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Article

Phyllis Pray Bober

(b Bologna, 1474–5; d Bologna, Nov 19, 1552).

Italian painter, sculptor, illuminator, printmaker and draughtsman . He was born into a family of painters, and his youthful facility reportedly astonished his contemporaries. His work developed in the Emilian–Ferrarese tradition of Ercole de’ Roberti, Lorenzo Costa the elder and, above all, Francesco Francia. Until the re-evaluation by Longhi, critical assessment of Amico’s oeuvre was over-reliant on literary sources, especially Vasari’s unsympathetic account of an eccentric, half-insane master working so rapidly with both hands (the ‘chiaro’ in one, the ‘scuro’ in the other) that he was able to finish decorating an entire house façade in one day.

Longhi presented Amico as a creative master whose expressive intensity and sensitive use of colour rescued Bolognese painting of the early 16th century from sterile echoes of Raphael. Today Aspertini is viewed as an influential precursor of Mannerism, and his highly individual study of antiquity has been brought to the fore by the publication of his sketchbooks. Amico was not a mere imitator of ancient artists, but their imaginative rival, whether in his grotesques derived from the decorations of Nero’s Domus Aurea in Rome (e.g. the Parma sketchbook and the borders of his ...

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

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 ...

Article

Fiorella Sricchia Santoro

(di Giacomo di Pace)

(b Cortine in Valdibiana Montaperti, 1484; d Siena, between Jan and May 1551).

Italian painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker and illuminator. He was one of the protagonists, perhaps even the most precocious, of Tuscan Mannerism, which he practised with a strong sense of his Sienese artistic background but at the same time with an awareness of contemporary developments in Florence and Rome. He responded to the new demand for feeling and fantasy while retaining the formal language of the early 16th century. None of Beccafumi’s works is signed or dated, but his highly personal maniera has facilitated almost unanimous agreement regarding the definition of his corpus and the principal areas of influence on it. However, some questions concerning the circumstances of his early career and the choices available to him remain unanswered. The more extreme forms of Beccafumi’s reckless experimentation underwent a critical reappraisal only in the later 20th century.

The primary sources of information concerning Beccafumi are Vasari’s biography (1568) and archival findings, mostly 19th century, relating to the artist. Vasari, although a direct acquaintance of Beccafumi in his last years and in a position to gather information from mutual friends, was, predictably, unreliable in regard to his early career. According to Vasari, Mecherino, the son of a poor farmer named Giacomo di Pace, became the protégé of ...

Article

(fl 1486–1523).

Italian illuminator, painter and sculptor. He was principally active as an illuminator and ran a workshop of considerable repute in Bologna. In 1486 he collaborated with Martino da Modena (fl 1477–89) on the decoration of choir-books for S Petronio, Bologna, and this contact with Martino undoubtedly influenced his style. In 1509 and 1511 and then in 1522 and 1523 he and his collaborators received payments for the illumination of a number of choir-books for the same church (Bologna, Mus. S Petronio).

Cavalletto’s only surviving signed and dated work is a full-page miniature of the Coronation of the Virgin (1523; Bologna, Mus. Civ. Med.), from the statute book of the guild of merchants and drapers of Bologna. The miniature, with the Virgin enthroned on a podium in a columned room, is strikingly monumental in its conception. Here, as in the best of Cavalletto’s work as an illuminator, the marked influence of the Ferrara school fused with the traditional style of Bologna is apparent. Also attributed to Cavalletto are the frontispiece miniature of the statute book of the College of Jurists of Bologna representing the ...

Article

Mark Jones

French family of medallists. Philippe Danfrie the elder (b 1531–5; d Paris, 1606) went to Paris in the 1550s and set up as an engraver of letter punches. He produced a number of books in partnership with Richard Breton in 1558–60 and later with Pierre Haman and Jean Le Royer. He also made mathematical instruments, globes and astrolabes and dies for marking bookbindings. In 1571 he cut his first dies for jettons. As Engraver-General of the French coinage from 1582, he provided the puncheons from which the dies used in every mint in France were taken. He also produced a number of medals (e.g. London, BM) commemorating the events of the first 15 years of Henry IV’s reign. His son Philippe Danfrie the younger (b ?Paris, c. 1572; d Paris, 1604) was appointed Controller-General of effigies in 1591. On his appointment it was claimed that he had demonstrated great skill in modelling portraits in wax and engraving puncheons. His most famous and only signed medal (e.g. London, BM) is cast rather than struck and celebrates the victory of Henry IV over the Duke of Savoy in ...

Article

Francesco Paolo Fiore and Pietro C. Marani

(Pollaiolo) [Francesco di Giorgio]

(b Siena, bapt Sept 23, 1439; d Siena, bur Nov 29, 1501).

Italian architect, engineer, painter, illuminator, sculptor, medallist, theorist and writer. He was the most outstanding artistic personality from Siena in the second half of the 15th century. His activities as a diplomat led to his employment at the courts of Naples, Milan and Urbino, as well as in Siena, and while most of his paintings and miniatures date from before 1475, by the 1480s and 1490s he was among the leading architects in Italy. He was particularly renowned for his work as a military architect, notably for his involvement in the development of the Bastion, which formed the basis of post-medieval fortifications (see Military architecture & fortification, §III, 2(ii) and 4(ii)). His subsequent palace and church architecture was influential in spreading the Urbino style, which he renewed with reference to the architecture of Leon Battista Alberti but giving emphasis to the purism of smooth surfaces. His theoretical works, which include the first important Western writings on military engineering, were not published until modern times but were keenly studied in manuscript, by Leonardo da Vinci among others; they foreshadowed a number of developments that came to fruition in the 16th century (...

Article

Jacques Thirion

(b c. 1510; d ?Bologna, c. 1565).

French sculptor, illustrator and architect. He was one of the great masters of relief sculpture. Through his collaboration with the architect Pierre Lescot he was involved in many major building projects, and in his refined relief sculptures, such as the carved panels for the Fountain of the Innocents, Paris, he achieved a highly personal synthesis between the mannered style of the Fontainebleau school and a classicism derived from his study of antique sculpture. He illustrated with skilful and lively wood-engravings Jean Baptiste Martin I’s first complete French translation (Paris, 1547) of Vitruvius, De architectura: Architecture ou art de bien bastir, an edition that was to have considerable influence on the revival of the classical style in France.

Goujon was possibly of Norman origin, and the knowledge of the sculpture and architecture of anti-quity and the Italian Renaissance displayed in his works suggests that he spent time in Italy. He is first recorded at Rouen in ...

Article

(d c. 1417–20).

Goldsmith, sculptor, and painter, probably of German origin. None of his works is known to have survived, but he is mentioned twice in mid-15th-century texts: in the second book of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentarii and in the manuscript of the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Both texts relate that Gusmin died during the reign of Pope Martin (i.e. Martin V, reg 1417–31), in the year of the 438th Olympiad (i.e. between 1415 and 1420). He worked in the service of the Duke of Anjou, who was forced to destroy Gusmin’s greatest work, a golden altar, in order to provide cash for his ‘public needs’. Gusmin consequently retired to a hermitage where he led a saintly life, painting and teaching young artists. Although it is clear from his account that Ghiberti never knew the master or saw any of his original works, he stated that he had seen casts of his sculptures, which, he said, were as fine as the work of the ancient Greeks, although the figures were rather short. There have been numerous attempts to identify Gusmin with artists, both German and Italian, fitting the account of Ghiberti and the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Swarzenski first named Gusmin as the author of the alabaster Rimini altar (Frankfurt am Main, Liebieghaus), but this has now been demonstrated to be of Netherlandish workmanship. Krautheimer proposed a convincing reconstruction of Gusmin’s career, suggesting that his Angevin patron was ...

Article

Thomas Tolley

(b c. 1460; fl ?1505).

Italian illuminator, painter and gem-engraver. According to Vasari, Marmitta lived in Parma and, after training as a painter, became an engraver of gemstones, ‘closely imitating the ancients’. Although no signed work is known, he is mentioned in verses prefacing a manuscript of Petrarch’s Canzoniere and Trionfi (Kassel, Landesbib., MS. Poet.4°.6) as the illuminator of the accompanying miniatures. This poem, written by Jacobus Lilius, the patron and scribe of the manuscript, praises Marmitta by comparing him with two of the greatest artists of antiquity, Apelles and Lysippos. Marmitta’s familiarity with ancient art is particularly evident in the cameos with Classical figures inset in the frames of the miniatures. These are modelled as if in three dimensions and, with other illusionistic devices featuring Classical motifs, suggest his knowledge of illumination of the 1470s and 1480s from the Veneto. An equally important influence is the work of the Ferrarese painter Ercole de’ Roberti. Marmitta’s highly personal figure style, characterized by slender, slightly elongated forms (...

Article

Pier Giorgio Pasini

(b Verona, c. 1420; d Rimini, after May 15, 1467).

Italian medallist, architect, painter and illuminator. He came from a good Veronese family (his father was a doctor, two of his brothers were in the church and three others were merchants). He is first documented in 1441, when he was working in Venice as painter to Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici illustrating Petrarch’s Trionfi (untraced). Subsequently (1444–6), he worked as an illuminator for the Este court, under the direction of Giorgio d’Alemagna. None of his works from this period is known.

By 1449 he was resident in Rimini, where he married Elisa di Giovanni Baldigara. There he was joined by Agostino di Duccio and other Venetian sculptors, working on the construction and decoration of two large funerary chapels (1447–c. 1452) for Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, and his mistress, Isotta degli Atti, in S Francesco (known as the Tempio Malatestiano). Initially Matteo was probably the organizer and supervisor of this project, but ...

Article

Mary Margaret McDonnell Ford

(b Parma, Feb 15, 1508; d Venice, May 24, 1572).

Italian medallist, sculptor, bookbinder and dealer. He was an industrious student of the goldsmith Gianfrancesco Bonzagni, to whom he was related. In 1533 he produced a medal celebrating the foundation of the Venetian church of S Francesco della Vigna (begun by Jacopo Sansovino). This event was also commemorated in a medal (e.g. Brescia, Pin. Civ. Tosio–Martinengo) by a pupil of Vittore Gambello. Both works depict Doge Andrea Gritti, who laid the foundation-stone of the church in 1534, as well as showing Sansovino’s design. Spinelli’s medal contains a bust of Gritti on its face with the inscription ‘Gritti DVX Venetiar MDXXIII’. The Doge is shown facing to the left, bearded and clothed in a cap and robe. A portion of the chest and cap extends over part of one of the two circles encompassing the bust. On the reverse of the medal is an inscription, surrounded by maple leaves, to ‘DIVI Francisci MDXXXIIII’, and, in the exergue, the signature ‘An Sp F’ (Andrea Spinelli Fecit), together with the date. The design on the reverse is from a perspective drawing of the church, which intersects the inner of the two circles, as the bust of the Doge does on the obverse side. The inscription within the two circles surrounding the design also appears on both sides. The medal, cast in bronze, has a predominantly light brown patina, although part of it has a covering of black lacquer. An unusual spot or mark is visible behind the neck of the Doge....

Article

Hannelore Hägele

[Claus ]

(b 1450/55; d after 1526).

German sculptor. His name appears several times in the roll book of burghers of Ulm between 1481 and 1526. In 1490 he was commissioned to produce a high altarpiece for St Martin’s church, Biberach, similar in construction and appearance to those at Sterzingen and Blaubeuren. This, his major work, was destroyed during the iconoclasm of 1531. Its eight painted Passion scenes were once thought to be by Martin Schongauer.

The Ulmer Museum, Ulm, has three relief panels by Weckmann: St Catherine of Alexandria (c. 1510) may have formerly belonged to the cloister of Heggbach, while two other high reliefs, a Nativity and an Adoration of the Magi, were once wing panels of the high altar (c. 1515) at Attenhofen parish church, where the predella showing the Twelve Apostles and additional paintings can still be seen. The altars at Biberach and Attenhofen were carved in limewood and originally polychromed. The two Nativity scenes have retained some of their former colour, while the ...