Northern Europe 1400-1500

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Northern Europe 1400-1500

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Northern Europe 1400-1500

  1. 1. Northern Europe, 1400 to 1500
  2. 2. The Black Forest 2
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  4. 4. Northern Europe Absent the memories and ruins of ancient Rome, Northern Europe had lingering cultural connections to its “pagan” past. A whole pantheon of Norse gods distinct from Greco/Roman existed as did a closer connection to earth based pagan superstitions, and holidays. A stronger connection to nature and the spirit world, as well as a belief in the “immanence” of spirituality persisted even as Northern Europe Christianized. Much of this is expressed as attention to worldly DETAILS in art rather than in the “transcendent” themes of Italian art. In other words artists of the European Renaissance saw the spirit immanent in everyday things and therefore lavished great attention to DETAILS in their depiction. 4
  5. 5. Wheel of the Year A focus on seasonal changes and ancient activities and festivals associated with them were more present in Northern Europe. 5
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  7. 7. Northern European Developments Oil “glazing” technique: • Invented by Northern European artists, allowed an unparalleled exactitude of rendering. • Transparent glazes of linseed oil built up luminous, rich, jewel-like colors and an enamel surface. • Perfect for wood panels, triptychs, and alter-pieces. • Blossoming of printmaking as a major art form following the invention of the printing press and moveable type. 7
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  10. 10. 10 Europe in the 15th Century
  11. 11. Burgundian Flanders Early stages of European Capitalism. New credit and exchange systems produces a network of commodities and industry. Flanders, under control of the Duke of Burgundy (Phillip the Bold). Bruges is the major city: wool trade, banking 11
  12. 12. Altarpiece 12
  13. 13. ROBERT CAMPIN (MASTER OF FLEMALLE), Merode Altarpiece (open), ca. 1425-1428. Oil on wood, center panel 2’ 1 3/8” X 2’ 7/8”, each wing 2’ 1 3/8” X 10 7/8”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (The Cloisters Collection, 1956). 13
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  15. 15. ROBERT CAMPIN (MASTER OF FLEMALLE), Merode Altarpiece Annunciation theme Isaiah 7:14 Small altarpieces for household prayer become common in the average household. Religious themes usually depicted in contemporary, secular settings. Linear perspective is employed, but inconsistently (notice the table top). 15
  16. 16. Closed garden symbolic of Mary’s purity. Donors: wealthy merchant Peter Inghelbrecht (angel-bringer), and wife Margarete Scrynmakers (shrine-maker) Outside we can see street scene of contemporary Flanders. 16
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  25. 25. DETAILS ! Wash basin refers to Mary’s purity as a vessel for Christ. Lily flowers symbolize purity Single extinguished candle represents the presence of the divine.
  26. 26. Christ descends on a ray of light.
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  32. 32. DETAILS ! Joseph has constructed a mousetrap (symbolizes Christ as bait set to catch Satan) Axe, saw, and rod are mentioned in Isaiah 10:15
  33. 33. DETAILS! Second mousetrap Detailed scene of Flanders and city-life
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  39. 39. 39 JAN VAN EYCK, Ghent Altarpiece (closed), Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, completed 1432. Oil on wood, 11’ 6" X 7’ 6".
  40. 40. JAN VAN EYCK, Ghent Altarpiece (closed) Jan Van Eyck- Undisputed master of Oil painting technique Court Painter of Philip the good, Duke of Burgundy Ghent Altarpiece commissioned by Jodocus Vyd (Chief Magistrate of Ghent) Usually closed (like most polyptchs) but would open for special days. 40
  41. 41. Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent 41
  42. 42. Recovered in a salt mine Hidden away by Nazis during WWII 42
  43. 43. Depiction of original frame by brother Hubert Van Eyck (now lost) 43
  44. 44. 44 JAN VAN EYCK, Ghent Altarpiece (closed), Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, completed 1432. Oil on wood, 11’ 6" X 7’ 6".
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  46. 46. Old testament prophets Zachariah and Micah along with sibyls (Greco-Roman female prophets) 46
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  56. 56. 56 JAN VAN EYCK, Ghent Altarpiece (closed), Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, completed 1432. Oil on wood, 11’ 6" X 7’ 6".
  57. 57. Saint John the Evangelist and Saint John the Baptist 57
  58. 58. Jodocus Vyd
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  60. 60. Wife Isabel Borluut
  61. 61. 61 JAN VAN EYCK, Ghent Altarpiece (open), Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, completed 1432. Oil on wood, 11’ 5" X 15’ 1”.
  62. 62. JAN VAN EYCK, Ghent Altarpiece (open), Open panel reveals superbly colored painting of humanity’s redemption through Christ God the Father in center, Virgin Mary to left, John the Baptist to the Right. Choir of angels and Adam and Eve at far ends 62
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  72. 72. Adam and Eve more “realistic” than Italian nudes (working off Ancient idealized figures) 72
  73. 73. Lower panels: Community of saints gather around altar of lamb (symbol of Christ) on octagonal fountain of life Right: 12 apostles and a group of martyrs in red robes Left: prophets Far wings: hermits, pilgrims, knights and judges (4 cardinal virtues Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Justice)
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  76. 76. Octoganol fountain of life 77
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  83. 83. Exquisite detail ! 84
  84. 84. 85 JAN VAN EYCK, Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride, 1434. Oil on wood, approx. 2’ 9" X 1’ 10 1/2". National Gallery, London.
  85. 85. JAN VAN EYCK, Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride Emerging capitalism leads to urban prosperity and interest in secular themes (portraiture). Giovanni Arnolfini-wealthy financier with ties to Medici family Holds hand of second wife during a ceremony (wedding, legal privileges?) Every object has symbolic (iconographic) importance. 86
  86. 86. Man stands on the left near the window (outside world), woman stands inside (domestic world). 87
  87. 87. Bride is not pregnant although fashionable costume makes it appear so. 88
  88. 88. Cast aside clogs indicate holy ground. 90
  89. 89. Oranges symbolize wealth and fertility. 91
  90. 90. Dog symbolizes marital fidelity (“fido”). 92
  91. 91. Single candle symbolizes presence of God, bedpost crowning ornament is Saint Margaret patron saint of childbirth)
  92. 92. Convex mirror shows two observers and also symbolizes all seeing eye of God (framed in the stations of the cross.)
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  94. 94. Jan Van Eyck “was here”. Record and sanctify the marriage ? 96
  95. 95. 97 JAN VAN EYCK, Man in a Red Turban, 1433. Oil on wood, 1’ 1 1/8” X 10 1/4". National Gallery, London.
  96. 96. First known portrait in 1,000 years where sitter looks directly at the viewer. Widely considered to be a self- portrait. “As I Can” in greek letters Possible demonstration piece for prospective clients. 98
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  101. 101. 103 ROGIER VAN DER WEYDEN, Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1460. Oil on panel, 1’ 1 3/8" X 10 1/16". National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (Andrew W. Mellon Collection).
  102. 102. 104 DIRK BOUTS, Last Supper central panel of the Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament, Saint Peter’s, Louvain, Belgium, 1464–1468. Oil on wood, 6’ X 5’.
  103. 103. Last Supper • Commissioned by Confraternity of the Holy Sacrement in Louvian (4 members appear in work as servants) • One of the first Northern Renaissance paintings to illustrate the use of a single vanishing point, although not completely accurate. • Focus is on consecration of the Eucharistic wafer rather than Judas’ betrayal. • Biblical figures dressed in contemporary Flemish attire.
  104. 104. Northern painters had rich tradition of Manuscript painting, and as miniaturists, this had a large development on the direction painting took. 106
  105. 105. 107 LIMBOURG BROTHERS (POL, JEAN, HERMAN), January, from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1413–1416. Ink on vellum, approx. 8 7/8" X 5 3/8". Musée Condé, Chantilly.
  106. 106. The Duke of Berry -avid art patron. A “Book of Hours” was used for reciting prayers. Full-page calendar pictures represent the 12 months and associated seasonal tasks alternating between nobility and peasantry. Reinforces the image of the Duke of Berry as a cultured bibliophile and sophisticated art patron. 108
  107. 107. 110 LIMBOURG BROTHERS (POL, JEAN, HERMAN), October, from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1413–1416. Ink on vellum, 8 7/8" X 5 3/8”. Musée Condé, Chantilly.
  108. 108. HIERONYMUS BOSCH, Garden of Earthly Delights, 1505-1510. Oil on wood, center panel 7’ 2 5/8” X 6’ 4 ¾”, each wing 7’ 2 5/8” X 3’ 2 ¼”. Museo del Prado, Madrid. 113
  109. 109. HIERONYMUS BOSCH, Garden of Earthly Delights To write about Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, known to the modern age as The Garden of Earthly Delights, is to attempt to describe the indescribable and to decipher the indecipherable—an exercise in madness. 114
  110. 110. HIERONYMUS BOSCH, Garden of Earthly Delights Commissioned by a count of Nassau in brussels often been interpreted as an admonition against fleshly and worldly indulgence- but this seems like an ordinary interpretation of a highly idiosnycratic work. Very little agreement about the piece. 115
  111. 111. Outer panels Tiny figure of God If outer panels are the end of the pictorial cycle, rather than beginning, this image could represent the flood sent by God to cleanse the Earth after it was consumed by vice. 116
  112. 112. The path to vice is depicted in the inner panels of the triptych. Home theater for wealthy patrons. 117
  113. 113. God Introduces Eve to Adam (and all hell breaks loose) In the Garden of Eden surrounded by all of God’s creatures. Highlights human procreative capacity. 118
  114. 114. The Central Panel – People Nakedly Cavort (and All Hell Breaks Loose) The offspring of Adam and Eve cavort in a nonsensical landscape full of alchemical symbols. Amorous activities, but none explicit. Humans, plants, and animals all seem to interact without differentiation. 119
  115. 115. The impression of a life lived without consequence, an "unspoilt and immoral existence", is underscored by the absence of children and old people.
  116. 116. Mystery man The woman below him lies within a semi-cylindrical transparent shield, while her mouth is sealed, devices implying that she bears a secret. 121
  117. 117. One woman carries a cherry on her head, a common symbol of pride at the time, as can be deduced from the contemporaneous saying: "Don't eat cherries with great lords– they'll throw the pits in your face." 122
  118. 118. Detail showing nudes cavorting within a transparent sphere. What appear to be cracks in the sphere, may forecast the fragility of joyful passion. The figures' arms are entwined, while the female's head bends towards the male's attentive mouth. Their innocence contrasts with the atmosphere of the right-hand panel, where human figures are depicted in shame of their nakedness.[ 123
  119. 119. The Third Panel – Finally, All Hell Breaks Loose Perhaps not Hell, but Earth before the Flood…. 124
  120. 120. The Third Panel – Finally, All Hell Breaks Loose Symbols of evil distraction, gluttony, self-indulgent over-indulgence, purging, standard catalogue of the Seven Deadly Sins, in which our senses deceive our thoughts and rational decision making. 125
  121. 121. The Third Panel – Finally, All Hell Breaks Loose Possible self-portrait of Bosch. A controlling human consciousness in the center of the bizarre hallucination. 126
  122. 122. The Third Panel – Finally, All Hell Breaks Loose Would God, having made the world and having conferred on man both the blessing and the curse of free will-destroy all of his creation in the face of human failing? This is the fundamental connection between these inner panels and the destructive flood depicted on the outer wings. Bosch’s lesson, if there is one, seems to be that we can choose good over evil or we can be swept away. Man proposes, God disposes. 127
  123. 123. Symbolism in Bosch Paintings… • Pigs = false priests; gluttony • Fruit = carnal pleasure • Rats = lies against the Church; filth; sex • Fish = false prophets; lewdness • Closed Books = futility of knowledge in dealing with human stupidity • Keys = knowledge • Lutes and Harps = instruments for praise of God and pursuit of earthly love • Ears = gossip • Mussel Shells = infidelity • Black Birds = unbelievers • Knives = punishment of evil • Rabbits = multiplication of the race • Eggs = sexual creation • Funnels = deceit and intemperance • Strawberries = fleeting joys of life, love • Owls = great learning/knowledge
  124. 124. 129 PIETER BRUEGEL THE ELDER, Netherlandish Proverbs, 1559. Oil on wood, 3’ 10” x 5’ 4 1/8”. Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

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