The Burgundian Netherlands refers to an area encompassing the Low Countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg) and northern France during the period when it was ruled by the dukes of Burgundy, from the end of the fourteenth to the end of the fifteenth century. Most of these territories came into the possession of the Burgundian dukes—who were descended from the French royal house. Already one of Europe's richest centers of cloth production and an important trade hub, the Netherlands under Burgundian rule attracted and inspired some of the most talented artists of the Renaissance period. The dukes of Burgundy—ruled through an increasingly centralized government and became celebrated art patrons. The presence of the court naturally attracted the best artists. Bruges, an especially favored destination of the dukes, was home to such masters as Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling, and Gerard David. The Rise of Capitalism Chivalry was replaced with the accumulation of wealth through banking--patronage of the arts by the wealthy. Patronage for artists changed in response to waning feudalism and a thriving mercantile economy.
As a whole, the Northern Renaissance differed from that of Italy in…… 1. Works have less to do with emulation of the Classical tradition, and more with the creation of new forms of art that reflected a stronger emphasis in religious experience on the nurture of personal piety and ethical conduct. 2. The pictorial interests of Northern artists were also distinct. Whereas Italian Renaissance artists tended to create generalized, ideal forms, free from everyday imperfections, their Northern counterparts relished each specific feature of individual people and things. 3. While Italian artists were inspired to seek out essential forms, Northerners were consistently captivated by the surface sheen and texture of life around them--from the intricacies of nearby objects to tiny specks on the far horizon.
Claus Sluter , d. 1406, Flemish sculptor, probably of Dutch extraction, active in Burgundy. Under Philip the Bold of Burgundy he had charge of the sculptural works for the porch of the Chartreuse of Champmol, near Dijon. The Well of Moses depicts strongly individualized figures of Moses, David, and the Prophets, a masterpiece of realism, dignity, and power. Sluter, an innovator in art, moved beyond the prevailing French taste for graceful figures, delicate and elegant movement, and fluid falls of drapery. The six-sided Well of Moses , now lacking its crowning Calvary group, which made the whole a symbol of the "fountain of life," presents six life-sized prophets holding books, scrolls, or both. The figures, beginning with Moses, proceed counterclockwise to David, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Daniel, and Isaiah. The Well of Moses was originally painted in several colors by Jean Malouel, painter to the duke, and gilded by Hermann of Cologne. The figures of the composition dominate the architectural framework but also reinforce the feeling of support that the structure provides through their largeness of movement. This symbolic well once supported a Crucifixion group of figures. Heavy cloth Volume Texture Lack weight shift/movement
THE LIMBOURG BROTHERS--1413-1416-- Les Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry --International Style at its Peak--illuminated manuscript of a religious nature with highly secular and faithful to nature portrayals of secular activities--predates the humanization of religious work. The Limbourg brothers, Paul, Jean, and Hermann, were a Netherlandish family of manuscript illuminators. All three died in 1416, presumably of the plague. In 1402 Paul & Jean were contracted to illuminate a Bible for Philip the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy. In 1404 Philip died and soon afterwards the brothers transferred to the Duke's brother, Jean, Duc de Berry. In the service of the Duc de Berry they enjoyed a privileged lifestyle, moving with the court as it progressed around the Duke's many castles. Even though these calendar pages illustrated a holy book, the themes were secular. Renaissance artists tried to reconcile religious subjects with scenes and objects from everyday life, and Northern artists accomplished this by using symbolism. Artists would fill the interior of their scene with commonplace objects invested with special religious meaning. The "Très Riches Heures" with it's 12 beautiful full page illuminations illustrating the months of the year, and full of closely observed naturalistic detail, is generally considered to be one of the cardinal works of the International Gothic style. To the International Gothic tradition, the Limbourg brothers brought a vitalizing Italian influence, apparent chiefly in their more sophisticated rendering of space. Book of hours: prayer book /devotional to be read at eight points in the day. May Zodiac and chariot of the sun passing a year.
Alternates from seasonal activities of nobles and peasants. Jan. Sept.
Flemish Painting: According to Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) in his " Lives of the Artists " , the technique of oil painting, as used till now with few technical modifications, was invented or re-invented in Europe around 1410 by Jan van Eyck (1390 -1441). In fact, this Flemish painter was not the first to use oil paint, his real achievement was the development of a stable varnish based on a siccative oil (mainly linseed oil) as the binder of mineral pigments. It could be established that the Van Eyck secret was a mixture of piled glass, calcined bones and mineral pigments in linseed oil maintained a long time up to a viscous state at boiling temperature. Besides linseed oil, walnut oil and poppy-seed oil were also used while not so quick-drying. It is probable that painters have already observed that these oils led to accelerated drying time of canvas under the sun. It seems that Van Eyck kept his secret up to about 1440, a few time before his death. Guilds- A group of skilled craftsmen in the same trade might form themselves into a guild. A guild would make sure that anything made by a guild member was up to standard and was sold for a fair price. Membership of a guild was an honor as it was a sign that you were a skilled worker who had some respect in society. Apprentices to a guild could be as young as twelve years old. They were taught a trade by a guild member. He would expect to be paid for this by the parents of the boy. An apprentice could live with his master for anything up to 14 years. The guild member had made a promise to teach the boy like a son, and this training could take time. Apprentices were not expected to get married during their apprenticeship. Once an apprenticeship was over, the young person now became a journeyman. He would be paid a wage and once he had saved enough money, he could start up a business of his own. Only members of a guild could sell within a town. This was meant to keep up quality. However, on market days anybody could sell their goods in the market whether they were skilled or not. An annual fair would attract people from far and wide…….including those a town or city would not want.
Most of the documented female artists of the period were either daughters of artists who trained in their fathers' workshops or daughters of noblemen. So, ordinary women were not exposed to learning artistic skills, because the domestic duties in the Renaissance were very arduous and time consuming, and this kept most women from considering careers outside the home. In fact, many talented women artists painted far less or completely ended their artistic careers when they married. The requirements to become an artist were also affected by the Humanist ideals. This made it more difficult for women to become artists. It was expected for artists to have an education in science, mathematics, perspective, and practical skills acquired in an apprenticeship. In spite all of this, they were also required to have education in the study of the nude models. Unfortunately, women artists were excluded from the study of nude models. As late as 1893, female students were not admitted to life drawing at the Royal Academy in London, and even when they were, after that date, the model had to be partially draped As we can see from the painting of the Renaissance done by women artist. Most of the paintings are in domestic environment, such as portraiture, domestic settings, still life. This reveals women were very much constrained to inside of their house, and they had very little independence of their own. This makes it harder for women to become an artist. Because being an artist involves a lot of independent traveling to major art centers and study the achievements of the best artists of the period. It was considered improper for a lady to travel so independently. Women artists' independence was also constrained in the case when agreements with the artists were arranged for commission. Often times, the male family member, a monk, or a priest makes the arrangement for the women. Women artists also faced extreme prejudice by men. Most men considered that women were inferior and don't have the ability to create art works. Women artists
Robert Campin (Master of Flemalle) Mérode Altarpiece c. 1427 Tempera and Oil on wood, 64,1 x 117,8 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
This intimate triptych, which dates from about 1425, is traditionally known as the Mérode Altarpiece, after the family that owned it during the nineteenth century. It illustrates the moment when the archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she has been chosen by God to be the mother of Christ. The patrons of the painting gaze upon this miraculous event from one of the side panels, while Joseph, busy at his carpenter's bench, occupies the other wing. He is making a mouse trap, a symbol of Christ being the “bait” for the Devil and sin of the world. The Annunciation scene includes even more symbols; the bronze kettle, a symbol for Mary’s body, the three pronged lilies represent the purity of Mary and the holy trinity, and the snuffed out candle is a reference to the crucifixion, just to mention a few Campin's fascination with the natural and domestic world dominates his telling of the sacred story. He meticulously renders even the smallest details in an innovative technique combining translucent oil overlay on water-based opaque pigments. The resulting optical effects enhance Campin's interpretation of the Virgin's private chamber as an affluent fifteenth century Flemish house interior filled with household appointments and goods similar to those that the patron would have known. The artist has humanized a religious theme. (Note: no haloes) Yet Campin was essentially guided in his choice of objects by the symbolic needs of the story. The brass laver, for example, signifies Mary's purity, as does the Madonna lily in the majolica pitcher. As an object of private devotion, this painting would have been integrated into the furnishings of the owners' private quarters, where its hinged wings could be opened and closed according to the daily cadence of private prayers or following the traditions of the Christian calendar.
Front panels closed The altarpiece was painted to decorate the private chapel of a rich couple, Judocus (Joost) Vijd and his wife Elisabeth Borluut . Joost Vijd belonged to the most influential citizens of his town, and his wife belonged to the famous Borluut family of Ghent. Presumably, Joost Vijd ordered the painting already in 1420. On usual weekdays the polyptych was closed. The angel Gabriel announcing to the Holy Virgin that she will give birth to the savior. Through the windows building of medieval Gent can be detected. A typical element of early Flemish painting was the fact that divine scenes took place in realistic 15th century gothic settings. The portraits of Jucocus Vijd and his wife Isabella Borluut, the donators of the altarpiece. Both portraits are very realistic. By incorporating the donators on the painting, Jan van Eyck lets them participate in the 'Adoration of the Lamb'. Center panels: the grisailles of Saint John the Baptist (left) and Saint John the Evangelist (right). At the time of the creation of the painting the church was still called 'Saint John's church'. Hence, the inclusion of the two saint John's.
Upper left corner: Cain and Abel bring their offering to the Lord Upper right corner: Cain slays his brother Abel. Left panel: Adam Second from left: The singing angels.With the X-raying of the painting, a fingerprint of Hubert or Jan van Eyck was discovered by Mr. G. Van de Voorde of the 'Royal institute of he art heritage' Third from left: The blessed virgin. Center panel: The eternal Father, or 'Jesus Christ triumphant'. Third from right : Saint John the Baptist. Second from right: The musician angels. Right panel: Eve.
Lower panels First from left : The just judges. In 1934 the original panel was stolen. Until now its has never been found back. The original panel has been replaced by a copy made in 1945 by Jef Vanderveken. Second from lef t: The Knights of Christ. Middle panel: The adoration of the lamb. The lamb can be seen standing on an altar in the middle of the panel. In front of the altar is the fountain of life. To the left there are twelve prophets, the patriarchs, the holy bishops and the confessors. To the right are the twelve apostles. Barnabas, together with other saints and martyrs are in the background. A group of holy virgins is walking towards the altar. The landscape shows a treasure of plants, flowers and trees with such detail that to his day herbologists can determine their names. Other exotic trees were painted by Jan van Eyck after his visit of Portugal. Second from right: The holy hermits. First from right: The holy pilgrims, led by Saint Christopher.
This monumental work still hangs in its original setting, the Cathedral of St Bavo in Ghent, drawing the worshipper deeper and deeper into the sacred world it makes visible. There has been much debate over the parts the two van Eyck brothers, Jan and Hubert, played in the creation of the Ghent Altarpiece : whether Jan, about whom we have the most information, was mostly responsible, or whether it was Hubert, about whom we know almost nothing. For what it is worth, Hubert is given precedence in the inscription. It reads: ``The painter Hubrecht Eyck, than whom none was greater, began this work, which his brother Jan, who was second to him in art, completed at the behest of Jodoc Vijdt...'' A panel shows the sacrificial Lamb on the high altar, its sacred blood pouring into a chalice. Angels surround the altar, carrying reminders of the Crucifixion and in the foreground gushes the Fountain of Life. Coming from the four corners of the earth are the worshippers, a diverse collection that includes prophets, martyrs, popes, virgins, pilgrims, knights, and hermits. It is likely, as with many great religious works of the time, that van Eyck would have been advised by a theologian, and these figures seem to represent the hierarchy of the Church. Set in a beautiful, lush landscape, the holy city gleams on the horizon, its outline very much that of a Dutch city; the church on the right is probably Utrecht Cathedral. The very perfection and accuracy, the convincingness of the vast altarpiece explain why this mystic vision has laid such a hold on the affections of those who see it.
Jan van Eyck, Man in a Red Turban (Self-Portrait?), Tempera and oil on panel, c. 10" x 7" National Gallery of Art, London, 1433 Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter who along with Robert Campin was the founder of the Ars Nova ("new art") of 15th-century northern late Gothic painting. This style heralded the Renaissance in northern Europe. This period of Netherlandish art is characterized by a naturalistic style of vivid oil colors, meticulous detail, accurately rendered textures, and the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. This effect is call atmospheric perspective. This particular piece is thought to be Jan's self portrait. It contains a lot of Jan's proposed personality and the frame is signed and dated containing his personal motto, Als ich chan ("The best I am capable of doing"). This motto illustrates the humanist spirit that an artist excepts himself and is proud to display it.
Famous Northern Renaissance artist Jan van Eyck had a penchant for hiding small scale self-portraits of himself into his own paintings; very similar to film director Alfred Hitchcock. First, in order to get an idea of what Jan van Eyck looked like and to see how these tiny portraits are determined to be self-portraits, look at the painting by Jan van Eyck entitled Man in a Red Turban, which is generally recognized by art historians as being a self portrait. Then refer to the following paintings: Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin (a.k.a. Madonna of Autun), Madonna with Canon George van der Paele, and Arnolfini Wedding Portrait. In the painting Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin a figure can be seen in the back ground with his back turned to us, he is wearing a prominent red turban very similar to the one worn in the presumed self portrait, Man in a Red Turban. The next two are even more clever. In Madonna with Canon George van der Paele van Eyck paints himself as a reflection in the armor of St. George (the figure on the right). If viewed up close it appears that van Eyck has painted himself actually painting the scene with an easel in front of him. In the Arnolfini Wedding Portrait a detail of the beautiful convex mirror in center of the back wall shows that two figures are entering the room and one is wearing a red turban. Verification that this would be a self portrait is given by the flourished inscription above the mirror, which when translated reads,"Jan van Eyck was here. Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin
Van Eyck is concerned with showing the presence of a vision and therefore of illustrating the reality of God in our world. Canon van der Paele is shown in the choir of the collegiate church of St. Donatian in Bruges, where he is being presented to the Virgin by St. George and St. Donatian. Hans Belting is of the opinion that this picture once hung in the choir of the now destroyed church. This would mean that the depicted location mirrored the real location. Van der Paele would therefore have been able to see himself in the very place of his depicted vision and so "prove" to the world at large the reality of his divine experience. The exquisite brocades, furs, and silks are shown in an extraordinarily lifelike and brilliant way, a way that confirms their reality, their tangibility. On the other hand, the reliefs and sculptures on the capitals in the background and on the Virgin's throne all allude to Christ's salvation of humanity. The depictions on the throne of Adam and Eve, Cain killing Abel, and Samson fighting the lion, together with the depiction on the capitals of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, create an Old Testament framework which allows the observer to reflect on the mercy of God, who sent his son, Christ the Redeemer, into the world. Redemption from sin (Cain killing his brother) is possible only through the power of faith (Samson overpowering the lion). The goodness and grace of God "at the moment of truth" (Abraham sacrificing Isaac) serves as proof of the redeeming power and presence of servants of God both celestial (St. George) and mortal (Canon van der Paele). This is how van der Paele might have expressed the message of the painting-that paradise was at hand-a message confirmed by its being set in a very real but also sacred context. The Virgin is pictures holding a nosegay and her son a parrot - unmistakable echoes of the Garden of Eden - and both figures have turned to face the meditating canon. Jan van Eyck The Madonna with Canon van der Paele 1436 Oil on wood, 122 x 157 cm Groeninge Museum, Bruges
Van Eyck's art reached perhaps its greatest triumph in the painting of portraits. One of his most famous portraits is The betrothal of the Arnolfini , which represents an Italian merchant, Giovanni Arnolfini, who had come to the Netherlands on business, with his bride Jeanne de Chenany. A simple corner of the real world had suddenly been fixed on to a panel as if by magic. Here it all was - the carpet and the slippers, the rosary on the wall, the little brush beside the bed, and the fruit on the window-sill. It is as if we could pay a visit to the Arnolfini in their house. The picture probably represents a solemn moment in their lives - their betrothal. The young woman has just put her right hand into Arnolfini's left and he is about to put his own right hand into hers as a solemn token of their union. Probably the painter was asked to record this important moment as a witness, just as a notary might be asked to declare that he has been present at a similar solemn act. This would explain why the master has put his name in a prominent position on the picture with the Latin words 'Johannes de eyck fuit hic' (Jan van Eyck was here). In the mirror at the back of the room we see the whole scene reflected from behind, and there, so it seems, we also see the image of the painter and witness. We do not know whether it was the Italian merchant or the northern artist who conceived the idea of making this use of the new kind of painting, which may be compared to the legal use of a photograph, properly endorsed by a witness. But whoever it was that originated this idea, he had certainly been quick to understand the tremendous possibilities which lay in Van Eyck's new way of painting. For the first time in history the artist became the perfect eye-witness in the truest sense of the term. The Arnolfini Portrait Jan van Eyck 1434 Oil on oak.
Rogier van der Weyden Deposition c. 1435 Oil on oak panel, 220 x 262 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid The Deposition was an altarpiece, intended for the chapel of the Confraternity of the Archers of Leuven, who commissioned it. (The two small crossbows in the lower spandrels of the tracery in the picture refer to the Confraternity.). Ten figures in all cover the painted surface almost entirely, with their heads close to the upper edge of the panel. The body of Jesus has already been removed from the Cross, and is received by two elderly men, the bearded Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus. Surrounded by Jesus's mourning friends they are holding his dead body for a moment before setting it down. Mary is sinking to the ground in a faint beside her son, and is supported by John, the favorite disciple of Jesus, and by one of the holy women. On the extreme right, the despairing Mary Magdalene seems on the brink of collapse. The scene shown would have lasted for only a moment, but there is nothing momentary about its depiction, which is quite detached from the historical event. Rogier achieves this effect principally by placing the group in a painted niche like an altar shrine; the hill of Golgotha, the Place of Skulls where the Cross stood, is suggested only by skulls and arm bones on the narrow strip of stone floor. A connection is thus established with those gilded shrines holding painted statues that were a particularly costly and lavish form of retable. However, Rogier was not imitating a carved altar. He shows "live" figures rather than statues, and the life-like effect is emphasized by their appearance, almost life-size, in the place where mere wooden statues would be expected in an altar. Using such methods, Rogier gives them the three-dimensionality of statues but the look of a painting, which is much more life-like than sculpture. The painted niche offered Rogier another advantage: he could retain the gold background usual in medieval painting without offending against the demands of naturalistic depiction. The background of the painting is, in fact, a real gilded surface and also a pictorial representation of one - the back of the shrine.
Rogier van der Weyden Portrait of a Lady c. 1460 Van der Weyden portrait in which the sitter's veil drapes over, and is pinned into, a tall headdress perched at a backward-slanting angle. The underlying cap has a basket weave texture, possibly mimicking the look of elaborately braided hair. Rogier van der Weyden excelled in the genre of portrait. Unlike Jan van Eyck, he was no realist. He did not seek to capture the particular character of his model, but instead tried to create an ideal image. This approach was very popular with his contemporaries, and brought him considerable success in this genre. He was sought after by the grandest aristocrats and prelates, as well as by the wealthy bourgeoisie, who wanted him to record and embellish their features for posterity. Many portraits were created in order to arrange marriages. Yet, depending on which historian you believe in, there are only between five and fourteen authenticated portraits by Rogier that have survived to this day.
First example of successful single point perspective in the North--however it only holds in the room--outside fails--figures scaled properly--no emotion or mood--almost a technical exercise . Last Supper, Dirk Bouts , 1464-1468, Oil on Wood, 6’x5’, 20-8.
Hugo van der Goes is an extraordinary painter and produced paintings on a surprisingly large scale. His most famous work, The Portinari Altarpiece , now in the Uffizi, Florence, was to prove very influential in Italy, where it decorated the church of the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. It was commissioned by a Florentine banker, Tommaso Portinari. The Adoration of the Shepherds 1476-79 Oil on wood, 253 x 304 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence From an artistic point of view, the differences between this work and those of the preceding generation, and indeed earlier paintings by the same master, are astounding. While space and anatomy are easily mastered, they are no longer major themes of the composition, The infant Jesus lies within an aureole in an outdoor square, surrounded by his parents, clusters of angels and the worshipping shepherds. The more or less circular arrangement of the figures can be perceived equally in three-dimensional and two-dimensional terms. While the figures may have lost volume, their faces and gestures have gained in expressiveness. A certain impression of spatial depth is suggested by the figures' varying distances from the front of the picture and by the oblique line running from the Antique-style column beside Joseph in the left-hand foreground, through the manger with the ox and ass, and on through the buildings in the middle ground. Its logic is overthrown, however, as the artist reverts to the medieval system in which figures are portrayed on a scale directly related to their importance. Thus the angels in the foreground are surprisingly small in comparison to Mary and Joseph .
France Jean Fouquet Etienne Chevalier with St Stephen c. 1450 Wood, 93 x 85 cm Staatliche Museen, Berlin Estienne Chevalier, who came from Melun, was French Ambassador to England in 1445 and six years later became Treasurer to Charles VII of France. He presented the diptych of which this panel forms the left wing, to his native town; on this wing he had himself painted next to his patron saint, Stephen. The saint, wearing a deacon's robe, is holding a book, on which a jagged stone is lying, as a symbol of his martyrdom. The formal architecture in the background is in the Italian Renaissance style showing pilasters with colored inlaid marble panels between them. On the wall, receding in perspective, the name Estienne Chevalier is inscribed several times. Originally the donor and the saint were looking towards the Madonna, who occupied the right wing of the diptych; this panel found its way into the Antwerp Museum.
Germany Woodcut illustrations from Michael Wolgemut's workshop were at the time some of the best in terms of technique that were available on the European market. New effects in their preparation, finer interior details and the suggestion of spatiality increased demand. The 645 illustrations for the Nuremberg Chronicle by the Nuremberg doctor and humanist Hartmann Schedel became particularly famous. This work, which appeared in 1493, contained a total of 1809 woodcuts and, with its illustrations and descriptions based on the seven ages, was meant to represent a history of the world and its peoples. The chronicle became internationally famous, and the 123 pictures of cities may have contributed considerably to its popularity. The largest depiction, a view of the then world and trade metropolis of Nuremberg, is a good example of the way city views were recorded in all their detail woodcut - A print made by cutting a design in side-grain of a block of wood, also called a woodblock print. The ink is transferred from the raised surfaces to paper . Nuremberg Chronicles
engraving - A method of cutting or incising a design into a material, usually metal, with a sharp tool called a graver. One of the intaglio methods of making prints, in engraving, a print can be made by inking such an incised (engraved) surface. It may also refer to a print produced in this way. Most contemporary engraving is done in the production of currency, certificates, etc. Martin Schongauer , Temptation of Saint Anthony, Engraving. After his parents' death, this early Christian monk retired to the Egyptian desert to contemplate God. He remained there for fifteen years; during this time he began his legendary combat against the devil, withstanding demonic apparitions and erotic visions. After resisting temptations, Saint Anthony emerged at last from the desert and organized and instructed a group of hermits who sought to imitate his example. Thus he became the father of Christian monasticism. According to contemporary sources, Schongauer was a prolific painter whose panels were in demand throughout Europe, however very few paintings by his hand survive. Paintings combine monumentality with tenderness, similar in manner to the great Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden, by whom Schongauer was profoundly influenced. As an engraver Schongauer stood without rival in northern Europe during his time. His engraved work, consisting of about 115 plates, signed with his monogram, is a highly refined and sensitive manifestation of the late Gothic spirit. Technically he brought the art of engraving to maturity by expanding its range of contrasts and textures, thus introducing a painter's viewpoint into an art that had been primarily the domain of the goldsmith.