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 ...
Ancient science from which modern chemistry evolved. Based on the concept of transmutation—the changing of substances at the elemental level—it was both a mechanical art and an exalted philosophy. Practitioners attempted to combine substances containing the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air) in perfect balance, ultimately perfecting them into a fifth, the quintessence (also known as the philosopher’s stone) via the chemical process of distillation. The ultimate result was a substance, the ‘philosopher’s stone’, or ‘elixir of life’, believed capable of perfecting, or healing, all material things. Chemists imitated the Christian life cycle in their operations, allegorically marrying their ingredients, multiplying them, and destroying them so that they could then be cleansed and ‘resurrected’. They viewed their work as a means of attaining salvation and as a solemn Christian duty. As such, spiritual alchemy was sanctioned, legitimized, and patronized by the Church. Its mundane laboratory procedures were also supported by secular rulers for material gain. Metallurgists employed chemical apparatus in their attempts to transmute base metals into gold, whereas physicians and apothecaries sought ultimately to distill a cure-all elixir of life. The manifold possibilities inherent in such an outcome caused Papal and secular authorities to limit and control the practice of alchemy by requiring licences and punishing those who worked without authorization....
(b Bordeaux, Nov 4, 1761; d Paris, Dec 10, 1822).
French medallist, engraver and illustrator. He was first apprenticed to the medallist André Lavau (d 1808) and then attended the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture in Bordeaux. In 1786 he travelled to Paris and entered the workshop of Nicolas-Marie Gatteaux. His first great success was a large, realistic and highly detailed medal representing the Fall of the Bastille (1789); because it would have been difficult and risky to strike, he produced it in the form of single-sided lead impressions or clichés, coloured to resemble bronze. The following year he used this novel technique again, to produce an equally successful companion piece illustrating the Arrival of Louis XVI in Paris. Andrieu lay low during the latter part of the French Revolution, engraving vignettes and illustrating an edition of Virgil by Firmin Didot (1764–1836). He reappeared in 1800, with medals of the Passage of the Great St Bernard...
(b London, June 18, 1828; d London, Dec 4, 1905).
English sculptor, silversmith and illustrator. He was the son of a chaser and attended the Royal Academy Schools, London. At first he gave his attention equally to silverwork and to sculpture, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1851. An early bronze, St Michael and the Serpent, cast in 1852 for the Art Union, shows him conversant with the style of continental Romantics, and his debut in metalwork coincided with the introduction into England of virtuoso repoussé work by the Frenchman, Antoine Vechte (1799–1868). In the Outram Shield (London, V&A), Armstead displayed the full gamut of low-relief effects in silver, but its reception at the Royal Academy in 1862 disappointed him, and he turned his attention to monumental sculpture. Among a number of fruitful collaborations with architects, that with George Gilbert I Scott (ii) included a high degree of responsibility for the sculpture on the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London. Here Armstead’s main contribution was the execution of half of the podium frieze (...
[Fr.: ‘new art’]
Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.
Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...
Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.
The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....
Maria Clelia Galassi
Metal knob or boss used for decoration on a book or harness. The term can also denote a bull’s eye in glass and (in early modern English) trunk-hose that is puffed out at the top. It is also used to describe a heavy textile fringe in curtains, pelmets and the top covers of seat furniture....
(b 1759; d 1838).
American clockmaker and silversmith. After an apprenticeship in Norwich, CT, he established a business in East Windsor, CT. He made fine longcase clocks with brass works and faces of engraved silver. His day-books and ledgers survive, and show that he made and sold only 49 clocks in the course of 20 years....
Maria Clelia Galassi and Federica Lamera
Italian family of artists. The painter (1) Bernardo Castello was the brother of the goldsmith and illuminator Giovanni Battista Castello (1547–1637) and the sculptor Pietro Castello (fl 1582–92), both of whom worked for Philip II in Spain, and the father of the more famous painter (2) Valerio Castello.
(b Genoa, ?1557; d Genoa, Oct 4, 1629).
Painter and draughtsman. His first teacher was Andrea Semino, but Luca Cambiaso was more important to his development. He remained faithful throughout his career to Cambiaso’s artistic style, reworking it competently but superficially. The result is a pleasant, skilful style of painting that adapts 16th-century Venetian, Tusco-Roman and Genoese traditions to the simplified compositions and clear narratives favoured by the Catholic Counter-Reformation. He and Giovanni Battista Paggi were the principal Genoese artists between the period dominated by Cambiaso (who left for Madrid in 1583) and the birth of the 17th-century modern school of painting....
(fl 1670; d Jan 30, 1707).
Polish goldsmith, engraver and writer. He produced engraved frontispieces for J. Liberius’s book The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Sea Star (1670) and his own work St Elegius’s Life … (1687). He is noted in the guild records from 1689. Few of his silver pieces have been identified, as he did not use name marks. The impressive monstrance in St Mary’s church in Kraków is attributed to him. Works that are certainly by him include the ‘robes’ on the painting of the Holy Virgin in the Dominican church in Kraków and the small plate from the tabernacle in St Anne’s, Kraków. Ceypler’s most important work is an octagonal reliquary for the head of St Jan Kanty (1695; Kraków, St Anne), signed in Latin. It was designed by King John III’s court painter, Jerzy Eleuter Szymonowicz-Siemiginowski (c. 1660–1711), and was executed by Ceypler with the help of his pupil, ...
(b 1433; d Oct 27, 1484).
Italian illuminator and goldsmith. The creator of some of the liveliest miniatures of the 15th century, his manuscripts are rich in stylistic innovation and thematic invention, sometimes elaborated in a very limited space. He worked for the most important patrons in Italy and abroad, beginning his artistic career under Cosimo il Vecchio and Piero I de’ Medici, and continuing it under Lorenzo the Magnificent. Vespasiano da Bisticci was his contact with patrons outside Florence, who included Federigo II da Montefeltro, Ferdinand I, King of Naples, Louis XI of France and Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary. Francesco decorated texts of all kinds—literary, historical, scientific, religious—and of all sizes, from small Books of Hours to huge choir-books. Amid this variety of subjects his studies of the human figure and his introduction of portraits was innovative; he also established his own approach to landscape, with results similar to those of Antonio Pollaiuolo. His inventions, however, were reserved for privately commissioned books of small size. He created a new kind of ...
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 ...
(b Munich, Feb 28, 1865; d Oberammergau, Aug 17, 1954).
German painter, medallist, designer and illustrator. He trained as a painter in the Munich Akademie from 1884, and initially won fame in this art with large decorative schemes on mythological or religious themes (e.g. Bacchanal, c. 1888; Munich, Villa Schülein) and portraits painted in a broad, realistic manner (e.g. Elise Meier-Siel, 1889; Munich, Schack-Gal.). He taught at the Munich Kunstgewerbeschule from 1902 to 1910. In 1905 he taught himself die-engraving and began making struck and cast medals, producing in all some 200, which combine his decorative abilities with the harsher style of his younger contemporaries (e.g. the bronze medal of Anton von Knoezinger, 1907; see 1985 exh. cat., no. 23). In 1907 and 1927 he produced models for coinage. Dasio also worked as a poster designer and book illustrator, as well as designing for stained glass and jewellery. The decorative symbolism of his earlier work in black and white (e.g. the cover for ...
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 (...
(b Warburg, 1553–4; d Warburg, 1603).
German goldsmith, engraver and draughtsman. Probably from a long-established Warburg family of freemen, he is first fully named in 1578, in an engraving that shows his connections with scholars as an illustrator of academic works. One of these was Michele Mercati, for whom Eisenhoit worked during a stay in Rome c. 1580 on the Metallotheca Vaticana, a work cataloguing the Vatican’s scientific collections. His style draws principally on the Roman Late Renaissance. Back in Germany by c. 1582–5, Eisenhoit began to work primarily for patrons residing near Warburg, where he had settled by 1587 at the latest. Commissions of these years show work for the Hessian courts in Kassel and Marburg and the beginning of his cooperation with Jost Bürgi, instrument-maker and mathematician to the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. Between c. 1582 and 1594 Eisenhoit decorated Bürgi’s mechanical celestial globes with engravings and illustrated with etchings a treatise on engineering.
Eisenhoit’s first works in gold (...
Danielle B. Joyner
From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in
Cristina De Benedictis
Italian painter and illuminator. He was the son of the goldsmith Filippuccio (fl 1273–93). In 1948 Longhi attributed a fresco of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with SS James and John the Evangelist in the church of S Jacopo, San Gimignano, and others in the tower of the Palazzo del Popolo there to Memmo, who is documented as having lived and worked in the town from 1303 to 1317. A document of 1303 also records him as having worked in the upper church of S Francesco, Assisi, and Longhi suggested this might have been on the frescoes of the St Francis cycle, which would account for the Giottesque influence he had noted in the frescoes in San Gimignano. Previtali (1962) further attributed to Memmo the frescoes of Carlo d’Angio Administering Justice (1292; San Gimignano, Pal. Pop., Sala dell’Udienza), an altarpiece of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints...
(b Łany, nr Warsaw, Jan 14, 1904, d Warsaw, March 21, 1958).
Polish painter, illustrator, metalworker, designer and writer. From 1924 to 1929 he studied at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts, where he was later an assistant professor (1927–30, 1933–5). From 1929 to 1930 he studied in France. He exhibited his works from 1928 until his death. At the beginning of his career he concentrated on painting, to which he later returned. He became a popular cartoon artist while working for the satirical weekly Szpilki from 1935 to 1939 and from 1946 to 1958. His illustrations to the works of N. V. Gogol and Fyodor Dostoyevsky were highly acclaimed. Grunwald mastered various techniques in metalworking, until 1939 concentrating on jewellery and promoting abstract forms; he also made lighting equipment, particularly lamps, sconces and chandeliers. During this period he introduced avant-garde features into traditional Polish metalwork. In the post-war period he accepted commissions for monumental works, for example gates, screens, mantelpiece designs and lighting units. In Warsaw he designed the decorative elements for the ...
(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 ...