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Article

May Vieillard-Troïekouroff

(b Lyon, c. ad 432; d Clermont, c. 486; fd 21 Aug).

Gallic saint, writer and bishop. He came from a senatorial family in Lyon and was married at the age of 20 to the daughter of the future emperor, Avitus (reg ad 455–6). Sidonius followed Avitus to Rome, where in 456 he made his panegyric for which the Roman senate honoured him with a bronze statue (destr.) placed in Trajan’s Forum. This was one of the last statues en ronde-bosse of the Western world. After a period of disgrace following Avitus’ downfall, Sidonius returned to Rome and became a prefect in 468. In 471 he was elected Bishop of Clermont (even though he was married).

In his letters and poems Sidonius mentioned many religious buildings including Bourges Cathedral, where he had Bishop Simplicius elected, and St Julien, Brioude, where he praised the martyr without mentioning that Avitus, his father-in-law, was buried at the feet of the saint (d c....

Article

Dorothy Verkerk

Illuminated manuscript of the first five books of the Old Testament (now incomplete), dating from the late 6th or early 7th century (Paris, Bib.N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 2334) and named after the English collector Bertram Ashburnham. Also known as the Pentateuch of Tours, the Ashburnham Pentateuch is one of the oldest surviving pre-Carolingian Vulgate manuscripts of the Old Testament. In its present condition, it lacks the last verses of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy; while 18 pages of illustration and 1 frontispiece survive from the original 65 pages with illustrations. The illustrated pages comprise several scenes generally arranged in two or three bands, although some pages have one or two large scenes, others combine illustration and text. Painted tituli that follow the Vulgate accompany the miniatures; however, beneath the painted titutli are preliminary inscriptions penned in ink that follow the Vetus latina text.

Based upon stylistic, iconographical and codicological evidence, the Pentateuch appears to have been made in a late 6th- to early 7th-century Italian scriptorium. Twelve pages were added in the 8th century by scribes from Fleury; an additional restored page (fol. 33) was added in the 7th century by a Touronian scribe. The illustrations often deviate from the exact retelling of the biblical text. The column of smoke and fire, for example, in the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea is depicted as a large candle held in two hands, a reference to Easter Vigil liturgical ceremonies (fol. 68...

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

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Cicero  

Valerie Hutchinson Pennanen

(Marcus Tullius)

(b Arpinum [now Arpino, nr Frosinone], Jan 3, 106 bc; d Formiae [now Formia, Campagna], Dec 7, 43 bc).

Roman orator, statesman, philosopher and patron. His reverence for the past was reflected in both his public and private life. Having studied in Greece and apparently read at least one treatise on Greek art (see Brutus xviii.70), he was familiar with the work of the greatest Greek artists and alluded to Myron, Polykleitos, Pheidias, Lysippos, Apelles and to Greek art in general throughout his writings. That he was an avid collector is revealed by his Letters to Atticus, through whom he bought numerous sculptures for his villa at Tusculum. Fondness for Greek art is also reflected in his choice of similes, so that he compared Caesar’s straightforward prose with ‘nude, well-proportioned’ statues (Brutus lxxv.262), strong-souled men with rust-proof Corinthian bronzes (Tusculan Disputations IV.xiv.32) and man’s acquisition of wisdom with Pheidias’ ability to perfect a statue (On the Ends of Good and Evil IV.xiii.34). His admiration for Greek art is further evident in his impassioned speech ...

Article

Sarah Morgan

[Eusebios Pamphili]

(b c. ad 265; d c. ad 340). Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, church historian and prominent supporter of Constantine the Great. Eusebios studied under the learned presbyter Pamphilus (c. 240–309), whose name he adopted, in Caesarea, an important centre of Christian learning since the time of Origen (c. 185–254). He achieved a formidable reputation as a scholar, yet managed to escape harm during the Great Persecution of the Church (ad 303–12). In 313 he was appointed Bishop of Caesarea, which position he held until his death. When the Arian controversy broke out c. 318, Eusebios attempted to present Arianism in a more acceptable form. At the Council of Nicaea (325), however, it was condemned as a heresy and Eusebios was required to recant his position and to accept the doctrine of the Council. From this time he gave full support to Constantine’s drive for unity in the Church, and in return he enjoyed considerable imperial favour....

Article

Stephen T. Driscoll

Scottish royal centre in Perthshire, which reached its zenith in the late Pictish period (8th–9th centuries ad) and is the source of an assemblage of high quality ecclesiastical sculpture. Occupying the fertile heart of Strathearn, Forteviot has been more or less in continuous use as a ceremonial centre since the 3rd millennium bc and is the focus of élite burials from the Early Bronze Age (c. 1900 bc) through to the Pictish era. Cinead mac Alpín (Kenneth mac Alpine), the king traditionally identified with the foundation of the Gaelic kingdom of the Scots, died at the palacium (palace) of Forteviot in ad 858. It was eclipsed as a royal centre by Scone in ad 906, but remained a significant royal estate until the 13th century.

The only surviving fabric of the palace is a unique monolithic arch, presumably a chancel arch, carved with three moustached Picts in classical dress flanking a crucifix (now in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh). Fragments of at least four additional sandstone crosses indicate the presence of a major church, perhaps a monastery. The celebrated Dupplin Cross (now in Dunning Church) originally overlooked Forteviot from the north. This monolithic, free-standing cross (2.5 m tall) bears a Latin inscription naming Constantine son of Fergus, King of the Picts (...

Article

T. F. C. Blagg

(b c. ad 30; d 104).

Roman administrator and writer. He was a senatorial aristocrat. During his early career he served as governor of Britain (ad 74–8). His conquest of Wales led to the establishment of Caerleon and Chester as permanent legionary fortresses. He was probably responsible for initiating the programme of Roman urban development in Britain for which Tacitus (On the Life of Agricola xxi) gave credit to his father-in-law, Agricola, who succeeded Frontinus as governor. In ad 97 Frontinus was commissioned to reorganize Rome’s water supply and in 100 was awarded the unusual distinction of a third consulship.

Frontinus wrote on the aqueducts of Rome, surveying, the art of war, stratagems and farming. In De aquis urbis Romae (On the water supply of the city of Rome) he showed his appreciation of the management of Rome’s aqueducts and revealed a typical Roman pragmatism; he contrasted the practicality of the great Roman system with ‘the idle Pyramids and the useless but famous works of the Greeks’ (...

Article

Dai Kui  

Weihe Chen

[Tai K’uei; zi Andao]

(b Qiaojinzhi [now Suxian], Anhui Province, c. ad 326; d c. 396).

Chinese sculptor, painter and philosopher. At an early age he studied with the famous Confucian scholar Fan Xuan, however, despite being influenced by Confucianism, he never took up an official position, instead he adopted a policy of withdrawing from society, admiring nature and advocating a simple way of life. He was a prolific author and developed the Confucian monastic tradition of xing and shen. A nine-volume work entitled The Collected Works of Dai Kui was published but is now lost.

As an artist he is said to have been good at figures, Buddhist portraits and landscapes. Gu Kaizhi remarked that his Picture of Seven Sages exceeded ancient paintings in likeness and charm. The critic Xie He approved his works as ‘creating a feeling of lasting appeal; stimulating interest through their ingenuity; excelling in their depiction of sages and setting models for professional painters’. His works Pictures of Nineteen Poems by Ruan Ji...

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

(b ?Volterra, late 4th century ad; elected Sept 29, 440; d Rome, Nov 10, 461; fd 10 Nov, Western Church; 18 Feb, Eastern Church).

Saint, pope, writer, and patron. He was dedicated to maintaining the unity of the church against such heretics as the Pelagians, the Manichaeans, and the Priscillianists, as is clear from his numerous sermons and letters (see Christianity §III 3., (i)). His reforms included maintaining strict ecclesiastical discipline at a time when barbarian culture threatened the stability of the Church in Rome. As an active patron of the arts, Leo funded the construction of a basilica over the grave of Pope Cornelius (251–3) on the Via Appia; he restored and redecorated S Paolo fuori le mura (395–408) after its roof collapsed in 441, even persuading Galla Placidia to pay for the mosaics (largely destr. 1823) on the Triumphal Arch; and he restored parts of Old St Peter’s (see Rome, §V, 14(i)(a)). He encouraged the construction of S Stefano on the Via Latina, the ruins of which have been excavated....

Article

Dominic Montserrat

[Gr. Loukianos]

(b Samosata, c. ad 120; d before 180). Author, writing in Greek, of North African birth. Towards the end of a prolific literary career, around 163 ad, he wrote the Imagines (Gr. Eikones), a panegyric couched in dialogue form, which is one of several texts surviving from the age of the Second Sophistic that include extensive descriptions of works of art (see also Philostratos family). Also of interest for the history of painting is Lucian’s Zeuxis, a discussion of the idea of innovation, which includes a detailed description of a copy of the Centaur Family, a famous work by the Athenian painter Zeuxis, depicting a family of centaurs in an idyllic landscape. In the Renaissance the popularity of Lucian’s art writings influenced such artists as Sodoma and Botticelli; the latter incorporated many elements from Lucian’s description of Aetion’s Wedding of Alexander the Great and Roxane...

Article

Ovid  

Willem F. Lash

[Publius Ovidius Naso]

(b Sulmo [now Sulmona, Abruzzi], 20 March 43 bc; d Tomis [now Constanţa, Romania], ad 17–18). Roman poet. His work is an important source for mythological subjects in Western visual art. He studied in Rome and held minor judicial posts there before becoming a poet. For two decades he was the leading poet in Rome, but in ad 8, for unknown reasons, the Emperor Augustus banished him to Tomis on the Black Sea, where he remained. The principal works of his maturity are the Metamorphoses, stories from mythology related in a historical frame, and the Fasti, a poetical treatise on the Roman calendar. The Metamorphoses is undoubtedly Ovid’s most important work, both for its ingenious structure and its cultural implications. The stories were derived largely from Hellenistic mythography and Virgil’s Aeneid, but Ovid’s treatment, linking them in a narrative structure and retelling them with overtones of irony, was innovative. The transformations referred to in the title are essentially a linking motif; the real subject of the ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, 1st century bc).

Greek sculptor and writer from South Italy. He is generally regarded as the head of a school producing eclectic, neo-classical statuary related to Neo-Attic decorative reliefs. Virtually everything known about Pasiteles is derived from a few literary references. No signatures of his are extant, although a marble statue of a youth (c. 50 bc; Rome, Villa Albani) is signed by Stephanos as his pupil. Pasiteles received Roman citizenship around 89–88 bc, when enfranchisement was extended as a result of the Social War (Pliny XXXIII.lv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He is mentioned as an expert in the chasing of metal (caelatura), especially elaborately decorated silver vessels (Pliny XXXV.xlv.156; Cicero: On Divination I.xxxvi.79). Despite being both a sculptor and metalworker, Pasiteles is never mentioned by Pliny in his section on sculptors in bronze. Rather, he is specifically identified as a modeller and ivory carver (XXXV.xlv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He must have worked in marble as well, since his name occurs twice in book XXXVI, where marble sculpture is treated, and his student ...

Article

R. L. P. Milburn

[Pontius Meropius Paulinus]

(b Bordeaux, ad 353; d Nola, 431; fd 22 June). Saint, bishop and writer. By birth he was a Gallic aristocrat who later renounced public life and secular literature under the combined influences of ascetic piety and fear of becoming involved in political turmoil. In 395 he settled at Nola (c. 23 km east of Naples in the province of Campania), where he gave up the ground-floor of his house for the use of the poor. Each year he publicly recited a new poem in honour of St Felix (d 260), a Syrian soldier who had been active in good works throughout Campania and who was buried at Cimitile-Nola. In 409 Paulinus was elected Bishop of Nola and proved himself an energetic leader in relieving the hardship caused by the invasion of the Visigoths under Alaric I (reg 395–410). Of his prose writings, 50 letters survive, clear, candid and charitable, the most important being the correspondence with St Augustine of Hippo (354–430) on points of biblical criticism. Of his verse, 35 poems survive (14 of which are for the ...

Article

R. L. P. Milburn

(Aurelius Clemens)

(b ?Saragossa, ad 348; d c. ad 410).

Spanish writer. Born into an élite family, he gave up a successful career in the civil administration to devote himself to the dissemination of Christian doctrine through his Latin Christian poetry and hymns. His verse is modelled on that of Virgil, Horace, and other Classical poets and shows a command of various metres; he is often acclaimed as the chief Christian poet of the early period. Loyalty to the Church, however, failed to quench his admiration for ancient Rome or an awareness of beauty in pagan art forms.

His Peristephanon, a series of lyrics inspired by veneration for the martyrs of Spain and Rome, offers valuable descriptions of Roman catacombs and churches (e.g. St Peter, S Paolo fuori le mura, the basilica near the grave of Hippolytus, and the Lateran baptistery) together with their marbles, painting, and mosaics. The theme of his Psychomachia is the contest between Christianity and pagan beliefs: it became an important source for the medieval art form of Allegory, in which vigorous personifications of the Seven Cardinal Virtues are described (and often portrayed) in combat with the Vices for mastery over the human soul....

Article

John Onians

[Marcus Fabius Quintilianus]

(b Calagurris [now Calahorra], Spain, c. ad 40; d c. ad 100).

Roman rhetorician, writer and teacher. He was educated in Rome, where he studied rhetoric with the orator Domitius Afer; he later returned to the capital in ad 68, becoming himself a highly successful teacher before being appointed by the Emperor Vespasian (reg ad 69–79) as the first professor of rhetoric paid by the State. During his retirement he served as tutor to members of the family of Domitian (reg ad 81–96), and around ad 95 he completed the Institutio oratoria (‘Principles of Oratory’), a comprehensive treatise on the training of the orator, which became the foundation of education in the Late Empire. Quintilian’s importance derives from his close association with the policy of the Flavian dynasty and the subsequent influence of his writing. He shared with Vespasian a concern to define a distinctively Roman culture after the excesses of the Grecophile Nero, and his description of Roman rhetorical style as ‘forceful’, ‘weighty’ and ‘copious’ (XII.x.36) may have helped to form contemporary taste not only in oratory but also in the ...

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

Terence  

Elizabeth Sears

[Publius Terentius Afer]

(b Carthage, c. 190 bc; d ?Greece, 159 bc).

Roman writer. His six comedies, composed between 166 bc and 160 bc for performance before a Roman public, were admired for the purity and elegance of their Latin and became school texts, destined to be read and studied, quoted and imitated long after they had ceased to be performed. Over 700 manuscripts (5th–15th centuries ad) and a large number of printed editions attest to the plays’ enduring popularity. The medieval and Renaissance manuscripts belong to the ‘Calliopian’ recension of the text (named after the Late Antique redactor Calliopius, of whom nothing further is known) and are divided into the gamma and delta branches. At an early date—probably in Late Antiquity, if not before—the plays were illustrated: frontispieces were created and unframed images of masked, costumed, gesturing actors were inserted at the scene divisions. These pictorial cycles accompany texts of the gamma branch only, although it is not necessarily the case that the cycle was created for this recension (Grant). Extant illustrated copies of the plays, descendants of a posited Late Antique archetype, fall into three principal groups: 12 manuscripts and a fragment dating from the 9th to 12th centuries; a small number of luxury manuscripts produced in French court circles in the early 15th century; and numerous series of woodcuts prepared for printed editions of the plays in the late 15th and 16th centuries....

Article

Eugene Dwyer, Peter Kidson and Pier Nicola Pagliara

(fl later 1st century bc). Roman architect, engineer and writer, renowned for his treatise in ten books, On Architecture (Lat. De architectura), the only text on architectural theory and practice to have survived from Classical antiquity.

Eugene Dwyer

Vitruvius is known in the earliest manuscripts of On Architecture only by this name, a nomen gentilicium or clan name. By his own testimony (I. Preface), he was already an older man at the time he dedicated his treatise to the Emperor Augustus (?27 or 14 bc). He had earlier served Augustus’ adoptive father, Julius Caesar, as a siege engineer, and at some time after Caesar’s death (44 bc) he entered the service of Octavian (after 27 bc called Augustus). He enjoyed Octavian’s continued patronage on the recommendation of the latter’s sister, Octavia, a fact that suggests a period of service under her second husband, the triumvir ...

Article

( fl Athens, c. 280 bc). Greek sculptor and writer. Though none of his work has survived, three statue bases signed by a Xenokrates and dating from the early 3rd century bc are extant. According to Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.lvxxxiii) he was a pupil either of Euthykrates, the son of Lysippos, or of Teisikrates, the pupil of Euthykrates (thus closely associated with the Sikyonian school of sculpture headed by Lysippos; see Greece, ancient §IV 2., (iv) ), and he ‘surpassed them both in the number of his statues, and wrote volumes about his art’. In the only other mention of Xenokrates in the text of the Natural History (he is also cited in the index to book XXXIV as having written a treatise on the working of sculpture in metal) Pliny named him, along with Antigonos of Karystos, as the source for the observation that the painter Parrhasios was a master draughtsman (XXXV.lxviii). In fact, Pliny’s whole discussion of the history of sculpture and painting is generally regarded as having been heavily influenced by Xenokrates. In this system, both arts gradually evolved towards perfection as each succeeding artist added something new, such as proportion or the rendering of certain details. In both cases the sequence culminated in a great master of the Sikyonian school, Lysippos in sculpture and Apelles in painting. Perhaps because he was a practising sculptor himself, Xenokrates seems to have used formal and technical criteria, rather than a work’s subject-matter or moral effect, to evaluate artistic achievement. Numerous references to the history of painting and sculpture in writers other than Pliny are thought to derive from Xenokrates’ accounts: he was the art critic best known to the Romans of the late Republic, whose taste he greatly influenced....