Federico Zuccari known as Federico Zuccaro, was an Italian Mannerist painter and architect, active both in Italy and abroad. Zuccari was born at Sant'Angelo in Vado, near Urbino, his documented career as a painter began in 1550, when he moved to Rome to work under Taddeo, his elder brother. He went on to complete decorations for Pius IV, help complete the fresco decorations at the Villa Farnese at Caprarola. Between 1563 and 1565, he was active in Venice with the Grimani family of Santa Maria Formosa. During his Venetian period, he traveled alongside Palladio in Friuli, he was involved in the following fresco projects: Decoration of the Casina Pio IV, Rome Grimani Chapel, San Francesco della Vigna, Venice Monumental staircase, Palazzo Grimani, Venice Pucci Chapel in the church of Trinità dei Monti, Rome San Marcello al Corso, Rome Cathedral of Orvieto Oratorio del Gonfalone, Rome Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence Another picture in the same collection appears to be a replica of his painting of the "Allegory of Calumny", as suggested by Lucian's description of a celebrated work by Apelles.
Zuccari was recalled to Rome by Pope Gregory XIII to continue in the Pauline chapel of the Vatican. He visited Brussels, there made a series of cartoons for the tapestry-weavers. In 1574 he came to England, where he received a commission from Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester to portray himself and Queen Elizabeth, he painted Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Nicholas Bacon, Sir Francis Walsingham, Lord High Admiral Howard. He painted a portrait of a Man with Two Dogs, in the Pitti Palace, the Dead Christ and Angels in the Galleria Borghese. In 1585, he accepted an offer by Philip II of Spain to decorate the new Escorial at a yearly salary of 2,000 crowns, he worked at the palace from January 1586 to end of 1588. His paintings were disliked by Philip II and many were painted over; however the parting was amicable: "We must not blame him. He was succeeded by Pellegrino Tibaldi, he there founded in 1595, under a charter confirmed by Pope Sixtus V, the Accademia di San Luca, of which he was the first president.
Bartolomeo Carducci is said to have studied with him. Like his Giorgio Vasari a generation before, Zuccari aimed at being historian, his chief book, L'idea de' Pittori, Scultori, ed Architetti, was far less popular. Zuccari was raised to the rank of cavaliere not long before his death, which took place at Ancona in 1609. Freedberg, Sydney J.. Pelican History of Art, ed. Painting in Italy, 1500-1600. Enguin Books Ltd. Lee, Sidney, ed.. "Zuccaro, Federigo". Dictionary of National Biography. 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co; the Zuccaro Scholarship Getty Museum Exhibition Taddeo and Federico Zuccari: Artist Brothers in Rome
Trompe-l'œil is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Forced perspective is a comparable illusion in architecture. Though the phrase, which can be spelled without the hyphen and ligature in English as trompe l'oeil, originates in the Baroque period, when it refers to perspectival illusionism, trompe-l'œil dates much further back, it was employed in murals. Instances from Greek and Roman times are known, for instance in Pompeii. A typical trompe-l'œil mural might depict a window, door, or hallway, intended to suggest a larger room. A version of an oft-told ancient Greek story concerns a contest between two renowned painters. Zeuxis produced a still life painting so convincing that birds flew down to peck at the painted grapes. A rival, asked Zeuxis to judge one of his paintings, behind a pair of tattered curtains in his study. Parrhasius asked Zeuxis to pull back the curtains, but when Zeuxis tried, he could not, as the curtains were included in Parrhasius's painting—making Parrhasius the winner.
With widespread fascination with perspective drawing in the Renaissance, Italian painters of the late Quattrocento such as Andrea Mantegna and Melozzo da Forlì, began painting illusionistic ceiling paintings in fresco, that employed perspective and techniques such as foreshortening to create the impression of greater space for the viewer below. This type of trompe l'œil illusionism as applied to ceiling paintings is known as di sotto in sù, meaning "from below, upward" in Italian; the elements above the viewer are rendered as if viewed from true vanishing point perspective. Well-known examples are the Camera degli Sposi in Mantua and Antonio da Correggio's Assumption of the Virgin in the Duomo of Parma. Vittorio Carpaccio and Jacopo de' Barbari added small trompe-l'œil features to their paintings, playfully exploring the boundary between image and reality. For example, a fly might appear to be sitting on the painting's frame, or a curtain might appear to conceal the painting, a piece of paper might appear to be attached to a board, or a person might appear to be climbing out of the painting altogether—all in reference to the contest of Zeuxis and Parrhasius.
In a 1964 seminar, the psychoanalyst and theorist Jacques Lacan observed that the myth of the two painters reveals an interesting aspect of human cognition. While animals are attracted to superficial appearances, humans are enticed by the idea of things that are hidden. Perspective theories in the 17th century allowed a more integrated approach to architectural illusion, which when used by painters to "open up" the space of a wall or ceiling is known as quadratura. Examples include Pietro da Cortona's Allegory of Divine Providence in the Palazzo Barberini and Andrea Pozzo's Apotheosis of St Ignatius on the ceiling of the Roman church of Sant'Ignazio; the Mannerist and Baroque style interiors of Jesuit churches in the 16th and 17th century included such trompe-l'œil ceiling paintings, which optically "open" the ceiling or dome to the heavens with a depiction of Jesus', Mary's, or a saint's ascension or assumption. An example of a perfect architectural trompe-l'œil is the illusionistic dome in the Jesuit church, Vienna, by Andrea Pozzo, only curved but gives the impression of true architecture.
Trompe-l'œil paintings became popular in Flemish and in Dutch painting in the 17th century arising from the development of still life painting. The Flemish painter Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts created a chantourné painting showing an easel holding a painting. Chantourné means'cutout' and refers to a trompe l'œil representation designed to stand away from a wall; the Dutch painter Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten was a master of the trompe-l'œil and theorized on the role of art as the lifelike imitation of nature in his 1678 book, the Introduction to the Academy of Painting, or the Visible World. A fanciful form of architectural trompe-l'œil, features realistically rendered paintings of such items as paper knives, playing cards and scissors accidentally left lying around. Trompe-l'œil can be found painted on tables and other items of furniture, on which, for example, a deck of playing cards might appear to be sitting on the table. A impressive example can be seen at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, where one of the internal doors appears to have a violin and bow suspended from it, in a trompe l'œil painted around 1723 by Jan van der Vaardt.
Another example can be found in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, London. This Wren building was painted by Sir James Thornhill, the first British born painter to be knighted and is a classic example of the baroque style popular in the early 18th century; the American 19th-century still-life painter William Harnett specialized in trompe-l'œil. In the 20th century, from the 1960s on, the American Richard Haas and many others painted large trompe-l'œil murals on the sides of city buildings, from beginning of the 1980s when German Artist Rainer Maria Latzke began to combine classical fresco art with contemporary content trompe-l'œil became popular for interior murals; the Spanish painter Salvador Dalí utilized the technique for a number of his paintings. Trompe-l'œil, in the form of "forced perspective", has long been used in stage-theater set design, so as to create the illusion of a much deeper space than the actual stage. A famous early example is t
Taddeo Zuccari was an Italian painter, one of the most popular members of the Roman mannerist school. Zuccari was born in Sant'Angelo in Vado, near Urbino, the son of Ottaviano Zuccari, an unknown painter, his brother Federico, born around 1540, was a painter and architect. As a young man Taddeo was to be encouraged by Pompeo da Fano. Zuccari moved to Rome by age 14, he succeeded at an early age in gaining a knowledge of painting and in finding patrons to employ him; when he was seventeen a pupil of Correggio, named Daniele da Parma, engaged him to assist in painting a series of frescoes in a chapel at Vitto near Sora, on the borders of the Abruzzi. Zuccari returned to Rome in 1548, began his career as a fresco painter, by executing a series of scenes in monochrome from the life of Marcus Furius Camillus on the front of the palace of a wealthy Roman named Jacopo Mattei. From that time his success was assured, he was employed by the popes Julius III and Paul IV, by the della Rovere duke of Urbino, by other rich patrons.
He is documented to have worked alongside Prospero Fontana in decorating the Villa Giulia. In 1556, he painted frescoed Scenes of the Passion in the "Cappella Mattei" of Santa Maria della Consolazione, his best frescoes were a historical series in quadro riportato painted on the walls and ceiling of Villa Farnese at Caprarola, built for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, for which Zuccari designed a great quantity of rich decorations in stucco relief after the style of Giulio Romano and other pupils of Raphael. He painted Histories of Alexander in the Castello Orsini at Bracciano. Nearly all his paintings were large executed frescos in chiaroscuro or monochrome. Stylistically, he displays a Mannerist taste for sculpted physicality characteristic of Michelangelo. Vasari praised his compositional skill and the refined fluidity and vigour of his style, singling out his treatment of heads and nudes. Zuccari's easel pictures are less common than his decorative frescoes. A small painting on copper of the Adoration of the Shepherds in the collection of James II, is now at Hampton Court Palace.
The Caprarola frescoes were engraved and published by Prenner, Illustri Fatti Farnesiani Coloriti nel Real Palazzo di Caprarola. He painted Conversion of St. Paul in San Marcello al Corso in Rome, he died in Rome in 1566, was buried in the Pantheon, not far from Raphael. Freedberg, Sydney J.. Pelican History of Art, ed. Painting in Italy, 1500–1600. Penguin Books Ltd. pp. 490–495. The Zuccaro Scholarship Getty Museum Exhibition Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: Artist Brothers in Rome
The Villa Medici is a Mannerist villa and an architectural complex with a garden contiguous with the larger Borghese gardens, on the Pincian Hill next to Trinità dei Monti in Rome, Italy. The Villa Medici, founded by Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and now property of the French State, has housed the French Academy in Rome since 1803. A musical evocation of its garden fountains features in Ottorino Respighi's Fontane di Roma. In ancient times, the site of the Villa Medici was part of the gardens of Lucullus, which passed into the hands of the Imperial family with Messalina, murdered in the villa. In 1564, when the nephews of Cardinal Giovanni Ricci of Montepulciano acquired the property, it had long been abandoned to viticulture; the sole dwelling was the Casina of Cardinale Marcello Crescenzi, who had maintained a vineyard here and had begun improvements to the villa under the direction of the Florentine Nanni Lippi, who had died however, before work had proceeded far. The new proprietors commissioned the late architect's son, to continue work.
Interventions by Michelangelo are a tradition. In 1576, the property was acquired by Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici, who finished the structure to designs by Bartolomeo Ammanati; the Villa Medici became at once the first among Medici properties in Rome, intended to give concrete expression to the ascendancy of the Medici among Italian princes and assert their permanent presence in Rome. Under the Cardinal's insistence, Ammanati incorporated into the design Roman bas-reliefs and statues that were coming to sight with every spadeful of earth, with the result that the facades of the Villa Medici, as it now was, became a virtual open-air museum. A series of grand gardens recalled the botanical gardens created at Pisa and at Florence by the Cardinal's father Cosimo I de' Medici, sheltered in plantations of pines and oaks. Ferdinando de' Medici had a studiolo, a retreat for study and contemplation, built to the north east of the garden above the Aurelian wall. Now these rooms look onto Borghese gardens but would have had views over the Roman countryside.
These two rooms were only uncovered in 1985 by the restorer Geraldine Albers: the concealing whitewash had protected and conserved the superb fresco decoration carried out by Jacopo Zucchi 1576 and 1577. Among the striking assemblage of Roman sculptures in the villa were some one hundred seventy pieces bought from two Roman collections that had come together through marriage, the Capranica and the della Valle collections. An engraving detailing the arrangement of statues prior to 1562 was documented by Galassi Alghisi. Three works that arrived at the Villa Medici under Cardinal Fernando, ranked with the most famous in the city: the Niobe Group and the Wrestlers, both discovered in 1583 and purchased by Cardinal Ferdinando, the Arrotino; when the Cardinal succeeded as Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587, his elder brother having died, he satisfied himself with plaster copies of his Niobe Group, in full knowledge of the prestige that accrued to the Medici by keeping such a magnificent collection in the European city whose significance far surpassed that of their own capital.
The Medici lions were completed in 1598, the Medici Vase entered the collection at the Villa, followed by the Venus de' Medici by the 1630s. The antiquities from the Villa Medici formed the nucleus of the collection of antiquities in the Uffizi, Florence began to figure on the European Grand Tour; the fountain in the front of the Villa Medici is formed from a red granite vase from ancient Rome. It was designed by Annibale Lippi in 1589; the view from the Villa looking over the fountain towards St Peter's in the distance has been much painted, but the trees in the foreground have now obscured the view. Like the Villa Borghese that adjoins them, the villa's gardens were far more accessible than the formal palaces such as Palazzo Farnese in the heart of the city. For a century and a half the Villa Medici was one of the most elegant and worldly settings in Rome, the seat of the Grand Dukes' embassy to the Holy See; when the male line of the Medici died out in 1737, the villa passed to the house of Lorraine and in Napoleonic times, to the Kingdom of Etruria.
In this manner Napoleon Bonaparte came into possession of the Villa Medici, which he transferred to the French Academy at Rome. Subsequently, it housed the winners of the prestigious Prix de Rome, under distinguished directors including Ingres and Balthus, until the prize was withdrawn in 1968. In 1656, Queen of Sweden was said to have fired one of the cannon on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo without aiming it first; the wayward ball hit the villa. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte moved the French Academy in Rome to the Villa Medici with the intention of preserving an institution once threatened by the French Revolution. At first, the villa and its gardens were in a sad state, they had to be renovated in order to house the winners of the Prix de Rome. In this way, he hoped to retain for young French artists the opportunity to see and copy the masterpieces of antiquity and the Renaissance; the young architect Auguste-Henri-Victor Grandjean de Montigny undertook the renovation. The competition was interrupted during the first World War, Benito Mussolini confiscated the villa in 1941, forcing the Academy of France in Rome to withdraw until 1945.
The competition and the Prix de Rome were eliminated in 1968 by André Malraux. The Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Institut de France lost their guardianship of the Villa Medici to the Ministry of Culture and the French State. From th
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The monumental stairway of 174 steps was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, the Trinità dei Monti church, under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, both located above — to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi located below; the stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. Following a competition in 1717 the steps were designed by the little-known Francesco de Sanctis, though Alessandro Specchi was long thought to have produced the winning entry. Generations of heated discussion over how the steep slope to the church on a shoulder of the Pincio should be urbanised preceded the final execution. Archival drawings from the 1580s show that Pope Gregory XIII was interested in constructing a stair to the completed façade of the French church.
Gaspar van Wittel's view of the wooded slope in 1683, before the Scalinata was built, is conserved in the Galleria Nazionale, Rome. The Roman-educated Cardinal Mazarin took a personal interest in the project, stipulated in Gueffier's will and entrusted it to his agent in Rome, whose plan included an equestrian monument of Louis XIV, an ambitious intrusion that created a furore in papal Rome. Mazarin died in 1661, the pope in 1667, Gueffier's will was contested by a nephew who claimed half; the Bourbon fleur-de-lys and Innocent XIII's eagle and crown are balanced in the sculptural details. The solution is a gigantic inflation of some conventions of terraced garden stairs; the Spanish Steps, which Joseph de Lalande and Charles de Brosses noted were in poor condition, have been restored several times, most in 1995. A new renovation commenced on October 8, 2015 and the steps reopened on September 21, 2016. In the Piazza di Spagna at the base is the Early Baroque fountain called Fontana della Barcaccia, built in 1627–29 and credited to Pietro Bernini, father of a more famous son, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, said to have collaborated on the decoration.
The elder Bernini had been the pope's architect for the Acqua Vergine, since 1623. According to a legend, Pope Urban VIII had the fountain installed after he had been impressed by a boat brought here by a flood of the Tiber. In the piazza, at the corner on the right as one begins to climb the steps, is the house where English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821. On the same right side stands the 15th-century former cardinal Lorenzo Cybo de Mari's palace, now Ferrari di Valbona, a building altered in 1936 to designs by Marcello Piacentini, the main city planner during Fascism, with modern terraces in harmony with the surrounding baroque context. At the top, the stairway ramp up the Pincio, the Pincian Hill. From the top of the steps the Villa Medici can be reached. During Christmas time a 19th-century criba manger is displayed on the first landing of the staircase. During Springtime, just before the anniversary of the foundation of Rome, April 21, part of the steps are covered by pots of azaleas, up until early May.
In modern times the Spanish Steps have included a small cut-flower market. The steps are not a place for eating lunch, being forbidden by Roman urban regulations, but they are crowded with people; the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, made the Spanish Steps famous to an American audience. The apartment, the setting for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is halfway up on the right. Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged is set in a house next to the Steps; the Steps were featured prominently in the film version of The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon in the title role; the progressive rock group Refugee recorded the song "Credo" in 1974, which contains the lyric: "I believe in constant pauses / Like a Roman holiday / And I stop for air / As I climb the Spanish stairs". The Bob Dylan song "When I Paint My Masterpiece," first recorded in 1971 by The Band and appearing on the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II, mentions both the "Spanish Stairs" and the Colosseum.
Norwegian singer/songwriter Morten Harket, from A-ha, released a song called "Spanish Steps" on his album Wild Seed in 1995. Marc Cohn's song "Walk Through the World", released in 1993 on the album The Rainy Season, includes the lyric "From the Spanish Steps to the Liberty Bell, I know the angels have seen us." The title song from Guy Clark's Dublin Blues album contains the lyric: "I loved you on the Spanish Steps / The day you said goodbye". North American & Japanese versions of the Mindfields album released in 1999 by American rock band Toto include the song "Spanish Steps of Rome" as a bonus track; the song describes a femme fatale romance that takes place around the Spanish Steps. In an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond which aired on October 2, 2000, Debra and Marie climb the Spanish Steps during a family vacation in Rome. An episode of the anime series Gunslinger Girl, entitled "Gelato," which first aired in 2003, features the protagonist by the Spanish Steps having her "reward" of ice cream after having completed a successful raid.
In 2005, American rock band Of A Revolution released One Shot from their album Stories of a Stranger, which contains the
Daniele da Volterra
Daniele Ricciarelli, better known as Daniele da Volterra, was a Mannerist Italian painter and sculptor. He is best remembered for his association, for worse, with the late Michelangelo. Several of Daniele's most important works were based on designs made for that purpose by Michelangelo. After Michelangelo's death Daniele was hired to cover the genitals in his Last Judgment with vestments and loincloths; this earned him the nickname "Il Braghettone". Daniele Ricciarelli was born in Volterra; as a boy, he studied with the Sienese artists Il Sodoma and Baldassare Peruzzi, but he was not well received and left them. He appears to have accompanied the latter to Rome in 1535, helped paint the frescoes in the Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, he became an apprentice to Perin del Vaga. From 1538 to 1541 he helped Perin with the painting of frescoes in the villa of Cardinal Trivuzio at Salone, in the Massimi chapel in Trinità dei Monti, the chapel of the crucifixion in San Marcello al Corso, he was commissioned the painting of a frieze in the main salon of the Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, with the life of Fabius Maximus.
In Rome he started working in the circle of Michelangelo and befriended him. Michelangelo used his influence with Pope Paul III to secure Daniele commissions and the post of superintendent of the works of the Vatican, a position he retained until the Pope's death. Michelangelo provided him with sketches on which Daniele based some of his paintings his series of frescoes in the Orsini chapel in the Trinity College, the commission for which Daniele had received in December 1541. Daniele was commissioned by Paul III to complete the decoration of the Sala Regia. On the death of the pope in 1549 he lost his position as superintendent and the pension to which it entitled him, he devoted himself chiefly to sculpture. He died in Rome in 1566. According to Daniele's will, the marble knee of the missing left leg of the Christ from Michelangelo's Deposition was in his possession at the time of his death. Among his pupils was Giulio Mazzoni from Piacenza. Leonardo Ricciarelli was his nephew. Daniele's best-known painting is the Descent from the Cross in the Trinità dei Monti, after drawings by Michelangelo.
Daniele's two-sided painting of David killing Goliath in the Louvre too seems to have been based on Michelangelo's designs. Other notable works include the Massacre of the Innocents in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, a portrait he drew of Michelangelo and a bust he made from Michelangelo's death mask. A well-known sculpture is the Cleopatra in the Belvedere. From France, Daniele received the commission to make a bronze equestrian statue of Henry II, but he finished only the horse; the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia gave the following description of Daniele's style as a painter: Daniele is infamous for having covered over, with vestments and fig-leaves, many of the genitals and backsides in Michelangelo's The Last Judgment fresco in the Sistine Chapel. This work was begun in 1565, shortly after the Council of Trent had condemned nudity in religious art, it earned Daniele the nickname "Il Braghettone". He chiseled away a part of the fresco and repainted the larger part of Saint Catherine and the entire figure of Saint Blaise behind her.
This was done because in the original version Blaise had appeared to look at Catherine's naked behind, because to some observers the position of their bodies suggested sexual intercourse. The loincloths and draperies in the lower half of the fresco, were not painted by Daniele, his work on the Last Judgment was interrupted at the end of 1565 by the death of Pope Pius IV, after which the scaffolding he used had to be removed because the chapel was needed for the election of a new pope. His pupils included painter Michele Alberti. Daniele Ricciarelli is a distant ancestor of Christian Orlandi on the part of paternal grandmother. Fabrizio Mancinelli, "The Painting of the Last Judgment: History and Restoration". In Loren Partridge, Michelangelo: The Last Judgment – A Glorious Restoration. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2000. ISBN 0-8109-8190-4; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Williamson, George Charles. "Daniele da Volterra". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia.
New York: Robert Appleton. Media related to Daniele da Volterra at Wikimedia Commons "Ricciarelli, Daniele". Encyclopædia Britannica. 23. 1911. P. 290. Bust of Michelangelo, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence. La "Deposizione" di Daniele da Volterra ritorna al pubblico, on the restoration of Descent from the Cross
A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society for religious reasons. Hermits are a part of several sections of Christianity, the concept is found in other religions as well. In Christianity, the term was applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament. In the Christian tradition the eremitic life is an early form of monastic living that preceded the monastic life in the cenobium; the Rule of St Benedict lists hermits among four kinds of monks. In the Roman Catholic Church, in addition to hermits who are members of religious institutes, the Canon law recognizes diocesan hermits under the direction of their bishop as members of the consecrated life; the same is true in many parts of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church in the US, although in the canon law of the Episcopal Church they are referred to as "solitaries" rather than "hermits". Both in religious and secular literature, the term "hermit" is used loosely for any Christian living a secluded prayer-focused life, sometimes interchangeably with anchorite/anchoress, recluse and "solitary".
Other religions, for example, Hinduism and Taoism have hermits in the sense of individuals living an ascetic form of life. In modern colloquial usage, "hermit" denotes anyone living apart from the rest of society, or participating in fewer social events, for any reason; the word hermit comes from the Latin ĕrēmīta, the latinisation of the Greek ἐρημίτης, "of the desert", which in turn comes from ἔρημος, signifying "desert", "uninhabited", hence "desert-dweller". In the common Christian tradition the first known Christian hermit in Egypt was Paul of Thebes, hence called "St. Paul the first hermit", his disciple Antony of Egypt referred to as "Antony the Great", is the most renowned of all the early Christian hermits owing to the biography by his friend Athanasius of Alexandria. An antecedent for Egyptian eremiticism may have been the Syrian solitary or "son of the covenant" who undertook special disciplines as a Christian. In the Middle Ages some Carmelite hermits claimed to trace their origin to Jewish hermits organized by Elijah.
Christian hermits in the past have lived in isolated cells or hermitages, whether a natural cave or a constructed dwelling, situated in the desert or the forest. People sometimes sought them out for spiritual counsel; some acquired so many disciples that they no longer had physical solitude. The early Christian Desert Fathers wove baskets to exchange for bread. In medieval times hermits were found within or near cities where they might earn a living as a gate keeper or ferryman. From the Middle Ages and down to modern times eremitical monasticism has been practiced within the context of religious institutes in the Christian West. For example, in the Catholic Church the Carthusians and Camaldolese arrange their monasteries as clusters of hermitages where the monks live most of their day and most of their lives in solitary prayer and work, gathering only briefly for communal prayer and only for community meals and recreation; the Cistercian and Carmelite orders, which are communal in nature, allow members who feel a calling to the eremitic life, after years living in the cenobium or community of the monastery, to move to a cell suitable as a hermitage on monastery grounds.
This applies to both their nuns. There have been many hermits who chose that vocation as an alternative to other forms of monastic life. In the 11th century, the life of the hermit gained recognition as a legitimate independent pathway to salvation. Many hermits in that century and the next came to be regarded as saints; the term "anchorite" is used as a synonym for hermit, not only in the earliest written sources but throughout the centuries. Yet the anchoritic life, while similar to the eremitic life, can be distinct from it. Anchorites lived the religious life in the solitude of an "anchorhold" a small hut or "cell" built against a church; the door of an anchorage tended to be bricked up in a special ceremony conducted by the local bishop after the anchorite had moved in. Medieval churches survive that have a tiny window built into the shared wall near the sanctuary to allow the anchorite to participate in the liturgy by listening to the service and to receive Holy Communion. Another window looked out into the street or cemetery, enabling charitable neighbors to deliver food and other necessities.
Clients seeking the anchorite's advice might use this window to consult them. Catholics who wish to live in eremitic monasticism may live that vocation as a hermit: in an eremitical order, but in both cases under obedience to their religious superior, or as an Oblate affiliated with the Camaldolese or as a diocesan hermit under the canonical direction of their bishop. There are lay people who informally follow an eremitic lifestyle and live as solitaries. In the Catholic Church, the institutes of consecrated life have their own regulations concerning those of their members who feel called by God to move from the life in community to the eremitic life, have the permission of their religious superior to do so; the Code of Canon