Early Renaissance in Northern Europe Fifteeth Century

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Key Ideas

Capitalist society inspires culteral ferment in 15th cent Flanders and Holland
important secular works of 15th cent architecture are influenced by Gothic chruch architecture
The Int. Gothic stlye dominates Northern European painting
Flemish painting is symbolic, crowded comp, and hoizontal lines
secular on the rise
Print making is important

Image 20-3

Claus Sulter, Well of Moses limestone, Dijon, France
6 old testament figures surrounding well
water symbollically represented the blood of Christ washing over and cleansing the figures
supplied water for a monastery
Drapery cascades in solid, heavy waves down the figs
Rounded solid volumes

20-1 and 20-2

Limbourg Brothers
international gothic, ink on vellum, Musee Conde, Chantilly
Each manuscript page is an illustration of the months of the year for a book of hours
Top: astrological signs associated with each month, apollo is riding a chariot bring up the dawn
Main scenes: labors of the month February is warming oneself by fire, July is peasants harvesting wheat and shearing sheep, october is planting winter wheat. Naturalism details, meticulously rendered castles.
Separation of the classes strictly emphasized by placement of serfs and nobility in different areas of the painting

20-12

1425-1428 oil on wood
Merode Altarpiece (open) by Robert Campin
Left panel: donors, middle class people kneeling before holy scene
CEnter panel: Annunciation taking place in an everyday Flemish interior
Symbolism
towels and water are marys purity: water is a baptism symbol
Flowers have 3 buds symbolizing the trinity- unopened bud
Mary on floor = humility
Mary blocks the fireplace (entrance to hell)
Candlestick: mary holds christ in the womb
Angel with a cross comes in through the window, the divine birth
Humanization of traditional themes: no halos, domestic setting/ flemish city view
Right panel: Joseph in his carpentry workshop, mousetrap - capturing evil
Meticulous handling of paint, intricate details
Steeply rising ground line; figures too large for the architecture they sit in

20-5

Van Eyck - Ghent altarpiece (closed) oil on wood
Annunciation; prophets who foretell Christs coming
Bottom: two figures painted in grisaille in center; two donors kneeling in outside niches

20-6

Polyptych placed on an altar of St. Bavo oil on wood
Great detail and extreme realism
Top: God the Father in center sits in majesty wearing the popes crwon surrounded by Mary and John the baptist; choirs of angels flank them; adam and eve appear in the corners
bottom: The lamb of God in the center with a continous landscape containing midieveal knights and clergy

20-13

Arnolfini Wedding - Van Eyck
wedding of Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami?
symbols of weddings: custom of burning a candle on the first night of a wedding; shoes cast off = holy ground, prayerful promising pose of groom
Dog symbolizes fidelity or carnality
Two witnesses in the convex mirror - Van Eyck? "Van eyck was here 1434"
Wife pulls up dress- symbol of pregnancy but not pregnant
Meticulous handling of paint, concentration of details

20-7

Deposition - Rogier Van der Weyden oil on wood
shallow stage, confining space
attention to details
strong emotional impact
partrons of the archers guild symbolized by the crossbows in the spandrels
figures mirrored in compositions: Christ and mary, two figures have similar poses; poses similar for nicodemus and figure holding mary

20-8

last judgment altar piece - Rogier van der Weyden

20-10

Hugo van der Goes - Portinari Altarpiece (open) from Sant' Edigio Florence 1476
Placed in the family chapel
Placement in maternity hospital chapel influences imagery
Mary as the mother of Christ is central; St. Margaret patron saint of childbirth is in the right wing; christs thin appearance simulates a newborn
Christ places a sheaf of wheat that symbolizes the sacredness of the Eucharist
Plants in the foreground have medicinal value and symbolic associations
continous landscape throughout the 3 panels
Figures at different scales- some very large, some small

20-18

Garden of Earthly Delights - Hieronymus Bosch
Left Panel: Garden of Eden: the state of humans in an ideal world but sings of violence Adam and Eve = thin and lack backbone
Central Panel: Garden of Earthly Delights- result of first sin, animals = sexually perverse, indulging in sexual play, eating sexually suggestive berries and fuits; idleness
Right panel: hell; the result of central panel, musical instruments = symbol of torture (by demons)
4 Stages of Alchemy - bringing together of opposites - left panel, mixing (central), purification by fire (right panel) cleansing of elements (outside panel)
Figures = light and insubstantial
High hoizons = many details

20-25

Martin Schongaur - Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons 1480-1490
Hermit for most of his life, underwent spiritual and physical temptations but he overcame them
Precise dtails: tight vibrant forms, thin emaciated figures

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