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Fibula  

Niamh Whitfield

[Lat.: ‘brooch’]

Metal dress-pin that not only was used as a clothes’ fastener, but also acted as a sign of an individual’s allegiance, wealth, and status (see fig.). Brooches are common finds in pre-Christian graves of the Germanic peoples and Vikings, enabling inferences to be drawn about their uses, the garments to which they were attached, and migration patterns. For the later Middle Ages, comparable information can be gleaned not only from the objects but also figural representations, wills, and inventories.

Many brooches from the early Middle Ages descend from Roman fibulae of different types. These include the penannular brooches from Ireland and Britain, fastened by a pin slotted through a gap in a ring; disc-brooches, fastened by a pin on the back, and worn especially by Germanic women; and the various elongated Germanic bow brooches, which seem to be adaptations of the cross-bow fibulae worn by Roman officials in Late Antiquity (...

Article

Elizabeth Ashman Rowe

Illuminated 14th-century deluxe Icelandic manuscript (420×290 mm, 202 fols; Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute, GKS 1005 fol.) of King Sverrir’s Saga. It was compiled by the priests Jón Þórðarson and Magnús Þórhallsson for Jón Hákonarson (1350–before 1416), a wealthy landowner in northern Iceland who collected sagas of the kings of Norway. A note on folio 4r dates Jón Þórðarson’s contribution to 1387, and Magnús Þórhallsson’s annals at the end of the manuscript indicate the book was completed in 1394 or 1395. Magnús illuminated the whole manuscript and was the scribe of King Sverrir’s Saga (composed in part by Abbot Karl Jónsson of Þingeyrar, Iceland, c. 1185). The saga contains eight initials decorated in a style combining Gothic curved and draped human figures with Romanesque grotesques and acanthus motifs. Five initials depict Sverrir (with crown, orb and weapons), his opponent Sigurðr, and their soldiers. One initial is foliate, and two depict hybrid monsters. The taunting grotesque (fol. 156...

Article

German, 16th century, male.

Born 1515, in Munich; died 10 March 1573, in Munich.

Painter, draughtsman, miniaturist, copyist. Religious subjects, historical subjects, portraits. Designs for jewellery, decorative designs.

Munich School.

Hans Mülich's family came originally from Augsburg and Mülich himself is on record as a member of the Munich artists' guild in 1546. He was probably active there before that date, however, for the gallery of Munich houses a portrait of him dated 1540. Mülich was retained as a painter at the court of Albert V of Bavaria. It is thought that he visited Italy. It is certain that he made a copy of Michelangelo's ...

Article

Italian, 16th century, male.

Medallist, jeweller.

Niccolo di Mantova engraved medals for Eleanor of Gonzague, Alvise Gonzague and Paolo Fregoso.

Article

Carola Hicks

Term used to describe the art produced by the Ostrogoths, barbarian peoples whose invasion of the declining Roman Empire helped to transform Late Antique into medieval art. They occupied Italy in ad 488, and they were followers of Arianism. Their king Theodoric the Great (reg 489–526) had been brought up at the Byzantine court of Constantinople (now Istanbul); the arts that he promoted reflected his desire to be seen as a Roman emperor. At his capital Ravenna he restored historic buildings and commissioned new ones in the Byzantine style. His mausoleum combines Roman and Germanic elements; it is built of stone, in two storeys, with an arcaded base supporting a circular domed gallery, the roof of which is a single slab weighing 470 tons. The only decoration is a simple carved frieze. One of his churches, S Apollinare Nuovo, contains mosaics that celebrate the Ostrogothic kingdom. Other works include palaces at Ravenna and Verona and the refortification of many city walls. Theodoric also imitated the imperial coinage; on the gold ...

Article

Brian Spencer

Brian Spencer

Emblem, usually made of metal, on sale at pilgrimage sites to celebrate the saint or devotional object venerated there. The badges were usually worn in the hat, attached by pins or stitching rings that were cast in one piece with them. Their use flourished in the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries, but declined after the Reformation of the mid-16th century. In Catholic countries, however, the production of medallions for pilgrims continued at some shrines thereafter, in a few instances until the present day. Despite their fragility, several thousand medieval badges have been excavated or recovered from riverbeds across the whole of Europe since the early 19th century. These still represent only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of souvenirs that were sold at some shrines every year. In 1466, for example, 130,000 badges were sold in a fortnight at the Swiss monastery of ...

Article

German, 16th century, male.

Active at the end of the 16th century.

Engraver, designer of ornamental architectural features. Designs (jewellery).

Davis Schalhaimer engraved decorations for rings in 1592.

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

Italian, 16th century, male.

Born c. 1521, in Pieve di Cadore; died 2 March 1601, in Venice.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver. Religious subjects, costume studies.

Cesare Vecellio was related to Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), and was possibly his assistant. Cesare accompanied his famous master to Augsburg in ...