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Sheila S. Blair

[Abu Ṭāhir]

Persian family of potters. The family is sometimes known, somewhat improperly, by the epithet Kashani [al-Kashani, Qashani], which refers to their home town, Kashan. It was a major centre for the production of lustre pottery in medieval Iran, and they were among the leading potters there, working in both the Monumental and the Miniature styles (see Islamic art, §V, 3(iii)). As well as the lustre tiles for many Shi‛ite shrines at Qum, Mashhad, Najaf and elsewhere, they made enamelled and lustred vessels. Three other families of Persian lustre potters are known, but none had such a long period of production. At least four generations of the Abu Tahir family are known from signatures on vessels and tiles, including dados, large mihrabs and grave covers. The family may be traced to Abu Tahir ibn Abi Husayn, who signed an enamelled bowl (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A.). A lustre bowl in the Monumental style (London, N.D. Khalili priv. col.), signed by ...

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Andrew Ladis

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[Khwāja ‛Abd al-Ḥayy]

(fl c. 1374; d Samarkand, 1405).

Illustrator and painter. According to the Safavid chronicler Dust Muhammad, ‛Abd al-Hayy trained under Shams al-Din at Baghdad during the reign of the Jalayirid sultan Uways I (reg 1356–74) and became the leading painter under his son Ahmad (reg 1382–1410), who was also ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil. When Timur took Baghdad, ‛Abd al-Hayy was sent to Samarkand, either in 1393 or in 1401, where he spent the rest of his life. He seems to have specialized in monochrome ink drawings: Dust Muhammad recorded that ‛Abd al-Hayy’s pupil, Ahmad Jalayir, contributed a black-and-white drawing to a manuscript of the Abūsa‛īdnāma (‘Book of Abu Sa‛id’), and a number of examples attributed to the late 14th century and preserved in various albums (e.g. Berlin, Staatsbib. Preuss. Kultbes., Orientabt. Diez A. 70–73) bear the notation that they were copied from ‛Abd al-Hayy’s drawings by Muhammad ibn Mahmud Shah Khayyam. In his album (Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib., H. ...

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Sheila S. Blair

[ Pīr Yaḥyā ibn Naṣr al-Ṣūfī al-Jamālī ]

( fl 1330–51).

Ilkhanid Calligrapher . According to the Safavid chronicler Qazi Ahmad, Yahya studied calligraphy with Mubarakshah ibn Qutb Tabrizi ( fl c. 1323), one of six pupils of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi ( see also Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)(c) ). Yahya was a mystic, hence his epithet al-Sufi, and, after working for the warlord Amir Chupan, he moved to the court of the Injuid ruler of Shiraz, Jamal al-Din Abu Ishaq (reg 1343–54), hence his epithet al-Jamali. He penned several manuscripts of the Koran, including small, single-volume copies (1338–9, Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. K 430; 1339–40, Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1475) and a large, 30-volume copy (4 vols, 1344–6; Shiraz, Pars Mus., MS. 456). The latter manuscript was probably commissioned by Abu Ishaq’s mother, Tashi-khatun, who bequeathed it to the Shah Chiragh Mosque at Shiraz. Each folio has five lines of majestic mu ḥaqqaq script, although the illumination by ...

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[Aḥmad ibn al-Shaykh al-Suhrawardī al-Bakrī]

(b Baghdad; fl 1302–28).

Calligrapher. He came from a well-known family of mystics and was probably the grandson of the Sufi master Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‛Umar al-Suhrawardi (1145–1234). He was often called Shaykhzada (‘Son of the shaykh’). Ahmad was one of the six disciples of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi (see also Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)) and is said to have transcribed the Koran 33 times. He penned several small, single-volume copies (e.g. 1301–2, Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1467; 1318, Istanbul, Mus. Turk. & Islam. A., MS. 486), but the most famous is a large 30-volume manuscript (dispersed, Tehran, N. Mus.; Istanbul, Topkapı Pal. Lib.; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib.; New York, Met.; see fig.) copied at Baghdad between 1302 and 1308 and illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn ‛Abdallah. Although no patron is mentioned, the stunning size of the manuscript (500×350 mm) suggests that it was probably produced under royal auspices. Each folio has five lines of majestic ...

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J. M. Rogers

[Muh‛ammad ibn al-Zayn; Ibn al-Zayn]

(fl early 14th century).

Arab metalworker. He is known from signatures on two undated inlaid wares, the Baptistère de St Louis (Paris, Louvre, LP 16, signed in six places) and the Vasselot Bowl (Paris, Louvre, MAO 331, signed once). His style is characterized by bold compositions of large figures encrusted with silver plaques on which details are elaborately chased. His repertory develops themes characteristic of later 13th-century metalwork from Mosul (see Islamic art, §IV, 3(ii) and (iii))—mounted or enthroned rulers, bands of running or prowling animals, an elaborate Nilotic composition, courtiers bearing insignia of office, and battle scenes on scroll grounds with strikingly naturalistic fauna. His work is marked by a realism of facial expression, in which Turco-Mongolian physiognomy, dress, headgear and even coiffure are prominent, and a vigour of movement, gesture or stance that enlivens and transforms even the running animals and rows of standing courtiers, some in Frankish costume. The technique and style of these pieces allow their attribution to the Bahri Mamluk period in Egypt and Syria (...

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Matthew Woodworth

(b Walsingham, Norfolk; d Ely, Cambs, 1363).

English cleric, architect, and goldsmith. Already an accomplished goldsmith when first recorded as monk of Ely Cathedral in 1314, Walsingham was appointed sub-prior of Ely in 1316, sacrist in 1321, and served as prior from 1341 until his death. As sacrist, Alan of Walsingham was responsible for the building fabric, particularly finances and general repair. He also supervised new construction projects, organized and paid the labour force, and arranged for delivery of materials. During his tenure, Walsingham oversaw the building of a new sacristy (1322–5), the spacious Lady Chapel (1321–49), Prior Crauden’s Chapel (1322–8), guest quarters (1330), and Bishop Hotham’s partly remodelled choir (1338–50). Walsingham’s most ambitious project at Ely was the soaring Octagon and central lantern (1322–49), built to replace the original Romanesque crossing tower after it collapsed in 1322. Surviving Sacrist Rolls hold Alan himself responsible for the Octagon’s design, specifying that he measured out the locations of its eight supports, secured their foundations, and carried the walls up to their full height. Scholarship is divided as to Walsingham’s precise role in the Octagon’s final appearance, but, whether as architect or industrious layman, he brought to completion one of the most innovative and spatially complex structures of the 14th century....

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Tereza-Irene Sinigalia

(fl second half of the 14th century ad).

Romanian painter. The only works attributed to him are in the narthex of Rîmet monastery church near Alba, in Transylvania province, Romania. One of the jambs of the archway connecting the narthex with the naos of the church shows a full-length St Gregory the Great accompanied by an inscription referring to Mihul, his patron Bishop Ghelasion and the date 1377. Other images include St Basil the Great on the jamb opposite, SS Anthony the Great and Andronicus on the intrados of the arch and a partially preserved Deësis above the arch. On the partitioning wall either side of the archway are SS Nicholas and Procopius, and SS John Chrysostomos and Nestor. In general the paintings reflect the influence of Palaiologan art, but they also contain certain Late Gothic elements found in the Catholic artistic environment of Transylvania. The figures are drawn with firm, expressive lines, while the volume of their bodies is rendered by subtle shading in ochres and browns with white highlights. They are shown in static, fully frontal or three-quarter poses, wearing a variety of fine vestments in ochres, greens, blues and reds. The restoration of these paintings was completed in ...

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Alchemy  

Laurinda Dixon

Ancient science from which modern chemistry evolved. Based on the concept of transmutation—the changing of substances at the elemental level—it was both a mechanical art and an exalted philosophy. Practitioners attempted to combine substances containing the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air) in perfect balance, ultimately perfecting them into a fifth, the quintessence (also known as the philosopher’s stone) via the chemical process of distillation. The ultimate result was a substance, the ‘philosopher’s stone’, or ‘elixir of life’, believed capable of perfecting, or healing, all material things. Chemists imitated the Christian life cycle in their operations, allegorically marrying their ingredients, multiplying them, and destroying them so that they could then be cleansed and ‘resurrected’. They viewed their work as a means of attaining salvation and as a solemn Christian duty. As such, spiritual alchemy was sanctioned, legitimized, and patronized by the Church. Its mundane laboratory procedures were also supported by secular rulers for material gain. Metallurgists employed chemical apparatus in their attempts to transmute base metals into gold, whereas physicians and apothecaries sought ultimately to distill a cure-all elixir of life. The manifold possibilities inherent in such an outcome caused Papal and secular authorities to limit and control the practice of alchemy by requiring licences and punishing those who worked without authorization....

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Phillip Lindley

(fl 1291–1317).

English sculptor. His first recorded works are in connection with the funerary monuments for Queen Eleanor of Castile (d 1290), the first wife of King Edward I. Alexander of Abingdon supplied wax models for three small images cast by William of Suffolk for the heart tomb in the Dominican church of the Blackfriars, London, as well as a painted cloth and ironwork to stand round the tomb (all destr.). From 1291 to 1294 he was also employed with Dymenge de Legeris on carving the Purbeck marble tomb-chest for the bronze effigy (both destr.) of Eleanor in Lincoln Cathedral. From William Sedgwick’s drawing of c. 1641, which is included in Sir William Dugdale’s Book of Monuments (London, BL, Loan MS. 38, fol. 98v), it appears to have been very similar to that still surviving at Westminster Abbey, London. Alexander supplied seven images at a cost of 5 marks each for the Charing Mews Eleanor Cross (destr.; ...

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Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in 1249. Further excavations could shed much light on this history.

Highlights in the Algarve include remains at Milreu of a villa with elaborate mosaics that rank among the most substantial Roman sites in the region. The site further preserves foundations of a basilica, likely constructed in the 5th century, and traces of what may be a baptistery, perhaps added during the period of Byzantine occupation in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period of Islamic rule, from the 8th century through to the 13th, witnessed the construction of many fortifications, including examples at Aljezur, Loulé and Salir, which were mostly levelled by earthquakes. Silves, a city with origins in the Bronze Age, preserves a substantial concentration of relatively well-preserved Islamic monuments. These include a bridge, carved inscriptions, a castle, cistern and fortified walls, along which numerous ceramics have been excavated. Most extant medieval churches in Algarve date to the period after the Reconquest. These tend to be modest in design and small in scale, such as the 13th-century Vera Cruz de Marmelar, built over Visigothic or Mozarabic foundations. The relatively large cathedrals at Silves and at Faro preserve substantial portions dating to the 13th century, as well as fabric from subsequent medieval campaigns. Renaissance and Baroque churches and ecclesiastical furnishings can be found throughout Algarve....

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Eliot W. Rowlands

(di Domenico da Zevio)

(fl 1369; d before April 10, 1393).

Italian painter. He was one of the most important North Italian painters of the 14th century. His style is characterized by an interest in the depiction of space and volume and by a preference for soft colours bathed in suffused light. His narrative paintings have a solemnity and grandeur that is mitigated by the lively realism and animation of the figures, convincingly integrated into settings of architectural complexity.

He is first recorded in Verona, where he witnessed a contract on 2 March 1369. Vasari stated that he was a most trusted member of the household (famigliarissimo) of the della Scala, the rulers of Verona, and his Vita of Carpaccio contains an appreciative, first-hand description of Altichiero’s frescoes in the Sala del Podestà, originally the Sala Grande, of the della Scala palace (c. 1364) in Verona. The subject of the frescoes was taken from Flavius Josephus’s Jewish Wars...

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[ho Kunhae ; Koun ; Ch’oja ; Haengch’on ]

(b 1297; d 1364).

Korean calligrapher. He is considered one of the last great calligraphers of the Koryŏ period (918–1392). Born into a noble family, at the age of 17 he passed his first examinations and entered the Confucian academy in Kaesŏng, where he eventually rose to prominence in the central administration. Information on his life, and in particular on his career as an official, can be found in the Koryŏsa, the history of the Koryŏ dynasty.

Yi was directly influenced by the calligraphic works of Zhao Mengfu, who at that time was considered among the greatest painters and calligraphers of Yuan-period (1279–1368) China, with which Korea had close political and cultural contacts. However, only one of Yi’s calligraphic works survives, and that only as a rubbing (Seoul, priv. col.) from a stele inscription. This is the celebrated Munsu ṣa changgyŏng pi (‘Inscription for the sūtra repository of Munsu Temple’; see Kim, Choi and Im, pl. 118), a piece written to commemorate the building of a new library for sacred texts (Skt ...

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H. B. J. Maginnis

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Gaudenz Freuler

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Béla Zsolt Szakács

Luxuriously illustrated hagiographical picture book from the 14th century. The codex is fragmented; the biggest part is preserved in the Vatican (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Vat. Lat. 8541, 106 fols),while single pages are kept in St Petersburg (Hermitage, 16930–16934), Berkeley (U. CA, Bancroft Lib., f2MSA2M21300–37), New York (Met., 1994.516) and Paris (Louvre, RF 29940), and 85 miniatures are in the Morgan Library, New York (M.360.1–26).

Presently 549 miniatures of the original of more than 700 are known on 142 folios. The manuscript consists of pictures exclusively, without the full texts of the legends; one-line tituli are written in rubrics beside the images. The 58 existing cycles depict the life of Christ, the Death of the Virgin, and the legends of John the Baptist, the apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins and holy women in hierarchical order. The narrative follows the Legenda aurea or Golden Legend of Jacopo da Voragine and, in the cases of Eastern and Central European saints (Gerhard of Csanád, Ladislas, Emeric, Stanislas), other local legends, creating an extraordinarily rich iconographic treasury. The longest cycle is dedicated to James the Greater, originally with 72 scenes; other legends consist of between 2 and 24 scenes. The selection of saints points to a commission from the Hungarian Angevin court. Its style, typical of the second quarter of the 14th century, is closest to Bolognese manuscripts but with unique features, and as such Hungary has also been proposed as the place of execution....

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(fl 1324–38).

Italian goldsmith. A native of Antella (near Florence), he had moved to Florence by 16 August 1324, when he was registered in the goldsmiths’ guild. His sole extant autograph work, incorrectly attributed by Vasari to Cione Aretino, is the reliquary bust of St Zenobius (Florence, S Maria del Fiore), which is inscribed: andreas arditi de florentia me fecit. An inventory of the sacristy of S Reparata, compiled in 1418, describes the bust and dates it to 1331. It was restored in 1704 and 1812 and has lost much of its original enamel. The figure’s mitre (detachable) and collar are decorated with quatrefoil plaques of basse-taille (translucent) enamel on silver relief depicting Angels, winged Virtues and Saints. The plaques are among the earliest examples of the use of this technique, of which Andrea appears to have been a leading exponent, by a Florentine goldsmith.

Five other works by Andrea are recorded. The inventory of ...