Aachen, Hans von To Agrippa von Nettesheim, (Henry) Cornelius (Renaissance and Reformation)

Aachen, Hans von

(1552-1615) German painter

Despite his name, von Aachen was born at Cologne. Like Bartholomaus spranger, whom he later joined in Prague, and other northern artists of his time, von Aachen spent a long period as a young man in Italy, modifying his own German style with an Italian grace and roundedness of form, as well as warmer colors. He lived in Venice between 1574 and 1588, visiting Rome and Florence. On his return to southern Germany he painted portraits and historical and religious scenes, gaining a wide reputation (his patrons included the fugger family, who commissioned portraits). In 1592 Emperor Rudolf II appointed him court painter at Prague, although von Aachen did not move there until 1597. Here he was commissioned to paint mythological and allegorical subjects, such as his Liberation of Hungary (1598; Budapest). He also made many designs for sculptors and engravers, for example, for Adriaen de vries’s Hercules fountain in Augsburg.


In early modern Europe, a system of parallel columns of lines representing successive powers of 10, on which the elementary operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, were performed with the aid of counters. The lines of this instrument, the line abacus or exchequer board, could be drawn in the dust, incised in wax, or carved on a board or table. In the absence of satisfactory algorithms for calculation such devices were used by officials, tradesmen, and schoolboys, but once satisfactory methods were developed, the abacus rapidly disappeared from general use. The system of pierced beads sliding along metal rods, though familiar today, originated in China and was little used in Renaissance Europe.

Abarbanel, Isaac

(1437-1508) Jewish statesman, philosopher, and scholar

Born in Lisbon, he became a trusted state official under King afonso v of Portugal, but on the king’s death (1481) he was forced to seek refuge in Spain. Here he was minister of state under ferdinand ii and isabella i and was an early patron of columbus. He endeavored to prevent the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492) by offering their Catholic Majesties a huge bribe, but was exiled with his coreligionists. He went to Italy and then Corfu before ending his days as a servant of state in Venice. Abarbanel published several books of biblical exegesis, much used by Christian scholars; these commentaries were particularly noteworthy for their attention to social and political structures in biblical times.

Abbate, Niccolo dell’

(c. 1509-1571) Italian painter He first studied sculpture in his native Modena but it was his frescoes, particularly the Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul (1547) in the church of San Pietro, for which he became known. The influence of his contemporaries mantegna, correggio, and parmigianino helped to form the mature style that followed his move to Bologna in 1548. The Palazzo dell’ Universita in Bologna contains some of his surviving mannerist landscapes.

In 1552 Abbate was invited to the court of Henry II of France at Fontainebleau. Here, working with prima-ticcio, he introduced Mannerism to France and helped to create the fontainebleau style, the first completely secular movement in French painting. Few of his murals and easel paintings have escaped destruction; those that have are mainly graceful landscapes with pagan themes.

Abbot, George

(1562-1633) English divine Born at Guildford, the son of a clothworker, Abbot was educated at Guildford grammar school and Balliol College, Oxford. He helped prepare the Authorized Version of the Bible, first obtained a bishopric in 1609, and became archbishop of Canterbury in 1611. Abbot was a moderate Puritan, committed to Calvinistic principles and hostile to Rome and to the English Arminians (see arminianism) led by William Laud. In 1621 Laud availed himself of Abbot’s accidental shooting of a gamekeeper to try to have him ejected from holy orders, but James I exercised his casting vote in Abbot’s favor. A firm critic of Charles I’s pro-Spanish and pro-Laudian policies, Abbot was suspended from his archi episcopal functions for one year in 1627 after attacking a sermon defending Charles’s arbitrary use of power. From then on Laud increasingly usurped Abbot’s role as primate of England, before succeeding to the post on Abbot’s death.

Academia secretorum naturae (Accademia dei Seg-reti, Accademia degli Oziosi) The first scientific academy, founded at Naples by Giambattista della porta in 1560. Membership was open to those who had made some discovery in the natural sciences, which members presented at meetings held at della Porta’s house. Its activities became the subject of ecclesiastical investigation (1580) and della Porta was ordered to close his academy.


In the Renaissance, associations of scholars, philosophers, writers, and (later) artists that more or less deliberately drew their inspiration from Plato’s Academy in Athens in the fourth century bc. In the 15th century informal groups of scholars began to be referred to as "academies"; probably the earliest was the literary circle patronized by alfonso (I) the Magnanimous at Naples (see neapolitan academy), which later came to be known from its most eminent member as the Accademia Pontani-ana (see pontano, giovanni). Study and appreciation of the languages, literature, art, and thought of the classical world assumed different forms in different places. The intellectual world reflected in Plato’s dialogues captured the imagination of Cosimo de’ medici and Marsilio ficino, who founded the most famous of Renaissance academies, the Accademia Platonica (see platonic academy) at Florence in the early 1460s. In Venice the neakademia devoted itself to Greek studies, while the roman academy concentrated on classical Rome. In the 16th and 17th centuries nearly every Italian city had its academy, which often amounted to little more than a gentlemen’s debating club, though some, like the accademia della crusca, set.

Forerunner of later scientific academies was della porta’s short-lived Accademia dei Segreti (see academia secretorum naturae) at Naples in 1560. The accademia dei lincei lasted rather longer. In the fine arts, informal schools of teachers and pupils were often called "academies" from the 15th century onwards: for example, an engraving by agostino veneziano, dated 1531 and showing bandinelli with a group of pupils studying statuettes by candlelight in Rome, is entitled "Academia." However, the first formally organized teaching academy was the accad-emia del disegno founded in Florence in 1562, followed by the Roman Accademia di San Luca (1593).

Elsewhere humanist academies were slower to emerge. The French Academie des Jeux Floraux derived from a 14th-century troubadour festival at Toulouse, and in the Netherlands chambers of rhetoric performed many of the functions of academies before the founding of the duytsche academie in 1617. The Academie de la poesie et de la musique (1570-74) and the Academie du palais (1576-84) were less successful than the more haphazard grouping of the pleiade in introducing classical standards into French poetics. In England Spenser’s areopagus may have had only a fictional existence.

Acarie, Barbe Jeanne

(1566-1618) Founder in France of the Reformed (Discalced) Order of Carmelite nuns

Born in Paris, Mme Acarie was the daughter of a royal councillor, Nicolas Avrillot. In 1582 she was married to Pierre Acarie by whom she had six children. A leading light in Parisian society, she became deeply involved in the Catholic reform movement and was a close friend of the Berulle family (see berulle, pierre de). In 1604 she introduced the Carmelite nuns into France and, after her husband’s death (1613), entered their Amiens convent herself. On becoming a professed nun she adopted the name of Mary of the Incarnation (1615) and transferred to Pontoise (1616) where she remained until her death. She was beatified in 1791.

Accademia dei Lincei

The scientific society founded in Rome in 1603 by Prince Federico Cesi. galileo and Giambattista della porta were early members. It was revived in the 1870s to become the national academy of Italy, encompassing both literature and science among its concerns.

Accademia del Disegno

The first true art academy, founded in Florence in 1562, mainly at the instigation of vasari. Its founder was Duke cosimo i de’ medici, who was joint head of the new institution with michelangelo. It had an elected membership of 36 artists; amateurs were also admitted. It gained enormous international prestige and enhanced the status of artists vis-a-vis the other Florentine guilds.

Accademia della Crusca

The preeminent linguistic academy of Italy, founded in 1582 in Florence. Its object was the purification of the vernacular, symbolized in the academy’s emblem of a sieve. It was the first academy to undertake the compilation of a standard dictionary; its Vo-cabolario (1612), which followed the linguistic principles advocated by bembo, exercised a powerful influence over the subsequent evolution of literary Italian.

Acciaiuoli family

Having migrated from Bergamo in the 12th century, the Acciaiuoli family became prominent Florentine businessmen and bankers and by the 1340s ran the third richest Italian bank. Niccolo Acciaiuoli (131065), who went to Naples (1331) to direct the family’s interests there, became grand seneschal and virtual ruler of the kingdom under Queen Joanna I in 1348. He also founded (1342) the Certosa del Galluzzo, a monastery near Florence. His nephew, Ranieri (died 1394), established himself in Greece, conquering Athens in 1388. Meanwhile, the family bank had been bankrupted (1345) by the combination of high Florentine taxation, loss of business in Rome due to strained relations between Florence and the papacy, and (from 1341) the default of Edward III of England on his loan repayments. The Acciaiuoli continued to play a major role in Florentine politics; in 1434 Agnolo Acciaiuoli helped the medici overcome their enemies the albizzi, and the family’s subsequent loyalty to the Medici brought them rewards in the form of important civil and ecclesiastical posts. Donato Acciaiuoli (1428-78), gonfaloniere of Florence in 1473, wrote commentaries on Aristotle and published a Latin translation of some of Plutarch’s Lives (1478).

Accolti family

A family from Arezzo that produced several distinguished churchmen, jurists, and authors in the 15th and 16th centuries. Benedetto Accolti (1415-64) taught jurisprudence at the university in Florence and in 1458 became chancellor of the Florentine republic, but he is chiefly remembered for his Latin history of the First Crusade, which was printed in 1532, translated into Italian in 1543, and furnished material for Tasso’s gerusalemme liberata. His brother Francesco (Francesco Aretino; 1416-c. 1484) was also a jurist and wrote a verse translation of Leonardo Bruni’s De bello italico adversus Gothos (1528). Benedetto’s son Bernardo (1465-1536), generally known to his contemporaries as Unico Aretino, was a poet who acquired considerable renown at several Italian courts as a reciter of impromptu verse. His comedy Virginia, based on a story in the decameron, was first performed in 1493 and published in 1535, and a collected edition of his works, Opera nova, was first published in 1513. Another of Benedetto’s sons, Pietro (1455-1532), was made a cardinal by Julius II and became archbishop of Ravenna in 1524. Pietro’s nephew, another Benedetto (1497-1549), continued the family tradition of learned churchmen, becoming a cardinal under Clement VII.

Acosta, Jose de

(1539-1600) Spanish naturalist and missionary

Born at Medina del Campo, Acosta joined the Jesuits in 1551 and accompanied them in 1571 to Peru where he remained until his return to Spain in 1587. In 1598 he became rector of the Jesuit college at Salamanca. While in South America he published (1583) a Quechua catechism, the first book to be printed in Peru. His Historia natural y moral de las Indias (1590), an influential and much translated work, introduced many to the distinctive flora and fauna of Latin America. They had originated, he argued, in the Old World and had spread to the New World via an undiscovered land bridge. He also pointed out Aristotle’s error in claiming equatorial lands to be uninhabitable.


A collection of proverbs and allusions gathered from classical authors by erasmus. The first version, entitled Collectanea adagiorum, appeared in Paris in 1500 with a dedication to Lord Mountjoy. By the time of the second edition, Chiliades adagiorum (1508), published by the al-dine press in Venice, Erasmus had expanded the collection from around 800 to over 3000, including a number of Greek sayings. The collection was accompanied by a commentary designed to inculcate an elegant Latin style, and the Adagia quickly became enormously successful, with numerous editions throughout the 16th century.

Adrian VI

(1459-1523) Pope (1522-23) Born Adrian Dedel in Utrecht, he served as boyhood tutor to charles v and subsequently (1516) became inquisitor-general of Aragon. On becoming pope he was immediately beset by the menace of the Turks in the east, the continued war between Charles V and francis i of France, and the revolt of luther in Germany. The significance of Adrian’s pontificate lies in his aims rather than his achievements, notably his instruction (December 1522) to Father Chieregati, Rome’s representative in Nuremberg, with its admission that reform in Christendom must be preceded by reform of the Curia itself. This broke the pattern established by the Renaissance popes and can be seen as the beginning of the counter-reformation.

Adriano Fiorentino (Adriano di Giovanni de’ Maestri)

(c. 1450/60-1499) Italian sculptor and medalist Born in Florence, he was first recorded as a bronze founder in an inscription on the base of the Bellerophon and Pegasus (Vienna), a bronze statuette designed by bertoldo in Florence during the early 1480s. Adriano then moved to Naples, serving King Ferrante (Ferdinand I) and his commander-in-chief as military engineer and artillery founder, as well as producing medals of members of the house of Aragon and their court poet pontano. In 1495 Adriano was serving Elisabetta Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, and then her brother Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. By 1498 he was in Germany, where he produced a bust in bell-metal of Elector frederick (iii) the wise in contemporary costume (Grunes Gewolbe, Dresden). A bronze statuette of Venus (Philadelphia) and one of a Satyr with pan-pipes (Vienna) are among Adri-ano’s signed works on a small scale and herald the High Renaissance in sculpture.

Aertsen, Pieter

(1509-1575) Netherlands painter Aertsen was a student of the engraver Allaert Claesz in Amsterdam, before moving to Antwerp about 1530, whence he returned to his native city in 1557. He painted a number of altarpieces, many of which were destroyed in the iconoclasm that followed the arrival of Calvinism in the Netherlands. Aertsen was the creator of a new type of genre scene, featuring large figures of maids or cooks, surrounded by fruit, vegetables, and other provisions, in domestic interiors. Famous examples are the Farmer’s Wife (1543; Lille) and Market Woman at a Vegetable Stand (1567; Berlin). The peasants, housewives, and domestic servants who populate these canvases have a grandeur and self-confidence prophetic of much later social realist works. Some of his paintings, such as the Butcher’s Shop with the Flight into Egypt (1551; Uppsala) include well-known religious scenes in the background—a reversal of the customary order of priority. Aertsen’s students included his sons Pieter ("Jonge Peer"; 1543-1603) and Aert Pietersz. (1550-1612), as well as his nephew Joachim Beuckelaer (c. 1533-c. 1573). His style stimulated imitation as far afield as Italy, as is evident from certain canvases by Vincenzo Campi (1536-91), Bartolommeo passarotti, and Annibale carracci.

Afonso V

(1432-1481) King of Portugal (1438-81) Afonso was nicknamed "Africano" on account of his campaigns against the Moors in North Africa, during which he acquired Tangier for Portugal in 1471. In 1475 he invaded Castile, but in 1476 ferdinand (ii), husband of Isabella of Castile, defeated him at Toro and he was forced to abdicate in favor of his son John (later John II). During Afonso’s reign his uncle, henry the navigator, laid the foundations of Portugal’s sea-borne empire; the inclusion of what is believed to be Henry’s posthumous portrait in gon^alves’ San Vicente altarpiece (c. 1465) may be Afonso’s acknowledgment of his uncle’s role in Portugal’s successes during his reign.

Agostino di Duccio

(1418-1481) Italian sculptor Agostino was born in Florence, but his training is unknown, and his first dated work was in 1442 in Modena. In 1449 and 1454 Agostino appears in documents at Rimini, where he carved many marble panels in the interior of the tempio malatestiano. Agostino’s style is incisive and calligraphic; it was possibly inspired initially by do-natello’s low reliefs, though not by their emotional content, of which Agostino was incapable. Between 1457 and 1462, Agostino was carving the facade of the oratory of San Bernardino in Perugia with reliefs of Christ in majesty, the Annunciation, and the saints in glory, surrounded by flying angels and statues in niches. After an unsuccessful year in Bologna, Agostino returned to Florence (1463), joined the guild of sculptors, and received (abortive) commissions for colossal statues on the cathedral (one of which eventually was carved by Michelangelo into his David). After carving several Madonna reliefs, one for the Medici (Louvre, Paris), he returned to Perugia, where he carved continuously until his death. His talents were better appreciated in this provincial city than in his native metropolis.

Agostino Veneziano (Agostino de’ Musi)

(c. 1490-c. 1536) Italian engraver

Originally active in his native Venice, Agostino was influenced by Giulio campagnola and by Jacopo de’ barbari. In 1516 he left Venice for Rome, where he became the foremost pupil of Marcantonio raimondi and, like his master, important in disseminating Italian Renaissance themes and motifs through the medium of engraving. Raphael and Giulio Romano were among the artists whose works were made more widely available through Agostino’s prints.

Agricola, Georgius (Georg Bauer)

(1494-1555) German mineralogist and physician

Agricola studied at Leipzig and several Italian universities before graduating in medicine. He was physician (1527-33) in the Bohemian mining town of Joachimsthal (now Jachymov in the Czech Republic) before returning to practice for the rest of his life at Chemnitz in his native Saxony. His first scientific publication was Bermannus (1530), a dialogue in which the main speaker is a celebrated miner and in which many minerals are first described under their German names (e.g. bismuth). He published numerous other geological and metallurgical works, notably De natura fossilium (1530) (see mineralogy). These culminated in De re metallica (1556), the first systematic textbook of the subject, issued, as all his scientific works had been, by the publishing house of froben at Basle. Agricola also wrote from practical experience on weights and measures (De mesuribus et ponderibus, 1533), subterranean fauna (De animantibus subterraneis, 1549), and the plague (De peste, 1554).

Agricola, Johann

(c. 1494-1566) German Protestant reformer

Agricola was born at Eisleben and became a student of luther at Wittenberg. An early venture was his collection of German proverbs (1528). Agricola found himself opposed by Luther for his denial of the necessity of the preaching of Mosaic and moral law as well as the Gospel (the antinominian heresy), and Luther’s growing intolerance of dissent obliged Agricola to leave Wittenberg (1540) in order to avoid being put on trial. He became court preacher to Joachim II of Brandenburg and in 1548 helped prepare the Interim of augsburg. The resulting adiaphorist controversy, concerning whether or not certain actions or rites were matters of indifference to true Christian doctrine, became Agricola’s main preoccupation as he unsuccessfully attempted to resolve it. He died during a plague epidemic.

Agricola, Rudolf (Roelof Huysman)

(1442-1495) Dutch humanist philosopher and scholar

Agricola was born near Groningen and became a pupil of Nicholas cusanus; he was, like him, one of the Brethren of the Common Life. From 1468 to 1479 he studied, though not continuously, at Padua and Ferrara and impressed Italian humanists with his fluency in Latin. He was also an accomplished Hebrew scholar who translated the Psalms into Latin. He had great enthusiasm for the works of Petrarch, whose biography he wrote. Unlike many Italian humanists Agricola remained a devout Christian, believing that though the study of the ancients was important it was not a substitute for the study of the Scriptures. He used the phrase "Philosophia Christi" to describe his teaching, the object of which was to mediate between the wisdom of the ancients and Christian belief. These ideas exercised considerable influence over erasmus, his most distinguished pupil.

Agrippa von Nettesheim, (Henry) Cornelius

(1486-1535) German lawyer, theologian, and student of the occult

Born near Cologne, of a family of minor nobility, he entered the service of the emperor and went to Paris (1506). There he studied the cabbala and around 1510 wrote De occulta philosophia (1531). In 1510 Agrippa was sent to London where he met John colet. In 1515 he was teaching occult science at Pavia. He then moved to Metz, but opposition forced him to leave and he settled in Geneva. He became a doctor in 1522 and was appointed physician to Louise of Savoy, queen mother of France, his duties consisting mainly of writing horoscopes. In 1530 Agrippa published his major work, De vanitate et incertitudine sci-entiarum et artium, a survey of the state of knowledge in which human learning is unfavorably compared with divine revelation. In 1528 he had been made historiographer to Charles V but hostility to his occult studies led to his disgrace. He was banished from Germany in 1535 and died at Grenoble. His major contribution to the Renaissance was his skepticism.

Georgius Agricola A woodcut from the first edition of his De re metallica (1556), the first systematic textbook on mining and metallurgy. The operator is seen riddling a smelting furnace.

Georgius Agricola A woodcut from the first edition of his De re metallica (1556), the first systematic textbook on mining and metallurgy. The operator is seen riddling a smelting furnace.

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