This painting has long been attributed to Stefano da Verona, who was active mostly in northern Italy and who was a proponent of the International Style. Popular throughout Europe toward the end of the fourteenth century, this style embodies a decorative elegance and an interest in minute detail that derive from northern European painting. Here the Virgin is portrayed as the Madonna of Humility: instead of being enthroned, she is seated on a cushion on the ground. In the sky above her appears God the Father with a scepter and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The rose garden symbolizes the purity of the Virgin, while the music-making angels evoke the refined and grace-filled court life of the very end of the Middle Ages.
The Bell of Nanban-ji is designated as a National Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. This Jesuit bell was made in Portugal in 1577 and used at Nanbanji Church.
Nanbanji Church was the first Christian church in Kyoto. In 1576, Jesuit Father Gnecchi-Soldo Organtino established this church with the support of Nobunaga Oda, who was one of the most powerful feudal lords who ruled Kyoto in the late 16th century. In the next eleven years, Nanbanji was the center of Catholic missionary activities in Japan. Also, this church became an important place for traders from Portugal and Spain.
In 1587, Regent Hideyoshi Toyotomi created a law against all Christians in Japan. Nanbanji was destroyed and was never rebuilt. Following the anti- Christian policy of Regent Hideyoshi, the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity and systematically eliminated all Christians. Thus, the Bell of Nanbanji vanished from the Japanese history until the bell came to Shunkōin about 200 years ago.
On the surface of the bell ... under an IHS Christogram, there are three nails of the seal of the Society of Jesus. Three nails symbolize the Crucifixion of Christ. Also the Arabic numerals 1577 were engraved on the surface.
Opaque creatures manifested the Nativity, for example by the destruction of the temple in Rome, as above described, and also by the collapse of other statues that fell in a great many other places. For instance, we read in the Scholastic History that the prophet Jeremiah, going down to Egypt after the death of Godolias, indicated to the Egyptian kings that their idols would fall to pieces when a virgin bore a son. For that reason the priests of the idols made a statue of a virgin holding a male child in her lap, set it up in a secret place in the temple, and there worshipped it. When King Ptolemy asked them the meaning of this, they told him that it was a mystery handed down by the fathers, who had received it from a holy man, a prophet, and they believed that what was foretold would really happen.The story of the statue's creation was inlcuded in the Speculum Humane Salvationis as a prefigurement of the Flight into Egypt, along with Moses breaking the Pharaoh's crown and Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
At Le Puy, it is not only the site that is enveloped in sacred mythology, but also the statue of the Virgin and Child. According to tradition, this too is a pre-Christian image prophetic of Christianity. The original statue is said to have been carved by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah, while he remained in Egypt after fleeing there following the fall of Jerusalem. The statue is thus a visual prophecy of the Incarnation. One tradition recounts that King St. Louis IX of France, on his way to Palestine to join a crusade, was captured by the Sultan of Egypt. Whilst he was there awaiting his ransom, the sultan showed him many of the treasures of his country, amongst which, in the temple, was a black statue of a mother and child.The Black Virgin of Le Puy was guillotined and burned by the revolutionaries on 9 June 1794. As the statue burned, a secret door opened in its back, out of which a small parchment scroll fell. It was consumed by the fire before anyone could read what was written on it.
King Louis immediately recognized the image as a statue of the Virgin and Christ. When the king's ransom arrived, the sultan told him that he could choose a gift, from everything he had seen in Egypt, to take back with him to his native land, and the gift that Louis chose was the statue of the mother and child. The sultan was most reluctant to let it go, but, having given his word, he could not go back on it, and so the statue was taken by Louis to France, where it was given to the shrine of Le Puy.
Aldegrever's work shows more than any other artist since Schongauer the close association that persisted between the engravers' and goldsmiths' professions. About one hundred of his engravings are designs for ornament, of which his designs for goldsmiths' work fall into the period 1528-39. He produced seventeen designs for sheaths of swords, daggers or domestic knives, most of which show the sheaths alone. [These] display large-scale designs for the scabbard and hilt; they represent his most impressive achievement in this genre and are probably the most famous ornament prints of the period. Such objects would have been extremely costly to realise and were intended for ceremonial use by the nobility or wealthy patrician families. Daggers of this type are seen buckled to the men in Aldegrever's engravings of wedding dancers of 1538 and in drawings by Urs Graf and others.
The Venetian printmaker and book publisher Cesare Vecellio is best known for a book of over 500 woodcuts of ancient and modern costumes from 1590. The following year, he printed and produced this equally popular book [Corona delle Nobili e Virtuose Donne] of sewing and lace patterns. Literally a hands-on manual whose pages were often ripped out to produce decorative accents for women’s attire, it continued to be published in new editions as late as 1891. Intended for household use, the book was one of the hallmark innovations of the Renaissance, giving print media an economic application in fostering the amateur production of luxurious textiles.
The Golden Madonna, so called because it is draped with a [1/100 inch] thick layer of gold, is the oldest known sculpture of the Virgin Mary in Western Europe. It was commissioned by Abbess Mathilde of Essen in 990, when the city consisted of little more than a cloister for unmarried noblewomen and the craftspeople they helped support. The Golden Madonna is the centrepiece of the Essen cathedral’s extensive collection of medieval art, much of which was acquired through the cloister’s close connections with the German imperial families.
The Mexica (Aztec) king Motecuhzoma greeted Hernan Cortés in 1519 with gifts of gold, silver, and precious stones, including jewelry, ornaments, headpieces, disks, garments, shields, and helmets. Cortés sent the tribute to Charles V, King of Spain and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who placed them on exhibit in 1520. Albrecht Dürer, the master German artist, viewed the exhibit in Brussels and extolled its beauty in his travel journal.27 August 1520None of the Aztec art sent by Cortés to Spain is known to exist today.
At Brussels is a very splendid Townhall, large and covered with beautiful carved stonework, and it has a noble, open tower.... I saw the things which have been brought to the King from the new land of gold, a sun all of gold a whole fathom broad, and a moon all of silver of the same size, also two rooms full of armor of the people there, and all manner of wondrous weapons of theirs, harness and darts, very strange clothing, beds, and all kinds of wonderful objects of human use, much better worth seeing than prodigies. These things were all so precious that they are valued at 100,000 florins. All the days of my life I have seen nothing that rejoiced my heart so much as these things, for I saw amongst them wonderful works of art, and I marvelled at the subtle ingenia of men in foreign lands. Indeed I cannot express all that I thought there.
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