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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

Isabel Mateo Gómez

(b ?Toledo; d 1595).

Spanish painter, miniaturist, sculptor, architect and writer. He belongs to the Toledan school of the second half of the 16th century. The son of the painter Lorenzo de Ávila, he developed a Mannerist style that is smooth and delicate and derives from his father’s and from that of Juan Correa de Vivar and of Francisco Comontes (d 1565). He worked as painter to Toledo Cathedral from 1565 to 1581 and was painter (Pintor del Rey) to Philip II from 1583. He acted frequently as a valuer for the work of other artists.

Between 1563 and 1564, in collaboration with Luis de Velasco, Hernando de Ávila painted the retable of the church of Miraflores (Madrid Province) with the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin (untraced); these are probably among his earliest works. He was commissioned to paint the retables of St John the Baptist and the ...

Article

A. C. de la Mare

(b ?Florence, c. 1421; bur Florence, July 1498).

Italian bookseller, stationer (cartolaio) and writer. He was one of six children of Filippo (d 1426), a wool chandler, the eldest of whom, Jacopo (d 1468), became a successful doctor after partnering Bernardo Cennini (b 1415) as a goldsmith until c. 1446. Vespasiano himself recorded that he had no formal education in Latin; by 1434 he was already working for the stationer and binder Michele Guarducci, whose double shop was on the corner of the Via del Proconsolo, the centre of the Florentine book trade, opposite the Palazzo del Podestà (now the Bargello). Humanists such as Niccolò Niccoli, the avid book collector, frequented the shop and encouraged Vespasiano in his studies. By the 1440s he was acting as a bookseller in his own right, although he did not become a partner in the shop until shortly before Guarducci’s death in 1451. He exploited the commercial possibilities of manuscripts, especially of the classics and the Church Fathers, written and decorated in the new ‘humanistic’ style developed in Florence by Niccoli, Poggio Bracciolini and their circle. This was the result of having seen how much demand there had been for such books among the dignitaries and scholars who had assembled in Florence from all over Europe for the Council of Reunion between ...

Article

Ian Campbell

(b c. 1510; d after 1571).

Italian architect, engineer, theorist and writer. He was the son of Giacopo Cataneo, a stationer from Novara. The earliest secure date for his activity (23 March 1533) occurs in his sketchbook (Florence, Uffizi, U 3275-3391 A), which has the general character of an exercise-book and hence of a youthful work. Virtually every drawing in it is copied from the treatises of Francesco di Giorgio Martini. The first 42 folios include drawings of ornaments and civil architecture from Francesco’s codices Ashburnham (Florence, Bib. Laurenziana) and Saluzziano (Turin, Bib. Reale), while the remaining 64 folios contain drawings of fortifications and machines derived from the Codex Magliabechiano (Florence, Bib. N.). A peculiarity of the drawings of fortifications is their frequent juxtaposition with calligraphic exercises, the intention of which seems primarily decorative. It is as a ‘scrittore’ that Cataneo first appears in Sienese communal records in 1539, and also as ‘computista’, which looks forward to his first publication, ...

Article

Francesco Paolo Fiore and Pietro C. Marani

(Pollaiolo) [Francesco di Giorgio]

(b Siena, bapt Sept 23, 1439; d Siena, bur Nov 29, 1501).

Italian architect, engineer, painter, illuminator, sculptor, medallist, theorist and writer. He was the most outstanding artistic personality from Siena in the second half of the 15th century. His activities as a diplomat led to his employment at the courts of Naples, Milan and Urbino, as well as in Siena, and while most of his paintings and miniatures date from before 1475, by the 1480s and 1490s he was among the leading architects in Italy. He was particularly renowned for his work as a military architect, notably for his involvement in the development of the Bastion, which formed the basis of post-medieval fortifications (see Military architecture & fortification, §III, 2(ii) and 4(ii)). His subsequent palace and church architecture was influential in spreading the Urbino style, which he renewed with reference to the architecture of Leon Battista Alberti but giving emphasis to the purism of smooth surfaces. His theoretical works, which include the first important Western writings on military engineering, were not published until modern times but were keenly studied in manuscript, by Leonardo da Vinci among others; they foreshadowed a number of developments that came to fruition in the 16th century (...

Article

Janet Southorn

[Felix Antiquarius]

(b Verona, Aug 1433; d ?La Storta, nr Rome, after Aug 1479).

Italian calligrapher, writer and antiquary. He was the son of a wine-tax collector but, despite his relative poverty, he received sufficient education to allow him to earn a living copying texts and to develop a lifelong interest in Classical antiquity. He developed a distinctive calligraphic style and his interest in writing extended to the preparation of a treatise on the construction of the Roman alphabet, the Alphabetum Romanum (c. 1460). He also wrote several poems and a novella (c. 1474), which he illustrated with his own miniatures (1474). He is best known, however, as an antiquary, especially as a collector of inscriptions, in which he was inspired by the example of the collector and traveller Ancona, concerning whom Feliciano assembled a number of papers and biographical details (Treviso, Bib. Capitolare). His antiquarian interests were shared by Giovanni Marcanova Antenoreo, the Paduan physician and collector, whose ...

Article

Michael Spens

(Alan)

(b London, Oct 8, 1900; d July 16, 1996).

English landscape designer, urban planner, architect and writer. He was educated in London at the Architectural Association School (1919–24). His book Italian Gardens of the Renaissance (with J. C. Shepherd), derived from student research, was published in 1925, the year in which he qualified as an architect. He soon established his practice in London. In the 1930s he was instrumental in developing the Institute of Landscape Architects (now the Landscape Institute) as a professional body. He taught at the Architectural Association School (1928–33), becoming its Principal in 1939. His projects of the 1930s include the village plan (1933) for Broadway, Hereford & Worcs, a model document under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932, and, with Russell Page (1906–85), a pioneer modernist restaurant and visitors’ centre (1934) at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Important garden designs of these years include Ditchley Park (...

Article

(fl c. 1537–57).

Italian writer. The only known work by this anonymous writer is a manuscript (Florence, Bib. N. Cent., MS. Magl. XVII, 17), including biographies of major artists active in Florence from the late 13th century to the 16th, which was discovered in 1755 in the Magliabechiano collection of manuscripts and first published in 1892 (Frey). Its provenance can be traced back to descendants of the Gaddi family of artists, hence its alternative title. The provenance and the accuracy of the accounts of Gaddo, Taddeo, and Agnolo Gaddi suggest that the family was known to the writer who was evidently a Florentine citizen, although probably not an artist. The manuscript begins with a list of artists of Classical antiquity and continues with biographies of artists in Florence from Cimabue to Michelangelo, but not in strict chronological order. There is also a brief section on Sienese artists. It ends with a list of artists’ names, including Raphael and Sebastiano del Piombo, so arranged as to suggest that the work was to be continued. Bound with the main text is an account of buildings and works of art in Rome, written ...

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

[Kristoffel; Stoffel]

(b Zurich, Feb 1558; d Winterthur, March 27, 1614).

Swiss glass painter, woodcut designer, etcher, book illustrator and writer. He was the son and pupil of the glass painter and councillor Jos Murer (1530–80), founder of a family of artists who lived in Zurich in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1577 he collaborated with his father on a cycle of 13 pairs of panes representing Thirteen Historic Scenes of the Swiss Confederation for the Zisterzienkloster of Wettingen, Aargau. Christoph’s monograms (sm, stm) are on three panes. He probably followed this work with study travels. In 1579 he designed a cycle of panes in Basle for the well-known citizen Leonhard Thurneysser (1531–96), celebrating the adventurous life of this much-travelled goldsmith, alchemist, astrologer and personal physician to the Elector of Brandenburg. Of the original cycle, two paintings, including the Birth of Leonhard Thurneysser of Basle in 1531 (1579; Basle, Öff. Kstsamml.), and two design sketches (?...

Article

Jeffrey Chipps Smith

(b ?Nuremberg, 1497; d ?Nuremberg, 1563).

German writer, calligrapher and mathematician. He was renowned as a strict teacher of arithmetic and geometry. His calligraphic talents were recognized early. Albrecht Dürer, who lived on the same street until 1509, probably used his designs for the scripts in his woodcuts of the Map of the Eastern Hemisphere (1515) and of the portrait of Ulrich Varnbüler (1522), his painting of the Four Apostles (1526; Munich, Alte Pin.) and possibly in the woodcuts of the Triumphal Arch of Emperor Maximilian I (1515) and those illustrating his Etliche Underricht, zu Befestigung der Stett, Schloss und Flecken (Nuremberg, 1527). In 1519 Neudörfer published his Fundament … seinen Schulern zu einer Unterweysung gemacht (Nuremberg), the first writing manual printed in Germany, and in 1538 he completed his finest treatise, Eine gute Ordnung, a catalogue of styles of script, ways of holding a pen and the correct manner of forming letters. He published two other treatises on writing in Nuremberg in ...

Article

Clare Robertson

(b Rome, Dec 11, 1529; d Rome, May 18, 1600).

Italian antiquarian and collector. He was an illegitimate son of the Orsini family. He devoted himself early to the study of manuscripts under the guidance of Gentile Delfini, Cardinal Ranuccio Farnese’s Vicario at S Giovanni in Laterano, Rome. In 1554 he became a canon of the same church, and on Delfini’s death in 1559 entered Farnese service, in which he remained for the rest of his career.

Orsini was secretary and librarian to Ranuccio Farnese until the latter’s death in 1565. He was then ‘inherited’ by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (see Farnese family §(3)) as librarian and as keeper of the antiques and works of art in the Palazzo Farnese. Orsini fulfilled his duties with care, acquiring many new works for the Farnese collection and advising his patron on the choice of artists for several commissions. He also composed inscriptions for the Cardinal’s frescoes and devised iconographic programmes, including that for the Sala d’Ercole in the Villa Farnese at Caprarola....

Article

Thomas Tolley

[Jean de Paris; Master of Charles VIII]

(b ?1450–60; d Paris, after April 5, 1530).

French painter, illuminator, sculpture designer and architect. The most celebrated and best-documented French artist of his time, Perréal was painter and valet de chambre to three kings of France, Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francis I. In the earliest reliable document to mention him, of 1485, he was a resident of Lyon and painted two escutcheons for use during the celebrations for the entry of Charles of Bourbon into the city. Throughout his career he devoted considerable time to designing props for staging such ceremonial events. Perréal visited Italy on at least four occasions and recorded that he studied ancient remains there. In 1514 he was sent to England to negotiate the marriage of Louis XII and his second wife, Mary Tudor, and to ensure that her wardrobe conformed to French taste. According to Dupont, a portrait of Louis XII in the British Royal Collection (Windsor Castle, Berks) was painted by Perréal and brought to England at this time. Considered by Sterling to be a copy, this portrait is one of few panels that can still be associated with Perréal, who during his lifetime was highly praised for his abilities as a portrait painter....

Article

Donata Battilotti

(d Verona, May 8, 1550).

Italian humanist, historian and patron. He was the author of the first printed book on the history and antiquities of Verona, published in 1540, with woodcuts after drawings by Giovanni Battista Caroto that are still extant (Verona, Bib. Civ.). De origine et amplitudine civitatis Veronae, written in Latin, takes the form of a conversation between members of a group of Veronese humanists including, apart from the author, Giacomo Villafranca and Giovanni Nicola Capella, and the artist Giovanni Battista Caroto. Caroto is given the task of providing technical information on the monuments that are the subject of the second book, which he himself had illustrated.

De origine was the first complete catalogue of Veronese antiquities, from the most prominent, such as the Arena, to miscellaneous remains such as displaced capitals. Also worthy of note are the Latin inscriptions, of which the author must have possessed a collection. The measurements are minute, and the monuments (except for the Arena) are completely reconstructed in the illustrations. Each is placed chronologically in relation to the salient moments of Roman history, and due recognition is given to the architects....

Article

Donata Battilotti

(b Padua, 1478; d Padua, May 29, 1574).

Italian ecclesiastic and historiographer. Educated in Padua, he later entered the clergy and was elected a canon of Padua Cathedral in 1556. He wrote a number of religious works but is best remembered for his book on the antiquities and illustrious men of Padua. This Latin work was granted a licence to print in Venice in 1557 but was published in Basle in 1560. Following the tradition of earlier municipal chronicles, Scardeone described the origins and cultural heritage of Padua, paying considerable attention to its ancient monuments and transcribing many inscriptions from tombs. He also devoted a chapter to the artists of Padua, from the 14th century to his own day, including Andrea Mantegna, Francesco Squarcione, Andrea Riccio and Tiziano Minio. This was the first attempt, outside Florence, to compose a local compendium of artistic biographies. Although the accounts of the lives of individual artists, particularly the earlier ones, often have an anecdotal or legendary quality, they are nevertheless a valuable source for the study of Paduan art, especially that of the 15th century. The frontispiece of this volume is a view of Padua by an anonymous artist: it offers the first accurate compilation of visual data on the city’s buildings....