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Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

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

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Robert J. Belton

(b Jassy [now Iaşi], Romania, Aug 29, 1933).

Canadian sculptor, film maker, costume designer, playwright and poet of Romanian birth. His formal art training began in 1945 but in 1950 he emigrated to Israel. From 1953 he studied at the Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv. Etrog’s first one-man exhibition took place in 1958 and consisted of Painted Constructions, wood and canvas objects blurring the distinctions between painting and low relief (see Heinrich). In these works he tried to embody uncertainties that stemmed from his experience of Nazi aggression as a boy. The results were loosely expressionistic versions of geometric abstraction, derived in part from the work of Paul Klee.

Assisted by the painter Marcel Janco, Etrog went on a scholarship to New York, where he was inspired by Oceanic and African artefacts he saw in the collections there. This led to a preoccupation with organic abstractions, flowing totemic forms, and metaphors of growth and movement, seen in ...

Article

(b Mut, 1920).

Turkish sculptor and writer. After completing his education in 1940, he taught for one year and then began his military service. In 1944 he entered the sculpture department of the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul, where he was a student of Rudolf Belling. From 1948 to 1950 he lived in Paris on a bursary and studied under the sculptor Marcel Gimond (1894–1961) at the Académie Julian. When he returned to Turkey he became an assistant teacher in the sculpture department of the Fine Arts Academy and also began to assist with the administration and management, eventually becoming Director. From 1969 to 1976 he also directed the Museum of Painting and Sculpture in Istanbul. As a sculptor he concentrated on figural works and made an important contribution to statue art in Turkey. He was responsible for a number of monuments to Atatürk including those at Geyve (1961), Karabük (...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Tehran, 1937).

Iranian sculptor, painter, art historian and collector. He studied sculpture at the College of Fine Arts at Tehran University, graduating in 1956, and then attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara (1956–7) and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan (1958–9), where he worked under Marino Marini. In 1960 he began to teach at the College of Decorative Arts in Tehran, and in 1961 he was invited to the Minneapolis College of Arts and Design as a visiting artist, where he taught sculpture until 1963. In 1964 he returned to Tehran to teach sculpture at the College of Fine Arts. Primarily a sculptor, he worked with a range of materials, including bronze, copper, brass, scrap metal and clay. In the 1960s he contributed to the art movement in Iran known as Saqqakhana, and he made sculptures that were reminiscent of religious shrines and objects. Pairs of figures and fantastic birds were also common subjects. Themes from classical Persian literature also influenced him. He frequently rendered the word ...

Article

Sulejman Dashi

(Said)

(b Aka, Turkey, 1865; d Tiranë, Feb 11, 1918).

Albanian sculptor, collector and poet of Turkish birth. His family was in exile in Turkey, and he began his studies in the school of Madame Fyres (1878), finishing them in the Sultanie Lycée of Galatasaray in Istanbul (1894). Toptani’s artistic work is intrinsically linked to his efforts in the struggle for Albanian independence. Works such as the bust of ...