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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

[CESCM]

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...

Article

Ryszard Brykowski

Church dedicated to St Michael at Dȩbno in the province of Nowy Sa̧cz, southern Poland. The 15th-century wooden church at Dȩbno has interested art historians since the middle of the 19th century; the stencilled paintings that decorate the interior were then regarded as an expression of ‘Slavonic taste’; soon afterwards the monument was defined as ‘a work in the pointed arch style’. In the 1920s it was included in the ‘Tatra Highlands group of wooden churches’ and regarded as the most characteristic and earliest example of a medieval wooden church in Poland.

A church was first mentioned on the site in 1335. Most of the present church is now dated to the second half of the 15th century: the curtain arch surmounting the south door is typical of Saxon architecture of the period, and the paintings are independently dated c. 1500. The nave and the chancel are both rectangular with a narrow sacristy north of the chancel. The spacing of the roof rafters with collar-beams corresponds to the width of the chancel, creating ‘plank-boxes’ on the sides of the wider nave, a structural solution typical of wooden Gothic church architecture in Little Poland. The lap joints and dowels survive, with the incised carpenter’s marks. Also original are the beam-framed ceiling, the same height in the nave and chancel; the ornate rood-screen; the western choir gallery; the west door and the door leading to the sacristy, both with pointed arches, and the south door; and a window with a curtain arch in the east wall of the chancel....

Article

Annamaria Szőke

(b Budapest, July 4, 1928; d Budapest, May 22, 1986).

Hungarian architect, sculptor, conceptual and performance artist, teacher, theorist and film maker. He came from a Jewish–Christian family, many of whom were killed during World War II. In 1947 he began training as a sculptor at the College of Fine Arts in Budapest, but he left and continued his studies in the studio of Dezső Birman Bokros (1889–1965), before training as an architect from 1947 to 1951 at the Technical University in Budapest. During the 1950s and early 1960s he worked as an architect and began experimenting with painting and graphic art, as well as writing poems and short stories. During this period he became acquainted with such artists as Dezső Korniss, László Latner and, most importantly, Béla Kondor and Sándor Altorjai (1933–79), with whom he began a lifelong friendship. In 1959 and 1963 he also enrolled at the Budapest College of Theatre and Film Arts but was advised to leave both times....

Article

(b Verona, 1433; d Rome, July 1, 1515).

Italian engineer, architect, epigraphist, and scholar. He was much sought after for his technical skills, particularly his expertise in hydraulics and military engineering, while his wide-ranging interests in archaeology, theology, urban planning, and philology earned him the regard of his contemporaries; Vasari described him as ‘un uomo rarissimo ed universale’. He was almost certainly a Franciscan friar, but it is not known where he acquired his architectural training. Given his lifelong and profound study of Classical architecture and inscriptions, Vasari’s assertion that he spent time in Rome as a youth is plausible. One of his earliest endeavours was to compile a collection of Latin inscriptions. The first version (1478–c. 1489), which included drawings and was dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici, became an important and much-copied reference work; it was also a major source for the Corpus inscriptionum latinarum, the principal 19th-century compilation. A fine copy survives (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. Vat. lat. 10228), transcribed by Giocondo’s friend and sometime collaborator, the eminent Paduan calligrapher, ...

Article

Peter Stein

(b Modena, Jan 17, 1624; d Milan, March 6, 1683).

Italian architect, mathematician, astronomer, theorist, writer and priest. Together with Francesco Borromini, he is the most renowned exponent of the anti-classical, anti-Vitruvian trend that dominated Italian architecture after Michelangelo but increasingly lost ground from the late 17th century. His subtly designed buildings, crowned with daring and complex domes, were ignored in Italy outside Piedmont, but illustrations published in 1686 and again in Guarini’s treatise Architettura civile (1737) proved a fruitful source of inspiration in the development of south German and Austrian late Baroque and Rococo architecture.

Guarini came from a deeply religious family; he and his four brothers all joined the Theatine Order. At the age of 15 he became a novice and was sent to Rome (1639–48), where he was able to study High Baroque architecture, in particular the work of Borromini, Gianlorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona. The details of Guarini’s architectural training are not known, but in the excellently equipped libraries of his Order he presumably studied such well-known treatises as those of Serlio and Jacopo Vignola. In ...

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

Werner Wilhelm Schnabel

(b Dresden, March 2, 1718; d Dresden, Nov 28, 1789).

German architect, teacher, theorist and landscape designer. He was first taught mathematics and the rudiments of architecture by his uncle, Christian Friedrich Krubsacius (d 1746), a lieutenant-colonel in the engineers’ corps. He received further training from Zacharias Longuelune and Jean de Bodt. In 1740 he held the post of ‘Kondukteur’ in the building department at Dresden. From c. 1745 he collaborated in the designs of the chief state master builder, Johann Christoph Knöffel. After Knöffel’s death, Krubsacius became the favoured architect of Heinrich, Graf von Brühl, at that time the most important architectural patron in Saxony. In 1755 he was appointed Electoral Court Master Builder, a position created especially for him. He went on a study trip to Paris in 1755–6, at Brühl’s instigation. After the outbreak of the Seven Years War in 1756, his scope for architectural employment deteriorated, so he turned to teaching. In 1764 he became Professor of Architecture at the newly founded Dresden Kunstakademie. His most important work was Schloss Neschwitz (...

Article

David Watkin

(b Manosque, Provence, Jan 22, 1713; d Paris, April 5, 1769).

French Jesuit priest, diplomat and writer. Laugier is celebrated in the history of 18th-century taste as the most influential of those who advocated a return to first principles in architecture. In his Essai sur l’architecture (1753) he argued that architects should always have before them the primitive hut as a reminder of the origins of architecture. This programme for a new architecture of radical simplicity was welcomed by those anxious to rid architecture of Baroque ornament, as well as by the supporters of Rousseau’s plea for a return to nature. The Essai caused such a stir outside France that it was translated into English in 1755 and German in the following year. Laugier produced an expanded edition of his Essai in 1755; he published the 12-volume Histoire de la République de Venise, depuis sa fondation jusqu’à présent in 1759–68, and Observations sur l’architecture in 1765.

The second edition of ...

Article

Valeria Farinati

(Cristoforo Ignazio Antonio)

(b Venice, bapt Nov 28, 1690; d Padua, Oct 27, 1761).

Italian architectural theorist, teacher and writer. He was one of the most original Italian theorists of the 18th century, his ideas on functionalism later being viewed as precursors of Modernist principles. He came from a family who had close connections with the Venetian Arsenal and military engineering. After completing his initial studies at the monastery of S Francesco della Vigna, Venice, in 1706 he became an Observant Friar Minor in Dalmatia. In 1709 he was transferred to the monastery of S Maria in Aracoeli in Rome, where he continued his studies in philosophy, science, theology, Greek and French. He remained in Rome for about four years, during which time he developed his interest in art and architecture; he was then transferred to the monastery of S Biagio in Forlì. From 1715 to 1720 he lived in Verona, where he began teaching astronomy, physics and mathematics to Veronese noblemen, and philosophy to the novices of the monastery of S Bernardino. Also in Verona he contributed to an edition of the works of the French humanist Marc-Antoine Muretus (...

Article

Peter Boutourline Young

(b Milan, 1739; d Milan, 1825).

Italian scientist, philosopher, writer and architect. His early education took place in Milan, Monza, Rome and Naples between 1756 and 1765. Having joined the Barnabite order in 1756, he became a member of the regular clergy of S Paolo, Milan. In 1766 he was appointed professor-in-ordinary of mathematics at the Università di S Alessandro in Milan, where he also taught chemistry, mineralogy and canon law, and in 1772 he became professor of natural history. While best known for his work in geology and natural history, he is also remembered for his treatise Dell’architettura: Dialoghi (1770), which includes all the plans of the church of S Giuseppe at Seregno. Pini himself designed the Neo-classical interior of the church, which was completed by Giulio Galliori (1715–95). The treatise is arranged in the form of two Socratic dialogues by mathematics students in Milan and Longone. The first deals with the dome and the centrally planned church. The students exchange opinions on the mathematical calculation of domes, arches and vaults; Francesco Borromini is praised for his great technical ability, while his successors, in particular the French, are condemned for being responsible for ‘depraving the good taste of architecture’. The students conclude that intrinsic beauty is to be found in simple geometric shapes and that architecture can derive examples from the classical repertory. The second dialogue deals with fortifications and is of considerable importance for the study of the engineer ...

Article

Richard Bösel

(b Trento, Nov 30, 1642; d Vienna, Aug 31, 1709).

Italian painter, architect and stage designer. He was a brilliant quadratura painter, whose most celebrated works, such as the decoration of the church of S Ignazio in Rome, unite painting, architecture and sculpture in effects of overwhelming illusionism and are among the high-points of Baroque church art. He was a Jesuit lay brother and produced his most significant work for the Society of Jesus. This affiliation was fundamental to his conception of art and to his heightened awareness of the artist’s role as instrumental in proclaiming the faith and stimulating religious fervour. The methods he used were those of Counter-Reformation rhetoric, as represented in Ignatius Loyola’s Spirited Exercises (1548). His architectural works are eclectic, and his unconventional combination of varied sources led to bold experiments with both space and structure. His ideas were spread by his highly successful two-volume treatise, Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1693–1700).

He received his first artistic training in Trento, with a painter who appears to have worked in the studio of Palma Giovane. He then studied with an unidentifiable pupil of, among others, Andrea Sacchi, who would have been the first to instruct Pozzo in the art of the Roman High Baroque, and he followed this painter to Como and Milan. In Milan Pozzo joined the Society of Jesus on ...

Article

Maria Concepción García Sáiz

(b Medina Sidonia, 1577; d Mexico, 1652).

Spanish architect and writer, active in Mexico. After a first visit to America in 1593, when he was shipwrecked, he returned there permanently in 1596, entering the Order of Discalced Carmelites in Mexico City (1600). From 1606 he was occupied with the construction and repair of many buildings belonging to the Order. Between 1606 and 1611 he supervised the building, to his own design, of S Desierto de Cuajimalpa, Puebla, a timber-roofed oratory surrounded by six hermit cells (destr.). In 1608 he continued work on the Carmelite convent in Mexico City, begun in 1602 to the plans of Alonso Pérez de Casatañeda (fl c. 1573). In 1615 he began the convent of S Angel, Mexico City, which was mostly completed in the following year, although the barrel-vaulted church was not built until 1622–4. Between 1618 and 1629 he worked in the Carmelite convents of Querétaro, Celaya (destr.) and Valladolid (destr.), and others have been attributed to him in Puebla and Atlixco (Puebla). He inspected the drainage of Mexico City (...

Article

Francisco Calvo Serraller

(b Madrid, 1595; d Madrid, 1679).

Spanish architect and writer. The son of an architect, Juan Martín (1565–1647), he belonged to the strict Augustinian order of Agustinos Recoletos. He drew plans for and took part in the building of many chapels and churches, a fine example of which is the hermitage of the Virgen del Prado in Talavera de la Reina in the province of Toledo. A practical man, he promoted the use of so-called cúpulas encamonadas (domes constructed on a framework of strips of wood), on the face of which stucco was skilfully applied. It was, however, his treatise Arte y uso de architectura (1633) that brought Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolás fame. Although the first part, which included the first book of Euclid translated into Castilian, caused some controversy when published, it became a considerable success, as the various editions up to the 19th century attest. It puts forward the customary principles of all modern architectural essays, with a summary of the Classical orders, but its great value is its practical advice, including numerous architectural designs, some of which are highly original. The last chapter of his treatise contains a brief autobiography....

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Adam Miłobędzki

(b Aug 24, 1617; d Poznań, Oct 4, 1687).

Polish Jesuit priest, teacher, architect and writer. He went on a grand tour of Italy and western Europe (1650–56) as tutor to the young Grudziński noblemen, during which he kept a diary (Europea peregrinatio) that includes 40 pages containing 170 annotated drawings of such subjects as buildings, sculptures, decorations and gardens that he visited for their novelty. His own work as a designer came to the fore between 1671 and 1675 when, as College Rector in Jarosław, he designed many decorations, both permanent and temporary, for church and school services and festivals. Wąsowski’s most prolific period of artistic activity occurred during his rectorship (1675–8 and 1683–7) of the Jesuit college in Poznań. In connection with his mathematics and architecture course, he published Callitectonicorum seu de pulchro architecturae (1678), a lengthy, illustrated treatise for students and other intellectuals and lovers of architecture. He particularly emphasized aesthetic problems, examined within the context of the teachings of Vitruvius, while almost completely ignoring technical problems. The main body of the treatise is an eclectic discourse on the architectural orders and it is not until the final section that it touches upon different types of buildings, showing Wąsowski to be an admirer of Roman Baroque....