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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

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

Sarah Morgan

[Eusebios Pamphili]

(b c. ad 265; d c. ad 340). Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, church historian and prominent supporter of Constantine the Great. Eusebios studied under the learned presbyter Pamphilus (c. 240–309), whose name he adopted, in Caesarea, an important centre of Christian learning since the time of Origen (c. 185–254). He achieved a formidable reputation as a scholar, yet managed to escape harm during the Great Persecution of the Church (ad 303–12). In 313 he was appointed Bishop of Caesarea, which position he held until his death. When the Arian controversy broke out c. 318, Eusebios attempted to present Arianism in a more acceptable form. At the Council of Nicaea (325), however, it was condemned as a heresy and Eusebios was required to recant his position and to accept the doctrine of the Council. From this time he gave full support to Constantine’s drive for unity in the Church, and in return he enjoyed considerable imperial favour....

Article

Barry Bergdoll

(b Cologne, June 15, 1790; d Paris, Dec 31, 1853).

French architect, writer and archaeologist of German birth. In 1810 he left Cologne with his lifelong friend J. I. Hittorff for Paris, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1811 under the tutelage of the ardent Neo-classicists Louis-Hippolyte Lebas and François Debret. But from the beginning Gau was exposed to a wider field of historical sources, first as assistant site architect under Debret on the restoration of the abbey church of Saint-Denis (1813–15) and then from 1815 in Nazarene circles in Rome, where he met the archaeologist and philologist Barthold Nieburh (1776–1831), who arranged a scholarship for him from the Prussian government and a trip through the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt Gau undertook an arduous trip down the Nile to visit and record the monuments of Nubia, which he published as the lavish folio Antiquités de la Nubie. He noted assiduously every trace of colour on the remains, just as he was to do in ...

Article

Karolina Lanckorońska

[Karl Anton Leo Ludwig]

(b Vienna, Nov 4, 1848; d Vienna, July 15, 1933).

Polish archaeologist, writer, collector and patron, active in Austria. As an archaeologist his main interest lay in the architectural ruins of the late Roman Empire in Anatolia. In 1884 he organized an expedition of which he later published an account, Stadt Pamphyliens und Pisidiens. Sketches made by Jacek Malczewski (e.g. Warsaw, Royal Castle; mainly watercolours) are also records of the expedition. Lanckoroński and Malczewski later toured Italy and travelled to Munich together. Other artists patronized by Lanckoroński included Antoni Madeyski (1862–1939), Henryk Rodakowski and Hans Makart. During 1888 and 1889 Lanckoroński made a round-the-world voyage and subsequently published a diary of this trip, entitled Rund um die Erde. He brought back to Vienna various works of art, mainly sculptures and textiles. Between 1890 and 1895 a Baroque Revival palace was built for him in Vienna to designs by Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Hellmer (1849–1919). In it Lanckoroński installed paintings, mainly Dutch and French, that he had inherited and Italian paintings he had purchased (e.g. Masaccio’s ...

Article

Dominic Montserrat

[Gr. Loukianos]

(b Samosata, c. ad 120; d before 180). Author, writing in Greek, of North African birth. Towards the end of a prolific literary career, around 163 ad, he wrote the Imagines (Gr. Eikones), a panegyric couched in dialogue form, which is one of several texts surviving from the age of the Second Sophistic that include extensive descriptions of works of art (see also Philostratos family). Also of interest for the history of painting is Lucian’s Zeuxis, a discussion of the idea of innovation, which includes a detailed description of a copy of the Centaur Family, a famous work by the Athenian painter Zeuxis, depicting a family of centaurs in an idyllic landscape. In the Renaissance the popularity of Lucian’s art writings influenced such artists as Sodoma and Botticelli; the latter incorporated many elements from Lucian’s description of Aetion’s Wedding of Alexander the Great and Roxane...

Article

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....