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Article

Italian, 17th century, male.

Active in Rome.

Born 1593, in Borgo San Sepolcro.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, art theorist. Religious subjects. Frescoes.

Served as Secretary to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome (founded by Zuccharo). In 1585, he published in Rome a benchmark Treatise on the Noble Art of Painting...

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

Susan Compton

[Shagal, Mark (Zakharovich); Shagal, Moses]

(b Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Belarus’, July 7, 1887; d Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, March 28, 1985).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, designer, sculptor, ceramicist, and writer of Belarusian birth. A prolific artist, Chagall excelled in the European tradition of subject painting and distinguished himself as an expressive colourist. His work is noted for its consistent use of folkloric imagery and its sweetness of colour, and it is characterized by a style that, although developed in the years before World War I, underwent little progression throughout his long career (see.g. I and the Village, 1911; New York, MOMA). Though he preferred to be known as a Belarusian artist, following his exile from the Soviet Union in 1923 he was recognized as a major figure of the Ecole de Paris, especially in the later 1920s and the 1930s. In his last years he was regarded as a leading artist in stained glass.

Chagall spent his childhood, admirably recorded in his autobiography, in a warm Hassidic family in Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], with frequent visits to his grandfather’s village home. He attended the traditional Jewish school but afterwards succeeded in entering the local Russian high school, where he excelled in geometry and drawing and determined to become an artist. At first he studied locally in the studio of ...

Article

French, 19th century, male.

Born 1808 ou 1813, in Paris; died 1881, in Paris.

Painter, sculptor, poet. Religious subjects, portraits, genre scenes.

A pupil of Guillon-Lethère at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1827, Chatillon exhibited at the Salon from 1831. He published collections of poems illustrated by his collaborator and friend André Gil, with prefaces by Théophile Gautier, ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 June 1931, in Eatonton (Georgia).

Painter, draughtsman (including ink), collage artist, print artist, sculptor, collector, art historian. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, figure compositions, scenes with figures, landscapes. Designs for stained glass.

David C. Driskell earned a BFA at Howard University in ...

Article

Annamaria Szőke

(b Budapest, July 4, 1928; d Budapest, May 22, 1986).

Hungarian architect, sculptor, conceptual and performance artist, teacher, theorist and film maker. He came from a Jewish–Christian family, many of whom were killed during World War II. In 1947 he began training as a sculptor at the College of Fine Arts in Budapest, but he left and continued his studies in the studio of Dezső Birman Bokros (1889–1965), before training as an architect from 1947 to 1951 at the Technical University in Budapest. During the 1950s and early 1960s he worked as an architect and began experimenting with painting and graphic art, as well as writing poems and short stories. During this period he became acquainted with such artists as Dezső Korniss, László Latner and, most importantly, Béla Kondor and Sándor Altorjai (1933–79), with whom he began a lifelong friendship. In 1959 and 1963 he also enrolled at the Budapest College of Theatre and Film Arts but was advised to leave both times....

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

Italian, 16th century, male.

Born 6 March 1475, in Caprese, near Arezzo; died 18 February 1564, in Rome.

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, architect, engineer, poet. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, nudes, portraits.

At the time of Michelangelo’s birth, his father, Ludovico, son of Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, was resident magistrate for the Republic of Florence in the small, fortified town of Caprese, but soon after the family returned to Florence. Michelangelo lost his mother when he was six years old, and the family’s financial situation was poor, though previous generations of Buonarroti had been rich and powerful and among the ‘priori’, or governing councillors, of Florence. Michelangelo’s father would therefore have preferred a business career for his son, but Michelangelo was encouraged by his friend Francesco Granacci in his artistic ambitions. He prevailed over his father, and on 1 April 1488, at the age of 13, he joined the large workshop of the painters Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio. His apprenticeship agreement bound him to them for three years....

Article

Italian, 18th century, male.

Born 17 August 1729, in Faenza; died 2 April 1799, in Naples.

Painter, sculptor, engraver (burin), art writer, archaeologist. Religious subjects, portraits.

A pupil of Graziani, Nicola Passeri worked mainly in Naples. Several of his paintings are found in churches in Faenza. In Naples he published ...

Article

Norihisa Mizuta

[Xin yue; Shōun]

(b Puyang, nr Hangzhou, Zhejiang Prov., 1639; d Mito, Ibaragi Prefect., 1695).

Chinese Zen monk, seal-carver, calligrapher, poet and Musician, active in Japan. He left his family at the age of seven and entered the Buddhist order, first training in Jiangxi Province and eventually in Hangzhou. In 1677 he emigrated to Japan, at the invitation of the monk Chin’i Dōryō of Kōfukuji, an Obaku-sect Zen temple in Nagasaki. He took up missionary work but found himself at odds with Ōbaku monks and for a short time was held in temple confinement. In 1681 the daimyo of Mito, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628–1700), hearing of this situation, invited Shin’etsu to his fiefdom, where in 1692 he became founding abbot of Mitsukuni’s temple, Jushōzan Gionji (formerly Tentokuji) in Mito, later the place of his burial. Shin’etsu’s school of Buddhism is known as the Jushō or Shin’etsu school of Sōtō Zen.

Shin’etsu is best known as an artist and true literatus. Together with Dokuryū Shōeki...

Article

Elizabeth Horton Sharf

[Duli Xingyi; Dai Mangong; Tianwai yi xianren]

(b Hangzhou Prefect., Zhejiang Prov., 1596; d Nagasaki, 1672).

Chinese Ōbaku Zen monk, calligrapher, poet, seal-carver and medical expert, active in Japan. Dokuryū was one of many learned men from south-east China to emigrate to Japan during the political turmoil following the collapse of the Ming dynasty in 1644. He arrived in Nagasaki in 1653 accomplished in several disciplines and quickly became a major force in the development of these arts and skills in Japan. Together with Tōkō Shin’etsu, Dokuryū is revered for having introduced techniques and practices of late Ming literati seal-carving to Japan. On his arrival there, Dokuryū became an itinerant scholar and medical specialist, establishing ties with émigré Chinese abbots and Japanese political figures. When the distinguished Chinese prelate Yinyuan Longqi (known in Japan as Ingen Ryūki) arrived in 1654, Dokuryū was ordained as his disciple and received the Buddhist names Dokuryū and Shōeki.

He was Ingen’s scribe from 1655 until 1658, when he took up residence at the Rinzai Zen monastery Heirinji (Saitama Prefect.) under the patronage of the shogunal minister ...

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....

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

Natália Marinho Ferreira Alves

(b Braga, Dec 18, 1731; d Tibães, Aug 30, 1808).

Portuguese designer, wood-carver, sculptor and architect.

His godfather, the Reverend Constantino da Cunha Soto Maior (d 1757), was treasurer of the Cathedral of Braga, and one of his brothers, João de Araújo Ferreira Vilaça (b 1720), was clerk to the Vicar General of Vila Real in Trás-os-Montes. Frei José’s early training was with his father, Custódio Ferreira, a skilled carpenter. In November 1754 Frei José signed his first contract to carve the retable of the high altar of the church of the convent of S Clara, Amarante. From 1757 he worked at Tibães, near Braga, the headquarters of the Benedictine Order in Portugal, where, with José de Álvares de Araújo, he collaborated on carving the magnificent talha (carved and gilded wood) designed for the church of S Martinho by André Ribeiro Soares da Silva. The work began with the high altar, for which Frei José carved the statues of SS Martinho, Bento and Escolástica, and the whole scheme, one of the finest in Portugal, was subsequently completed in ...