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Article

Aguilonius [de Aguilón; Aguillon], Franciscus  

Frans Baudouin

[François]

(b Brussels, ?Jan 4, 1567; d Antwerp, March 20, 1617).

Flemish scientist and architect. His father was a Spaniard, Pedro de Aguilón; his mother, Anna Pels, was of Flemish origin. Aguilonius studied at the Jesuit Collège de Clermont in Paris and at Douai. He entered the novitiate of the Jesuits in Tournai. After a brief visit to Salamanca in 1596 he was ordained. He taught philosophy at Douai for five years, and in 1598 moved to Antwerp, where he became confessor to the Spaniards and Italians and a teacher at the city’s Jesuit college. In 1614 he was appointed rector of the college.

Aguilonius’s reputation rests on his book on optics, illustrated by Peter Paul Rubens, and on the part he played in building the Jesuit church in Antwerp (S Carlo Borromeo), which contributed to the popularity of Italian Baroque architecture with Flemish Jesuits. By December 1611 Aguilonius had written Opticorum libri sex, which was published by the Plantin press in ...

Article

Alberti, Leon Battista  

Paul Davies and David Hemsoll

(b Genoa, Feb 14, 1404; d Rome, April 1472).

Italian architect, sculptor, painter, theorist and writer. The arts of painting, sculpture and architecture were, for Alberti, only three of an exceptionally broad range of interests, for he made his mark in fields as diverse as family ethics, philology and cryptography. It is for his contribution to the visual arts, however, that he is chiefly remembered. Alberti single-handedly established a theoretical foundation for the whole of Renaissance art with three revolutionary treatises, on painting, sculpture and architecture, which were the first works of their kind since Classical antiquity. Moreover, as a practitioner of the arts, he was no less innovative. In sculpture he seems to have been instrumental in popularizing, if not inventing, the portrait medal, but it was in architecture that he found his métier. Building on the achievements of his immediate predecessors, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, he reinterpreted anew the architecture of antiquity and introduced compositional formulae that have remained central to classical design ever since....

Article

Alessi, Galeazzo  

Aurora Scotti Tosini

(b Perugia, 1512; d Perugia, Dec 30, 1572).

Italian architect and writer. He was the leading High Renaissance architect in both Genoa and Milan, his villas and town palazzi establishing a definitive pattern for the genre. His greatest sacred building was S Maria Assunta in Carignano, the central planning of which shows the influence of Donato Bramante and Michelangelo.

The Perugia of Alessi’s youth was an important centre of the Papal States, with a lively humanist and philosophical cultural life. Alessi received his early training in the school of the architect and painter Giovan Battista Caporali, whose edition of Vitruvius is notable for its tendency to rationalize the Antique and for its reference to music as a means of further perfecting the study of harmonic proportion in the visual arts. Alessi was also friendly with the architect Giulio Danti (1500–75), who was equally well versed in rhetoric and philosophy.

Alessi’s diverse cultural experience recommended him to the papal court in Rome, where he moved in ...

Article

Alghisi, Galasso  

(b Carpi, nr Modena, c. 1523; d Ferrara, 1573).

Italian architect and writer. He worked intermittently in Rome from 1549 to 1558, probably on the Palazzo Farnese under Michelangelo and on the city fortifications decreed by Pope Paul III. He was in Loreto in 1549, working on the basilica of S Maria, and in 1550, outside Macerata, began the church of S Maria delle Vergini, on which work continued for the rest of his life. The plan is a Greek cross, with a tall, octagonal drum over the crossing, in which are set large rectangular windows that transmit a bright but diffused light to the centre of the church. The interior is impressive in its refined simplicity, with almost all architectural elements reduced to their most essential forms. The great square nave piers, for example, are devoid of decoration other than their simple plinths and cornice-like capitals. The church is built throughout in brick, which is left exposed, with decorative inlaid panels, in the cross-vaulting to the right-hand eastern chapel. The façade (...

Article

Amato, Paolo  

Helen M. Hills

(b Ciminna, Jan 24, 1634; d Palermo, July 3, 1714).

Italian architect, writer and painter. He trained as a priest in Palermo and entered the Padri Ministri degl’Infermi. Another member of this Order was Giacomo Amato, with whom he worked, although they were not related. While serving as a chaplain Amato studied geometry, architecture, optics and engraving. His earliest known artistic work is a painting on copper of the Miracle of S Rosalia (1663), the patron saint of Palermo. After 1686 he created many works of an ephemeral character. For the feasts of S Rosalia and for important political events he provided designs for lavish triumphal chariots, probably developed from those by Jacques Callot, triumphal arches and other ceremonial apparatus set up on principal roads and piazzas, and he painted hangings, papier-mâché models and massive altarpieces for the cathedral. These works influenced Amato’s permanent architecture. The spiral columns of the campanile of S Giuseppe dei Teatini, Palermo, recall the festival designs of ...

Article

Ardemans, Teodoro  

(b Madrid, 1664; d Madrid, Feb 15, 1726).

Spanish architect, painter and writer. He was trained in architecture by the Jesuits and in painting by Claudio Coello and worked mainly as an architect. Two overdoors showing multiple allegorical scenes of the Battle of Lepanto (1721; Madrid, Pal. Arzobisp.) and a St Barbara (1723; Madrid, Mus. Lázaro Galdiano) reveal Ardemans as a talented painter working in the tradition of Francisco Rizi, Juan Carreño de Miranda and Francisco de Herrera the younger, and partially influenced by Luca Giordano. His debt to Coello is apparent in a ceiling fresco attributed to him in the Capilla del Cristo de los Dolores of the Venerable Orden Tercera de San Francisco, Madrid, which shows St Francis riding in a chariot of fire with figures watching from a balcony. Also attributed to Ardemans is the portrait of Pedro Atanasio Bocanegra (c. 1689; Granada, Pal. Arzobisp.)

As an architect, Ardemans belongs to a period of transition, continuing into the 18th century the Baroque tradition of the Madrid school. He worked in Granada (...

Article

Aretino [del Tura], Pietro  

Norman E. Land

(b Arezzo, 19 or April 20, 1492; d Venice, 1556).

Italian art critic, writer, poet and collector. He was one of the most engaging literary figures of the Italian Renaissance, known not only for his famous Lettere but also for political lampoons, erotic books and religious writings. He was the son of a shoemaker, Luca del Tura. From before 1510 until 1517 he lived in Perugia. A book of poems that he published during these years, Opera nova (1512), suggests by its subtitle, in which the author is called ‘Pietro pictore Aretino’, and by a note to the first sonnet in which he claims to be ‘studioso … in pictura’, that he had some training as an artist. About 1517 he moved to Rome, after a short period in Siena, and joined the household of Agostino Chigi. He became friendly with Raphael, Michelangelo, Sebastiano del Piombo and Jacopo Sansovino. At this time too he became known for his political lampoons. For a period Aretino was a valet to Pope Leo X; on Leo’s death in ...

Article

Armenini, Giovanni Battista  

François Quiviger

(b Faenza, c. 1525; d Faenza, April 1609).

Italian painter and writer. He probably began his apprenticeship at Faenza and at the beginning of the 1550s settled in Rome, where he worked as a copyist of ancient and modern works. Around 1556 he made a series of journeys across Italy before settling in Faenza in 1564, where he took orders. Of his artistic works, which he himself held in low esteem, we know only an Ascension of the Virgin (Faenza, Pin. Com.) and a few leaves from an album of drawings, dating from the 1550s, which show Raphael’s Logge. His most important contribution to the history of art is his treatise entitled De’ veri precetti della pittura (1587).

With this book Armenini wished to revive painting, which he felt had declined. He attributed its downfall to three main causes: the indifference of the great masters of the early 16th century to teaching, the lack of artists of sufficient stature to succeed them and a general depreciation of the art of painting. The ...

Article

Astrology in medieval art  

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

Ávila, Hernando de  

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

Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam and Viscount St Albans  

Juanita M. Ellias

(b London, Jan 22, 1561; d London, April 9, 1626).

English courtier, statesman, lawyer, philosopher and writer . He was the younger son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper under Elizabeth I; he was educated at Cambridge and trained as a lawyer at Gray’s Inn, London. He became a member of parliament in 1584; in his political career he enjoyed the patronage of the Queen’s favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, but after the latter’s fall from favour acted as prosecutor at his trial. Bacon’s political career prospered under James I, and in 1618 he was ennobled and became Lord Chancellor. However, in 1621 he was charged with corruption and, being disgraced, retired into private life.

Bacon was a polymath, who in 1592 wrote: ‘I have taken all knowledge to be my province.’ He wrote on philosophy, politics, history and law and is now most highly regarded for his contribution to the philosophy of science and the development of scientific method. However, his best-known book is the ...

Article

Baglione, Giovanni  

Maryvelma O’Neil

(b Rome, c. 1566; d Dec 30, 1643).

Italian painter, draughtsman and writer . He executed canvases and frescoes of religious and mythological subjects, and portraits. He was given important commissions by popes and aristocrats and sold his works to patrons in Italy and abroad. Baglione’s arguably greater fame as a writer derives from Le nove chiese di Roma (1639) and especially from his Vite de’ pittori, scultori, architetti (1642), containing biographies of more than 200 artists who worked in Rome between 1572 and 1642.

Although born in Rome, where he spent most of his life, Baglione claimed descent from a noble Perugian family. His only acknowledged training (in the autobiography appended to Le vite, 1642) was an apprenticeship with Francesco Morelli, a little-known Florentine painter in Rome. However, drawings for works from the late 1580s and 1590s (such as the Finding of Moses, the Denial of St Peter and the Arrest of Christ...

Article

Bartoli, Papirio  

Louise Rice

(fl Rome, 1620).

Italian jurist and amateur architect . A learned dilettante active during the reign of Pope Paul V, he wrote and illustrated a series of proposals for the improvement and embellishment of St Peter’s, Rome. His Discorso was composed in 1620, and in 1623, following the election of Urban VIII, his designs were published at the expense of his nephew Simone Bartoli in a set of four engravings by Matthäus Greuter. Bartoli proposed the construction of an elaborate pontifical choir in the crossing of St Peter’s, to be built in the form of a navicella (a ship symbolic of the Church) and to encompass within its complex iconography the tomb of the Apostles, the papal high altar and the chair of St Peter. He also advocated transforming St Peter’s from a three-aisled to a five-aisled basilica by modifying the chapels on either side of the nave; demolishing the attic storey of Carlo Maderno’s façade in order to restore a view of Michelangelo’s drum and dome; and regularizing the piazza in front of the church by means of a vast three-storey arcuated portico built on an elongated rectangular plan. Bartoli’s projects, costly and impractical, were never executed and are chiefly of interest as precedents to Bernini’s great works at St Peter’s....

Article

Belluzzi [Bellucci], Giovanni [Giovan] Battista  

Adriano Ghisetti Giavarina

(b San Marino, Sept 27, 1506; d Pieve S Paolo, nr Pisa, March 25, 1554).

Italian architect. He was the son of Bartolo di Simone Belluzzi, an important political figure in the Republic of San Marino. He spent his youth in commerce and at the age of 18 was sent by his father to Bologna, where he remained for two years. In 1535 he settled in Rome, entering the service of Ascanio Colonna, whom he followed to Naples to meet Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. At the end of that year he returned to San Marino to marry a daughter of Girolamo Genga. From that time, without abandoning his business interests, he worked with his father-in-law, who was then employed by Francesco Maria I della Rovere, 4th Duke of Urbino, to enlarge the Villa Imperiale at San Bartolo, near Pesaro (for illustration see Genga, Girolamo), and on other architectural projects for the state. In September 1538 Belluzzi worked with his father-in-law on the fortifications of Pesaro and at the same time began to study Vitruvius. In ...

Article

Benedetti [Benedicti], Giovanni Battista  

Janet Southorn

(b Venice, Aug 14, 1530; d Turin, Jan 20, 1590).

Italian scientist, mathematician and writer. He studied mathematics with Niccolò Tartaglia (1500–59) and became one of the most progressive scientific thinkers of the later 16th century. From 1558 to 1567 he was in the service of Ottavio Farnese, 2nd Duke of Parma, and then moved to Turin at the invitation of Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, where he remained for the rest of his life. His interests extended to most branches of contemporary science, including astronomy (in De gnomonum he refers to his making of a meridian), acoustics, music and geometry. His studies of mechanics in particular made him an important forerunner of Galileo Galilei. The breadth of his interests is reflected in his principal published work, the Diversarum speculationum mathematicarum (1585), which includes a section on perspective and is dedicated to the Milanese architect at the court of Turin, Giacomo Soldati (fl 1561–1600)....

Article

Billi, Antonio  

David Cast

(fl 1500–?1530).

Italian connoisseur. He was possibly the owner and perhaps also the compiler of a collection of notes about the lives and works of the artists of Florence in the Renaissance. The text of this collection, first published in 1891 by Cornelius von Fabriczy, has survived in two versions in two different manuscripts in the Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence: the so-called Codice Strozziano (Cod. Magliabechiano cl XXV 636) and the Codice Petrei (Cod. Magliabechiano cl XIII 89). The first of these seems to be in fragments but is more accurate, the second somewhat careless but more complete; the two texts may be compared in the edition of 1892 by Karl Frey. The association of the texts with Billi was first made in writings by Fabriczy and Frey following Gaetano Milanesi’s 1872 citing of Billi’s name after an investigation of the Codice dell’Anonimo Magliabechiano (Florence, Bib. N. Cent. Cod. Magliabechiano cl XVII 17). Billi was a member of a distinguished family in Florence, who owned a chapel in SS Annunziata, for which, according to Vasari, they commissioned from ...

Article

Blok, Aleksandr  

Charlotte Humphreys

(Aleksandrovich)

(b St Petersburg, Nov 28, 1880; d Petrograd [now St Petersburg], Aug 7, 1921).

Russian poet and critic. Italian Renaissance painting and the work of contemporary Russian and foreign artists of the modern school greatly influenced Blok’s poetry, which in turn was exceptionally suggestive for masters of the fine arts as well as for many Symbolist poets. Blok belonged to the second generation of Russian Symbolist poets, who saw literature as a powerful theurgic force, capable of revealing the true, ideal world through temporal symbols. Symbolism in Russia was strongly influenced by the mystical philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900), who initiated the cult of the divine Sophia—the image of Eternal Woman as the soul of the universe and the link between the human and the divine. Blok reflected this cult in his Stikhi o prekrasnoy dame (‘Verses about the beautiful lady’). The beautiful lady whom Blok described is both a real woman and a transcendental figure, unattainable Beauty, the Ideal. She assumes an unearthly aspect, revealing herself to the poet in an atmosphere of dreams that are like fairy tales or medieval visions....

Article

Blum [Bloem; Bloome], Hans  

M. J. T. M. Stompé

(b Lohr, c. 1525).

German architect, engraver and writer. After training as an architect in his native town, Hans Blum left Lohr because two architects were already working there: Peter Volckner (fl 1539–48) and Jost Wenzel (fl 1548–70). He then moved to Zurich, where he married Ragali Kuchymeister in 1550. Their eldest son Christoffel Blum (bapt 21 Jan 1552) was named after the publisher Christoffel Froschauer (?1490–1564), who later published Hans Blum’s treatises on architecture.

Hans Blum is primarily known as the author of Quinque columnarum exacta descriptio atque delinaeatio cum symmetrica (1550), a book on the five orders of architecture. He based his work on the fourth volume of Serlio’s Regole generali di architettura (Venice, 1537), a German edition of which was published in 1542. The second source for Blum’s book was Gualtherus Rivius’s edition of Vitruvius, published in 1548 and illustrated by Peter Flettner (...

Article

Borghini, Raffaele  

Donatella Pegazzano

(b Florence, c. 1537; d Florence, Dec 26, 1588).

Italian writer. He was born into a noble Florentine family and epitomizes the courtly and literary world of Florence in the second half of the 16th century. As a young man he was connected with those Florentine nobles who opposed the Medici, but later he became a supporter of the powerful family. Most of his life was spent in Florence, except for a period (1572–5) in France, where he was perhaps forced to stay for economic reasons, and where he enjoyed the patronage of the Comte de Carcès and his wife Marguerite.

On his return to Florence, Borghini began his prodigious activity as a man of letters, poet and writer of comedies, producing La donna costante in 1575 and L’amante furioso in 1584. He also began to frequent the cultured society around the court of Francesco I de’ Medici and moved in the circles of the Capponi, Vecchietti, Valori and Pitti families. In this milieu, under the influence of Francesco I, he assembled a collection that included not only works of art but also bizarre and curious natural objects, achieving a mixture of ‘naturalia’ and ‘artificialia’ that was typical of the German ...

Article

Boyceau (de la Barauderie), Jacques  

F. Hamilton Hazlehurst

(b Saint-Jean-d’Angely, Charente-Maritime, c. 1562; d Paris, c. 1634).

French garden designer and theorist. Of Huguenot origin, he seems early to have enjoyed the favour of Henry of Navarre, later Henry IV. A respected member of the royal entourage, Boyceau was appointed Surintendant des Jardins du Roi in the succeeding reign of Louis XIII. Consequently, he was in a position to exert substantial influence in determining the nature of garden design at that time. In his Traité du jardinage, published in 1638, Boyceau succinctly summarized the history of French gardening and codified the rules that would govern the 17th-century formal garden. For the first time a French designer adopted an aesthetic point of view, thereby promoting the intellectual climate that was to establish gardening as a fine art. He introduced a new feeling for monumental scale to the French garden, insisting that it should reflect a strong sense of organic unity in which order, symmetry, and visual harmony would be all-pervasive....