French term for openwork, used in the decorative arts principally with reference to metalwork, bookbinding and heraldry. In metalwork, it denotes the piercing or perforation of sheet metal, a practice found as early as the ancient Egyptian period. In bookbinding, the term ajouré binding refers to a style that emerged in late 15th-century Venice in which bindings were embellished with pierced or translucent patterns, typically open designs of foliage. In heraldry, an ...
J. M. Rogers
[Muh‛ammad ibn al-Zayn; Ibn al-Zayn]
(fl early 14th century).
Arab metalworker. He is known from signatures on two undated inlaid wares, the Baptistère de St Louis (Paris, Louvre, LP 16, signed in six places) and the Vasselot Bowl (Paris, Louvre, MAO 331, signed once). His style is characterized by bold compositions of large figures encrusted with silver plaques on which details are elaborately chased. His repertory develops themes characteristic of later 13th-century metalwork from Mosul (see Islamic art, §IV, 3(ii) and (iii))—mounted or enthroned rulers, bands of running or prowling animals, an elaborate Nilotic composition, courtiers bearing insignia of office, and battle scenes on scroll grounds with strikingly naturalistic fauna. His work is marked by a realism of facial expression, in which Turco-Mongolian physiognomy, dress, headgear and even coiffure are prominent, and a vigour of movement, gesture or stance that enlivens and transforms even the running animals and rows of standing courtiers, some in Frankish costume. The technique and style of these pieces allow their attribution to the Bahri Mamluk period in Egypt and Syria (...
Stephen K. Scher
(b Tunisia, Nov 24, 1901; d Lisbon, Sept 15, 1979).
Italian medallist and sculptor. He was trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Palermo (1918–19), and in Rome, at the Accademia di Belle Arti (1920–25) and at the Scuola d’Arte della Medaglia (1920–23). He taught sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo from 1938 and was often honoured for his accomplishments. For a long period he worked in the USA, where he had individual exhibitions in New York, Boston, Baltimore and Chicago. His work was always included in any important exhibition of medals both in Italy and abroad and is to be found in Italian museums and private collections. The designs of his medals were often based on V-shaped compositions. The modelling is broad, the relief fairly high, and the surfaces range from highly finished to rough. It is evident that Sgarlata often drew inspiration from his Quattrocento predecessors, although his pieces are generally of a very large size, sometimes exceeding 200 mm: for example a medal depicting a man attacking a boar (...
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....