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James I of Aragon (1213–1276)
James I, King of Aragon (1213–1276). He was the third king of the Crown of Aragon, which had come into existence through the union between Queen Petronila of Aragon (1157-1164) and the Count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV (1137–1162). James I represents a milestone in the iconography of the Kings of Aragon, although this is due more to his successors’ promotion of him rather than to his own efforts. In order to organise and unify his dominions after the conquests of Mallorca and Valencia, he immersed himself in legal work that consolidated his legislative power whilst still allowing his territories to retain a certain degree of autonomy. He carried out an essential monetary reorganisation in which his coinage retained its obverse but altered its reverse according to the place of issue. He never succeeded in being crowned, although he featured the crown prominently in his stamps and seals and, on some coins, he added the term rex gratia Dei. In addition, he revived the sword as a royal insignia, having proclaimed the right of conquest as the basis of his sovereignty.
13 Apr 2022
Ferdinand II of Aragon (1479–1516)
Ferdinand II king of Aragon (1479–1516). He was the fourth king of the Trastámara dynasty, which had first come to power after the Compromise of Caspe, reached after Martin I died with no living descendants in 1410. Although in terms of artistic patronage Ferdinand II was not as active as his wife Elisabeth I, he was still aware that the wise use of artistic commissions in reinforcing ideas and concepts favourable to the institution of the monarchy. He is a highly important figure in the history of Spain because, along with Elisabeth, he was one of the Catholic Monarchs and thus represents a new conception of power based on their joint governance, a fact that is reflected in the iconography found in his artistic commissions across all genres. All of the images are evidence of how King Ferdinand, at the end of the Middle Ages, wanted to be recognised by his subjects, who also used his image for legitimising and propagandistic purposes. Nobody else in the history of the Hispanic kingdoms had their image represented so many times and on such diverse occasions as did the Catholic Monarchs.
13 Apr 2022
Robert of Anjou (1309–1343)
Robert of Anjou King of Sicily (1309–1343). Robert of Anjou was the third king of the Angevin dynasty on the throne of Sicily. He ruled from 1309 to 1343, but, in these years, Sicily was under the domain of the Aragonese dynasty and, hence, his authority was limited to the continental land of the Kingdom and his court was mainly focused in the city of Naples. From an iconographic point of view, he is particularly interesting because, between his official representations (namely, commissioned directly by him or his entourage), he was the first king of Sicily who made use not only of stereotyped images of himself, but also of physiognomic portraits. In particular, this entry focuses on these latter items, comprising the following four artworks: Simone Martini’s altarpiece, the Master of Giovanni Barrile’s panel, the Master of the Franciscan tempera’s canvas, and the so-called Lello da Orvieto’s fresco.
13 Apr 2022
Stefan Uroš II Milutin Nemanjić (1282–1321)
King Stefan Uroš II Milutin Nemanjić (1282—Donje Nerodimlje, October 29, 1321) was a Serbian medieval king, the seventh ruler of the Serbian Nemanide dynasty, the son of King Stefan Uroš I (r. 1243–1276) and Queen Helen Nemanjić (see), the brother of the King Stefan Dragutin (r. 1276–1282) and the father of King Stefan Dečanski (r. 1322–1331). Together with his great grandfather Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanide dynasty, and his grandson, Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, King Milutin is considered the most powerful ruler of the Nemanide dynasty. The long and successful military breach of King Milutin, down the Vardar River Valley and deep into the Byzantine territories, represents the beginning of Serbian expansion into southeastern Europe, making it the dominant political power in the Balkan region in the 14th century. During that period, Serbian economic power grew rapidly, mostly because of the development of trading and mining. King Milutin founded Novo Brdo, an internationally important silver mining site. He started minting his own money, producing imitations of Venetian coins (grosso), which gradually diminished in value. This led to the ban of these coins by the Republic of Venice and provided King Milutin a place in Dante’s Divina Commedia. King Milutin had a specific philoktesia fervor: He built or renovated over three dozen Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries not only in Serbia but also in Thessaloniki, Mt. Athos, Constantinople and The Holy Land. Over fifteen of his portraits can be found in the monumental painting ensembles of Serbian medieval monasteries as well as on two icons.
13 Apr 2022
Ladislaus II Jagiełło (1386–1434)
Ladislaus II Jagiełło (1386–1434). Ladislaus II Jagiełło is the founder of the Jagiellonian dynasty that had ruled over Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (until 1572), Bohemia (1471–1526) and Hungary (1440–1444, 1490–1526). A Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1377, and from 1386 a king of Poland and lord of Lithuania, which he ruled jointly with his cousin Witold (Vytautas), the son of Kęstutis. Five medieval portraits of Jagiełło survive, four of which date from the period of his reign in the Polish–Lithuanian state and one was executed posthumously. The earliest image, on Jagiełło’s Great Seal, was made in connection with his coronation as king of Poland (1386). Two portraits in the Holy Trinity Chapel at the Castle of Lublin (1418) are part of a wall paintings scheme commissioned by the monarch and executed by a team of painters brought from Ruthenia. Furthermore, the sumptuous tomb (before 1430) in Cracow was commissioned by the king. Its top slab bears an effigy of Jagiełło with his suggestively rendered countenance, which undoubtedly reflects the actual facial features of the elderly monarch. An image of the king represented as one of the Three Magi in a panel of an altarpiece in the tomb chapel of Casimir IV Jagiellonian, Jagiełło’s son and his successor on the Polish throne, dates from 1470. The chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross, erected at Cracow Cathedral, was in all likelihood commissioned by Casimir himself and his consort Elizabeth of Austria.
13 Apr 2022
Joanna I of Anjou (1343–1382)
Joanna I of Anjou (1325–1382), countess of Provence and the fourth sovereign of the Angevin dynasty in south Italy (since 1343), became the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Sicily, succeeding her grandfather King Robert “the Wise” (1277–1343). The public and official images of the queen and the “symbolic” representations of her power, commissioned by her or by her entourage, contributed to create a new standard in the cultural references of the Angevin iconographic tradition aiming to assimilate models shared by the European ruling class. In particular, the following works of art and architecture will be analyzed: the queen’s portraits carved on the front slabs of royal sepulchers (namely those of her mother Mary of Valois and of Robert of Anjou) and on the liturgical furnishings in the church of Santa Chiara in Naples; the images painted in numerous illuminated manuscripts, in the chapter house of the friars in the Franciscan convent of Santa Chiara in Naples, in the lunette of the church in the Charterhouse of Capri. The church of the Incoronata in Naples does not show, at the present time, any portrait of the queen or explicit reference to Joanna as a patron. However, it is considered the highest symbolic image of her queenship.
13 Apr 2022
Artists have been working with artificial intelligence (AI) since the 1970s. They comprised a minuscule enclave within the early computer art community throughout the 1970s and 1980s and were largely unnoticed by the mainstream artworld and broader public. In the 1990s and 2000s, more artists got involved with AI and produced installations that question the meaning of agency, creativity, and expression. Since the 2000s, AI art diversified into generative and interactive approaches that involved statistical methods, natural language processing, pattern recognition, and computer vision algorithms. The increasing affordance of multilayered machine learning architectures, as well as the raising socio-political impact of AI, have facilitated the further expansion of AI art in the second half of the 2010s. The topics, methodologies, presentational formats, and implications of contemporary AI art are closely related to, and affected by, AI science research, development, and commercial application. The poetic scope of AI art is primarily informed by the various phenomenological aspects of sub-symbolic machine learning. It comprises creative strategies that explore the epistemological boundaries and artifacts of AI architectures; sample the latent space of neural networks; aestheticize the AI data renderings; and critique the conceptual, existential, or socio-political consequences of corporate AI; a few works criticize AI art itself. These strategies unfold in disparate practices ranging from popular and spectacular to tactical and experimental. The existing taxonomies or categorizations of AI art should be considered as provisory because of the creative dynamics and transdisciplinary character of the field. Similar to other computational art disciplines, AI art has had an ambivalent relationship with the mainstream artworld, marked by selective marginalization and occasional exploitation.
27 Jan 2022
Organic Binders in Archaeological Wall Paintings
Binding media are complex materials, employed to allow pigment grains to adhere to each other and to the surface of the support, through the formation of a coherent and homogeneous film. The function of the binder consists, therefore, in keeping the pigment particles firmly together and at the same time adhering them in the form of a coherent thin film to the surface of the support. The binder must obviously be in the fluid state, in order to form with the pigments a stable, homogeneous, stretchy, and viscous dough. For the realization of wall paintings and, in later times, for their preservation, different materials with functions of binders, adhesives, paints, protective and consolidating were and are still necessary. There is a very large class of products which can have both constitutive functions but also a function of conservation and restoration.
21 Oct 2021
TikTok in Contemporary Arts Market
During the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok attracted many artists, who used the platform to take their practice, and thereby their self-marketing, into their own hands. At the same time, a new generation of collectors use TikTok to discover art under popular hashtag #feministartists. When artists label their work with #feministartists, they insert themselves into the gatekeeping process, and use opportunities and restrictions bounded to that specific hashtag. The study examines this process of professional self-positioning by using interviews with contemporary artists, curators, and observations on TikTok, artist talks, and secondary interviews with artists on online platforms. The findings suggest a variation in how one trades in or trades on “feminist artist”, accessing resources, and gaining exposure. A focus on “feminist artists” is restrictive for consolidating artists’ efforts to pursue specific professional, social, political, and economic agendas through art.
23 Aug 2021
Gap-Fillers for Outdoor Wooden Artefacts
Conservation of wooden artefacts that are exposed outdoors, mainly in open-air museums, is a very complex and difficult issue that aims to preserve both the integrity and aesthetics of valuable objects. Unceasingly subjected to several factors, such as alternating weather conditions and the activities of microorganisms, algae, and insects, they undergo continuous changes and inevitable deterioration. Their biological and physical degradation often results in the formation of gaps and cracks in the wooden tissue, which creates a need not only for wood consolidation, but also for using specialist materials to fill the holes and prevent further degradation of an object. A variety of substances, both organic and inorganic, have been used for conservation and gap filling in historic wooden objects. The filling compounds typically consist of two components, of which one is a filler, and the second a binder.
25 May 2021
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