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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

Anne Prache

(b Paris, April 9, 1884; d Paris, Dec 28, 1962).

French art historian. The son of an architect, he graduated from the Ecole des Chartes in Paris in 1907 and became a DLitt in 1921. He was a curator at the Bibliothèque Nationale, then in the department of sculpture at the Louvre, of which he became chief curator in 1940. He taught at the Ecole des Chartes, the Ecole du Louvre, and at the universities of Harvard and Yale in the USA. He presided over the Société Française d’Archéologie for 25 years and was a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres from 1934. A specialist in the Middle Ages, Aubert particularly studied the cathedrals of Senlis and Notre-Dame, Paris, Cistercian architecture, and French sculpture and stained glass. He trained a generation of medievalists and above all influenced the study of medieval architecture, especially in his precise analysis of the details of a building in order to establish its chronology. His work on sculpture was more limited, however, because he was interested only in the development of style, not in sources or iconography. Aubert was editor of the ...

Article

Betsy L. Chunko

(b Le Mans, Nov 1, 1908; d Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 1995).

French architectural historian, active also in America. Bony was educated at the Sorbonne, receiving his agregation in geography and history in 1933. In 1935, converted to art history by Henri(-Joseph) Focillon, he travelled to England under a research grant from the Sorbonne, after which time he became Assistant Master in French at Eton College (1937–9 and 1945–6). He returned to France in 1939 as an infantry lieutenant in World War II in the French Army, was taken as a prisoner of war and spent the years 1940–43 in an internment camp in Germany. After the war he returned to England, first to Eton, then as Lecturer in the History of Art at the French Institute in London (1946–61), Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1948–58), and Slade Professor of Fine Art at St John’s College, Cambridge (1958–61). From 1961 to 1962...

Article

[CESCM]

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...

Article

Joseph R. Kopta

(b Neenah, WI, June 28, 1894; d Bedford, MA, March 4, 1984).

American architectural historian. Conant was the leading 20th-century American architectural historian specializing in Romanesque architecture, and was the primary archaeologist of the monastic complex at Cluny. He earned his degrees from Harvard, including a BA in Fine Arts in 1915, an MArch. in 1919, and a PhD with a dissertation on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, supervised by Arthur Kingsley Porter, in 1926. He trained in archaeological practices in 1926 at the excavations of Chichén Itzá and Pueblo Bonito before directing excavations in earnest at Cluny starting in 1928. He was Professor of Architecture Emeritus at Harvard University, retiring from teaching in 1954.

An active member of the Medieval Academy of America (which funded his excavations after initial funding from the Guggenheim Foundation), Conant published frequent field reports documenting the excavations of Cluny as articles in Speculum. Additionally, Conant published a monograph on the sum of the excavations in ...

Article

Douglass Shand-Tucci

(b Hampton Falls, NH, Dec 16, 1863; d Boston, Sept 22, 1942).

American architect and writer. Cram was the leading Gothic Revival architect in North America in the first half of the 20th century, at the head of an informal school known as the Boston Gothicists, who transformed American church design.

In 1881 Cram was apprenticed to the firm of Rotch & Tilden in Boston. His letters on artistic subjects to the Boston Transcript led to his appointment as the journal’s art critic by the mid-1880s. In 1886 he began his first European tour. In 1888 he founded the firm of Cram & Wentworth with Charles Wentworth (1861–97). With the arrival of Bertram Goodhue, the firm became Cram, Wentworth & Goodhue in 1892, and in 1899 Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, with Frank Ferguson (1861–1926) having joined the office as business and engineering partner following the death of Wentworth.

Cram was strongly influenced both by the philosophies of John Ruskin...

Article

Paul Crossley

(b Prague, 1879; d Princeton, NJ, Jan 30, 1962).

American art historian. He first trained as an architect but, in his early thirties, he turned to the study of art history and in 1911 submitted his doctoral dissertation at Munich University on 15th-century stained glass in southern Germany. Under the influence of his teacher, Heinrich Wölfflin, Frankl soon attempted a systematic definition of the formal principles underlying Renaissance and post-Renaissance architecture. His first theoretical work, Die Entwicklungsphasen der neueren Baukunst (1914), was strongly influenced by the visual formalism and philosophical idealism of German art history in the decades before World War I. It isolated four main categories of analysis, which were fundamental to much of his later investigations: spatial composition, treatment of mass and surface (‘corporeal form’), treatment of light, colour and other optical effects (‘visible form’), and the relation of design to social function (‘purposive intention’). His emphasis on spatial analysis as a determinant of style relied heavily on August Schmarsow’s works on Baroque and Rococo architecture. His concept of ‘visible form’ (sometimes called ‘optical form’), which presupposes that viewers derive their experience of a building kinetically, as the mental synthesis of many images from different viewpoints, owed much to late 19th-century theories of perception, in particular to Konrad Fiedler’s and Adolf von Hildebrand’s emphasis on the physiological and psychological processes of seeing, and to Alois Riegl’s notion of ‘haptic’ and ‘optic’ forms. Frankl’s principal debt, however, lay in his adoption of Wölfflin’s quasi-Hegelian model of style as a predetermined, supra-individual force, impelled onwards by its own immanent laws, and evolving from one art-historical period to another through the action and counter-action of ‘polar opposites’: the underlying formal principles of a style are diametrically antithetical to those of the styles preceding and succeeding it....

Article

Alice Dugdale

(b Naples, May 14, 1718; d Naples, March 8, 1785).

Italian architect and theorist. He began his training in 1732 with the architect Martino Buoncore, whose style he later dismissed as ‘Gothic’. However, Buoncore had a good architectural library, in which Gioffredo studied the writings of Palladio, Vitruvius and Vincenzo Scamozzi. During the same period he studied with the painter Francesco Solimena, believing an understanding of the human body to be an essential part of architecture.

Gioffredo qualified as an architect in 1741, after being examined by Giovanni Antonio Medrano (b 1703), one of the kingdom’s engineers. Unfortunately his technical education was somewhat neglected, and he earned for himself the sobriquet ‘l’imprudente architetto napoletano’ after Luigi Vanvitelli was called in to work on his Villa Campolieto (1762), Resina, and the Palazzo Casacalenda (c. 1766), Naples, both of which were in danger of collapse.

Gioffredo’s architectural knowledge was largely acquired from books and from the direct study of ancient buildings. In the preface to his ...

Article

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

Paul Williamson

(Helen)

(b Aug 5, 1882; d Aldbourne, Wilts, Jan 26, 1958).

English museum curator and art historian. She started voluntary work in the Department of Architecture and Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum after World War I. Although she had no formal education, by the time she joined the staff officially in 1926 she was already known as an authority on medieval sculpture, in particular ivory carvings, and a stream of important publications followed her appointment. She pioneered the study of English medieval ivory carvings and published numerous new discoveries, such as the walrus ivory Virgin and Child from Dorchester (c. 1150; London, V&A), producing her classic survey of English ivories in 1926. Her other major interest was in Italian medieval and Renaissance sculpture; together with Eric Maclagan she published a catalogue of the Italian sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum; her corpus on Italian monuments of the 12th to 16th centuries was left unfinished. She was also the first woman keeper of a department in any British national museum (...

Article

Sebastian Wormell

(b St Louis, Senegal, 1867; d Paris, May 8, 1953).

French art and architectural historian. His main interest was in Byzantine art of the medieval period, and he was one of the first Western European scholars to take a serious interest in the art of the Palaiologan period (1261–1453). Most of his original research was based on field work undertaken between 1890 and 1914 in Trebizond, Greece and Serbia. This resulted in the publication (1916) of two major works, one relating medieval paintings in Greece to liturgical sources and the other an attempt to develop a classification of regional schools and chronology in Byzantine architecture. Although some of the methodology is now outdated, these pioneering works are still of value, as are his study of the monastery of Dafni and his albums of illustrative material on the Byzantine monuments at Mystras and Mt Athos. Another major contribution to Byzantine studies was the large photographic library he assembled at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. His interests led him to the art and architecture of other regions influenced by Constantinople, especially in the Balkans and the Slavic countries. His study of medieval Serbian churches is still fundamental, and he edited an important collection of papers on the impact of Byzantine art on the Slavs. Millet’s work in this field was of particular interest to art historians in the countries of south-eastern Europe who were seeking the roots of their national artistic traditions....

Article

Teresa S. Watts

(b Mulhouse, Sept 28, 1727; d Kassel, bur May 1798).

Swiss architect, painter, draughtsman and writer. He served as an engineer in the French army (1748–54) and drew Gothic monuments in Spain (1748) and copied ancient vases and painted idyllic landscapes in Rome (1749–54). He then stayed from 1755 to 1759 with Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, where he worked as a topographical artist, portrait painter and architectural draughtsman. Having left Walpole after a domestic dispute, Müntz attempted to support himself through commissions, producing drawings of a Gothic cathedral and possibly the Alhambra for Kew Gardens, a dining room and cloister (New Haven, CT, Yale U., Lewis Walpole Lib.) for Richard Bateman, and an oval room for Lord Charlemont, to complement his vase collection. All were in the Gothic style, as were a number of architectural drawings later used in a guide by Robert Manwaring (1760). Müntz left England in 1762 and spent a year recording monuments in Greece and Jerusalem before settling in Holland, where he worked until ...

Article

Charles T. Little

(b Paris, 1931; d May 1, 2009).

French art historian of medieval art. As Professor of the University of Paris IV (Paris-Sorbonne) from 1981 until 1998, she was a leading specialist in French architecture and stained glass. She was president of the French section of Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi from 1980 to 1988. Studying at the Ecole du Louvre, she wrote initially on the sculpture of Reims, followed by a study on Notre-Dame-en-Vaux at Châlons-en-Champagne, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux. Her doctoral dissertation for the Sorbonne, under the direction of Louis Grodecki (1910–82), became an important monograph on St Remi at Reims. This was later followed by several books on Chartres Cathedral that stand out as classic studies. Aside from technical studies of the origin and development of the flying buttress, she was able to determine building sequences for a number of monuments by utilizing dendrochonological analysis of wooden beams. Her interest in Gothic architecture lead to a new series devoted to the Gothic monuments of France by Editions Picard. Her important contribution to Zodiaque publications included books on the ...

Article

Michael J. Lewis

(b Boppard, March 22, 1808; d Cologne, July 16, 1895).

German architect, writer, and politician. He was Germany’s foremost Gothic Revival theorist and publicist and a crucial figure in the completion of Cologne Cathedral. A jurist, parliamentarian, and founding member of the Catholic-oriented Zentrumspartei, he defended the interests of his native Rhineland in a political career that stretched from the 1848 National Assembly to the Reichstag. Nonetheless, art and architecture remained his first loves and played an integral role in his political programme. He helped to shift the Gothic Revival away from the pan-German nationalism and liberalism of the early 19th century and to create a movement saturated with regionalist and separatist values.

Reichensperger was educated as a lawyer in Berlin, Heidelberg, and Paris; he served the Prussian administration, becoming an appellate judge in 1841. He supported the religious and political revival that swept the Rhineland in the late 1830s and helped to establish a Catholic press and to organize a series of Catholic lay brotherhoods. His political vision was inspired by the writings of Johann Joseph von Görres, who expressed a critical view of the modern state and enthusiasm for the decentralized power structure of medieval society. Reichensperger was active, from its founding, in the Dombauverein, the association dedicated to the completion of ...

Article

(b Padua, April 27, 1803; d Padua, Feb 26, 1880).

Italian critic, art historian, architect, and teacher. He was one of the most important writers in mid-19th-century Italy on Gothic art and architecture—an interest stimulated by his support for the Catholic Revival and manifested in his Gothic Revival architectural designs.

He belonged to a noble family awarded the title of marchese by the House of Este princes in Modena, with permission to add Estense to the name Selvatico. He enrolled in the Faculty of Jurisprudence in the University of Padua, mainly to satisfy his family, but he never took his degree. Instead he began to study the history of art and culture with the Abbot Ludovico Menin, a local scholar, and took painting lessons with Giovanni Demin (1786–1859), whose work was known for its late Neo-classicism and incipient Romanticism. More important, however, was his meeting with Giuseppe Jappelli, the architect who adorned Padua with such masterpieces as the Caffè Pedrocchi and whose stylistic eclecticism was very significant at that time. Selvatico painted a few pictures, none of which survived; he also produced some architectural work, which, although not particularly remarkable, can be clearly documented. He began to participate in the cultural life of his city and entered the Accademia di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Padua while still a young man. He also visited the most famous cities and monuments in Italy and went to Paris, London, and Germany; evidence of these travels can be seen in his later practical and theoretical work. He was influenced not only by artistic movements but also by more general social and cultural developments, which, because of the Industrial Revolution, were further advanced in France and England than in Italy....

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

Andrew N. Palmer and J. van Ginkel

(b Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Feb 22, 1902; d Knoxville, TN, Sept 22, 1968).

American archaeologist and art historian. He gained BSc and MFA degrees in architecture from Princeton University (NJ) in 1925 and 1928 respectively and practised as an architect in New York from 1929 to 1931. In 1931–4 he travelled in Greece, developing his knowledge of its Classical and medieval monuments. He returned to Princeton in 1935 and became a graduate student in the Department of Art and Archaeology, specializing in Early Christian and Byzantine art. He taught at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) from 1938, and in 1943 he obtained a fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, DC), where he remained for the rest of his career, becoming a full professor in 1960. In 1950 he also became Field Director of the Byzantine Institute and supervised archaeological and restoration projects in Istanbul and Cyprus. When the institute was taken over by Dumbarton Oaks, Underwood was elected its chairman, a post he held until ...