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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(Walker)

(b Devonport, April 19, 1864; d London, June 9, 1930).

English Orientalist and historian of Islamic painting. He was attracted to Oriental studies while reading classics at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was inspired by Edward Cowell and William Robertson Smith. From 1888 he taught philosophy at the Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, India. With the appearance of his Preaching of Islam (1896), an account of the spread of Islam, he achieved high academic acclaim and in 1898 became professor of philosophy in the Indian Educational Service, teaching at Government College, Lahore. He returned to London in 1904 to become assistant librarian at the India Office Library, where he studied illustrated manuscripts and made significant purchases. He also taught Arabic at University College. In 1909 he was appointed Educational Adviser for Indian Students in Britain and after 1917, as secretary to the Secretary of State, was responsible for Indian students. When he retired from the India Office in 1920...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Stephen Hill

(Margaret Lowthian)

(b Washington, Co. Durham, July 14, 1868; d Baghdad, 11/July 12, 1926).

English archaeologist and architectural historian. The first woman to achieve a first-class honours in modern history at Oxford University, she travelled widely in Europe, Japan and especially the Middle East in the 1890s, achieving fluency in a number of European languages as well as in Persian, Turkish and Arabic. She developed an interest in archaeology and architecture that was reflected in an authoritative set of articles on the Early Byzantine churches of Syria and southern Turkey, based on her travels in 1905. Her first major travel book, The Desert and the Sown, contains a mixture of travellers’ tales and archaeological information, as does her Amurath to Amurath. Between 1905 and 1914 she made archaeological studies of the Early Byzantine and Early Islamic monuments of Turkey, Syria and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). In 1905 and 1907 she surveyed Binbirkilise with Sir William Ramsay; their book, The Thousand and One Churches, remains the authoritative account of this important site. The architectural recording by survey and photography at Binbirkilise was carried out by Bell and is a lasting monument in its own right. Bell’s interest in Anatolia was inspired by Josef Strzygowski and his book ...

Article

Oleg Grabar

(b Geneva, March 16, 1863; d Geneva, March 13, 1921).

Epigrapher and historian of Islamic art and archaeology. Born to a well-to-do and intellectually active Genevan family of bankers (the scholar of linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) was a cousin), van Berchem was educated as a philologist and historian in Geneva, Germany and France. He combined the intellectual traditions of France and Germany and belonged to a supranational brotherhood of wealthy scholars independent of political or other contingencies. In 1889 he travelled through Egypt, Palestine and Syria and became convinced that ‘a well-studied monument is of greater value than the best text’. He discovered that the inscriptions typical of Islamic urban architecture provided an extraordinary documentation on everything from the means of construction and date to symbolic and esoteric meanings. This discovery, honed by other trips, led to a series of articles on what van Berchem called ‘l’archéologie arabe’, still the most profound statements about the methods of explaining classical Islamic architecture in context. Van Berchem also persuaded the French Academy to sponsor the series ...

Article

Jerome Silbergeld

At certain times in Western art movements, as, for instance, with Art Nouveau, line has been accorded particular importance. It is also a valued element in Islamic art. However, it is in East Asian art that brushline assumed its most distinctive and universally admired aspect, seen prominently in the brushwork of calligraphy and painting and imitated in woodblock-printing, but also evident in decorated ceramics, lacquerware, architectural tiles and reliefs, and sculpture. Particularly in China, but also in Korea and Japan, viewers of painting traditionally concentrated their appreciation on brushwork, seen in terms of execution or performance and regarded as the most fundamental expression of artistic personality and creative talent, while other elements such as colour and compositional invention were accorded considerably less attention.

From early times, East Asian writers on art have paid great critical and theoretical attention to brushline. The six criteria for the assessment of painting, proposed by the Chinese critic ...

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

(b Rome, Feb 22, 1822; d Castelgandolfo, Sept 20, 1894).

Italian archaeologist. Educated at the Collegio Romano and the university of Rome, he was the founder of the scientific archaeology of early Christianity. Using his extensive knowledge of ancient topography, literary sources, and the researches of the humanists (especially those of Antonio Bosio), he illuminated contemporary understanding of Early Christian life and art in Rome. His earliest excavations were carried out between 1847 and 1850 at the ancient Christian Catacomb of Praetextatus. His researches revealed the extent of the underground galleries at the site as well as the richness of the material remains. He was a formidable epigrapher and in 1861 published the first volume of Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, in which he collected, discussed and often depicted the earliest Christian inscriptions from the city of Rome. In 1863 De Rossi founded the Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, which aimed to publish and discuss all aspects of Christian art, archaeology, and history. The following year he produced the first volume of his magisterial ...

Article

Lale H. Uluç

(b Istanbul, ?June 24, 1861; d Istanbul, Nov 16, 1938).

Turkish museum director and historian. He was the youngest son of the grand vizier Ibrahim Edhem Pasha (?1818–93), who was one of the first Ottomans to be educated in Europe. His elder brother was the painter Osman Hamdi. Halil Edhem was schooled in Berlin, Zurich, Vienna and Berne, where he received his doctorate in natural sciences and chemistry. He also studied history and archaeology on his own initiative and spoke French, German, Turkish, Arabic and Persian. On his return to Istanbul in 1885, he became a civil servant and taught natural sciences in several schools as a volunteer. In 1892 he became vice-director of the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul and in 1910 on the death of the former director, his brother Osman Hamdi, he was promoted to director. Both the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Topkapı Palace Museum were opened to the public during his tenure. He organized the ...

Article

Olimpia Theodoli

(b Naples, Jan 23, 1812; d Rome, May 6, 1885).

Italian writer and Jesuit priest. Virtually self-taught, he had a vast and profound knowledge of Classical and Oriental languages, biblical history, and theology, which informed his writings on Classical, Christian, and Jewish archaeology. He applied his method of research, based on the study of sources and facts, mainly to Christian iconography and to the topography of catacombs. He made several discoveries, which he shared with other archaeologists and philologists, as his correspondence demonstrates, but he was occasionally critical of some German scholars, especially Theodore Mommsen, at a time when German academics were pre-eminent in this field. His publications number nearly 120, making him one of the most prolific scholars of his time. One of his earlier works was as editor of the Hagioglypta by Joannes Macarius after he had discovered a copy in Paris. After 1858 he began work on his major project, a comprehensive history of Christian art in the first eight centuries; it contained 500 plates illustrating over 2000 works. At the same time, Pope ...

Article

Christopher Gilbert

(b Belgern, nr Leipzig, 1741; d c. 1806).

German cabinetmaker. By 1770 he was established as a master cabinetmaker in Leipzig. An important early patron was the art dealer Karl Christian Heinrich Rost (1742–98), who commissioned furniture closely based on French and English models. In 1788 Hoffman obtained a loan to extend his business in Leipzig and a subsidiary workshop at Eilenburg; his total workforce was 16 tradesmen. In 1789, after a dispute with the local guild of cabinetmakers, he published his first pattern book, Abbildungen der vornehmsten Tischlerarbeiten, welche verfertiget und zu haben sind bey Friedrich Gottlob Hoffmann, wohnhaft auf dem alten Neumarkt in Leipzig, an anthology of designs for household furniture, mostly inspired by the Louis XVI Neo-classical style. In 1795 he produced a second catalogue, Neues Verzeichnis und Muster-Charte des Meubles-Magazin, in which English design types are dominant. A number of pieces corresponding to plates in these two pattern books have been identified (e.g. sofa, ...

Article

Franco Bernabei

(b Monte dell’Olmo, nr Macerata, June 13, 1732; d Florence, March 31, 1810).

Italian antiquary and art historian. He studied in Jesuit schools in Fermo and later in Rome, where he entered the Order of St Ignatius. His education was mainly classical, although it also included philosophy and mathematics. While in Rome he taught classical literature in Jesuit schools, concurrently absorbing the Neo-classical theories of Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Anton Raphael Mengs. When the Jesuit Order was suppressed in 1773 he was in Siena, where he had been sent for health reasons. In 1775 Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany (1747–92) appointed him curator of the antiquarian section of the Uffizi, Florence. This initiated a period of intense activity cataloguing, classifying and enriching the collection. In 1782 his catalogue of the reorganized gallery was published. In the meantime he travelled throughout Tuscany, not only doing research into the archaeological background required for this work but coincidentally broadening his interest in modern art. The combination of his early literary and linguistic interests with his new research on bronzes, gems and antique statues, which in that region were mostly Etruscan, inspired his ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(Robert)

(b Stockholm, May 8, 1868; d Cairo, April 13, 1933).

Swedish diplomat, scholar, collector and dealer. In 1884 he became assistant at the ethnographical museum in Stockholm, and by 1890 he was assistant at the archaeological museum. He combined his interests in ethnography and archaeology on a visit to Siberia (1891–2), publishing his findings in L’Age du bronze au Musée de Minoussinsk. He then turned to Islamic art, travelling widely and collecting in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Egypt and Turkey. He began to acquire Islamic book paintings at Bukhara in 1894 and in the following year sold 387 oriental manuscripts to the University Library at Uppsala. In the winter of 1896 he excavated at Fustat (Old Cairo), returning with several thousand ceramic fragments. In 1897 he exhibited his collection at Stockholm. About this time he formed the opinion that manuscripts had been the chief disseminators of ornamental motifs in the Islamic world. From 1903, when he was attached to the Swedish Embassy in Istanbul as dragoman, he acquired a number of precious manuscripts and albums, and he also probably formed in these years a collection of etchings of views of Istanbul, portraits of sultans and political pictures that went to Lund University. He published ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Arie, Aryeh]

(b. Stanislav [now Ivano-frankivsk, Ukraine], 12 Jan. 1895; d. Jerusalem, April 6, 1959).

Israeli historian of Islamic art. Born in a city that was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Mayer studied at the universities of Lausanne, Vienna and Berlin and received his Ph.D. at Vienna in 1917 for a thesis on town planning in Islam. A staunch Zionist, he emigrated to Palestine in 1921 where he served as inspector and then librarian in the Department of Antiquities for the Government of Palestine under the British Mandate. When Hebrew University, Jerusalem, was established in 1929, he was appointed lecturer in Islamic Art and Archaeology, and then in 1932 the first Sir David Sassoon Professor of Near Eastern Art and Archaeology. From 1935 to 1949 Mayer was the first local director and also dean and rector of the School of Oriental Studies.

Mayer was interested in many aspects of Islamic art, including coins and works from the Mamluk period. A fine Arabist, he wrote many articles on Arabic epigraphy for the ...

Article

Daniel H. Weiss

Extensively illustrated Old Testament manuscript (390×300 mm; New York, Morgan Lib., MS. M.638) produced in France. Containing more than 340 narrative episodes distributed across the recto and verso sides of 46 parchment leaves, the Old Testament cycle begins with the first chapters of Genesis and concludes with scenes from the life of King David from 2 Samuel. No longer in its original binding, three leaves are now separated from the Morgan volume; two being in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (Ms. nouv. acq. lat. 2294, fols 2, 3) and a single leaf in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (83. MA.55). Distinctive for the quality of its illustrations, the richness of its narrative cycle and the fact that the original codex probably contained no text, the Morgan manuscript was produced around the middle of the 13th century, most likely in Paris for King Louis IX (reg 1226–70) or a close associate. The ascription of the manuscript to a royal context is based primarily on thematic similarities to other works associated with the King, including especially the ...

Article

Peter Boutourline Young

(b Milan, 1739; d Milan, 1825).

Italian scientist, philosopher, writer and architect. His early education took place in Milan, Monza, Rome and Naples between 1756 and 1765. Having joined the Barnabite order in 1756, he became a member of the regular clergy of S Paolo, Milan. In 1766 he was appointed professor-in-ordinary of mathematics at the Università di S Alessandro in Milan, where he also taught chemistry, mineralogy and canon law, and in 1772 he became professor of natural history. While best known for his work in geology and natural history, he is also remembered for his treatise Dell’architettura: Dialoghi (1770), which includes all the plans of the church of S Giuseppe at Seregno. Pini himself designed the Neo-classical interior of the church, which was completed by Giulio Galliori (1715–95). The treatise is arranged in the form of two Socratic dialogues by mathematics students in Milan and Longone. The first deals with the dome and the centrally planned church. The students exchange opinions on the mathematical calculation of domes, arches and vaults; Francesco Borromini is praised for his great technical ability, while his successors, in particular the French, are condemned for being responsible for ‘depraving the good taste of architecture’. The students conclude that intrinsic beauty is to be found in simple geometric shapes and that architecture can derive examples from the classical repertory. The second dialogue deals with fortifications and is of considerable importance for the study of the engineer ...

Article

Tapati Guha-Thakurta

[Raja, Rama]

(b Tanjore, c. 1790; d Mysore, 1833).

Indian writer. His posthumously published work, Essay on the Architecture of the Hindus (published for the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1834), was a pioneering attempt at acquainting the West with the ancient Hindu ‘science’ of architecture, through a translation of some surviving fragments of Sanskrit treatises. Coming from an aristocratic but impoverished family of Karnataka, Ram Raz rose from the position of clerk to that of Head English Master at the College of Fort St George, Madras, eventually becoming a local judge and magistrate at Bangalore. His translation from Marathi into English of an indigenous code of revenue regulations brought him to the attention of Richard Clarke, a British official of the Madras government. It was under Clarke’s initiative that he turned his linguistic skills towards the elucidation of the ancient temple architecture of south India. While the British turned to a ‘Hindu’ to uncode the age-old precepts ‘locked’ in the Sanskrit language, Ram Raz himself had to rely on traditional Brahman scholars and on the practising craftsmen of the ‘Cammata’ clan of Thanjavur in deciphering the abstruse language and technical vocabulary of the texts. Highlighting the difficulties of his study, he noted the gap in communication between the Brahmans, with their closely guarded high knowledge, and the working ‘lower orders’ of artisans; the result was that the original theories were either lost or vastly distorted....

Article

Jaynie Anderson

(b Dresden, Jan 7, 1847; d Lugano, Aug 25, 1937).

German art historian, collector and dealer. The son of a Lutheran clergyman, he first studied theology at Leipzig but while travelling in Italy in 1869 became interested in early Christian archaeology, in which field he determined to continue. His first publications were on the sources of Byzantine art history and the mosaics of Ravenna. In 1876 he met Giovanni Morelli, whose disciple he became. Their lengthy correspondence constitutes an important source for the early history of connoisseurship. Richter published a short biography of Leonardo in 1880, then a series of articles in the Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst and finally his edition of the Literary Works of Leonardo (1883), the work that established his reputation as a scholar. This was the first scholarly edition of Leonardo’s writings, illustrated, moreover, with a selection of mostly authentic drawings at a time when books on Leonardo were normally illustrated by his pupils’ works....

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Berlin, June 22, 1865; d Neubabelsberg, June 1945).

German archaeologist, art historian and collector. He travelled to the Middle East and met Carl Humann, who was excavating Pergamon and advised Sarre to study the monuments of medieval Anatolia. In 1895 he visited Phrygia, Lycaonia and Pisidia and in 1896 went on a longer journey in Asia Minor. His principal aim was to discover architectural monuments and archaeological sites; he always travelled with a trained architect and became a talented photographer. He also collected epigraphic material which he sent to such Arabists as Bernhard Moritz, Eugen Mittwoch and Max van Berchem. In the years 1897 to 1900 Sarre travelled to Iran. Objects from his collection were exhibited in Berlin (1899) and at the Exposition des arts musulmans (Paris, 1903). In 1905 he met Ernst Herzfeld, and in 1907–8 they travelled together from Istanbul via Aleppo and Baghdad to the Gulf to find an Islamic site suitable for excavation. Their choice, which Herzfeld later described as Sarre’s, fell upon ...

Article

Lori van Biervliet

(b London, March 8, 1832; d London, April 26, 1917).

English art historian. He was educated at King’s College, London, from 1842 to 1848. From an early age he was interested in medieval Christianity, and in February 1849 he converted to Roman Catholicism. He had a lifelong interest in Christian symbolism and iconography and, above all, liturgy. Another early interest was in Belgian churches (he had visited every parish church by the age of 19) and memorial tablets. In 1855 he moved to Bruges, where his antiquarian interests led him to undertake work in the restoration and preservation of ancient monuments. In 1863 he launched Le Beffroi, a periodical concerned with the conservation of monuments and historic buildings, the study of medieval art and the promotion of the Neo-Gothic style. In this, and in La Flandre (a magazine published on Weale’s initiative in 1867), he published much of the information he discovered while researching the city’s archives. He also established the ...