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Article

Alexander Nagel

[Fr. postautel, retable; Ger. Altar, Altaraufsatz, Altarbild, Altarretabel, Altarrückwand, Retabel; It. ancona, dossale, pala (d’altare); Sp. retablo]

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a retable, following the medieval term retrotabulum [retabulum, retrotabularium].

The altarpiece was never officially prescribed by the Church, but it did perform a prescribed function alternatively carried out by a simple inscription on the altarblock: to declare to which saint or mystery the altar was dedicated. In fact, the altarpiece did more than merely identify the altar; its form and content evoked the mystery or personage whose cult was celebrated at the altar. This original and lasting function influenced the many forms taken by the altarpiece throughout its history. Since the altarpiece was not prescribed by the Church, its form varied enormously. For this reason, it is often impossible, and historically inaccurate, to draw neat distinctions between the altarpiece and other elements occasionally associated with the altar apparatus. For example, movable statues, often of the Virgin and Child, were occasionally placed on altars according to ritual needs, and at those times fulfilled the function of the altarpiece....

Article

Ursula Härting

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Article

Alessandro Conti

(b Florence, before March 12, 1446; d Lucca, 1496).

Italian painter and illuminator. He was a Camaldolite monk; his appointment, from 1470, as Abbot of Agnano, Arezzo, and Val di Castro, Fabriano, was disputed, since he never resided at either abbey. His work is known from a signed triptych of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints (1460–67) in SS Martino e Bartolomeo at Tifi, Arezzo (in situ). It shows the influence of the most fashionable Florentine artists of the time, such as Neri di Bicci, and such artists from the Marches as Giovanni Boccati and Gerolamo di Giovanni da Camerino. The most noteworthy aspect of the altarpiece, however, is its chromatic quality. This undoubtedly derives from the work of Piero della Francesca and has made it possible to identify Amedei as the collaborator to whom Piero entrusted the small predella scenes and pilaster figures of the polyptych of the Misericordia (Sansepolcro, Pin.), a work that can be dated by the final payments made in ...

Article

Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy

(b Paris, 1662; d Paris, April 14, 1753).

French ecclesiastic and painter. He entered the Dominican Order at the age of 17. He may have begun his artistic training only in 1687, when he was given leave to travel to Rome; he seems to have spent several years there. According to tradition, it was Carlo Maratti’s painting that most influenced him; however, the classical stylistic elements in André’s paintings would seem to reflect the general influence of contemporary Roman and French art, rather than that of any particular artist. Apart from a few portraits, such as his Self-portrait with Rosary (after 1731; Paris, Louvre), André painted works with an exclusively religious content. Many of his surviving monumental paintings may be seen in churches in Lyon and Bordeaux, as well as in several in Paris, for instance the Supper at Emmaus (1741) in St Nicolas du Chardonnet, St Dominic Expounding the Rules of the Order (1738...

Article

William Hood

[Fra Giovanni da Fiesole; Guido di Piero da Mugello]

(b nr Vicchio, c. 1395–1400; d Rome, Feb 18, 1455).

Italian painter, illuminator and Dominican friar. He rose from obscure beginnings as a journeyman illuminator to the renown of an artist whose last major commissions were monumental fresco cycles in St Peter’s and the Vatican Palace, Rome. He reached maturity in the early 1430s, a watershed in the history of Florentine art. None of the masters who had broken new ground with naturalistic painting in the 1420s was still in Florence by the end of that decade. The way was open for a new generation of painters, and Fra Angelico was the dominant figure among several who became prominent at that time, including Paolo Uccello, Fra Filippo Lippi and Andrea del Castagno. By the early 1430s Fra Angelico was operating the largest and most prestigious workshop in Florence. His paintings offered alternatives to the traditional polyptych altarpiece type and projected the new naturalism of panel painting on to a monumental scale. In fresco projects of the 1440s and 1450s, both for S Marco in Florence and for S Peter’s and the Vatican Palace in Rome, Fra Angelico softened the typically astringent and declamatory style of Tuscan mural decoration with the colouristic and luminescent nuances that characterize his panel paintings. His legacy passed directly to the second half of the 15th century through the work of his close follower Benozzo Gozzoli and indirectly through the production of Domenico Veneziano and Piero della Francesca. Fra Angelico was undoubtedly the leading master in Rome at mid-century, and had the survival rate of 15th-century Roman painting been greater, his significance for such later artists as Melozzo da Forlì and Antoniazzo Romano might be clearer than it is....

Article

Debra Higgs Strickland

Richly illustrated bestiary manuscript (275×185mm, 105 fols; Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Ashmole 1511), written in Latin and illuminated probably in southern England around 1210. The original patron is unknown. It contains the text and illustrations of a complete bestiary, with prefatory Creation scenes and excerpts from Genesis and part of Hugh de Folieto’s Aviarium (Book of Birds). It is a luxury manuscript with lavish use of gold leaf, sometimes tooled, in the backgrounds of the full-page miniatures and numerous smaller framed animal ‘portraits’. Its images are especially notable for their ornamental qualities, evident in both the pictorial compositions and a wide variety of geometric framing devices. The prefatory cycle includes a full-page miniature of Adam Naming the Animals. The Ashmole Bestiary is considered a ‘sister’ manuscript to the Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen, U. Lib., MS. 24), to which it is iconographically very closely related, but owing to major stylistic differences the two manuscripts have been attributed to different artists. The chronological relationship between the two has been disputed: based on proposed workshop methods, Muratova (...

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

Charles Buchanan

Type of large-format Bible, usually found in pandect (single-volume) form, produced in central Italy and Tuscany from around 1060 to the middle of the 12th century. They came out of the efforts of a reformist papacy intent on wresting control over ecclesiastical investiture from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Giant Bibles were produced in reformed canonries and monasteries and then exported to the same, not only in Italy but throughout Europe.

The term ‘Atlantic’ (from the mythological giant Atlas) is derived from their impressive size; dimensions range from 550 to 600 mms by 300 to 400 mms. Their script, derived from Caroline minuscule, is placed in two columns of around fifty-five lines. The texts are decorated with two initial types, which Edward B. Garrison designated as ‘geometrical’ and ‘full shaft’, both of which are derived from Carolingian and Ottonian exemplars, respectively. The iconography consists of full-length prophets, patriarchs, kings and saints as well as narrative scenes. The last are at times found as full-page cyclical illuminations and preface important textual divisions, especially Genesis. The iconography of the Giant Bibles is a specific Roman iconographical recension with its sources based in part on Early Christian pictorial cycles, such as the wall paintings of Old St Peter’s in Rome. These came from an era considered by the reformers to have been uncorrupted by the abuses that afflicted the Church when these Bibles were being made. While the Giant Bibles were promulgated by the Church of Rome as a symbol of its supreme authority, they also allowed the clergy to perform the liturgy, and the Divine Office in particular, properly....

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Konstantinovich)

(b Feodosiya [now Kaffa], July 29, 1817; d Feodosiya, June 2, 1900).

Russian painter of Armenian descent. The son of an Armenian merchant, throughout his life he kept his links with the ancient traditions of Armenian Christian culture. He studied at the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg, in 1833–7 under Maksim Vorob’yov (1787–1855), a prominent Russian landscape painter of the Romantic period. From 1845 Ayvazovsky worked predominantly in Feodosiya, an ancient city in the Eastern Crimea. He travelled widely in Russia and Europe, the Near East, Africa and America. Ayvazovsky’s first significant paintings testify to his attentive assimilation of the canons of Romantic seascape painting, going back to Claude Lorrain, as well as the influence of Vorob’yov and the late works of Sil’vestr Shchedrin. In Ayvazovsky’s early works the accurate rendering of views is combined with a classicist rationality of composition, as in View of the Seashore in the Environs of St Petersburg (1835; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.)

A purely Romantic view of the world and exaltation in the face of the boundless, eternally changing sea find mature expression in the works of the 1840s, when Ayvazovsky gained renown throughout Europe. A number of foreign academies made him an honorary member, and J. M. W. Turner wrote an enthusiastic ode in honour of one of his pictures. The best-known work of this period is the ...

Article

Marit Lange and Thea Miller

(b Holmestrand, Jan 21, 1845; d Oslo, March 25, 1932).

Norwegian painter . In the 1860s and early 1870s she took lessons in drawing and painting in Christiania (now Oslo) and also travelled extensively in Europe with her sister Agathe, a composer and pianist. She copied works in major museums and took occasional art lessons; she later considered this experience to have been of fundamental importance to her artistic development. Little Red Riding Hood (1872; Oslo, N.G.) is impressive in technique, and the early portrait of her sister, Agathe Backer-Grøndahl (1874; Holmestrand, Komm.), shows a refined colour scheme. At the age of nearly 30 Backer decided to train professionally as a painter and in 1874 went to Munich. She was never attached to a particular institution, but the influence of her friend the artist Eilif Peterssen was crucial to her development. In Munich she made a thorough study of perspective, which formed a secure basis for her later work. The work she did while in Munich reflects a study of the Old Masters in museums and is characterized by a preference for the historical subjects typical of the Munich school, as well as by an interest in the psychological portrait (e.g. ...

Article

Ludovico Borgo and Margot Borgo

[Porta, Baccio della]

(b Florence, March 28, 1472; d Florence, Oct 31, 1517).

Italian painter and draughtsman. Vasari and later historians agree that Fra Bartolommeo was an essential force in the formation and growth of the High Renaissance. He was the first painter in Florence to understand Leonardo da Vinci’s painterly and compositional procedures. Later he created a synthesis between Leonardo’s tonal painting and Venetian luminosity of colour. Equally important were his inventions for depicting divinity as a supernatural force, and his type of sacra conversazione in which the saints are made to witness and react to a biblical event occurring before their eyes, rather than standing in devout contemplation, as was conventional before. His drawings, too, are exceptional both for their abundance and for their level of inventiveness. Many artists came under his influence: Albertinelli, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Titian, Correggio, Beccafumi, Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino.

Fra Bartolommeo was the son of Paolo, a muleteer and carter. After 1478 he lived in a modest family house outside the Porta S Pier Gattolini in Florence and consequently was dubbed Baccio (a Tuscan diminutive for Bartolommeo) della Porta. In ...

Article

Adam S. Cohen

revised by Shirin Fozi

Illuminated manuscript (292 × 225 mm; London, BL, Add. MS. 49598) containing liturgical prayers recited by the bishop, produced in Winchester between ad 971 and 984 for Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, a leader of Anglo-Saxon monastic reform. It is a sumptuous work, with 28 full-page miniatures (another 15 have been lost) and 2 historiated initials lavishly executed in gold and vibrant colours (see Initial, manuscript). The decoration includes the finest examples of Winchester school borders, consisting of acanthus designs that fill the frame and shoot forth from the corner medallions. An inscription describes the manufacture of the book by the scribe Godeman and refers specifically to the ‘many frames well adorned’. The figural style, like the decorative and iconographic elements, is derived primarily from Carolingian models and is consistent with contemporaneous Anglo-Saxon art; what distinguishes the manuscript is its extremely luxurious illuminations and the complexity of its iconographic programme....

Article

Annick Benavides

[Bitti, Aloisio Bernardino Giovanni Demócrito]

(b Camerino, the Marches, 1548; d Lima, 1610).

Italian painter and sculptor active in Peru. One of seven children born to Pablo and Cornelia Bitti, Bernardo Bitti commenced formal training in the arts at the age of 14 in Camerino and completed his training in Rome. He was inducted into the Society of Jesus as a Coadjutor Brother on 2 May 1568 at the age of 20. The General of the Society of Jesus, Everardo Mecurián, assigned Bitti to the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1573 at the request of the Jesuit Provincial in Peru, Diego Bracamante, who believed religious imagery would facilitate the Catholic indoctrination of indigenous Andeans at missions. After spending 14 months in Seville, Bitti arrived in Lima on 31 May 1575 and worked there for 8 years. He subsequently embarked on a peripatetic career decorating the interiors of Jesuit sites in Cuzco, Juli, La Paz, Sucre, Potosí, Arequipa, and Ayacucho.

Bitti created the main and lateral altarpieces of the Jesuit provisional church of S Pedro in Lima with the assistance of the Andalusian Jesuit artist Pedro de Vargas (...

Article

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...

Article

Veerle Poupeye

(b St Ann, 1917).

Jamaican painter and sculptor. A self-taught mystic and visionary, unknown until the late 1960s, he drew his artistic inspiration from a very personal interpretation of two Afro-Christian Jamaican cults, Rastafarianism and Revivalism. His imagery developed through meditation and techniques similar to the automatism of the Surrealists. The curious limestone formations found in Jamaica frequently served as a source of inspiration, as in Bush Have Ears (1976; Kingston, N.G.). He also made ritual objects, such as carved wooden staffs and decorated musical instruments. During the 1970s he worked in close collaboration with his son Clinton Brown (b 1954), who also received substantial critical acclaim.

V. Poupeye-Rammelaere: ‘The Rainbow Valley: The Life and Work of Brother Everald Brown’, Jamaica Journal, 21/2 (May–June 1988), pp. 2–14G. Mosquera: ‘Everald Brown’, Ante América (exh. cat. by G. Mosquera and others, Bogotá, Banco de la República, 1992), pp. 25–30V. Poupeye: Caribbean Art...

Article

Joan Hichberger

[née Thompson, Elizabeth Southerden]

(b Lausanne, Nov 3, 1846; d Gormanston, Ireland, Oct 2, 1933).

English painter. She was the elder daughter of Thomas James and Christiana (née Weller) Thompson, members of London’s literary and artistic circles and close friends of Charles Dickens. Both she and her sister (the poet and essayist Alice Meynell) were educated by their father. She spent much of her childhood in Italy, but the family returned to England in 1860 so that she could have professional tuition. She became a student in the elementary class at the Female School of Art, South Kensington, London, and, after a further interval of travel and residence on the Continent, obtained a place in the antique and life classes at the school in 1866. Her main rival for academic honours there was Kate Greenaway. In 1869 the family lived in Florence, where she studied drawing at the Accademia di Belle Arti with Giuseppe Bellucci (1827–82). Her first recorded painting was a religious work, ...

Article

(b Toulouse, Nov 12, 1743; d Toulouse, Jan 31, 1804).

French painter and architect. He was the son of Guillaume Cammas (1698–1777), a painter and architect in Toulouse, who is known principally for having designed the first municipal theatre (1737) in Toulouse and the façade of the Capitole (1749–52), as well as for having carried out the decoration of the Salle des Illustres at the Hôtel de Ville. Lambert-François-Thérèse Cammas studied at the Académie Royale de Peinture in Toulouse, where in 1765 he won the Grand Prix with an Allegory on the Death of the Dauphin (Paris, Ecole B.-A.). The prize money was used to finance a trip to Italy. Cammas remained in Rome from 1767 to 1771, in 1770 being admitted to the Accademia di S Luca with the Accession of Pope Clement XIV (Rome, Accad. N. S Luca). In Rome, Cammas made many architectural studies and drew antique remains, but he was also interested in the problem of restoring ancient monuments. He may have carried out some architectural work; a chapel at the church of Pátrica, near Frosinone, is attributed to him....

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Ernst Haverkamp

(b Skien, Telemark, May 1, 1827; d Düsseldorf, July 8, 1852).

Norwegian painter, active in Germany. From a well-to-do family, he studied at Christiania (now Oslo) Universitet and then became a private pupil of Hans Fredrik Gude before going to Düsseldorf in 1846; he spent the rest of his life there, except for summer visits to Norway and a longer stay in Christiania (1848–9). Johann Wilhelm Schirmer’s traditional technique and Dutch landscape art were important influences. In contrast to other Norwegian Düsseldorf painters, Cappelen was not especially attracted by mountain scenery. His most successful work, Waterfall in Lower Telemark (1852; Oslo, N.G.), probably developed from sketches made in 1851. The waterfall runs diagonally through the picture, and the mist hangs low over the wooded hillside that frames the scene. The diminutive figures of men working logs over the falls create a romantic contrast with the monumentality of the natural surroundings.

Melancholy pervades Cappelen’s paintings despite the happy and lively nature apparent in his correspondence. His great unfinished work, ...

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Helmut Börsch-Supan

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Article

Helmut Börsch-Supan

In