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Term used to describe a movement of the 1870s and 1880s that manifested itself in the fine and decorative arts and architecture in Britain and subsequently in the USA. Reacting to what was seen as evidence of philistinism in art and design, it was characterized by the cult of the beautiful and an emphasis on the sheer pleasure to be derived from it. In painting there was a belief in the autonomy of art, the concept of Art for Art’s Sake, which originated in France as a literary movement and was introduced into Britain around 1860.

The Aesthetic Movement was championed by the writers and critics Walter Pater, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. In keeping with Pater’s theories, the artists associated with it painted pictures without narrative or significant subject-matter. Dante Gabriel Rossetti took his inspiration from Venetian art because of its emphasis on colour and the decorative. This resulted in a number of half-length paintings of female figures, such as the ...

Article

Isabel L. Taube

Late 19th-century movement in the arts and literature characterized by the pursuit and veneration of beauty and the fostering of close relationships among the fine and applied arts. According to its major proponents, beauty was found in imaginative creations that harmonized colours, forms, and patterns derived from Western and non-Western cultures as well as motifs from nature. The Aesthetic Movement gained momentum in England in the 1850s, achieved widespread popularity in England and the USA by the 1870s, and declined by the 1890s.

The principal ideologies and practices of British Aestheticism came to the USA through both educational and commercial channels. As early as 1873, the Scottish stained-glass designer, decorator, and art dealer Daniel Cottier opened a branch of his interior design shop in New York and played a significant role in introducing aesthetic taste and artefacts to Americans. The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, with its extensive display of industrial and decorative arts, showcased British Aestheticism and the Japanese ceramics that influenced it. British art magazines and books, especially Charles Locke Eastlake’s ...

Article

John Steen

(Hendrik)

(b Borger, Feb 11, 1900; d Drachten, Jan 30, 1984).

Dutch painter and printmaker. He trained between 1919 and 1923 as a cabinetmaker, taking evening classes in furniture drawing and design at the Academie Minerva in Groningen. He also took private drawing lessons with the Dutch sculptor Willem Valk (1898–1977). Around 1920 he started to make drawings and paintings in an abstracted, geometric style, similar to that of Bart van der Leck (e.g. En passant, 1921–2; priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat., p. 17). From 1924 he worked in the architectural firm of Van Lingen in Groningen, and he continued to design furniture until the 1930s. He joined De Ploeg and started to mix with Dutch artists such as Jan Wiegers, Jan Altink (1885–1971) and Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman. He produced geometric abstract works such as Composition with Yellow Circles (1924; Groningen, Groninger Mus.). From c. 1924 he began to associate with the Belgian Constructivists involved in the magazine ...

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

Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

Article

Peyton Skipwith

(b London, April 14, 1863; d London, Nov 27, 1933).

English decorative artist and painter. He was articled to an architect and studied at Westminster School of Art under Frederick Brown and at the Royal Academy Schools. Later he worked in the studio of Aimé Morot in Paris and travelled to Italy. Bell belonged to the group of artist–craftsmen who brought about the last flowering of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He painted in oil and watercolour and was among the pioneers of the revival of the use of tempera. He was an illustrator and also worked in stained glass and mosaic. He is best known for a series of bas-reliefs in coloured plaster, a group of which was used in the interior decoration at Le Bois de Moutiers, a house in Varengeville, Normandy, designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1898. Bell’s understanding of early Italian art underpinned his work in mosaic, a medium he used to great effect in three public commissions in London: the ...

Article

(b Modena, c. 1490; d London, ?Feb 15, 1569).

Italian stuccoist, sculptor, painter and costume designer, active in France and England. He worked in France as a painter (1515–22), probably under Jean Perréal and Jean Bourdichon, then in Mantua, possibly under Giulio Romano, possibly calling himself ‘da Milano’. By 1532 he was at Fontainebleau and in 1533 was engaged with Francesco Primaticcio on the stuccoes and painting of the Chambre du Roi and was one of the highest paid of his collaborators. He may also have worked on the Galerie François I. He was described in 1534 as sculpteur et faiseur de masques and in 1535 made masquerade costumes for the wedding of the Comte de Saint-Pol. He was later involved in a fraud and by August 1537 was in England, where he settled. By 1540 Bellin was employed at Whitehall Palace, probably on making stucco chimneypieces, including that in the privy chamber. The following year he and his company of six were working on the slate carvings at ...

Article

Marsha L. Morton

A term applied to bourgeois life and art in Germanic Europe, an extensive area embracing such cities as Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna and Prague, from 1815 (the Congress of Vienna) to the revolutions of 1848. It originated as a pseudonym, Gottlieb Biedermeier, created by Ludwig Eichrodt (1827–92) and Adolf Kussmaul (1822–1902) for publishing poetry in the Munich journal Fliegende Blätter between October 1854 and May 1857. The connotations of the German adjective bieder—plain, solid, unpretentious—pointed to the gently parodic function of these poems, which were based on the work of Samuel Friedrich Sauter (1766–1846), a Swabian schoolmaster and amateur versifier.

The Biedermeier period may very generally be divided into two phases, with the years around 1830 marking the moment of transition between a more restrained, cooler and more severe style (purer lines and more affinity to Neo-classicism in design, sparsely furnished interiors, and greater objectivity in painting) to a more complex, catholic and emotional one (greater historicism and eclecticism in design, more pattern and upholstery in interiors, and a more fluid style, greater sentimentality and the rise of anecdotal genre in painting). However, regional variation was very marked: the colour and drama of such Viennese genre scenes as ...

Article

Dwight C. Miller

(Maria)

(b Bologna, 1692; d Bologna, 1776).

Italian painter and stuccoist. He was largely self-taught yet gifted with exceptional talent—‘such praiseworthy qualities not the fruit of long toil but of gifts with which the painter was endowed’ (Zanotti)—and thus able to establish a position among the most highly reputed artists in Bologna of his time. He was chosen four times (1734; 1748; 1767; 1773) to be the director of the prestigious Accademia Clementina of Bologna. He began his career as a stuccoist. However, impressed by the art of the quadraturista Marcantonio Chiarini (1652–1730), whose large perspective paintings he saw while working at the Palazzo Almandini, he himself began to specialize in painting perspective effects. He studied Ferdinando Galli Bibiena’s L’architettura civile (Parma, 1711) and, profiting also from his experience as an assistant to a scenery designer, Carl Antonio Buffagnotti (1660–after 1715), soon became expert in this art and began to assist the established ...

Article

L. Fornari Schianchi

(b Arcisate di Como, 1727; d Parma, Nov 4, 1792).

Italian stuccoist, printmaker, painter and collector. Before studying anything else he learned stucco decoration from his father Pietro Luigi (d 1754), who worked in Germany from 1743 until his death. Stucco work always remained Bossi’s main activity, alongside that of printmaking, especially etching. His experiments in the latter field followed in the tradition of the great Venetian printmakers. He was encouraged by Charles-François Hutin, who was in Dresden from 1753 to 1757 and whom he followed to Milan and Parma. His first etching, based on a work by Bartolomeo Nazari (1693–1758), was done in Milan in 1758. From 1759 on he was in Parma, where he produced some plates for the Iconologie tirée de divers auteurs (1759) by Jean-Baptiste Boudard, and where he executed the stucco trophy decoration for the attic of S Pietro, the construction of which began in 1761. From this date Bossi also collaborated with the designer ...

Article

N. A. Yevsina

(b Florence, 1745; d Dresden, May 17, 1820).

Italian architect, interior designer and decorative painter. He studied in Rome under Stefano Pozzi from 1766 to 1768 and then in Paris. On his return to Italy he studied antiquities, copying frescoes (with Franciszek Smuglewicz) and measuring and sketching the Baths of Titus (1774) and the villa of Pliny the younger at Laurentinum. He occasionally worked in Poland, where he showed his skill as an interior decorator. A designer of painted arabesque decoration, he combined classical architectural and landscape compositions with Baroque decorative effects. Notable examples include works at the palace of Izabella Poniatowska-Branicka and the royal palace in Warsaw, the Czartoryski Palace (the Pheasantry) at Natolin, and other great houses in Poland.

In late 1783 or early 1784 he was invited to St Petersburg by the heir to the Russian throne, Paul Petrovich (later Tsar Paul I, reg 1796–1801) for the building of his country residence at ...

Article

Nadia Tscherny

(b Montignac, Dordogne, Dec 16, 1771; d Poland, 1850).

French painter and designer. He came from a family of shopkeepers and tailors and he served in the Republican army during the wars of the Vendée. By 1798 he was a student of Jacques-Louis David, who provided a small apartment in the Louvre where Broc often lived. With a group of David’s students and some writers, Broc formed a dissenting sect called Primitifs, Les, Barbus (bearded ones), Méditateurs or Penseurs. Broc was typical of the Primitifs in finding inspiration in Greek vase painting and Italian 15th-century art.

The School of Apelles (1800; Paris, Louvre) was Broc’s first Salon entry and the first exhibited work by a member of the Primitifs. The picture represents Apelles speaking to his students about his unfinished allegory of Calumny. The composition derives from Raphael’s School of Athens (Rome, Vatican, Stanza Segnatura), and the picture on the easel is based on a drawing of Calumny...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(fl 1511–1542),

Italian painter, active in England. He is named as ‘Alex of myllen’ and thereafter described as a ‘myllyner’, so it seems likely that he came from Milan; the persistent notion that he was a woman has been discredited by a record of tiles ‘by him delivered’. From 1511 to 1542...

Article

Jane Shoaf Turner

(b Altona, Germany, June 11, 1741; d Amsterdam, Nov 9, 1799).

Dutch draughtsman and painter. He was the son of Johannes Cats, a Dutch bookdealer who moved back to Amsterdam from Germany following the death of his second wife shortly after Jacob’s birth. Jacob was trained as a bookbinder and as an engraver, first under Abraham Starre and later with Pieter Louw (d 1800). After further training with the pattern designer Gerard van Rossum (c. 1690–1772), he became a wallpaper painter in the Amsterdam factory of Jan Hendrik Troost van Groenendoelen, for whom he worked for three and a half years. Cats then established his own wallpaper factory, with financial assistance from his relative Willem Writs and from Jan de Bosch and Johann Goll van Franckenstein the elder. Cats was also a skilled amateur draughtsman, specializing in topographical views and landscapes, such as Two Shepherds Conversing before a Large Tree (Hamburg, Ksthalle). He also made copies (e.g. New York, O. Naumann priv. col., sold New York, Christie’s, ...

Article

Marie Demanet

(b Ath, Jan 7, 1875; d Brussels, Sept 1, 1952).

Belgian decorative artist, architect and painter. He began architectural studies at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp but broke off to pursue courses on the decorative arts at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, graduating in 1898. The tuition he received there from the painter Constant Montald gave him a taste for mural art and he soon developed a business that specialized in sgraffito painting, a technique that had recently come back into fashion. He completed some 440 design projects, most of which were for building façades and stairways. As an interior designer, painter and draughtsman, Cauchie was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow style and he produced a variety of work in the applied arts. Towards 1905 his style became more geometrical. It was at this time that he built his own studio and house at Etterbeek, Brussels, in collaboration with the architect ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Paris, after 1945).

French performance and installation artist, painter, bookmaker, furniture and interior furnishings designer. Chaimowicz moved to England as a child, studying at Ealing College of Art (1963–5), Camberwell College of Art (1965–8) and the Slade School of Art (1968–70). Whilst completing his MA at the Slade, Chaimowicz decided to abandon painting, and started to make performance work, such as Celebration? Real Life (1972; performed at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Gallery House, London). For the duration of each show, Chaimowicz lived within the domestic space that he had created, serving coffee to visitors to the gallery. His work during the 1970s and early 1980s concentrated on performances in imaginary, idealised domestic spaces, with fragmented narratives and symbolic actions. Partial Eclipse (1980–82) consisted of Chaimowicz walking in a figure of eight in front of and behind a screen on which slides of his apartment/studio were projected, whilst a female voice recounted fragments of meetings, situations and relationships (see ...

Article

(b Lyon, 1798; d Paris, June 16, 1838).

French painter, designer and interior decorator. Throughout his career he was an advocate of the importance of art and design for industry and manufacture. In 1830 he was appointed adviser to the Sèvres Porcelain Factory by the director Alexandre Brongniart (1770–1847). There Chenavard made cartoons for stained-glass windows, a stoneware ‘Vase de la Renaissance’ shown at the 1833 Sèvres exhibition and designs for the Duc d’Orléans (future King Louis-Philippe), such as a silver-gilt ewer made by M. Durant and shown at the 1834 Paris Exposition Universelle. Chenavard exhibited designs at the Paris Salons of 1827, 1831, 1833 and 1834, among them his Gothic-style designs, in collaboration with Achille Mascret, for the decoration of the chapel at the château of Eu, and his sketches for the restoration of the Théâtre Français and Opéra Comique in Paris. Material by Chenavard is preserved in the Musée National de Céramique at Sèvres and the ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Flensburg, March 6, 1866; d Wiesbaden, Jan 5, 1945).

German designer. After an early career as an interior designer he turned to the design of tapestries (subsequently woven at the Scherbeker Kunstgewerbeschule), porcelain (table wares), drinking glasses (for the Theresienthaler Kristallglasfabrik) and silver cutlery. After 1914 he worked primarily as a painter and writer.

M. Zimmermann-Degen and H. Christiansen...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[Cesare]

(b Milan, July 30, 1930; d Milan, July 30, 1971).

Italian designer. After an early career as a sculptor and painter he turned to design for what was to be the last decade of his short life. In 1962 he opened a design studio on Viale Pavia in Milan, and thereafter concentrated on interiors (in the first instance for alpine hotels) and furniture design. His furniture had neither straight lines nor corners, but consisted of curves and folds. His chairs include the fibreglass Elda Armchair (...

Article

Christina Lodder

revised by Benjamin Benus

Avant-garde tendency in 20th-century painting, sculpture, photography, design and architecture, with associated developments in literature, theatre and film. The term was first coined by artists in Russia in early 1921 and achieved wide international currency in the 1920s. Russian Constructivism refers specifically to a group of artists who sought to move beyond the autonomous art object, extending the formal language of abstract art into practical design work. This development was prompted by the utopian climate following the October Revolution of 1917, which led artists to seek to create a new visual environment, embodying the social needs and values of the new Communist order. The concept of International Constructivism defines a broader current in European art, most vital from around 1922 until the end of the 1920s, that was centred primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. International Constructivists were inspired by the Russian example, both artistically and politically. They continued, however, to work in the traditional artistic media of painting and sculpture, while also experimenting with film and photography and recognizing the potential of the new formal language for utilitarian design. The term Constructivism has frequently been used since the 1920s, in a looser fashion, to evoke a continuing tradition of geometric abstract art that is ‘constructed’ from autonomous visual elements such as lines and planes, and characterized by such qualities as precision, impersonality, a clear formal order, simplicity and economy of organization and the use of contemporary materials such as plastic and metal....