Remember Van Eyck? His breakthroughs in oil painting greatly influenced northern European painting, and while post Renaissance Italy was mainly making sculptures, The Dutch were hard at work, crankin out some hot pieces, influenced mainly by talented Dutchies like Van Eyck, Franz Hals and Rubens .
Peter Paul Rubens
Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus c.1617
Oil on canvas, 224 x 211 cm Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Rembrandt van Rijn was a brilliant technical painter and has long been thought of as one of Europe's best. The frankness of his paintings was emphasized by the fleshing out of his subject matter. His color sense and brushwork made for a convincing three dimensional head.
Click the center pic to enlarge.
In the top left and center, Rembrandt practices chiaroscuro, a term that was brought about to describe Caravaggio's work. It is the use of dramatic shadows and light to help create form. It is usually expressed with candle light.
The pinhole camera was first invented in the fourth century BC(!) in China. Later on, the Camera obscura was invented by an Iraqi (boo!) scientist about 1000 years ago.
This was employed by Vermeer who made a large dark room with a pinhole or lens in one wall, the other wall would then project the inverted image with no changes in perspective and no warping of the image. He’d trace the inverted image directly onto the canvas in his dark little room, solving all perspective problems.
The ‘Girl With the Pearl Earring’ was caught with a radiographic do-hickey on the left side here. This is the image that the light subtly etched in the canvas during the camera obscura’s projection.
Though the camera obscura was invented around 1000AD, Vermeer’s artwork gave the invention of the modern camera a firm kick in the ass.
Young Woman With a Water Pitcher 1662-1663 Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) 18x16”
He’s totally cheating, but these paintings made giant strides toward the downfall of traditional painting and the beginning of modern painting. Vermeer also helped popularize ‘genre paintings’ which essentially means, he painted people just doing everyday boring stuff.
Below is an example of what his camera obscura probably looked like.
Richard Torchia is a Philadelphia based installation artist who uses the camera obscura to create works of art that are projections on walls/floors/cargo containers/toilets etc...I saw a show of his at the Eastern State Penitentiary (below left) where he affixed lenses into the ceiling and made entire cells into illuminated rooms. It’s pretty darn sweet to look down and watch clouds and the occasional airplane moving across the floor. Shown here is a cell illuminated with the projections of the weeds on top of the prisons’ roof and sky. I don’t know where the other one is from, but it’s obviously projecting an outdoor scene into a gallery space.