards he worked for King Frederick III and King Christian V. In 1674 he moved to Stockholm and received a licence to produce medals, among which were several of Charles XI of Sweden and Queen Ulrike Eleonore. From 1674 to 1684 he was employed as a die-cutter at the Swedish Royal Mint, at the same time working as a goldsmith. In 1681 he accepted an invitation to the Mint in Paris, where he was given the title of Médailleur du Roi de France: he brought with him coining presses of his own invention. Meybusch returned to Stockholm in 1690 but moved back in that same year to Copenhagen, where in 1692 he received a post at the Danish court.

Forrer; Thieme–Becker L. O. Lagerquist and E. Nathorst-Böös...

Article

Glenny Alfsen

(b Kongsberg, July 3, 1820; d Christiania [now Oslo], May 5, 1886).

Norwegian sculptor. He worked first as an apprentice goldsmith in Christiania, and then studied under Herman Wilhelm Bissen from 1840 to 1851 at the Kunstakademi in Copenhagen. Here he adopted a conservative, late classical style, inspired by the art and literature of Denmark’s golden age. He lived in Rome between 1851 and 1860 and became familiar with the works of Classical and Renaissance masters. This experience increased his self-doubt, and he later became harshly self-critical. A font reflecting his admiration for Berthel Thorvaldsen is Middelthun’s only great work from this period (plaster, 1859; marble, 1865; Oslo, Trefoldighetskirken). He returned to Norway in 1860 and executed a series of busts, which established him as Norway’s leading portrait sculptor. His bust of the poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven (plaster, 1861; Oslo, Ubib.; marble, 1865; Oslo, N.G.), one of the most important examples of Norwegian portrait sculpture, is herm-like in form and, with its sense of classical balance and harmony, embodies the poet’s ideals. Middelthun’s later head-and-shoulders bust of the composer ...

Article

Carola Hicks

Term used to describe a period spanning the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and the foundation of the medieval Christian kingdoms of Europe between the 5th and 8th centuries ad. The arts of the European Migration period are varied, reflecting the styles, techniques, and beliefs of the many different peoples involved, yet there are so many common features that it is possible to speak of Migration period art as a unified concept. From the surviving evidence, it is mainly a metalworkers’ art, carried out in a highly skilled manner by able craftsmen; the stone sculpture and architecture of the Classical civilizations were copied, though with a different approach. There must also have been much richly decorated organic material, but the survival of wood, leather, and textiles is only fragmentary.

Although the period of migrations is sometimes regarded as a disruption following the stable conditions of the Roman Empire, the constant movement of tribes and peoples was in fact the common pattern of prehistoric Europe; the Roman imposition of frontiers created barriers that were eventually penetrated by the sheer pressure of population movements. In the first few centuries ...

Article

I. G. Bango Torviso

[Sp. mozárabe]

Term traditionally used to describe the art of Christians living in the areas of the Iberian peninsula ruled by Muslims in the 10th and 11th centuries. The Castilian word derives from the Arabic musta‛rib (‘Arabized’) and is to be contrasted with Mudéjar, the term used to describe the art of Islamic inspiration produced for non-Muslim patrons in the areas of the Iberian peninsula reconquered by Christians between 1085 and the 16th century. Very few surviving works of art fit this strict definition of Mozarabic art, and it is difficult to characterize them. The only substantial building is the ruined three-aisled basilica at Mesas de Villaverde (Málaga; often identified as ‘Bobastro’), which preserves its rock-cut foundations and walls (see Spain §II 2.). The two illuminated manuscripts surviving from this period are quite different in style. The Biblia Hispalense (Madrid, Bib. N., Cod. Vit. 13–1), copied c. 900 at or near Seville by or for Bishop ...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Golden branches of roses, some embellished with jewels, symbolizing Christ’s love and Passion, given on rare occasions to persons and places specially favoured by the Pope for services to the Church. Most popes have given no more than four or five during their pontificate and some none at all. The earliest documented example is that granted to Fulk IV Rechin, Count of Anjou (reg 1067–1109), at Angers by Pope Urban II (reg 1088–99) at the time of the First Crusade in 1096. The origin of the custom is unknown, but by the 13th century a special liturgical rite of the blessing of the golden rose had been established. Usually the gifts were to individuals, but on rare occasions since the 14th century they have been given to churches, shrines of the Virgin or even cities. Roses were usually given to persons of the highest rank and, up to the 14th century, exclusively to men, but in ...

Article

Kinga Szczepkowska-Naliwajek, John N. Lupia and Helen Loveday

Receptacle for the preservation of relics, principally the physical remains (Lat. reliquiae) of a holy person or an object of particular veneration. The practice is most prevalent in Christianity (see Cult of relics) (although it has been rejected by Protestant denominations) and Buddhism (see §II below).

Kinga Szczepkowska-Naliwajek

The belief that the destiny of the world and the existence of humanity were in the hands of God and depended on the protection and intercession of the Virgin and the saints was responsible for the development of the cult of saints and their relics. This practice of relic veneration was first documented in the second half of the 2nd century AD and its sources can be traced to Late Antiquity. In the 4th century a number of relics were miraculously discovered, the most precious of which were those that recalled the life, passion, and death of Christ. From this time, the cult and the exaltation of relics in Christian culture became important, in that they became indispensable in the rites and liturgy of the Church. At the outset the Eucharist took place before an altar placed directly over the tombs of the martyrs or an altar under which were buried relics placed in special receptacles known as reliquaries. Later, the relics in their reliquaries were set directly on the altar. Until the 9th century the Western Church rarely allowed the tombs of martyrs to be opened in order to extract the ...

Article

Ekhart Berckenhagen

(b Berlin, July 25, 1725; d Berlin, June 24, 1797).

German painter, draughtsman and etcher. He was the son of the goldsmith Christian Bernhard Rode (d 1755) and the pupil of N. Müller (fl 1740s) and Antoine Pesne. From 1750 to 1752 he studied with Carle Vanloo and Jean Restout in Paris, and between 1754 and 1756 he studied in Rome and in Venice, where he produced oil sketches after Titian, Tintoretto, Pordenone and Giordano. He was a fast and prolific worker with a talent for strong composition and use of colour. This last quality became especially evident after 1770, when he began to execute his works in bright, strong-toned colours. He painted several monumental wall and ceiling paintings, mainly in the castles and palaces of the aristocracy in the area of Berlin and Potsdam. In 1771–3 he produced a series of paintings (e.g. the Ploughman Cincinnatus Chosen to be Dictator) for the house of ...