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 (...
S. J. Vernoit
[‛Alī; Ḥusayn ‛Alī]
(fl c. 1800–20).
Persian enamel painter. All of his work is associated with the patronage of the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834). ‛Ali signed his work with the title ghulām khānazād (‘slave born in the household’) signifying ‘artist in the royal service’. A jewelled nephrite dish (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus., Samml. Plastik & Kstgew., M3223) presented in 1819 by the Persian ambassador Abu’l-Hassan Khan to the Austrian emperor Francis I (reg 1792–1835) has a central gold plaque enamelled with a full-length portrait of Fath ‛Ali Shah (dated 1817–18), inspired by Mihr ‛Alis life-size oil portrait (Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.). Other objects enamelled by ‛Ali include an oval mirror with a carved jade handle (Tehran, Bank Markazi, Crown Jewels Col.); on the back is an enamel portrait of Fath ‛Ali Shah seated within a floral frame, probably the finest painted enamel in the collection (see Islamic art, §viii, 3...
[Bāqir; Muhammad Baqir; Muḥammad Bāqir]
(fl c. 1800–30).
Persian painter in enamels. All of his known work was made for the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834). Like ‛Ali, he signed his work with the title ghulām khānazād (‘slave born in the household’), signifying ‘artist in the royal service’. Baqir painted a fine gold bowl and cover, saucer and spoon, which is enamelled with astrological figures and a poetic dedication to Fath ‛Ali Shah (priv. col., see Robinson, 1991, fig.). Several other objects enamelled by Baqir, such as an oval snuff-box with a portrait of the seated King and a teapot with busts of Fath ‛Ali Shah and floral swags and a dedication to the King, are part of the Iranian crown jewels (Tehran, Bank Markazi, Crown Jewels Col.). His style is similar to that of ‛Ali and is notable for its delicate execution and brilliant colour (see Islamic art, §VIII, 3). Baqir is probably the Muhammad Baqir who, together with ...
(fl Istanbul, 1588–1605).
Ottoman Turkish goldsmith. As one of the craftsmen attached to the Ottoman court, he produced a number of elaborate pieces that are either signed by him or can be attributed to him on stylistic grounds. The latter group includes the crown presented by Sultan Ahmed I to his vassal Stephen Bocskay of Transylvania in ...
Eric de Waele
Region of Iran, near the border with Iraq, which has given its name to a remarkable series of ancient bronze objects, especially those produced between c. 1200 and 600
Luristan is situated in the central part of the Zagros mountain range, which runs north-west to south-east along Iran’s frontier with Iraq. The region can be divided into two parts: to the west is the Pusht-i Kuh (‘behind the mountain’), which descends towards the plains of Mesopotamia and Susiana, while to the east, at a higher altitude, lies the Pish-i Kuh (‘before the mountain’). Nomadic Lurs inhabit its high, fertile valleys.
The nomads who lived in the valleys of Luristan in antiquity were shepherds, horse-breeders, hunters and warriors. It is not known what they were called, for they have left no written sources, and suggestions that they might have been Kassites or Cimmerians must be rejected. They should perhaps be equated with the Ellipi, whose kingdom was overthrown by the Medes in ...
(fl second half of the 12th century).
Georgian goldsmiths and silversmiths. They were outstanding exponents of the traditional techniques of embossing and chasing in silver gilt (see Georgia, Republic of §V 1., (i)). They worked in a monastery at Opiza (Turk. Bağular) in the Georgian princedom of Tao-Klardjeti (now north-east Turkey), where Beka Opizari may have been Beshken Opizari’s pupil.
Beshken’s work is known only from the silver-gilt cover of the Berti Gospels (Tbilisi, Acad. Sci., Inst. MSS). Two of Beka’s works survive: the cover for the Tskarostavi Gospels (Tbilisi, Acad. Sci., Inst. MSS) and the mounting for the icon of Christ the Saviour (Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.) from the Anchiskhati Monastery in southern Georgia. Both Gospel covers depict a Deësis and a Crucifixion in which the figures stand out in high relief against an abstract background and are framed by vegetal ornament. Whereas Beshken’s figures are distinguished by an archaic severity of form, Beka’s are more sculptural. In the outer frame of the Anchiskhati icon mounting Beka combines modelled full-length and half-length figures with bands of ornate triple tendril motifs to create a particularly fine example of Georgian gold work....
Ostrich eggs were used as containers in North Africa from the fourth millennium BC, and many decorated examples survive from the Punic civilisation of the first millennium BC. They have been found at Carthage, in Sardinia, Sicily and, especially, in Spain and Ibiza (e.g. Ibiza. Mus. Arqueol.). They were painted with geometric and stylized designs and used as dishes and cups. In the Middle East decorated ostrich eggs have been found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur (2600–2200
(b England, c. ?1810; d ?India, after ?1881).
English photographer and medallist. He was active from about 1850 in Malta, where he met the Beato family brothers, whose sister, Maria Matilde, became Robertson’s wife. Together with the Beato brothers, Robertson travelled to Athens in 1852, and then c. 1853 to Constantinople, where he was appointed chief engraver of the Imperial Mint of Turkey. With the help of the Beatos, whom he had probably taught, Robertson took a series of photographs of Constantinople in 1853 (e.g. Eastern Scene, see Lucie-Smith, pl. 66). This was followed, in September 1855, by a series of the battlefields of the Crimea, in which he continued the work begun by Roger Fenton of documenting the war. Many of the photographs of this period bear the signature Robertson & Beato, and this is found on other photographs up until 1862.
In 1857 Robertson left Turkey and set out with the Beato brothers on a long journey from Athens to Egypt, Jerusalem, and eventually to India. Probably during his stay in Athens, Robertson gave many of his photographic plates to ...
Susan T. Goodman
[Moscovitz, Shalom; Shalom of Safed]
(b Safed, Palestine [now Israel], 1887; d Safed, Jan 1980).
Israeli painter. For over 70 years he worked as a watchmaker as well as a scribe, silversmith and stonemason in Safed, an important centre of Jewish mysticism. After his watch-repair shop was destroyed in the War of Independence (1948), he earned a living by selling plywood toys coloured with crayon. In the mid-1950s Yosl Bergner, who recognized in these charming works the essential qualities of folk art, encouraged Shalom to paint. Shalom’s artistic vocabulary grew out of the rich traditions of his Hasidic heritage. The mystical literature of Safed and the deep impression made by the landscape of Israel contributed to his spiritual and visual development, while his work also reveals a deep affinity and commitment to the Scriptures, although he did much more than merely illustrate the scriptural narrative, as in Scenes from the Book of Ruth (1960; New York, Jew. Mus.). He created a pictorial unity from various recognized conventions, including discrepancies in scale between figures and settings in the depiction of groups in complex compositions, which heighten the expressive effect. Figures are depicted in profile or silhouetted in flat, unmodelled form (e.g. ...
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....
Bernt von Hagen
(b Augsburg, April 10, 1655; bur; Augsburg, June 25, 1734).
German goldsmith, draughtsman and engraver. He was the son of Israel Thelott (1616–96), a goldsmith and member of a French family of artists documented in Augsburg from 1585. As early as 1670 Thelott executed a relief of the Trinity (London, BM), a copy of a work by Paulus van Vianen. His years in Italy as a journeyman are attested by his relief panel Majestas and Amor (1687; Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.), inscribed ‘Roma’. Also from that period are a panel entitled Triumph of Two Roman Generals (1684; London, V&A), resembling antique reliefs, and a panel depicting the Baptism of Christ (1685; London, V&A). Notable among his various vessels and containers are those with embossed work, often serving as a casing, such as the Deckel-Portal goblet (1689; Augsburg, Städt. Kstsamml.), its decoration including the stories of Oedipus and Jason and the feats of Hercules. He also worked on clocks (Moscow, Hist. Mus.; example dated ...
(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 21, 1871; d Tbilisi, June 17, 1953).
Georgian painter. He studied at the trade school in Tiflis and began working as a master metalworker and blacksmith. His drawing ability was such that he was encouraged to study at the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg. He studied in the studio of Il’ya Repin, whose ideas on Critical Realism in painting had an influence on his work. Toidze’s interest in national culture was already perceptible in his diploma work Festival in Mtskheta (1900–01; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georgia). It is a vivid and colourful portrayal of local types enjoying a traditional festive meal.
Toidze was attracted to images of working people and local types before and after the Revolution of 1917. His painting Revolution (1918; untraced, sketch in Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georgia) is a dramatic portrayal of social upheaval, but in the 1920s he became concerned with depicting the new public and social conditions. The Smiths (early 1920s; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georgia), in which the twilight interior of the forge is illuminated by a mysterious light pouring from the fire, emphasizes the beauty and energy of the movements and the tense rhythms of the labour of the blacksmiths. During and after World War II, Toidze portrayed the patriotic feelings of the people in such paintings as the ...