Dictionary of Art and Artists  
Dictionary of Photographers  
Dictionary of Writers and Philosophers  

Dictionary of

Art  &  Artist

- M -


Maar-Martini Martins-Master Matisse-Molinier Momoyama-Myers

Matisse Henri (1869—1954). French painter. Until the advent of *Cubism, he was the most influential painter in Pans, if not in Europe, and he remains one of the most important artists of the с His emancipation of colour has an historical importance comparable to Cubism's role in releasing form from representation, and his Notes d'un peintre (1908) stated clearly for the 1st time several principles that lie behind later developments in 2oth-c. painting. He first studied law in Paris and worked as a lawyer's clerk at St-Quentin. He started to draw and paint с 1890 and in 1892 studied in Paris, first under *Bouguereau at the Academic Julian and then (1893—8) in Moreau's studio at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where Marquet became Ins close friend and he met Rouault, Manguin and other future *Fauves. His early independent works painted in Brittany (1896—8) were restrained objective interiors and still-lifes, reflecting his admiration for Chardin. In the late 1 890s, under the influence of Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, he began to paint in heightened colour, but dissatisfied with Divisiomsm, he turned to Cezanne. Although poor at the time, he purchased from Vollard in 1899 the small Cezanne Bathers which later 'sustained me spiritually in the critical moments of my career as an artist'. Working at the Academic Carnere (c. 1899—1900) where he met Derain, and later in a studio at Quai St-Michel, M. concentrated until 1904 on structural strength in his painting. Academic Bleu (c. 1900) shows the transition from brilliant colour to crudely simple draughtsmanship and solidly modelled form. Significantly he made his 1st sculpture at this time: sculpture continued throughout his career to be an extension of his painting. The experimental phase ended when in 1904, working at St-Tropez, the renewed contact with the brilliant Neo-Impressionist palette proved the springboard to *Fauvism. M.'s leadership was recognized and in his major works of the period, Luxe, calme et volupte (1905) and Joie de vivre (1905—6) the fundamental character of his whole ceuvre was emerging.
M. was concerned with an expressive art, with a seriousness of purpose comparable to the German *Expressionists (whom he influenced) but totally different from them in mood and technique. In his art primitive forms are assimilated without their disturbing violence, e.g. Portrait of Madame Matisse (1913), and his treatment of colour and line never loses sight of their artistic, pictorial values. The difference is fully apparent in bis belief that 'only one who is able to order his emotions systematically is an artist'. He wrote in his Notes d'lin peintre (1908): 'What I dream of is an art of balance, purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject-matter ... which might be ... like an appeasing influence, a mental soother, something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.'
He worked m brilliant colour at Colhoure (1905) with Derain and each painted a portrait of the other. Although his palette was somewhat subdued during the 1910s, e.g. Pond at Trivaiix (c. 1916) or Painter and his Model (1916), he was as little touched by Cubism as Picasso was by Fauvism. He was deeply impressed by an exhibition of Near Eastern art in Munich (1910) and visited Morocco. His love of oriental fabrics and ceramics is reflected in the exotic decorative details and character of the great Odalisques of 1920—5. From 1917 he lived at Nice, with a visit to the U.S.A. and Tahiti in 1930-1. He worked on the chapel at Vence (1949—51); his other late works include the remarkable collages of cutout, gouache-coloured paper shapes arranged in terms of expressive abstract rhythms, e.g. I'Escargot (1953).

Matisse Henri "CUT-OUTS"

Mathieu Georges

Matsys Quenten. *Massys

Matta Echaurren Roberto Sebastian Antonio (1912— ). Chilean-born painter who studied architecture under Le Corbusier, from 1934, but joined the *Surrealists in 1937 and began painting, contributing his own brand of organic abstractionism which has sexual and science-fiction overtones.

Matteo di Giovanni {fl. с 1435—95). Sienese artist who worked in association with Giovanni di Pietro at Siena and Piero della Francesca at Borgo San Sepolcro. M. was influenced by Vecchietta and, later, by the Pollaiuolo brothers. Among many works, The Assumption of the Virgin is notable for the great beauty of the painting of the Virgin herself.
Matter painting.

Term applied to a style of painting that originated in Europe in the 1950s, often abstract in form, emphasizing the physical quality of thick impasto into which tactile materials such as metal, sand, shells and cement might be added. More specifically it refers to the work of Dutch painters such as Bram Bogart and Jaap Wagemaker and Belgian painters such as Bert de Leeuw (b 1926), René Guiette (b 1893) and Marc Mendelson (b 1915). This expressive style was not bound to any specific aesthetic and was used by each artist to different ends. In Wagemaker’s Cruel Desert (1965; Bochum, Mus. Bochum, Kstsamml.), for example, the effect is violent and brutal through the incorporation of teeth into the composition. The works of Guiette, however, were more contemplative and abstract, intended as meditations on the nature of painting and its materials, as in Work in White (1958). Among the other European painters in relation to whose work the term is often used are Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier, René Burri and Antoni Tàpies.

Maulbertsch Franz Anton (1724—96). The most important of the Austrian Baroque decorative painters. He worked in Vienna, throughout Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and also at the Residenz in Dresden.

Maurer Alfred (b New York, 21 April 1868; d New York, 4 Aug 1932). American painter. He studied at the National Academy of Design, New York, in 1884 and briefly at the Académie Julian, Paris, during 1897. He received critical success with academic paintings of single female figures in interiors and genre scenes of café society, which reflected the influence of the work of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and William Merritt Chase, for example At the Café (c. 1905; St Petersburg, Hermitage). His long residence in Paris from 1897, his participation in various independent salons and his association with Leo and Gertrude Stein led to his interest in avant-garde art. He may have been one of a group of Americans who studied briefly with Henri Matisse. By 1907 he was producing vigorously painted Fauvist landscapes, such as Landscape with Red Tree (c. 1907–8; New York, Mr and Mrs John C. Marin jr priv. col.), which he exhibited in New York at Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery, 291, in 1909 and at the Folsom Gallery in 1913.

Maurin Charless b Le Puy, 1 April 1856; d Grasse, 22 July 1913.French painter and printmaker. In 1875 he won the Prix Crozatier, which enabled him to study in Paris, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Jules Lefebvre in 1876–9 and also at the Academie Julian, where he later taught. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Franзais, becoming a member in 1883. Among his paintings are the Prelude to Lohengrin and Maternity (both Le Puy, Mus. Crozatier). Inspired by the work of Japanese artists and the growing popularity of the 18th-century print, he was one of a small group of artists who experimented with colour plates and in 1891 he patented a new technique of colour printing. His best works are his lightly washed grey and pink etchings of nudes, such as After the Bath, The Model and Child with a Pink Ribbon, which show a high standard of drawing and modelling. He also produced wood-engravings, for instance Head of a Young Girl in a Landscape (1890), and others set in low-life cafes and music-halls.

Maurya. The first great N. Indian imperial dynasty (r. 320—c. 200 BC). The emperor Ashoka (c 264—227) adopted Buddhism. Cave sanctuaries were hewn out of rocks and hills, e.g. the Barabar hills, and excellent animal sculpture (e.g. 4 addorsed lions and a bull) on columns erected throughout the empire. The style shows influence from *Hellenistic Iran. Massive sculptures of yakshas (nature spirits) survive as do fine terracotta portrait figures.


Japanese group of artists, active in Tokyo from 1923 to 1925. The most important figure in the formation of the group was TOMOYOSHI MURAYAMA, who met Hewarth Walden in Berlin in 1922 and became associated with Constructivism and other European avant-garde movements. He exhibited at the Erste Internationale Kunstausstellung at the Haus Leonard Tietz, Düsseldorf, and participated in the first Kongress des Internationalen Fortschrittlichen Künstler, before returning to Japan in January 1923 in an attempt to establish a new arts movement there. The leading avant-garde groups active in Tokyo at that time were the Futurist Art Society (Miraiha Bijutsu Kyokai), which was greatly influenced by David Burlyuk, and the Action group, in which Tai Kanbara was involved. Murayama became acquainted with several members of the Futurist Art Society, including Masamu Yanase (1900–45), Kamenosuke Ogata (1900–42), Shuzo Oura and Kunio Kadowaki, and together they formed the Mavo group. The group’s activities had a strong Dadaist character and were intended to provoke and disturb. In July 1923 at their first group exhibition they issued a manifesto declaring: ‘We will be the avant-garde forever. We are not restrained. We are radical. We are revolutionizing.’ Other artists later joined, but few of the group’s works remain, other than Yanase’s A Morning in May and myself before Breakfast (1923: Tokyo, priv. col.), which uses flat surfaces, and a number of works in which printed matter, hair and other objets trouvés are pasted to the surface, and some three-dimensional compositions. In 1924 several members of the group left to form the Three Division Society (Sanka), which disbanded, however, in 1925 after two exhibitions, partly as a result of the anarchic tendencies that characterized both groups.

Maxence Edgar (1871-1954), french painter, pupil of Gustaves Moreau.

Max Peter (German/American, 1937). Pop Art.

Maya art. *Pre-Columbian art

Mayakovsky Vladimir Vladimirovich (1893-1930). Soviet poet and playwright. He studied painting and in 1912 joined the Cubo-futurists. After the October Revolution he worked devotedly for the Bolsheviks, designing and writing the texts of thousands of posters, writing poems and film-scripts and making speeches for Red victory in the Civil War. At this time he was virtually the official poet of Communism, a position he began to lose as Futurism became less acceptable to the regime, but regained after his suicide.

Mayer Luigi (c. 1755-1803), who travelled through the Ottoman Empire between 1776 and 1794, sketching and painting panoramic landscapes, ancient monuments, and the Nile and its surroundings.

Meatyard Ralph Eugene (1925-1972) was an American photographer.

Mec art.
Term coined in 1965 as an abbreviation of ‘mechanical art’ by Alain Jacquet and Mimmo Rotella and promoted by the French critic Pierre Restany (b 1930) to describe paintings using photographically transferred images that could be produced in theoretically unlimited numbers. The term was first publicly used of works by Serge Béguier (b 1934), Pol Bury, Gianni Bertini (b 1922), Nikos (b 1930), Jacquet and Rotella at an exhibition at the Galerie J in Paris entitled Hommage à Nicéphore Niépce. In contrast to the use of screenprinting by Americans such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol to incorporate photographic images, the Mec artists projected images directly on to canvases coated with photosensitive emulsion, and they generally used the method to alter rather than merely reproduce the original photographic image. In his Cinétizations, for example, Bury cut and turned concentric rings in the original photograph before rephotographing the image and transferring it on to canvas, as in La Joconde (1964). Having earlier used the method of décollage, Rotella continued to rely on torn surfaces when he began in 1964 to produce works that he termed reportages, rephotographing his altered material before projecting it on to the sensitized canvas. Jacquet, for his part, broke down the photographic image in paintings such as his Déjeuner sur l’herbe series (1964; e.g. Paris, Fonds N. A. Contemp.) into a pattern of coloured spots to imitate the process of printing by four-colour separations used in the mass media.

Meckenem Israhel van (1445 - 1503) German engraver, the son of an engraver of the same name, active c. 1450-65. He was trained by his father and probably by Master E.S., whose work he copied. His oeuvre is bigger than that of any other 15th-century engraver; he is known to have made more than 600 plates, and in some instances over a hundred prints have been preserved from each plate. Like many early engravers, he also worked as a goldsmith. Although he was a minor figure as a creative artist (much of his work consisted of copies), he is important in showing the growing popularity of engraving. He was the first artist to engrave his own features (in a double portrait together with his wife) and looks a very shrewd individual.

Medcalf Bill. Pin -Up Art.

Medearis Roger. American Scene Painting.

Meissonier Ernest Jean-Louis (1815—91). French painter, sculptor, lithographer and etcher, pupil of L. Cogniet, whose large historical canvases of the Napoleonic campaign were very popular at the time.

Melamid & Komar. Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid were born in Moscow, Komar on September 11, 1943 and Melamid on July 14, 1945. Both artists attended the Moscow Art School from 1958 to 1960, and the Stroganov Institute of Art & Design, Moscow, from 1962 to 1967. Their collaborative work started in 1965, and in 1967, they initiated the SOTS Art movement (the Soviet version of Western Pop Art). Their first international exhibition was at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, in 1976.
Since then, they have had numerous public commissions and exhibitions throughout the world. In 1978, Komar & Melamid became United States residents. In 1981, they were the first Russian artists to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Notorious dissidents before they left the Soviet Union, the artists have since been called "exasperating expatriates" for their travesties of Socialist Realism.

Mellery Xavier (b Laeken, nr Brussels, 9 Aug 1845; d Laeken, 4 Feb 1921). Belgian painter, decorative artist and draughtsman. A gardener’s son, he was brought up in a quiet suburb of Brussels, bordering the Parc Royal. He studied under the decorative artist Charles Albert (1821–89) and then, between 1860 and 1867, took a course in decorative design at the Brussels Académie. In 1864 he joined the studio of Jean-François Portaels to learn the techniques of modelling, painting from life and history painting. Having won the Belgian Prix de Rome in 1870, he travelled to Italy, where he was inspired by the work of Mantegna. His early work treated the working lives of the Belgian poor in a social realist manner influenced by Charles de Groux: for example The Peasants (Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.).

Memling Hans or Memling (e. 1433—94). Painter, born at Seligenstadt near Frankfurt-am-Main but trained in the early Netherlands tradition, probably by Rogier van der Weyden. M. worked m Bruges, where he became a leading citizen. His talent, unoriginal but otherwise of a high order, is contrasted unfavourably at present with that of D. Bouts and Rogier van der Weyden, from whom he frequently borrows. This may be in retribution for his over-valuation in the 19th c. M.'s painting shows little development and he repeats himself e.g. m the composition of The Mystical Marriage of Si (Mlherinc and the triptych painted for Sir John Donne of Kid welly. His portraits combine extreme sensibility with a serene self-confidence, e.g. Tommaso Portinari and Maria, Wife of lommaso Portinari. Other important examples of his paintings are: llw Passion of Christ, The 7 Joys of the Virgin, the panels of The Shrine of St Ursula depicting the St Ursula legend, Adoration of the Magi, the diptych Descent from the Cross ami Holy Women and Si John.

Memmi Lippo (documented 1317—47). Sienese painter, the pupil and brother-in-law of *Martini. His signature appears with Martini's on the Annunciation and the Saints on each side are attributed to him. He painted frescoes at S. Gimignano and designed the graceful bell-tower of the Torre del Mangia, Siena. One of his finest pictures is Madonna and Child.

Mende. African tribal people of Sierra Leone. Their art is noted for the carvings, such as slender female figures and the awesome Bundu (Sande) helmets, made for the women's secret societies.

Mengs Anton Raphael (1728—79). German painter and writer on art. Most of his life M. worked in Rome or as court painter in Spam. First influenced by Correggio, he belonged to the *Neoclassicist circle of *Winckelmann and became the most famous of the early Neoclassical painters. M. was much sought after as a painter of religious and historical compositions and as a portrait painter. A characteristic example of his later, dry and colourless manner is the ceiling painting, the Parnassus (1761), for the Villa Albani, Rome.

Merz. Term applied to a flat or relief collage of collected junk. It is associated with KURT SCHWITTERS, who apparently invented the word when cutting out the word ‘Commerzbank’ from a newspaper for a collage he was making. Merz is also the title of a Dada magazine that he edited from 1923.

Merz Mario (1925— ). Italian artist, frequently related to *Beuys. He has made many igloos, constructed with clay, glass, stones, asphalt or metal [Black Igloo, 1967). He uses his painting as part of his works and installations (A Board with Legs Becomes a Table, 1974).

Mesens E.L.T. (1903-1971). Surrealism.

Mesopotamian art. Primary elements of Mesopotamian art and architecture are already perceptible in the late 4th millennium ВС among the ancestors or immediate predecessors of the Sumerians. Religious buildings of sun-dried brick show sophisticated planning and ingenious wall ornament. Sculpture is limited in scale by shortage of stone or wood, but the mythical imagery of seal engraving initiates conventions still observed 25 centuries later. Under the dynastic rulers of Sumer (c. 2900—2100 BC), pretentious palaces appear and shrines occupy the summits of staged towers known as ziggurats. Small votive statues, animated by coloured inlay, develop characteristics of a style distinctively Mesopotamian, while new metallurgical skills are applied to the use of gold or silver. These, together with other semi-precious materials, are imported from abroad. Superb craftsmanship creates composite art-objects for religious dedication or tomb furniture. Relief carving in stone, mainly of documentary interest in Sumerian times, is refined under Semitic influence from Akkad and, in the 2nd millennium, supplemented by mural paintings. It is not until the 6th с tic: that M. architecture attains its ultimate aggrandizement. In Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon — a fortified city covering almost 500 acres — the facades of great buildings and a 'Procession Street' between them, are ornamented with brilliant designs in glazed brickwork. Elsewhere, the imperishable symbols of Mesopotamian tradition are still in evidence. *Islamic art.

Messerschmidt Franz Xavier (b Wiesensteig, nr Ulm, 6 Feb 1736; d Pressburg [now Bratislava, Slovak Republic], ?19 Aug 1783). Austrian sculptor. He was descended, on his mother’s side, from a family of joiners and sculptors called Straub. He was first trained by two of his mother’s brothers: from 1746 by Johann Baptist Straub, who was a court sculptor in Munich, then from c. 1752 until 1754 by Philipp Jakob Straub in Graz. Messerschmidt then went to Vienna, where he attended the Akademie from the end of 1755. His teachers there were probably Jakob Schletterer (1699–1774) and Balthasar Ferdinand Moll. Messerschmidt was the protégé of Martin van Meytens (1695–1770), the director of the Akademie and a court painter. Van Meytens subsequently helped Messerschmidt to procure his first appointment at the Imperial Arsenal, where he was assigned to decorating canons. Between 1760 and 1763, however, Messerschmidt produced his first known independent works, for the Arsenal state rooms: the gilt-bronze busts of the Empress Maria Theresa and her husband Franz I von Lothringen, and the bronze reliefs of their son, subsequently Emperor, Joseph II, and his first wife, Maria Isabella von Parma (all now Vienna, Belvedere, Osterreich. Gal.).

Metabolism. Japanese architectural movement active from 1960 to the early 1970s. It was launched at the World Design Conference in Tokyo (1960), and its initial members were the architects Takashi Asada, KIYONORI KIKUTAKE and KISHO KUROKAWA, journalist and critic Noboru Kawazoe, industrial designer Kenji Ekuan and graphic designer Kiyoshi Awazu; they were soon joined by the architects Fumihiko Maki and Masato Otaka. Metabolism was critical of orthodox Modernism as represented by CIAM, advocating instead a more dynamic approach to the problems of architectural design and urban planning. Its manifesto Metabolism 1960: Proposals for a New Urbanism was published after the conference. In rejecting CIAM’s static and ultimately classical conception of the city, Metabolism sought rather to emphasize that the city constantly undergoes change like an organism, hence the biological term borrowed for its name. The aim was to give order to such transformations by allowing for the different cycles of growth and decay of urban elements. Elements with longer lifespans were to form an infrastructure to which short-term elements were to be attached in a manner that expedited the latter’s periodic replacement, an idea that had been explored earlier by the Groupe d’Etude d’Architecture Mobile of YONA FRIEDMAN.

Metamorphism. Term applied to the process by which one shape is transformed into another, especially in SURREALISM and other tendencies in 20th-century art. The concept of metamorphosis, encompassing literary sources from Ovid through Dante Alighieri to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was revived in the early 19th century. For the ancient Greeks, as outlined by Ovid, it concerned the miraculous process of the transformation from the world of nature to another sphere of existence; in Goethe’s reformulation of metamorphosis in terms of the evolution of organic life (1790), however, it means a law of formation. Being based on the principles of ‘polarity’ and ‘enhancement’, it rules the transformation of nature and defines art as an enhanced ‘second nature’.

Metaphysical Art (It. pittura metafisica). Term used of the work of the Italian painters De *Chirico and *Carra between about 1910 and 1920. Their use of dream imagery in architectural fantasies and the juxtaposition of incongruous elements foreshadowed certain aspects of *Surrealism.

Meteyard Sidney (1868-1947)

Metsu Gabriel (1629—67). Dutch painter, probably the pupil of G. Don, though later influenced by Rembrandt. He worked in Leyden and Amsterdam. His genre studies of middle-class life are painted with great care and unusually genuine feeling for the subject, e.g. The Sick Child.

Metzinger Jean (1883— 1956). French painter of the school of *Pans. Born in Nantes, he studied in Paris where he was influenced by Neo-Impressionism and then by *Cubism. M. publ. Du Cubisme with A. Gleizes in 1912.

Meunier Susanne. Pin -Up Art.

Mezzotint. A form of *engraving.

Meytens Martin van (1695-1770)

MIAR [Movimento Italiano per l’Architettura Razionale].

Italian architectural movement founded in 1930. Dissolved in 1931, it was a short-lived coalition of the largest group of Italian Rationalist architects assembled between the two world wars. Succeeding two previous associations of Rationalist architects, GRUPPO 7 and the Movimento dell’ Architettura Razionale (MAR), it was composed of a range of regional groups: Piero Bottoni (b 1903), Luigi Figini, Gino Pollini, Pietro Lingeri and Giuseppe Terragni in Milan, Bruno Lapadula (b 1902), Luigi Piccinato (b 1899) and Mario Ridolfi in Rome, Gino Levi Montalcini, Giuseppe Pagano and Ettore Sottsass sr (1892–1953) in Turin, as well as a mixed group composed of Alberto Sartoris, Mario Labò and Adalberto Libera, who was the national secretary.

Miccini Eugenio (Firenze, 1925 – Firenze, 2007).
Visual Poetry

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 1564). Florentine sculptor, painter, poet and architect. M. was born at Caprese where his father was the chief Florentine official. He was trained in Florence, first in the technique of fresco painting by D. Ghirlandaio; then under the patronage of Lorenzo the Magnificent, in the Medici school. Here he became a sculptor. Here too, his mind was formed by the companionship of the Neo-platonic philosophers, artists, poets and men of letters Lorenzo had drawn to his household. M.'s own genius was recognized and encouraged from the beginning. After the death of his patron he went to Bologna and then to Rome, where, at 23, he began the Pieta of St Peter's. On his return to Florence M. carved the large marble David for the city. Among other works of this period are the Bruges Madonna, the painting Holy Family, or Doni Ton do, and the large cartoon or design for a fresco, The Battle of Gasdna, done in competition with Leonardo da Vinci. This important work was destroyed, but not before the studies of the nude in violent action had influenced many artists in a way that led ultimately to *Mannerism. In 1505 M. was recalled to Rome by Pope Julius II and ordered to design and execute the tomb which would glorify the Pope after death. Only I of the 40 large figures originally envisaged was ever completed, Moses. 2 unfinished but wonderfully realized figures of captives or slaves are in the Louvre. M. quarrelled with the Pope and fled from Rome; he was later reconciled with him and returned in 1 508, not to complete the tomb, but to decorate the whole of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican with frescoes. This enormous undertaking took him over 4 years, working virtually single-handed. His attempt to return to sculpture and the Julian tomb was again frustrated by the successor of Julius II, the Medici Pope Leo X, who ordered him to provide a facade for the unfinished church of S. Lorenzo, Florence. Although this project was abandoned in 1520, M. remained in Florence working for the Medici, chiefly on the chapel which was to contain the family tombs, the Medici chapel, and the Laurentian library, both attached to S. Lorenzo. The city rose against the Medici in 1527 and M. was divided between his loyalty to his patrons and his Republican sympathies. He took an active part in the defence of Florence as engineer in charge of fortifications, but when the Medici recaptured the town, M. was forgiven. He returned to his work in the Medici chapel, completing the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici, with the symbolic figures Day and Night, Dawn and livening, before he was again recalled to Rome in 1534 to paint his 2nd great fresco, the Last judgement, which covers the whole area of the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. In Rome he met Vittoria Colonna, a chief influence on his later years. 2 further frescoes, Conversion 0/ St Paul and Crucifixion of St Peter were painted (1542—50). The tomb of Julius II, much reduced in scale, was completed at S. Pietro in Vincoli (1545). In 1546 M. was appointed architect-in-chief of St Peter's and architect for the new plan and building of the Roman Capitol. Despite all this, designing the dome of St Peter's, supervising the actual building of the church and work on other architectural projects, M. executed 3 of his most profoundly imagined sculptures at this time, Pieta, the Palestrina Pieta and the Rondatiini Pieta. Many of his finest sonnets were also written in these last years.
Probably no artist has ever exerted a greater influence than M. To his contemporaries he was 'The Divine M.', and though the greatness of the man was apparent and recognized, the creative power within him inspired an awe in worldly popes, scholars and soldiers, so that they spoke of his 'terribilita'. His friend *Vasari made the achievement of M. the culmination of that gathering splendour in the arts that had begun with Giotto. For over 400 years the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel have been studied by painters, their patrons and all who judged the art of their own times. ('Until you have seen the Sistine Chapel, you can have no adequate conception of what man is capable of accomplishing', Goethe wrote.) M.'s influence as a poet might have been equally great if his sonnets had not had to wait until 1863 before they were publ. in their original form. The mutilated and bowdlerized version publ. in 1623 by M.'s great-nephew had little value and aroused interest chiefly as a curiosity. It is often difficult to grasp the total meaning of the sonnets but M.'s genius is as clear in such sonnets as Ginnto e gia'l corso delta vita mia (title given by J. A. Symonds, On the Brink of Death) as it is in those last Pietas in which the struggle in search of meaning almost destroys meaning.

Micus Eduard (b 1925).Syn. German artists’ group

Milan, school of. 15th— i6th-c. school of Italian painting brought into prominence by Vincenzo Foppa but subsequently dominated by Leonardo (in Milan 1483-99) and his followers, e.g. Boltraffio and *Luini.

Millais John Everett (1829—96). Leading Victorian artist and a founder of the *Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. His friendship with *Ruskin ended with M.'s marriage to Ruskm's former wife. Growing away from Ruskin's ideas and those of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he became the greatest academic painter of his day, and was president of the R.A. His youthful work Christ in the House of His Parents (1850) caused a scandal by its realistic treatment of the Holy Family.

Miller Lee Elizabeth 'Lee' Miller (23 April 1907 - 21 July 1977) was an American photographer. Born in Poughkeepsie, New York State in 1907, she was a successful fashion model in New York City in the 1920s before going to Paris to become a fashion and fine art photographer. During the Second World War, she became an acclaimed war correspondent and photojournalist.

Millet Jean-Francois (1814—75). French painter, etcher and draughtsman. He studied in great poverty in Paris, absorbing the lessons of Flemish painting and of French classicism, above all Poussin. He created his most significant work at *Barbizon after 1848. His best-known work, The Angelus (1858—9), expresses his smypathy for the peasant's simplicity and devotion in the face of nature. M. reconciled classicism with Realism in direct impressions from nature; his work inspired Van Gogh and contemporary social realists.

Minardi Tommaso (b Faenza, 4 Dec 1787; d Rome, 12 Jan 1871). Italian painter, draughtsman, teacher and theorist. He studied drawing with the engraver Giuseppe Zauli (1763–1822) who imbued Minardi with his enthusiasm for 15th-century Italian art and introduced him to his large collection of engravings after the work of Flemish artists such as Adriaen van Ostade. However, Minardi was strongly influenced by the Neo-classical painter Felice Giani, who ran a large workshop in Faenza, and whose frescoes of mythological scenes (1804–5) at the Palazzo Milzetti he saw being painted. In 1803 he went to Rome on an annual stipend provided by Count Virgilio Cavina of Faenza (1731–1808), and he received (1803–8) additional financial assistance from the Congregazione di S Gregorio. He was given the use of Giani’s studio and through him met Vincenzo Camuccini who, with Canova, dominated the artistic establishment in Rome at that time. Although Minardi learnt the precepts of Neo-classicism from Camuccini, he did not share his interest in heroic art. His first works done in Rome show his interest in the theme of master and acolyte. In Socrates and Alcibiades (1807; Faenza, Pin. Com.), for example, he has included himself among a group of elderly philosophers and young students who are placed on either side of a portrait bust of Zauli. He sent this drawing to his patrons, the Congregazione di S Gregorio, no doubt to reassure them of his aptitude and moral correctness. Supper at Emmaus (c. 1807; Faenza, Pin. Com.) was another painting destined for the same patrons. The confined pictorial space, with a single source of light entering through a small window, and the casual poses of the figures are reminiscent of Flemish art and of the works of the northern Caravaggisti, familiar to the artist through engravings. From 1808 to 1813 he had an alunnato from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna and sent back the painting Diogenes (1813; Bologna, Pin. N.), which is unusual both in its bold design and large size.

Ming. Chinese dynasty (1368-1644). Most court art was an uninspired revival of pre-Mongol (*Yuan) academic styles. The talented scholar-painters (*wen-jen) of the Wu school, by contrast, included Shen Chou (1427-1509),
inspired by the *Yuan masters Huang Kung-wang and Ni Tsan, as well as N. *Sung art, and his pupil Wen Cheng-ming (1470—1 559). Other gifted painters were T'ang Yin (1479—1523), the still popular Ch'in Ying (fl. 1520-40) and the theorist *Tung Ch'i-ch'ang. M. sculptors revived T'ang styles with vigorous independence. In porcelain, cobalt glazing was taken up and fully developed in the famous blue-and-white wares; porcelain was refined to a purity and hardness never since achieved and, based on the factories of Ching-te-chen (kaolin), its manufacture became a major industry. The export trade was developed from the 16th с through Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch merchant-adventurers. Decorative glaze and underglaze painted porcelain was a specifically M. technique. This and all M. porcelain, and the blanc-de-chine ceramic figures especially from the Wan-li period (1573—1616), were to stimulate the growth of such European wares as Meissen and Wedgwood. Blue was only one of the many new M. glaze colours, used either in monochrome or polychrome; perhaps the most well known are the polychrome enamel wares. The use of enamel in Chinese ceramics was probably borrowed from Chinese cloisonne metalwork. M. is also famous for its carved red and layered lacquer vessels and furniture.

Miniature. Term originally applied to the art of ms. illumination but later used of paintings, usually portraits, executed on a very small scale. The earliest miniaturists or *limners (16th c.) continued to use the materials of the illuminators, painting in gouache on vellum or card. In the 18th с it became usual to paint in transparent watercolour on ivory, though some mss were painted in oils on metal. In the mid-19th c. the art began to decline. Famous miniaturists include Hilliard, *Oliver, Cooper, Cosway (in Britain), J. and F. Clouet, Petitot and Jean-Baptiste Isabey (in France), Fuger (in Germany).

Minimal art. Although not a defined movement or style, a number of U.S. artists in the 1960s reacted against the values that had been exalted by the previous generation of the *Abstract Expressionists — self-expression, subjectivity, emotionalism and gestural brushstrokes. Those who became the leading practioners of 'ABC or M. a. were *Judd, *Flavin, * Andre, R. *Morris and, in the early stages of his work, F. *Stella. With the exception of Stella, they were concerned in constructing 3-dimensional objects. They shared with *Mondrian the belief that a work of art should be completely conceived in the mind before its excecution. In M. a. the mind imposes a rational order, conceptual rigour, clarity, literalness and simplicity, indifferent to received moral, social and philosophical values, preoccupied with ideas comparable to those of mathematics. Like all strictly rational attempts, however, an unintended aura of calm beauty emanates from the purity of M. a. works. Rectangular, cubic and modular 3-dimensional forms are purged of all intended metaphor and meaning. Equality of component parts, repetition, often neutral surfaces, emphasize the modular state of M. a. objects with their serial potential as an extendable, open-ended grid. As Morns claimed, 'the notion that work is an irreversible process ending in a static icon-object no longer has much relevance...' In 1961 Andre began stacking and piling beams and soon after introduced a new element of honzontality in sculptures that hug the ground, e.g. Lever (1966) consisting of 137 unjoined commercial fire bricks that extend along the floor for 54.5 ft (10.5 m.), '...putting Brancusi's Endless Column on the ground instead of in the air.' M. a. aimed to achieve a new interpretation of the goals of sculpture and Judd and Morris were its main polemicists, publishing numerous articles defining the new aesthetic and dictating the terms on which they wished their work to be apprehended. They redefined the traditional conventions of painting and especially sculpture by removing spatial lllusionism through the elimination of figure-ground relationships. Actual space thus became more powerful and specific than depicted space. Judd called the resulting works "specific objects', originally Plexiglas boxes with metal sides. These were assembled, consisting of identical and interchangeable units laid out in a repetitive manner, the module always seving as the ordering principle. M. a. became one of the most uncompromising and pervasive aesthetics in the 1960s and '70s, its influence extending to poetry, dance and music as in the compositions of Philip (Mass and Steve Reich.


Term used in the 20th century, in particular from the 1960s, to describe a style characterized by an impersonal austerity, plain geometric configurations and industrially processed materials. It was first used by David Burlyuk in the catalogue introduction for an exhibition of John Graham’s paintings at the Dudensing Gallery in New York in 1929. Burlyuk wrote: ‘Minimalism derives its name from the minimum of operating means. Minimalist painting is purely realistic—the subject being the painting itself.’ The term gained currency in the 1960s. Accounts and explanations of Minimalism varied considerably, as did the range of work to which it was related. This included the monochrome paintings of Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella and Brice Marden, and even aspects of Pop art and Post-painterly Abstraction. Typically the precedents cited were Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, the Suprematist compositions of Kazimir Malevich and Barnett Newman’s Abstract Expressionist paintings. The rational grid paintings of Agnes Martin were also mentioned in connection with such Minimalist artists as Sol LeWitt.

Minne Georges (b Ghent, 30 Aug 1866; d Laethem-Saint-Martin, 18 Feb 1941). Belgian sculptor, draughtsman and illustrator. He studied at the Acadйmie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Ghent (1879–86) and worked in Ghent (until 1895) and Brussels (1895–9) before settling in Laethem-Saint-Martin, a village near Ghent. His first works were delicate sculptures and sparse drawings of grieving and injured figures. The emotional power of these works was recognized by many Symbolist poets including Maurice Maeterlinck, Charles Van Lerberghe and Grйgoire Le Roy, who saw in them an expression of their own pessimistic view of life. He illustrated several of their collections of poetry (e.g. Gregoire Le Roy: Mon Coeur pleure d’autrefois (Paris, 1889); Maurice Maeterlinck: Serres chaudes (Paris, 1889)). From 1890 he was involved with the progressive element among the artists and authors of Brussels. He exhibited for the first time that year under the auspices of the avant-garde society Les XX in Brussels, and two years later he participated in the Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris. His principal supporter was Emile Verhaeren.

Minoan culture. Bronze age culture of Crete, conventionally divided into Early M., 3000-2000 Be, Middle M., 2000-1600 BC and Late M., 1600-1100 ВС. The most famous sites are the Palace of Minos at Knossos and Phaestos. M. с is also noted for exquisite jewellery, fine pottery, notably the vigorous and spontaneous
marine style of c. 1500-c. 1450 BC, bronze, ivory and terracotta sculptures, seal engravings and Late M. wall paintings in an elegant and refined court style.

Minotaurgruppen [Swed.: ‘Minotaur group’].

Swedish Surrealist group, founded in Malmo in 1943 and dissolved in the same year. Its members were C. O. Hultén, Endre Nemes, Max Walter Svanberg, Carl O. Svensson and the Latvian-born Adja Yunkers (b 1900). The name was probably inspired by that of the French Surrealist review Minotaure (1933–9) and also by the role that myth, particularly that of the minotaur, had assumed in Surrealist art. The group had one exhibition, at the Radhus in Malmö, showing work that was typically Surrealist, with grotesque metamorphoses of creatures and disconcerting juxtapositions of objects, as in Svanberg’s Melancholy Emotion (gouache, 1943; priv. col.).

Miranda Juan Carreno de (b Avilés, nr Oviedo, 25 March 1614; d Madrid, 3 Oct 1685). Spanish painter. One of the most important painters in Spain in the 17th century, he executed many religious works in oils, tempera and fresco and was considered to be, after Velázquez, the most accomplished portrait painter of his day.

Mir Iskusstva. The * World of Art.

Miro Joan (1893-1983). Spanish painter who trained (1907-15) in Barcelona at the School of Fine Art and the Academy Cali. As a student he had a great admiration for Catalan art, popular arts and the extreme Art Nouveau forms of Gaudi's architecture. His early painting passed through Cezannesque and *Fauve phases. He was in Portugal with *Delaunay during World War I and in 1920 settled in Paris, where he met and was influenced by his compatriots *Picasso and *Gris. During the 1920s he became closely associated with the *Surrealists and contributed to all their important exhibitions. His freely invented calligraphy of highly coloured forms earned from *Breton the description 'the most Surrealist of us all'; the decorative complexity of Harlequinade (1924— 5) gave way in the 1930s to a simpler use of expressive colours and symbols which influenced Kandinsky and probably Picasso. Back in Barcelona from 1940, he continued to paint highly personal subjective images, e.g. Women, Bird by Moonlight (1949), but nevertheless remained a very influential figure, particularly for U.S. artists like *Gorky and *Calder. His public commissions include the 2 ceramic-tile walls, The Sun and The Moon (1955-8, UNESCO, Pans) which won the 1958 Guggenheim International Award. Later works include a mural for the Fondation Maeght, St Paul, France (1968).

Mississippi culture. *Mound builders

Mixtec. Mexican *Pre-Columbian culture which fl. from с Al) 900; apparently successors of the *Zapotec. The M. produced brilliant metalwork, mosaic and ms. illumination. Other work includes fine pottery and stone and bone carvings. M. art influenced the Aztecs.

Mobile. A form of sculpture invented in the early 1930s by *Calder; m.s consist of a number of objects of various shapes suspended on wire rods in such a way that they move in continuously changing relationships when placed in a current of air. By creating movement in space m.s get away from the traditionally static nature of sculpture. *Kinetic sculpture.


Form of kinetic sculpture, incorporating an element or elements set in motion by natural external forces. The term, which is also sometimes used more loosely to describe sculptural works with the capacity for motorized or hand-driven mechanical movement, was first used by Marcel Duchamp in 1932 to describe works by Alexander Calder. The notable feature of Calder’s sculptures, which were suspended by threads, was that their movement was caused solely by atmospheric forces, such as wind and warm air currents. Movement was not, therefore, merely suggested by the treatment, as in traditional sculpture, but took place directly and unpredictably in the object. Because the kinetic sequences of the mobile could not be fixed or programmed, predictability and repeatability were eliminated.

Mochi Francesco (1580—1654). Italian sculptor, strongly influenced by Florentine styles, who worked in Florence, Rome and Piacenza. Among numerous equestrian statues is that of Alessandro Farnese at Piacenza. His religious works include the Annunciation group and St Veronica.

Mochica. *Pre-Columbian coastal empire of Peru (r. 1st c— 9th с ad) followed by the Chimu. Its architectural monuments, built of adobe brick, include temples, e.g. Huaca del Sol, pyramid-type structures and aqueducts. M. ceramics include stirrup jars, painted with lifelike scenes of everyday life, and moulded portrait pots.

Modelling. (1) In sculpture to build up form in clay or other plastic material; the opposite of carving. (2) In painting to give an appearance of 3-dimensional solidity on a 2-dimensional surface, used particularly with reference to the human figure. (3) Posing as a subject for an artist.

Modello. Small version of a large painting executed by the artist for his patron's approval. Unlike a sketch, a m. is often highly finished.

Moderne Kunstkring [Dut.: ‘Modern art circle’].

Group of Dutch artists founded in November 1910 on the initiative of Conrad Kikkert (1882–1965), a Dutch painter and critic, who had moved to Paris in the same year. The objective was to convey to the Netherlands the latest developments in painting in Paris. Its members included a large number of Dutch painters who either had connections with Paris or lived there. Kikkert financed the venture. The first exhibition was held between 6 October and 5 November 1911 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. It was a great success, attracting 6000 visitors. Of the 166 works shown, half came from abroad. As ‘father of Cubism’, Paul Cézanne was well represented by 28 works from the Hoogendijk collection; also exhibited were 19 works by Auguste Herbin, 7 by Pablo Picasso and 6 by Georges Braque. The Paris-based painter Lodewijk Schelfhout (1881–1943), one of the first Dutch artists to paint in a Cubist style, submitted 12 works; other Dutch artists, such as Jan Sluyters, Kees van Dongen and Piet Mondrian, were mainly influenced by Fauvism. Mondrian showed the triptych Evolution (1910–11) and Red Mill (1910), in which, in addition to a vivid use of colour, he first divided the surface in a schematic manner; after December 1911, when he went to Paris at Kikkert’s insistence, he came under the influence of Cubism.

Modern Movement.

Term applied to the architecture of simple geometrical forms and plain undecorated surfaces, free of historical styles, that developed mainly in Europe in the late 19th century and the early 20th prior to World War II. The origin of the term is especially associated with Nikolaus Pevsner, whose book Pioneers of the Modern Movement (1936) traced the sources of the movement from William Morris to Walter Gropius. Pevsner capitalized the words and asserted that the Modern Movement had resulted in ‘the recognized accepted style of our age’. After 1932 the term INTERNATIONAL STYLE was widely used synonymously with Modern Movement to describe such work of this period, which is also encompassed within the more popular global term Modernism.

Modersohn-Becker Paula (1876—1907). German painter, and a friend of the poet Rilke. Her painting is *Expressionist in the sense that she was primarily concerned with the expression of personal feeling; but the mood of her work is predominantly a gentle poetic Romanticism without strident colour or harsh distortion. Her Self-portrait (1907), the best known of several, shows simple form and restrained colour used to create a feminine tenderness of expression.

Modigliani Amedeo (18X4—1920). Italian painter, sculptor and draughtsman; born in Leghorn, of Jewish descent. M. studied in Venice and Florence and arrived in Paris in 1906. Without associating himself with any particular group or movement, M. took what he wanted from the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, African sculpture, the Fauves, Cubism and other experimental work of Picasso and Braque. More decisive was his meeting with Brancusi; and between 1910 and 1913 it was sculpture that absorbed him. Forced to give this up because the dust thrown off by the chisel damaged his lungs, already weakened by disease, M. applied many sculptural effects in his portraits and nudes, particularly the characteristic elongation of the head, the long raised ridge of the nose and the long neck. The legend of his life as a Montpamasse eccentric - handsome, poor, proud, amorous and drugged or drunk — was cultivated by his literary friends, especially after his genuinely tragic death at 35. The legend ignores his intense concentration on his painting m his last years. Outstanding examples of his paintings are: Jacques Lipchitz ami his Wife, Nude on a Cushion, Bride and Groom, The Little Peasant.

Mogollon. Tradition of North American Indian art centred in S.E. Arizona and S.W. New Mexico. The principal cultures were the M. proper, dating from с 300 BC and the Mimbres AD 1000-1300. Also called the Mimbrcnos, these were masters of ceramic decoration, polychrome and black-and-white.

Mogul art. *Mughal art

Moholy-Nagy Laszlo (1895—1946). Hungarian sculptor, painter, designer and photographer. He trained in law but by 1920 was working in Berlin with *Lissitzky; his originality was soon recognized by Gropius, who appointed him to run the metalworkshop at the *Bauhaus. He was again in Berlin (1928-32), a member of the *Abstraction-Creation group in Pans (1932—6); in London (1935-7) and finally Chicago, where he directed a New Bauhaus (1938—46). His transparent Space Modulators are influenced by N. Gabo. Like him, M.-N. was concerned with the dynamic relationships of forms in space. His teaching at the Bauhaus (1922—8) also concentrated upon the use in art of 20th-c. materials and techniques (including photography — in which he experimented with the technical possibilities to produce the montage, double exposure and photogram — and the cinema and telephone). These are the themes of his Von Material zu Architektur (1929, as a Bauhaus Book; The New Vision, 1939).

Molinier Pierre
(1900 - 1976) was a surrealist painter, photographer and "maker of objects". He was born in Agen (France) and lived his life in Bordeaux (France). He began his career by painting landscapes, but his work turned towards a fetishistic eroticism early on.
Molinier began to take photographs at the age of 18. When Molinier's sister died in 1918, he had sex with her corpse when he was left alone to photograph it. "'Even dead, she was beautiful. I shot sperm on her stomach and legs, and onto the First Communion dress she was wearing. She took with her into death the best of me." Molinier started his erotic production around 1950. With the aid of a wide range of specially made 'props' – dolls, various prosthetic limbs, stiletto heels, dildos and an occasional confidante – Pierre Molinier focused upon his own body as the armature for a constructive form that ultimately produced a large body of photographic work. Most of his photographs, photomontages, are self-portraits of himself as a woman. He began a correspondence with André Breton and sent him photographs of his paintings. Later Breton integrated him into the Surrealist group. Breton organized an exhibition of Molinier's paintings in Paris, in January-February 1956. Pierre Molinier's enigmatic photographs influenced European and North American body artists in the early 1970s and continue to engage artists, critics, and collectors today. In the 1970's, Molinier's health began to decline. He lost the will to live after he was no longer able to maintain an erection. Like his father before him, Pierre Molinier committed suicide at 76 years of age by self-inflicted gunshot wound while masturbating.

Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy