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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 ...

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Alessandro Nova

(b Florence, Nov 3, 1500; d Florence, Feb 13, 1571).

Italian goldsmith, medallist, sculptor and writer. He was one of the foremost Italian Mannerist artists of the 16th century, working in Rome for successive popes, in France for Francis I and in Florence for Cosimo I de’ Medici. Among his most famous works are the elaborate gold figural salt made for Francis I (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.; see fig. below) and the bronze statue of Perseus (Florence, Loggia Lanzi). His Vita is among the most compelling autobiographies written by an artist and is generally considered to be an important work of Italian literature.

Cellini came from a middle-class Florentine family. His grandfather Andrea was a mason and his father Giovanni Cellini (1451–1528), who married Elisabetta Granacci in 1480, was a well-educated and expert carpenter who built the scaffolding put up to allow Leonardo da Vinci to paint the Battle of Anghiari (destr.) and who was a member of the committee responsible for choosing the site for Michelangelo’s statue of ...

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Anthony Hughes

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Lon R. Shelby

(b c. 1460; d after 1516).

German architect, sculptor, and military engineer.

On 23 June 1489 the Milan City Council rejected a recommendation from Simon Brunus, German, that ‘Master Laurentius, engineer’ should come to Milan for the task of completing the tiburium (?ciborium, baldacchino) for the cathedral. It has generally been thought that this letter referred to Lorenz Lechler, for on 25 August 1489 the City Council of Esslingen (near Stuttgart) also recommended Lechler to the Milanese for the completion of their cathedral. Lechler had constructed the sacrament house and choir-screen for St Dionysius, Esslingen, and he was commended to the Milanese for his ‘ingenuity, industry, and art’.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Lechler may have been involved with the construction of the sacrament house and choir-screen at Speyer Cathedral in the late 1490s. In 1509 he was called back to Speyer to supervise the completion of the Mount of Olives located just outside and south of the cathedral nave, which had been begun by ...

Article

Alison Stones

Legends and myths in medieval art are often symbolic rather than narrative, appearing as isolated representations on monuments and portable objects and following the tradition of Greek vase painting where individual subjects are depicted and rely on prior knowledge of the stories for recognition and understanding. World histories celebrated great heroes of the past, starting with Creation and biblical history, then the ancient and medieval world with the exploits of the Trojan heroes, Alexander the Great, King Arthur and the campaigns of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland. Northern gods such as Thor were depicted in cult statues (c. 1000; Reykjavík, N. Mus.) or through such ornamental hammers as those from north Jutland in the Copenhagen Nationalmuseum, and Freya, head of the Valkyries, was painted riding a cat on the walls of Schleswig Cathedral.

The Fall of Troy is most celebrated in the early 13th-century copy of Heinrich von Veldecke’s ...

Article

Anthony Hughes and Caroline Elam

(Buonarroti ) [Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni ]

(b Caprese, ?March 6, 1475; d Rome, Feb 18, 1564).

Italian sculptor, painter, draughtsman and architect. The elaborate exequies held in Florence after Michelangelo’s death celebrated him as the greatest practitioner of the three visual arts of sculpture, painting and architecture and as a respected poet. He is a central figure in the history of art: one of the chief creators of the Roman High Renaissance, and the supreme representative of the Florentine valuation of disegno (see Disegno e colore). As a poet and a student of anatomy, he is often cited as an example of the ‘universal genius’ supposedly typical of the period. His professional career lasted over 70 years, during which he participated in, and often stimulated, great stylistic changes. The characteristic most closely associated with him is terribilità, a term indicative of heroic and awe-inspiring grandeur. Reproductions of the Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel Ceiling (Rome, Vatican) or the Moses from the tomb of ...

Article

Jürgen Zimmer

(b Lugano, May 1, 1544; d Dresden, Sept 20, 1620).

Swiss sculptor, architect, painter, writer and collector, active in Germany. He was the son of Bernardinus Zamelinus Nosseni and Lucia Verda. His move to Dresden, via Florence, was organized by the intermediary Johann Albrecht von Sprintzenstein, and in 1575 he was appointed court sculptor, architect, painter and decorative artist on an annual salary of 400 taler. He was commissioned to exploit the sources of alabaster and marble in Saxony for the Electors Augustus and Christian I (reg 1586–91). In the following years Nosseni worked in the fields of sculpture and painting (including portraiture), made furniture and other stone and wooden objects for the royal art collection and designed buildings. He also devised triumphal processions, masked celebrations, allegorical plays and tournaments. The precious and semi-precious stones that he acquired were used for epitaphs, monuments, altars, sculptures and other works. It appears that he designed or conceived all these works but actually executed only a few of them. He created his own workshop, in which he employed Italian artists and craftsmen, whom he had engaged during a trip to Italy at the end of ...

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Martin Kemp

(b Anchiano, nr Vinci, April 15, 1452; d Amboise, nr Tours, May 2, 1519).

Italian painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer and scientist. He was the founding father of what is called the High Renaissance style and exercised an enormous influence on contemporary and later artists. His writings on art helped establish the ideals of representation and expression that were to dominate European academies for the next 400 years. The standards he set in figure draughtsmanship, handling of space, depiction of light and shade, representation of landscape, evocation of character and techniques of narrative radically transformed the range of art. A number of his inventions in architecture and in various fields of decoration entered the general currency of 16th-century design.

Although he brought relatively few works to completion, and even fewer have survived, Leonardo was responsible for some of the most influential images in the history of art. The ‘Mona Lisa’ (Paris, Louvre) may fairly be described as the world’s most famous painting. When the extent of his writings on many branches of science became increasingly apparent during the 19th century, he appeared to epitomize the idea of the universal genius and was hailed as one of the prophets of the modern era. More recent assessments of his intellectual achievements have recognized the medieval and Classical framework on which his theories were constructed but have done nothing to detract from the awesome range and intensity of his thought....

Article

Janet Southorn

(b L’Aquila; fl 1588–90).

Italian priest, jurist and wax modeller. As a student in Rome he became proficient in modelling lifelike reliefs in coloured wax on slate. His only recorded work (1588; untraced) was a model of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement (1536–41; Rome, Vatican, Sistine Chapel), which was presented to Pope Sixtus V. According to Vivio’s published description, there were 146 images set in a frame reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. The work comprised Old and New Testaments scenes, with prophets, sibyls, saints and Christian heroes, including Charlemagne, Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) and Philip II, King of Spain; the central field had a portrait of Michelangelo and Vivio included a self-portrait at one end. The work was much admired in its day: it earned its inventor Roman citizenship and the Roman Senate considered buying it for display on the Capitol.

Discorso sopra la mirabil opera di basso rilievo di cera stuccata con colori scolpita in pietra negra colle storie del Vecchio e del Nuovo Testamento...