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Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)


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Eighth module for GNED 1201 (Aesthetic Experience and Ideas). This one mainly covers the Northern Renaissance, and then moves back to Italy to look at the art of the later 15th century. It also has an extended digression on changing representations of the human body over the 15th century.

This course is a required general education course for all first-year students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. My version of the course is structured as a kind of Art History and Culture course. Some of the content overlaps with my other Gen Ed course.

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Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)

  2. 2. The Medici Family in Florence Was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house. They produced four popes, two queens of France, and eventually became the unofficial rulers of the Republic of Florence.
  3. 3. Còsimo di Mèdici 1389-1464 In 1434, after a brief time in exile Cosimo was returned to Florence by popular demand and became the de facto leader of the city.
  4. 4. Cosimo was a committed republican and though he manipulated the political system to ensure his family maintained their political power. He also worked to create a lasting peace treaty in 1454 between Florence, Milan, Rome, Venice, and Naples, a peace which lasted until the French invaded in 1494.
  5. 5. Cosimo was a great patronage of arts and scholarship and used his great wealth to improve Florence.
  6. 6. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero from 1464-1469. Piero in turn was succeeded by his son Lorenzo. Piero di Medici (the Gouty)
  7. 7. Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) 1449-1492 His life coincided with the high point of the mature phase of the Italian Renaissance and his death coincided with the end of the Golden Age of Florence. He was also a poet and scholar and spent vast sums of money on cultural projects in Florence. In 1478, Pope Sixtus IV hired assassins (including a priest) to kill Lorenzo while he was at mass. His brother was killed but Lorenzo eventually survived a stab wound to the throat.
  8. 8. Piero succeeded Lorenzo in 1492 but was an Piero de' Medici (The Unfortunate) ineffectual leader and was soon displaced when the French invaded Italy in 1494. Eventually the Medici’s returned to power in Florence by 1512.
  9. 9. Piero de' Medici (The Unfortunate) Pope Leo X l Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) Pope Clement VII
  10. 10. Art under the Medici’s From the 1440s-1490s, the innovations of Masaccio, Brunelleschi, and Donatello were expanded upon, first in Florence and then throughout the rest of Italy.
  11. 11. Piero della Francesca [1415-1492] The Baptism of Christ 1450s
  12. 12. Piero della Francesca, Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro 1465
  13. 13. Federico da Montefeltro was the prince of the small Italian city of Urbino, and was an ideal Renaissance prince: a scholar, a scientist, a supporter of culture, the builder of one of Europe’s best libraries, and a mercenary general who never lost a battle. He lost his eye in a jousting accident and had part of his nose amputated to provide a better field of vision.
  14. 14. Filippo Lippi [1406-1469] Virgin and Child with scenes from the life of St. Anne 1456
  15. 15. Filippo Lippi Madonna and Child 1465
  16. 16. Sandro Botticelli [1445 – 1510] Apprenticed to Filippo Lippi, he continued his style and use of line. His most famous works are commissions for the Medici’s using themes from classical antiquity and which contain a variety of allusions and allegories.
  17. 17. Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, c. 1482.
  18. 18. Was commissioned by Lorenzo Medici as a wedding present for his cousin, and would have hung in the couple’s bedroom. This might seem a strange gift given the subject matter: the rape of Chloris and her subsequent transformation into Flora, the embodiment of spring.
  19. 19. 7 golden apples (Medici symbol) p Cupid 7 apples Zephyr (desire) Chloris (beauty) Flora Venus (their child) G Mercury (Commerce and reason) Graces (fulfilment) (embodiments of the 3 stages of love: beauty, desire, fulfilment) The painting is a neo-Platonic allegory on love: how desire and beauty can provoke passion and violence or when wedded to reason, it can provoke transcendance and contemplation on the spiritual and divine.
  20. 20. Botticelli, Birth of Venus, c. 1480
  21. 21. Venus’s nudity is front and center and she is seen right at the moment before being covered up. The work is a fusion of classical and Christian ideals.
  22. 22. Botticelli, Mars and Venus, c. 1475. This painting was most likely part of a bed headboard, which would have created the illustration of the two gods lying on the actual physical bed it was above.
  23. 23. The same female model (Simonetta Vespucci) was used for these three paintings, and was considered the most beautiful woman in Florence and was reportedly the lover of the “ruler” of Florence, Giuliano de Medici. She died at age of 22 and thousands attended her funeral. Botticelli later asked to be buried at her feet in the Franciscan Church of Ognissanti.
  24. 24. Girolamo Savonarola (1452 –1498) was an Italian Dominican friar and an influential contributor to the politics of Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was known for his book burning, destruction of what he considered immoral art, and his vehement preaching against the moral corruption of much of the clergy at the time. He also argued that the nude image is sinful and depraved.
  25. 25. Some Florentine artists responded to Savaronola’s sermons by transforming their visual style and returning to a more pietistic style …
  26. 26. David, by Donatello, c. 1430-1440 vs The Penitent Magdalene, by Donatello, c. 1453-55.
  27. 27. Botticelli’s late works, post Savonarola, demonstrate a very noticeable rejection of the classically-inspired worldview of his earlier works. He even destroyed a number of his works that included nudity. Shown here: Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints (1490) Mystic Nativity (1501)
  28. 28. Botticelli’s “classical” paintings were only saved because they were owned by rich patrons who were unmoved by Savonarola.
  29. 29. Execution of Savonarola and his Companions in Piazza Della Signoria, Florence, 1498
  30. 30. The Spread of the Renaissance The civic humanist ideals along with the artistic innovations that began in Florence began to spread throughout Northern Italy in the 1440s-1500s.
  31. 31. Northern Renaissance as a term refers to the new style of painting in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
  32. 32. Northern Renaissance as a term refers to the new style of painting in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
  33. 33. Northern Renaissance
  34. 34. Gothic styles remained an important part of the visual arts of the Northern Renaissance (Gothic churches for instance continued to be built well into the 16th century). Northern Renaissance painting generally was less interested with perspective and naturalism (that is with form) and more on color and details. As well, there is initially much less interest outside of Italy on classical past
  35. 35. These northern painters were able to achieve remarkable color effects and detail through their early adoption of the new invention of oil paints.
  36. 36. Robert Campin, Merode Altarpiece c. 1425 While this and other Northern Renaissance pieces often do not have the accurate perspective of contemporary Italian works, there is an attention to detail (often requiring a magnifying glass to see) as well as less homage to classical forms.
  37. 37. Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, c. 1432
  38. 38. Madonna of Chancellor Rolin Jan van Eyck, 1435
  39. 39. Jan van Eyck, Arnolfini Portrait, c. 1434 The best guess is that the subjects are Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and Costanza Trenta who were married in 1426. The Arnolfini were rich Italian merchants living in Bruges. She died in 1433, the year before it was painted.
  40. 40. Single candle is thought to represent either: Flemish She is by the bed and the door, symbolizing wife’s realm of child wedding day custom, the holy ghost, or that this is a memorial painting for his dead wife (notice the candle He is by window, symbolizing husband’s rearing and household management. But because she looks at him (and not down) painter is showing she is her husband’s social stub on her side). focus on the sphere of commerce and politics husband s equal. She is not pregnant: rather she is showing off h lth(lt flth her wealth (lots of cloth = rich) as well as the couple’s desire for children. Oranges were extremely expensive imports and symbolize love. Hands here might indicate a marriage ceremony, or evidence of a business transaction (she is being given the right to conduct business on husband’s behalf) Removal of shoes in a Dog represents fidelity b d i di t d … or perhaps it is just a dog. bedroom indicated sexual passion.
  41. 41. Johann van Eyck was here 5cm or 2.2” 10cm or 4”
  42. 42. xwFVdn0XxLmf9Q?projectId=art-project crucifixion/3gF9kN6BYvNuxw?projectId=art-project YQF1hx5g-8VglQ?projectId=art-project a-lady/pwGhp-hQAnSBdg?projectId=art-project isabella-of-portugal/dQFnG1h6Jg1hYg?projectId=art-project
  43. 43. In the 15th century, we can also see a transformation in artist’s willingness to make the human body a focus of attention.
  44. 44. Adam, from the left wing of the Ghent Altarpiece - Jan van Eyck, 1425
  45. 45. Descent from the Cross, c. 1435-1438
  46. 46. Masaccio [1425] The Expulsion of Adam and Eve
  47. 47. Garden of Eden World Before the Flood Hell Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delight, c. Bosch Delight c 1510
  48. 48. Albrect Durer (1471-1528) Self portrait, 1484 [13 yrs old], the youngest self portrait in art history
  49. 49. Albrect Durer [1471-1528] Self Portrait 1493 [22 yrs old], painted to send to his fiancé (whom he had never met)
  50. 50. Albrecht Dürer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, c. 1497-1498. Woodcut, 15 2/5" x 11".
  51. 51. Albrecht Dürer, Melancholia, c. 15148. Copper plate
  52. 52. Gutenberg printing press [1450]